Vehicle access? Reservations only? Pets allowed? We break down the best campsites that are no more than a two-hour trip outside of Vancouver
Credit: B.C. Parks

Vehicle access? Reservations only? Pets allowed? We break down the best campsites that are no more than a two-hour trip outside of Vancouver

British Columbia is not short on wilderness. But with so many parks and campgrounds to choose from, how do you decide which one is right for your next outdoor adventure?

Whether your priority is hiking, fishing or boating—or you just want to toast some marshmallows over a campfire—each park has its stand-out features.

Here's our roundup of 13 places to camp that are all conveniently located within 30 minutes to no more than 2 hours away from downtown Vancouver...

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Squamish-Lillooet
Credit: Christine McAvoy 

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Squamish-Lillooet

You can find Porteau Cove off of the Sea-to-Sky Highway, along the waters of Howe Sound. One of the main attractions of this site is the sunken ship that is perfect for scuba diving adventures. You can fish outside the park for salmon (with the correct licence) but all other fishing/harvesting is prohibited.

Drive time from Vancouver: 50 minutes
How to get there: Drive 38 km north of Vancouver on Hwy 99
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping
Reservations/FCFS (first-come, first served): Yes/No
Cost: $20 for walk-in or $43 for vehicle with electric sites
Maximum number of people per site: 4 for walk-in sites
Group sites available: No
Pets allowed: Yes, on-leash
Activities: Scuba diving, canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, swimming
Facilities: Boat launch, drinking water, electrical hookups, picnic area, flush and pit toilets, showers
Firepits: Yes, but beach fires are not allowed
Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Alice Lake, Brackendale
Credit: B.C. Parks

Alice Lake, Brackendale

Just north of Squamish, Alice Lake is a very popular campground in the summer. There are four lakes in the area, making water sports very popular here. You can also hike the Four Lakes Trail (one of 10 in the area), which is 6 kilometres in length and circles all four lakes. This is a large park with many facilities, making it a family favourite.

Time from Vancouver: 1 hour
How to get there: Drive 71 km north of Vancouver on Hwy 99
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping
Reservations/FCFS: Yes, only until March 24 then all sites reservable
Cost: $23 for walk-in or $35 for vehicle with electric sites
Maximum number of people per site: 8 with 4 adults max.
Group sites available: Yes.
Pets allowed: Yes, on-leash, but not allowed on the Alice Lake Trail, beach, playground or picnic areas
Activities: Canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, interpretive programs, swimming
Facilities: Electric hookups ($8 a night), drinking water, picnic areas, pit and flush toilets, playground, showers.
Firepits: Yes
Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Squamish
Credit: B.C. Parks

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Squamish

This park is a good pick for rock climbing and hiking, with three summits and stunning views of the Squamish area. Camping is mostly walk-in wilderness camping (a 5-minute walk from the parking lot), but there are some vehicle-accessible spots as well. Peregrine falcons nest in the area, so sometimes certain areas are closed—look for notices.

Time from Vancouver: 45 minutes
How to get there: Drive 60 km from Vancouver off Hwy 99 near Squamish
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping
Reservations/FCFS: First-come, first-served only
Cost: $10 per person
Maximum number of people per site: The walk-in sites fit one tent and the fees are per person
Group sites available: No
Pets allowed: On-leash, except on the Chief Peaks trail
Activities: Climbing, hiking
Facilities: Picnic area, pit toilets only, drinking water
Firepits: Campfires prohibited
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Indian Arm Provincial Park (Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park), Deep Cove

Indian Arm Provincial Park (Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park), Deep Cove

Accessible only by boat, you can paddle your way to the campgrounds located right by Granite Falls and Silver Falls. Make sure you look at the tide charts and are experienced at kayaking/canoeing. There are all sorts of activities to do in the park, including water sports and hiking. Note: there is no boat launch, but you can leave your boat in the water or beached overnight. Pack light, camp only in the designated spots and take everything with you when you leave.

Time from Vancouver: About a 30-minute drive and approximately two hours of canoeing/kayaking
How to get there: Drive to Deep Cove and paddle your way up Indian Arm or by motorboat
Type of camping: Marine-access camping
Reservations/FCFS: First-come, first-served, several options available
Cost: No fees
Maximum number of people per site: N/A
Group sites available: No
Pets allowed: On-leash, but not allowed on beach or park buildings. Backcountry poses a wildlife issue, so beware!
Activities: Canoeing/kayaking, fishing, hiking, hunting, scuba diving, swimming, waterskiing, wind surfing
Facilities:  Pit toilets only, no fresh water taps (so bring your own)
Firepits: Campfires prohibited
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Mount Seymour Provincial Park, North Vancouver
Credit: B.C. Parks

Mount Seymour Provincial Park, North Vancouver

A quick hop over to the North Shore will put you on Mount Seymour, which has extensive hikes (14 in total, varying in difficulty) and beautiful lakes to visit. The camping is backcountry only, so be prepared to hike your gear in and out, and be sure to be bear aware. Mount Seymour offers one group campsite for those looking for a large party.

Time from Vancouver: 30 minutes
How to get there: Drive 15 km northeast of downtown Vancouver via the Second Narrows Bridge and Mount Seymour Parkway
Type of camping: Walk-in camping is permitted in the backcountry only, north of Brockton Point, sites are not designated
Reservations/FCFS: First-come, first-served only
Cost: No fees
Maximum number of people per site: N/A
Group sites available: One, which can be reserved
Pets allowed: On-leash only
Activities: Cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, interpretive programs
Facilities: Picnic areas (5), pit and flush toilets throughout the park
Firepits: Campfires prohibited
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Golden Ears Provincial Park, Maple Ridge
Credit: Christine McAvoy 

Golden Ears Provincial Park, Maple Ridge

Golden Ears is one of the largest parks in the province, and has camping of all varieties, from rugged backcountry to group sites. There are several fishable lakes, including Alouette Lake, and extensive trail hiking. It’s a busy campground and reservations are your best bet, but there are plenty of first-come, first-served sites for those wanting to chance it.

Time from Vancouver: About an hour
How to get there: Drive approximately 60 km from Vancouver, 11 km north of Maple Ridge
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping
Reservations/FCFS: Yes/Yes
Cost: $35 for Gold Creek and Alouette; $23 for North Beach (per party), $5 per person for backcountry
Maximum number of people per site: Party of 8, with 4 adults max, two vehicles max per site
Group sites available: Yes.
Pets allowed: On-leash, but not allowed at picnic areas and beaches marked for swimming-only; there are two dog beach areas for on-leach use
Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, climbing, cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, interpretive programs, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing
Facilities: Boat launch, drinking water, picnic areas, pit and flush toilets, playground, showers, sani-station
Firepits: Yes, but fires not permitted in the backcountry
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Sasquatch Provincial Park, Harrison Hot Springs

Sasquatch Provincial Park, Harrison Hot Springs

This park is super close to Harrison Hot Springs and has several small lakes—some great for boating, others great for fishing. No word on any actual Sasquatch sightings, but there is a lot of wildlife in the park including beavers, mountain goats and many species of birds. There are also over 10 types of fish in the lakes, so make sure you pick up a freshwater fishing license.

Time from Vancouver: 1 hour and 45 minutes
How to get there: Drive about 150 km from Vancouver, located off Highway 7 (6 km north of Harrison Hot Springs)
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping
Reservations/FCFS: Yes/Yes
Cost: $23 per party
Maximum number of people per site: Party of 8, with 4 adults max.
Group sites available: Yes, one
Pets allowed: On-leash, except in designated swimming areas
Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, interpretive programs, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing
Facilities: Boat launch, drinking water, picnic areas, pit and flush toilets, playground, sani-station
Firepits: Yes
Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Rolley Lake, Mission
Credit: B.C. Parks

Rolley Lake, Mission

Rolley Lake is close to Golden Ears Park and is a great alternative if you’re looking for smaller and quieter camping. The lake is fairly warm and the campgrounds are in flat, tree-lined areas. No motorized boats are allowed on the lake so bring a canoe, kayak or inflatable boat with you to cruise around in or fish for trout. There’s also a great sandy beach with a roped-off swimming area.

Time from Vancouver: Approximately 1 hour
How to get there: Drive about 75 km (23 km northwest of Mission)
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping
Reservations/FCFS: Yes/Yes
Cost: $35 per party
Maximum number of people per site: Party of 8, with 4 adults max.
Group sites available: No
Pets allowed: On-leash, but not allowed in the beach area
Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, interpretive programs, swimming
Facilities: Drinking water, picnic areas, pit and flush toilets, playground, sani-station, showers
Firepits: Yes
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Cultus Lake, Fraser Valley
Credit: B.C. Parks

Cultus Lake, Fraser Valley

Cultus Lake is one of the busiest areas in the Lower Mainland, between the water park, amusement park, public docks and beaches. The four campgrounds are for vehicle-access camping, and you should definitely try for a reservation (but there are several first-come, first-served sites as well). It’s an ideal lake for those who love boating, and there are also five main trails that take you around the beautiful mountain scenery.

Time from Vancouver: Approximately one hour and 30 minutes
How to get there: Drive about 100 km along Hwy 1, 11 km southwest of Chilliwack
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping
Reservations/FCFS: Yes/Yes
Cost: $35 per person
Maximum number of people per site: Party of 8, with 4 adults maximum
Group sites available: Yes, 6
Pets allowed: On-leash except in designated areas
Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, interpretive programs, swimming, waterskiing
Facilities: Picnic area, boat launch, drinking water, pit or flush toilets, playground, sani-station, showers
Firepits: At campground areas only
Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Coquitlam/Maple Ridge

Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Coquitlam/Maple Ridge

Close to the largest fresh water tidal lake in North America (Pitt Lake), Pinecone Burke offers more of a wilderness camping experience than other parks, and some sites are only accessible via canoe and kayak. Its trails are rugged, so this is definitely a park for more experienced campers.

Time from Vancouver: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
How to get there: Click for details
Type of camping: Walk-in/backcountry/wilderness; some camping only accessible by canoe/kayak
Reservations/FCFS: First-come, first-served only
Cost: No fees
Maximum number of people per site: The walk-in sites fit one tent and the fees are per person
Group sites available: Yes, all FCFS
Pets allowed: Dogs must remain on leash at all times, backcountry not suitable due to wildlife/bears
Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming
Facilities: Picnic area, pit toilets only
Firepits: Campfires prohibited within the park
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Chilliwack Lake, Rosedale

Chilliwack Lake, Rosedale

This park is located in the Chilliwack River Valley and has a large lake that is ideal for water activities as well as 40 kilometres of hiking trails. Surrounded by mountain peaks, there is both vehicle-accessible camping as well as wilderness camping. Weekends are busy so try for a reservation!

Time from Vancouver: Approximately 2 hours
How to get there: Drive approximately 150 km east of Vancouver, off Hwy 1
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping; walk-in/wilderness camping
Reservations/FCFS: Yes/Yes
Cost: $22 for vehicle-accessible camping and $5 per person for backcountry camping
Maximum number of people per site: Party of 8, with 4 adults maximum
Group sites available: No
Pets allowed: Dogs must remain on leash at all times; backcountry not suitable due to wildlife/bears
Activities: Canoeing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing
Facilities: Boat launch, sandy beach, drinking water, pit and flush toilets, playground, sani-station ($5 per use)
Firepits: Campfires allowed in pits only, not permitted in the backcountry
Quiet hours: None posted, but be respectful!

Cal-Cheak Recreation Site, Whistler

Cal-Cheak Recreation Site, Whistler

The Cal-Cheak recreation site is a FCFS campground located very close to Whistler. There are over 55 campsite on three separate grounds around the Cheafamus River. There’s no power and no sewage services, so this is a no-frills campground for those that want to be surrounded by nature. Brandywine Falls is close by, and great for day trips/hikes.

Time from Vancouver?:  Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
How to get there: Drive about 100 km from Vancouver up the Sea-To-Sky Hwy, just south of Whistler
Type of camping: Vehicle-accessible camping
Reservations/FCFS?: First-come, first-served only
Cost: $13 per person
Maximum number of people per site: 6
Group sites available: No
Pets allowed: Yes, under control at all times. (Areas with bear issues might not be the best idea though.)
Activities: Hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, nature study, picnic area
Facilities: Picnic tables, toilets
Firepits: Yes
Quiet hours: 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Cat Lake, Squamish

Cat Lake, Squamish

The campgrounds at Cat Lake are heavily treed, and camping spots are located all around the lake. There’s no vehicle access to the sites, so you must walk your gear in from the parking lot. It’s a popular spot for swimming (there are two sandy beaches) and fishing. And there are hiking and mountain biking opportunities as well.

Time from Vancouver: Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes
How to get there: Drive about 80 km from Vancouver up the Sea-to-Sky Hwy, north of Squamish
Type of camping: Walk-in (5-minute walk from parking lot)
Reservations/FCFS: First-come, first-served only
Cost: $15
Max number of people per site: 6
Group sites available?: No
Pets allowed: Yes, under control at all times. (Areas with bear issues might not be the best idea though).
Activities: Beach activities, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, picnic area, wwimming
Facilities: Picnic tables, toilets, wharfs
Firepits: Yes
Quiet hours: 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.