Imagine waking up within an old growth forest, next to rugged mountains and pristine lakes. It’s not hard to do when camping on Vancouver Island. British Columbia has several national and provincial campsites, but they tend to book out fast. Another option for sleeping in the great outdoors is checking out the private campgrounds on Vancouver Island. Here’s a few of our favourites.

RV camping victoria BC

Choose between the ocean, forest or mountains as your backdrop when camping on Vancouver Island. (Credit Salish Seaside Resort)

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Private Campgrounds Vancouver Island

There’s lots of private campgrounds on Vancouver Island, which is great news for out of province residents unable to book provincial sites during COVID. On Vancouver Island, you can camp from one sea to the next, enjoying the surf waves in Tofino and Victoria’s sparkling inner harbour, all in the same trip!

This island is but a 2-hour jaunt from downtown Vancouver. Not being attached to the mainland means you’ll have to take a ferry, airplane or sea plane to get across.

Here’s a look at our favourite private camping facilities on the island.

Sooke River Campground

A 45-minute drive from downtown Victoria lies the Sooke River Campground. It’s close to the SEAPARC leisure complex, Sooke Potholes, East Sooke Park and the Galloping Goose Regional Trails. You can bike all the way into Victoria along the Galloping Goose!

Sooke River Campground opens April 1. Rates range from $30-$50 a night. The campground offers:

  • washrooms
  • coin showers
  • free WIFI
  • children’s playground
  • picnic area
  • clubhouse

Each site has a fire pit and picnic table. Guests have access to a small boat launch for the Sooke River.

private camping sooke

Camp riverside, while still being close to the sea at Sooke River. (Credit: Sooke River Campground)

If you’re without your own camper, you can rent one of their delightful cabins. Each cabin comes equipped with: 

  • bar fridge
  • hot plate
  • electric heater
  • potable water – outside

Cabins aren’t equipped with running water, but it’s less than a minute’s walk to the showers and toilets.

Tip: Pack these affordable, anti-slip water shoes so you can dip your toes in the water.

Salish Seaside RV Haven

Formerly known as the Westbay Marine Village RV Park, Salish Seaside RV Haven is the perfect basecamp take in all that Victoria has to offer.

Victoria, B.C. is one of the prettiest cities in Canada. Anchored along the Salish Sea, Victoria has a gorgeous downtown area, with lovely shopping and dining options. Staying here means you get the best of both worlds.

The sites at Salish Seaside are located on or near the waterfront, and have easy biking, walking and ferry access to downtown Victoria. Guests can also rent bikes on-site.

Rates start at $65 a night in the winter and range to $129 a night during peak summer season. Amenities include:

  • shower and laundry
  • free WIFI
  • new washrooms
  • lounge
  • grocery delivery
  • full hookups for each site

The harbour ferry stops right near the campground. (Be sure to go to Fisherman’s Wharf for half price oysters from 4-5pm!) Additionally, there’s lots of options for kayaking and whale watching nearby.

private campgrounds vancouver island

Try to beat this for waterfront access! (Credit Salish Seaside RV Resort)

Crystal Cove Beach Resort

One of the many gems on Vancouver Island is Tofino. Located on the western side of the island, just outside of Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino is a surfer’s paradise.

Our top pick for camping in this region is Crystal Cove Beach Resort, which offers year-round RV camping from $55-$95 a night. All its sites some equipped with:

  • 30AMP power
  • water and sewer
  • free WIFI
  • picnic table and a fire pit
  • hot showers
  • coffee bar
  • adventure playground with a climbing wall, tunnel, slide and swings

Don’t have an RV? You can rent one from the resort!

Crystal Cove Beach Resort

The advantage of private campgrounds are all the amenities provided. (Credit: Crystal Cove)

Cape Lazo RV & Campground

Cape Lazo is metres from the beach and minutes from downtown Comox. If you’re flying to the island, Comox is a great airport to fly into as it’s less busy than Victoria. You can fly direct from both Vancouver and Calgary.

Cape Lazo RV & Campground is open year-round, by reservation only. This family-friendly campground offers:

  • boat launch
  • kids play area
  • convenience store
  • pavilion and fireplace

The RV sites are fully serviced with pull-thru options. Tent camping is also available from May to September for $35-$40 per night. RV spots are range from $50-$60 per night during peak season. From November to April, RV guests must stay at least a week.

cape lazo BC

Sand, surf and shade is at your disposal at Cape Lazo. (Credit: Destination BC)

Seal Bay RV Park

The town of Courtenay is also minutes near Comox. Here, Seal Bay RV Park offers 140 fully serviced RV sites and 10 campsites for tenting. Whether you’re tenting or RVing, you’re only a 5-minute drive to the beach and 40 minutes from Mt. Washington’s Alpine Resort. From the campground, there’s a trail leading directly into Seal Bay Nature Park.

On-site amenities include:

  • high speed WIFI
  • picnic tables
  • fire pits
  • showers
  • laundry
  • picnic pavilion
  • large recreation field
  • communal fire pit

RV spots are open year-round and range from $40-$50 per night. Tenting is only available during summer and costs $35 a night.

RV seal bay

You’re surrounded by nature in Seal Bay! (Credit: Seal Bay Resort)

Surfside RV Resort

This members-only resort sits right on the beach in Parksville – a lovely, seaside town with one of the best beaches in Canada. During low tide, the water recedes up to a kilometre from shore! Skim-boarding is a thing here. The town is also flush with golf courses, bird and whale watching, plus tourist attractions like mini-golf.

Surfside RV Resort offers large (approx 2,300 sq ft), fully serviced sites. If you’re planning on camping on the island for awhile, this swish resort could be a good option. You do need a membership to have access the following amenities:

  • WIFI
  • digital phone and cable
  • oceanfront clubhouse
  • oceanfront pool
  • sundeck
  • hot tub
  • pool table, darts and shuffleboard
  • tennis and volleyball courts
  • full kitchen facilities in the Clubhouse
  • TV lounge
Parksville private campground

Ocean views and a dizzying array of amenities await campers in Parksville. (Credit: Surfside RV Resort)

If you’d rather stay in a lodge or cabin during your time in Parksville, consider staying at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort. It’s right on the beach and has loads of amenities, including a kid’s playground and grotto-like spa.

parksville resort hotel

Tigh Na Mara is a worthy upgrade from camping – should you need a break from roughing it.

Click Here to Book

P.S. This storage strap with 8 hooks is so handy for camping!

Do you have any private campground recommendations? Please let us know in the comment section below.

MORE VANCOUVER ISLAND RECOMMENDATIONS:

Best things to do in Victoria with kids

10 Awesome things to do in Parksville, B.C.

Fairmont Empress is renovated and ready to go!

Near Victoria, explore quaint Sidney-by-the-Sea

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Vancouver Island Camping

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