So you’ve got your RV out of storage, de-winterized it, and got everything you’ll need for a most excellent road trip this summer. The question becomes now, where should you go?
We’ve got a few choice locations within BC that will knock your socks off and have them on your “return-to” list for years to come.
1. Botanical Beach
Located just north of Victoria, Botanical Beach is aptly named – it is one of the best spots to see intertidal marine creatures and plant life on Vancouver Island. The sheer difference in landscape when the tide is out versus when it’s in is nothing short of remarkable.
When the tide is out, you’ll find an abundance of creatures hiding in the tide pools, such as seastars, chitons, and anemones. You’ll also find barnacles, snails, and mussels hiding out from the dry air and sun. Purple sea urchins have also made their home in the soft sandstone. It’s a photographer’s dream out here.
Make sure you pack some good quality walking shoes or hiking boots; it’s a bit of a trek from the main parking lot to the Botanical Beach area with the tide pools, but it’s definitely worth it.
As part of the Juan De Fuca Provincial Park, the nearest campsite to Botanical Beach is the China Beach Campground, which has amenities such as drinking water, pit and flush toilets, accessible campsites, picnic areas, and backcountry camping.
Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. As it’s located at the far end of the provincial park, make sure you fuel up before heading there—there’s no gas stations for about 100kms.
2. Smoke Bluffs Park
Hiking and rock-climbing enthusiasts, rejoice! Smoke Bluffs Park near Squamish is the place for you with multiple climbing areas and trails to enjoy.
The 3.5km round-trip trail has several points along the route to stop and rest—there’s even a playground for the kids and picnic tables before the start of the loop if you don’t want to do the full trail.
If you do decide to head up, you’ll come across the rock climbing areas, which can be thrilling to watch before continuing on your hike. You’ll be treated to spectacular views of Howe Sound and the towering Chief nearby.
There’s no camping available right at Smoke Bluffs Park, but there are options a short drive away. Squamish Valley Campground and Klahanie Campground allow RV parking and have all your basic camping amenities. Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
3. Blackcomb Glacier
Another spot for hiking enthusiasts is in Blackcomb Glacier provincial park. Carved out of a portion of Garibaldi Provincial park near Whistler, and perhaps the main attraction apart from the mountains, is the Blackcomb Glacier Ice Cave, which is solid ice year round. This time of year there are hiking trails all over the area, so you’ll have your choice of locations.
There’s one RV campground near the glacier, Riverside Camping and RV Resort, just north of Whistler. It features hiking trails, sani stations, and equipment rentals.
4. Witty’s Lagoon
Located in the Capital Region on Vancouver Island, Witty’s Lagoon is most known for the aforementioned lagoon, where a freshwater creek meets the saltwater of the ocean. Adjacent to the lagoon is a salt marsh that is a birdwatcher’s paradise. There’s also five kilometres of walking trails and a nature centre so you can learn all about this unique ecosystem.
There’s plenty of RV-friendly campgrounds near Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, including Salish Seaside RV Haven, Pedder Bay RV Resort and Marina, and Fort Victoria RV Park.
5. Thetis Island
No matter what your favourite outdoor activity is, chances are you can do it on Thetis Island. There’s plenty to explore along the coastline of the island with swimming and picnic opportunities. Sea kayaking is a soul-refreshing activity and can be done all around Thetis and the other islands in the area.
Fresh shrimp and crab are in abundance, as are mussels and clams, so make sure you plan at least one meal there. Scuba diving is also popular, as there are numerous shipwrecks to explore along with the rest of the ocean life.
There are no campgrounds on Thetis Island, so consider visiting as a day trip while setting up shop on Vancouver Island.