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Camping suggestions Vancouver/Victoria BC in Labor Day ?
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pnwkayaker
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:31 am    Post subject: Camping suggestions Vancouver/Victoria BC in Labor Day ? Reply with quote

Me and the family (wife, 2 small kids) are thinking about visiting Vancouver/Victoria BC during Labor Day weekend (will try to leave a day late, and return a day after, to avoid overcrowded roads).

Does anybody have any suggestions on campgrounds to stay and places to visit ? Is it possible to reserve campsites in advance or check availability online ? We've never been in BC, so any pointers/tips will be appreciated.

I've heard that Tofino is a great place to visit, but I might be short on time to get up to there.

Thanks !
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're short on time I'd stick to the mainland and maybe head up past Whistler towards Pemberton, it's beautiful up there. Naim Falls Campground or Birkenhead Lake are both easily accessible and nice settings for family camping, and there lots of places for a short stop so the kids can stretch their legs on the way. The boulders under the Stawamas Chief, Brandywine falls, Whistler. Some good hiking there too if they're big enough to do 10k or so in a day. Elfin lakes, Joffre lakes. Make sure your brakes/engine are in good shape before tackling the Duffey lake hill!


The loop through Lilloett to Lytton or Cache creek and back through the Fraser canyon is very nice, and it would mean that you wouldn't have to back track and could cross back over to Bellingham and Mt. Baker without having to fight Vancouver traffic twice.

The alternative is to reserve a spot on the ferry for 15 bucks so that you don't waste a day waiting in line. It's generally quicker to use the BC ferries than the one from Anacortes. Tofino/Ucluelet is beautiful as well, but it'll be a mad house on that weekend.
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One more islander...
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're thinking about staying in any provincial campsites, you can reserve spots online in quite a lot of them.

Here's the website for provincial parks:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/things_to_do.html

Here's another one for the former "forestry" campsites, which are looked after by various jurisdictions and are generally wilder and more interesting than the provincial parks:

http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/search/search-location-coastal-region.aspx

These sites are generally not reservable, but tend to be up gravel roads and thus less popular than the provincial parks as well.

You might want to consider the Sunshine Coast, a short ferry ride up from Vancouver, and cheaper (ferry-wise) to visit than Vancouver Island.

Here's us, in June I think, up at Lois Lake south of Powell River. This is an "ex-forestry" campsite. No rules, bring your own water, and about 1 1/2 miles of gravel off the highway, but they have tables and biffies.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Have fun, and don't forget your passports (for re-entering the States).

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88 Westy
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pnwkayaker
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot ! This gives us a good starting point, time to open the maps and start planning.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 for the Sunshine Coast. There are some great spots along the way. The downside is you have to drive into Vancouver to get to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay. The hike out to the tidal rapids at Skookumchuk Narows (in Egmont) is worthwhile - check the tide times and hike out when the rapids are flowing. I see you Kayak... lots of people paddle the rapids.

Tofino/Ucluelet are beautiful, but it will be busy - Tofino in good traffic is a 4-4.5 hour drive from Victoria. On a Holiday weekend it could take a lot longer.

The BlackBall ferry out of Port Angeles Washington sails right into Victoria. Maybe you could do a loop using that to return.

Whatever you do, spend the extra money and reserve spots on the Ferry. It saves a lot of wasted time waiting in lines.

Heres a shot of the rapids.
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ragnarhairybreeks
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

if you do make it over to Victoria and don't have the time to get to Tofino/Long Beach, you can still get a little taste of the West Coast of the Island by driving from Victoria to Port Renfrew. You can stop at spots on the way, i.e. China Beach Prov. park or, and this would be my choice, Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew.

There is an option of a circle route to return to Victoria... Logging road that connects Port Renfrew to Cowichan Lake has been paved and makes a pretty spectacular drive. Then the route goes from Cowichan lake east to Duncan the head on south to Victoria, or head north to Nanaimo and take ferry back to Vancouver from there.

cheers

alistair
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you do the trip Alastair suggests, once you get over to Cowichan Lake, there's a really nice kid-friendly campground on the Cowichan River. The river is running slowly here, and people go tubing, etc. A terrific spot! This was the first campground we tried out when we got our Westy.

from the BCParks blurb, and pretty accurate:

"If it’s outdoor recreation you’re after, Cowichan River Provincial Park on southern Vancouver Island is the place to go. Whether you want to go swimming, canoeing, white-water kayaking, tubing, camping, fishing or hiking, or just want to take it easy in the sun, you’re bound to find something to do in this “recreation corridor” south of Duncan.

This spectacular park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River, a recently designated Provincial Heritage River internationally renowned for its wild salmon and steelhead fishery.

The park is adjacent to an abandoned rail right-of-way, which provides recreation opportunities for cyclists, hikers and horseback riders. While staying at the park, visitors can enjoy other features of Cowichan River Provincial Park. These include the historic 20 km long Cowichan River Footpath and a variety of day-use and picnic areas, each with their own unique features and highlights. Visitors won’t want to miss the sights from the restored 66-Mile and Holt Creek Trestles on the Trans-Canada Trail, which offer spectacular river views and the opportunity to imagine back to a time when log-laden traincars would thunder along these tracks high above the Cowichan River."

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/cowichan_rv/

You'd probably want to reserve at this one.

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Kathy
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Witless Joe
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: Camping suggestions Vancouver/Victoria BC in Labor Day ? Reply with quote

pnwkayaker wrote:
Me and the family (wife, 2 small kids) are thinking about visiting Vancouver/Victoria BC during Labor Day weekend (will try to leave a day late, and return a day after, to avoid overcrowded roads).

Does anybody have any suggestions on campgrounds to stay and places to visit ? Is it possible to reserve campsites in advance or check availability online ? We've never been in BC, so any pointers/tips will be appreciated.

I've heard that Tofino is a great place to visit, but I might be short on time to get up to there.

Thanks !


My wife & I just stayed at Porpoise Bay, on the Sunshine Coast, with our 3-year-old boy. Very nice location, right at the ocean's edge.

It's a really family-friendly campground for several reasons, particularly the ban on fires at the individual campsites (they have a collective campfire for the whole campground instead). That pretty much eliminates the late-night loud party scene, which makes life so much easier when you have little kids.

That, plus the nicest, cleanest toilet/shower block I've ever seen in a public campground, plus pretty big sites with thick bush/tree privacy curtains setting them apart from each other.

Book a reservation ahead.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/porpoise/
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I literally just got back from a vacation in BC. If I could do it again, I would have spent my vacation in Tofino, but I was up there looking for possible neighborhoods to live in. If you have the chance to visit Tofino, I would do it.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, TOFINO! It is definitely a trek to get there from the Seattle area, but worth it.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any Vancouver Islanders or BC natives have a link for wilderness camping on the island outside of Provincial Parks? The http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/ has been down for a couple weeks, I looked at it a while back and it's great but not working any more. That or I'd love to hear of good spots on the water, preferably the west side of the island between Tofino and the north end of the island. Heading up for a week or so in October and want a couple nights stay in this area on the way out to Port Hardy. Thanks!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dan,
Near Tofino there is some wilderness camping at Kennedy Lake. The are is known as Redneck Beach and is referenced in the infamous Vanagon Song. IT can be a little trashy and there are black bears there but it shouldn't be too busy in October.

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Here's directions and info:
http://tofinohiatus.com/tofinohikes/kennedy-lake.html

Dave
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dave. Looks like a cool area, I'll look into it for sure. That whole website has good stuff on it. Still bummed the sitesandtrailsbc is down, that thing is full of gold but this helps.
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