The Great Canadian wilderness is pristine in many places, providing a much-needed escape from the daily grind. Crystal clear lakes, quiet solitude, and well-worn trails greet those who step away from their desks to visit Mother Nature. Canada has some of the best camping in the world, with a wide variety of landscapes available depending on where you go in the country. These destinations make for a great vacation, perfect for both families and solo travel alike.
It should be noted that most parks require reservations for both frontcountry and backcountry camping and prices vary depending on the province and what accommodations you choose. Additionally, not all parks are open year-round for overnight camping, so be sure to check ahead of time on the respective websites to ensure you’re following the rules. Finally, be sure that you’re prepared for camping with the right gear and clothing to be safe and comfortable. This is even more critical if you’re planning on backcountry camping, as you need to rely on your own gear and skills.
So if you’re thinking about taking a vacation in one of the Great White North’s parks, but aren’t sure where to go, we’re here with a guide to the best camping in Canada, with recommendations from a seasoned camper.
Yukon: Kluane National Park and Reserve
Located up North, high in the mountains, Kluane boasts Mount Logan, the country’s highest peak at 5,959 meters, as well as the largest ice field. It’s also home to North America’s most diverse grizzly population, so you’ll need to pack bear spray if you plan to camp here. The park offers 5 A-frame cabin prospector tent crossovers (called oTENTiks) and 38 campsites complete with firewood, bear-proof storage lockers, and outhouses, in addition to unlimited backcountry camping opportunities. It’s best to visit in summer or early fall if you’re going to be camping, as winters in the Yukon are frigid and unforgiving.
Saskatchewan: Prince Albert National Park
Situated where the grasslands turn into Evergreen Forests, the park offers a wide range of experiences from spotting bison, black bear, elk, and wolves to hiking through Boreal-like Forests. The park offers both wilderness and accessibility, with 14 primitive background campsites that are not accessible by vehicle and two full service campgrounds with parking. Waskesiu, the lakeside town that serves as the park’s hub, is also an option if you’re looking for a mix of camping and less primitive accommodations for your adventure.
Alberta: Banff National Park
One of the country’s most beautiful and popular spots, there’s plenty to discover in Banff as you experience breathtaking mountain scenery, hike Rocky Mountain peaks and glaciers, and swim in the turquoise glacial lakes and streams. There’s a natural hot spring where hikers can soak after a long hike along the trails through Canada’s first national park and the flagship for the Park system. It’s a large park, with 13 campgrounds for camping and RVs. Some offer amenities while others are primitive and better left for the more adventurous backcountry campers.
British Columbia: Pacific Rim National Park
Campers who love beaches and surfing come here to play and rest. Ten miles of beaches hold pools of water where aquatic wildlife and birds live amongst the crashing waves and whales who frequently swim by. Coastal temperate rainforests hold trails for those in search of solitude on Vancouver Island’s western shore, offering the chance to get up close with the giant old growth trees. Over a hundred campsites serve motorists and hikers throughout the park and most offer amenities like showers and flush toilets.
Newfoundland: Gros Morne National Park
This East Coast park is a place for people looking to slow down, with the chance to sip your morning coffee while watching the fog roll off the Atlantic Ocean and into the Fjords nestled between the mountains. The park is old – it took Mother Nature 485 million years to carve out the landscape, so expect to feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Hike the Tablelands, a red landscape of exposed earth’s mantle, or challenge yourself to summit a peak in the Long Range Mountains where you’ll spot caribou and moose grazing as eagles fly overhead. There are five campgrounds with 236 drive-in and 4 walk-in campsites for visitors, as well as rustic cabins and oTENTIKs (cabin/prospector tent crossovers) for those who’d prefer not to sleep in a tent.
Ontario: Algonquin Provincial Park
Located roughly 300 km north of Toronto, Algonquin is a 7,653 square kilometre park of rocky ridges and peaceful lakes. One can either set up at one of 8 frontcountry campgrounds full of amenities like flush toilets and hot showers or head into the wilderness to backcountry camp with a backpack or canoe/kayak – the only way to explore the interior of the park. Many waterfront sites on the thousands of lakes in the park are so remote that they can only be reached by canoe or kayak. This park truly offers some of the best camping in Canada.
New Brunswick: Kouchibouguac National Park
Known for its scenic trails through mixed-wood forests, bogs, lagoons, salt marshes, and sand dunes, Kouchibouguac is a favorite of bikers and hikers alike. Woodland trails and the park’s designation as a Dark Sky Preserve allow visitors the chance to view wildlife and plants without disturbing the ecosystem. Two frontcountry campgrounds offer amenities and facilities, while 3 backcountry campgrounds offer a full wilderness experience. However, the coolest accommodation in the park is the Ôasis, a teardrop-shaped shelter in the sky.
Nova Scotia: Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Climb the steep cliffs and look out over the Atlantic Ocean as the sun rises in the morning at Cape Breton Highlands. Hikers can walk under the canopy of old growth forests situated close to the world-famous Cabot Trail Highway – a great place to hike if you’ve got the time. Six front country campgrounds offer refuge to those staying in tents and RV owners; including 9 campsites that are fully accessible, as well as one backcountry campground.
Quebec: Parc National Forillon
Located at the top end of the Appalachian Mountains, here you can experience the ruggedness of mountain trails where fertile forests rise toward the sky. Sea kayakers enjoy gliding along the coastline in search of whales as others visitors explore below while snorkelling and scuba diving. Many campsites are available ranging from full service to primitive backcountry. Like Kouchibouguac, you can stay in an Ôasis, a teardrop-shaped shelter in the sky, but this park also offers the MicrOcube, a contemporary 2-person tiny cabin.