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Locals Guide to Camping in the Greater Victoria BC Area

Updated: Feb 18

Camping is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences. Not only does it give you a chance to get out in nature, but it also allows you to explore some of the most beautiful untouched areas. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best camping spots near Victoria and why they are worth exploring. We will be providing some tips on how to make the most of your camping experience!


Why you should go camping in the Greater Victoria BC Area?

Camping in Victoria, BC is not only a great option for adventurers but also for locals. Victoria, British Columbia is one of the most beautiful cities on Vancouver Island with amazing cultural attractions, countless hiking trails, cycling trails stretching from the Swartz Bay ferry all the way into Victoria and a waterfront perfect for kayakers or paddleboarders. It's no surprise that people love camping here! Campgrounds on Vancouver Island give you access to stunning beaches and camping under the stars all while enjoying wildlife nearby.




The Leave No Trace Policy

The leave no trace policy is a set of guidelines that helps people enjoy the outdoors responsibly. The seven principles of the policy are:


1) Plan Ahead and Prepare

2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

3) Dispose of Waste Properly

4) Leave What You Find

5) Respect Wildlife

6) Be Considerate of Other Visitors

7) Minimise Impact


The policy is important because it helps protect the environment and preserves the natural beauty of the outdoors. Following the guidelines helps prevent erosion, damage to vegetation, and contamination of water sources. It also reduces the amount of trash that is left behind, which can be harmful to wildlife.




Spring Salmon Place Campground

Spring Salmon Place campground or more commonly known as Sooke Potholes Regional Park has a wonderful array of waterfalls and rivers. For most locals, it’s the perfect place to spend the day or have a relaxing picturesque weekend.


This is a popular RV and tent campground and offers a high-quality, affordable self-contained wilderness camping experience. It operates on a first come first serve basis and is able to host 67 RVs. The campground is operated by T’Sou-ke Nation and managed by the Capital Regional District. This campground offers all of the amenities and different levels of luxury. From your large private areas to your more public areas near the entrance it is open seasonally from May through to September.


In terms of Paddleboarding, your best option is on the Sooke River. The Sooke is a good first river for teaching a small group of beginners, enough of a challenge but not overwhelming. You have the ability to launch from several spots including the West coast trail on the docks of the Prestige Hotel. Be prepared to not be alone when out on the water. Marine life such as seals, sea lions and otters will be all around. You might even get lucky and see a humpback!

Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.




Sooke River Campground

Picture yourself sitting on the river watching the seals chase the salmon, with a wide variety of birds soaring around. The Sooke River is calm, cool and collected with dreamy backdrops, perfect paddleboarding conditions and close access to the town.


With a more structured approach to their campsite than others, they require you to book several months in advance. With a maximum stay of two weeks and campground rules to follow, this is an ideal place for all the family to enjoy. This campsite offers cozy cabins for you to choose from with different rates depending on your selection.


Take a dip in the Sooke potholes to cool down after brushing up on your paddleboarding skills. The deep pools in the river create calm water making it an ideal spot for swimmers. Or you can mix things up and visit the East Sooke Regional Park which offers breathtaking tide pools, pristine pocket beaches, and stunning views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is for more advanced paddlers.


Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.




Weirs Beach RV Resort

With an abundance of activities for all of the family, there is something for everyone. Relaxation is definitely at the forefront of this RV park and we love it. Weir’s Beach is located in Victoria along the scenic south coast of Vancouver Island.


This campsite is for RVs only and requires a booking beforehand. They have three different sites to choose from, Ocean, Lagoon and Garden Sites and provide hookups for your RV. Each campsite is complete with full amenities.


Paddleboarding is a must at Weir's beach. Each year it is voted one of the best beaches in the area and a must-see. The only downside is that there are a few rocks as you enter that you need to be cautious of when you are paddleboarding BUT the waves are calm so it makes for a relaxing paddle with great views.


Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.




Salish Sea RV Haven

With a recent revamp Salish Seaside RV Haven is the creme de la creme of motor home parks. It is located on a private peninsula on Victorias waterfront harbour. Designed to accommodate the largest motor homes it has all the amenities you could dream of. It’s award-winning for a reason!


The park itself has space for 37 RVs and is directly on the water. With full amp service and complimentary wifi, this feels like your home away from home. With a communal clubhouse, you can relax after a long day of paddleboarding and watch the sun go down.


Salish Sea Haven is a paddleboarder's dream. Paddleboard to your front door anyone? Because it's possible! With calm waters and an array of salmon around you, you will be pinching yourself as you glide along the pacific coast.


Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.




Fort Victoria RV Park

A private campground owned by a family since 1961 Fort Victoria RV Park has all the charm. It is the largest, service-oriented, year-round RV Park in Victoria, BC. With over 300 hook-up places this place is not to be underestimated. With whale watching tours, playgrounds and close access to the city, it has it all.


The campsite itself is the only one open all year round so expect it to be busy. If you want peace and quiet then this isn't the place for you.

With your two closest options for paddleboarding less than five minutes away this is an amazing place for paddleboarders. You have the option to go on guided tours, book group trips and rent SUP gear quite easily.


Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.



Camping on the Saanich Peninsula

Camping on the Saanich Peninsula is an amazing experience - the area is full of lush forests, beautiful beaches, and stunning mountain vistas. Whether you're looking for a secluded spot to get away from it all or a bustling campground with all the amenities, you'll find what you need in this incredible corner of the island, not to mention you can come paddleboarding with us!!


We highly recommend packing up your camping gear and heading towards the Saanich Peninsula - you won't regret it!




Island View Beach Regional Park

Open from sunrise to sunset this 51-acre park is the dreamiest of places. You can expect expansive beach views along the eastern shore of the Saanich Peninsula. This is a self-contained RV and tent campground that offers full amenities with great walking trails with an abundance of wildlife around


The Island View Beach Regional Park RV & Tent campground operates in the spring and summer and is run by the Capital Regional District. It operates seasonally from the Victoria Day long weekend in May to the Labour Day long weekend in September. The CRD’s online reservation system allows you to reserve and pay immediately for a campsite.


With lots of places to paddle in the surrounding area, you won't be struggling to find a paddleboard as well as multiple guided tours! The Island View beach itself offers paddleboarding plus natural areas around Island View Park which houses over 500 bird species!


Google Maps Location Pin:Click here to discover more.




Ocean Side Saanichton

Oceanside Resort offers a haven for outdoor adventure, with large and private sites surrounded by natural beauty.


This campground is conveniently located a few minutes away from the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal. It’s an award-winning resort, boasting spacious recreation sites, full amenities and jaw-dropping views. With two options available you have either the Ocean Voyageur Camping or the Seasonal Sites.


The Seasonal sites are able to accommodate all your RV and camping needs. You gain full access to the resort's amenities and have plenty of time to relax and enjoy. The overnight Voyager is perfect for longer stays. They make it easy for you to be able to pull in and out and offer plenty of modern amenities.


Oceanside is located in the perfect location. You are in close proximity to lots of different activities such as whale watching tours, sites and trails and even local winery tours but most importantly paddleboarding tours!


Pacifica Paddle Sports and Blue Jellyfish SUP Adventures are just around the corner so you are in great hands. With experienced guides, well-planned routes and breathtaking views, you are in for a treat. They offer three Swartz Bay Tours and cater from the beginners to the advanced. Watch for otters, seals, birds and other wildlife while enjoying the beauty of this area. They know the favourite haul-out sites for seals and have cool areas to show you marine life at high or low tide.


Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.




Smonećten Campground

The campsite has availability for 49 areas to pitch up either with your tent or RV. It has slightly more road noise than the other campgrounds previously mentioned but it is nicely convened near the beautiful town of Sidney By The Sea. If you want to experience Swartz Bay camping on a budget then this is the campground for you. With reservations at only $18CAD per night you really can't go wrong.


Lucky for you Blue Jellyfish SUP Adventures is your closest place to set you up with a world-class paddleboarding experience. To learn more about what we can offer, our multi-day trips, dates and prices please reach out to us and we will do our best to meet your needs. Email us at pam@bluejellyfishsup.ca


Google Maps Location Pin: Click here to discover more.



Free Camping in Victoria

There are some good options for free camping in Victoria. We thought it would be useful to provide you with a link to all the free options and provincial park campgrounds in the Victoria area. Recreation sites and trials.


A free campsite we feel confident in recommending is Musgrave point. Although it is far from Victoria it has all the basics you need like pit toilets and picnic tables available but the reason we enjoy it so much is it’s perfect for Paddleboarding. You are extremely close to Saltspring Island which boasts seven freshwater lakes making it the ideal place for getting out on the water and paddleboarding.


Google Maps Location Pin (Musgrave Point and Saltspring Island). Click here to discover more.



Backroad Camping on Vancouver Island

If you're looking for a rustic camping experience, consider walk-in sites on Vancouver Island and backroad camping. These campgrounds don't have any amenities, but they offer a beautiful and peaceful setting away from the crowds. There are several campgrounds to choose from, all with stunning views of the ocean or forest.


One of the best things about walk-in sites is that they're usually quiet and secluded. This means you can enjoy a peaceful night's sleep without the noise and distractions of other campers. Just be sure to pack everything you need, including food, water, and firewood. Victoria BC is known for its unpredictable weather, so come prepared for anything.


Below is a list of some links we found over on ioverlander. It is quite useful to check these out, you get to see photos of the environment and read reviews from other people that have stayed there.


Two we love because you can paddle right from the campsite!


Blue Jellyfish SUP Camping Experiences near Sidney, BC


If guided camping excursions or learning to camp and paddle appeal to you, we offer multi-day Paddle Canada Stand Up Paddle Coastal Touring courses. You will have an incredible camping experience as well as learn navigation, how to pack your board for an overnight trip, improve your SUP skills and enjoy a magical escape.


Gulf Island Coastal Camping Expedition - The 2-night/3-day Salish Sea Camping Expedition will take place near Sidney, BC and includes 2 nights of self-supported camping at a remote island location reached only by boat or paddleboard, depending upon conditions. This SUP camping trip is perfect for paddleboarders who want to explore coastal areas and enjoy multiday overnight stays. Participants learn how best to use the water and navigate through it as well as campsite spot techniques that leave no trace while you are out there exploring!




To Conclude

Whether you're a seasoned camper or just getting started, Victoria BC has plenty of great campsites to explore. With stunning scenery and plenty of paddleboarding available, camping here is sure to be an unforgettable experience.


Are you excited to go camping now? We hope so!



If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out.


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