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24 August 2021

Should You Go Camping in BC or Alberta?

The Rocky mountains

Panorama in BC’s portion of the Rocky Mountains

You’ve probably clicked through to this guide because you’re considering going camping in either British Columbia or in Alberta — or perhaps you’re genuinely torn between which of the two great provinces to visit. Well, the great news is that if you just toss a coin and let that decide for you, you’re guaranteed an incredible time. As both Alberta and BC are excellent for camping, the stakes of this decision are strangely low. But it’s always better when you get exactly what you want, so we’d like to help you decide by offering several camping locations and activities in both provinces. If anything here inspires you to travel with Landsby, enjoying our local expertise and boutique trips, take a look at our collection of Alberta Experiences and BC Experiences.

Camping in Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park

Mountain views in Jasper National Park

The first camping destination worth shouting about is Jasper National Park in Alberta. This huge national park covers 4,200 sq mi (10,878 km2) and forms part of the even larger UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. Jasper National Park has everything you could possibly want from a camping destination, with lots of campgrounds, majestic mountains in the distance, waterfalls, glaciers, caves, canyons, and many of Canada’s coolest wild animals. The views are some of the best in all of Canada and the campgrounds are usually bustling with activity and atmosphere. We could easily spend an entire blog singing the praises of Jasper National Park, but we have other destinations to discuss!

Camp in the Great Bear Rainforest

Lizette Falls

Lizette Falls in the Great Bear Rainforest

British Columbia has numerous national parks and forests to explore, but the most unique is perhaps the Great Bear Rainforest. What makes the Great Bear Rainforest so unique? It is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world. In an area of around 12,000 sq mi (32,000 km2), this vast rainforest is three times the size of Jasper National Park. If you prefer trees, rivers, and beaches, then this is the camping spot for you. However, it’s worth mentioning that inexperienced campers might want a professional guide as there are some dangerous animals out there, such as wolves, grizzlies, Kermode bears (AKA Spirit Bears), and cougars.

The Great Bear Forest is ideal for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and people keen to spend some time on the water either sailing or kayaking along the coast of this fascinating place. If you’re more interested in the place than the camping aspect and you’re looking for a truly special experience, consider our Bears & Whales Trip in the Great Bear Rainforest. Head out into the forest and onto the water with expert guides in search of bears and whales, resting in the luxurious Farewell Harbour Lodge. This experience also includes sea kayaking, all meals, and forest bathing.

Into Dinosaurs? Visit Alberta’s Drumheller

Drumheller Badlands

The otherworldly Drumheller Badlands

If you like a healthy dose of fossils and dinosaurs while you camp, you’ll want to head to Drumheller in Alberta. Drumheller is the name of the town in Red Deer Valley, and is often referred to as Dinosaur Valley. With rocky badlands that look straight out of Mad Max, this fascinating landscape is worth camping in and exploring in its own right. And if you love all-things-dino, then you can keep an eye out for fossils and you can even visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology to see one of the biggest collections of fossils in the world.

Camp and Kayak on Vancouver Island

Beach view. Vancouver Island

Beach views on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is a fantastic place worth visiting whether or not you’re camping. The weather is milder than the mainland, which means that spring and autumn are completely viable times to visit. The dense and varied forests of Vancouver Island are perfect for camping, and if that was all Vancouver Island had to offer it would be more than worth the trip. But the coastal waters around the island are also ideal for kayaking, adding a completely different way to explore the island. You can hike around the island and rent out kayaks at different locations or you can bring your own kayak and carry all of your belongings on the water with you. Choose your own adventure!

Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Verdant views in Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

For a completely different experience on the water, we recommend a trip to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. For the adventure of a lifetime, paddle out on the Milk River on a canoe. Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is one of the largest protected prairie areas in Alberta, so you can look forward to the distinctive prairie aesthetic of gentle grassy meadows with some epic rocks and canyons. The weather is mild and the views are incredible, making Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park a camper’s paradise.

Camping + Wine Tourism = BC’s Okanagan Valley

Wine Country Okanagan Valley

Wine Country in the Okanagan Valley

If you want to experience Canada’s lush natural landscapes but you don’t want to sacrifice luxury, then you might enjoy camping in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. One of the greatest wine-producing regions in Canada, this fertile, sunny section of BC is worth camping in even if you aren’t partial to wine tastings and vineyard tours. This gorgeous part of BC comes with its own stunning lake and a large river that are perfect for water sports. And there are several parks nearby that are ideal for campers and hikers. When you aren’t out adventuring, you can unwind with a wine-tasting tour in one of the dozens of local vineyards. If this sounds like your perfect trip, take a look at Landsby’s Thompson Okanagan Experiences. 

Well,  have you made your mind up between Alberta and BC? While our intention was to make it easier for you to choose the perfect camping spot in Western Canada, there’s a chance we’ve just made it a little more difficult by making a great case for both provinces. We’re sorry, but this is the dilemma anyone faces when they begin planning a camping trip in our part of the world. If you have any questions about the Landsby tours and activities mentioned in this guide, please feel free to get in touch. Your next great BC or Alberta adventure could be just a few clicks away!