With a vast and varied landscape and miles upon miles of wilderness, Canada is the ultimate outdoor country, with everything from lakes and beaches, primeval forests, spectacular mountain ranges, and ancient glacial landscapes. It attracts winter sports enthusiasts from November to March, and during the summer months its many national parks offer prime camping experiences for all comfort levels and all age groups.
With more than 40 national parks all providing camping facilities, you really are spoilt for choice in Canada’s great outdoors. Get away from the crowds in Banff at Tunnel Mountain in Alberta, a campground offering showers, toilets, and a superb view of the Rockies, all just three miles out of town. Also in the Rocky mountain area is Wapiti Campground in the Jasper National Park, a large campground with 644 sites, electricity, hot showers, and flush toilets, which does get busy in peak season.
If you’re looking for a coastal location, at Green Point Campground in the Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia, you can camp on a narrow ledge above Long Beach, where whales can be seen in summer from the Amphitrite Lighthouse 20 minutes to the south.
The Point Wolfe Campground in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, can offer hiking trails, thrill rides and even the chance to enjoy freshly-caught lobsters and whale-watching along the coast.
Baie Sainte-Marguerite Campground in the Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Quebec also enjoys an enviable location, at the place where the Saguenay River empties into the St. Lawrence River. Not only are there great views from the Saint-Louis viewpoint, but also the opportunity to go on a beluga whale-watching tour, see rare nesting falcons or to rent a kayak.
How much luxury you wish to bring to your camping trip is up to your family. Some campgrounds are simply a place to park your RV without hassle, affording great views but not a whole lot else, while at the other end of the scale you can find ‘cottage tents’ – the Canadian national park equivalent of a campground chalet – and the newest phenomenon of ‘yurt camping’ which is a little like an open-air hotel, with solar lighting, real beds, and even ‘room service ‘ – all on site. Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, for example, now offers yurt camping.
Remember that in national parks, you will only be able to light a fire with a fire permit. Park wardens often enforce fire and liquor curfews. Remember, too, that many of Canada’s national parks are bear country; storing food and food-related items safe from black bears and grizzlies is vital. Most campgrounds will be able to provide bear proof lockers: It is advisable to use them.
Camping season in Canada runs from Victoria Day (third Monday in May) until mid-October, with campgrounds really filling up in high summer, when you may want to book your spot in advance. If you’re planning to fly to Canada from another country, airlines such as Air Transat, Canada’s leading charter carrier, offer great deals on flights.
With so many cycling and hiking trails in Canada as well as a large number of lakes, why not gather together all the family members in physical activities such as kayaking, trekking, boating, or fishing? Ask on site for a map of local walking trails or about the possibility of renting a bike or a kayak.