Anyone that knows us, knows we love to camp. We have two RVs. We love tent camping as well. We have camped in state and national parks in America. And we have tent camped in the arctic. We love being in the forest. It brings our senses alive and rejuvenates us.
Canada has a very rich tradition of camping and outdoor culture. The country is absolutely massive with much of it being wilderness space in the first place, so it should come as no surprise that Canadians love to hit the outdoors, whether that’s in the summer, winter, or fall. All across the country, you’ll find Canadians who enjoy camping, from East to West, and even in the northern territories, there are some fantastic places to set up camp that offers not just a great time outdoors but offers some of the best sights in the country as well.
But camping in Canada is not just for Canadians. Many campers come from America and even from Europe and abroad. Experiencing Canada’s wild places is truly something amazing.
Canada’s first national park in Banff, established in 1885 and since then every province has at least one national park all offering something different. Enjoy mountain views, azure lakes, rolling hills, and lush green forests. If you’re in the mood for nature exploration, camping, or anything else check out some of these top national parks to visit in Canada.
Mount Robson Provincial Park, B.C
Driving up to Canada’s Mount Robson Provincial Park you’ll notice the striking and imposing mountain from at least 15 miles away. The mountain is the highest in the Canadian Rockies rising above a whopping 10,000 feet above sea level. Once in the park, if you’re looking to camp, head to Berg Lake which is as the name suggests, next to a lake. What makes the lake location special is the absolutely amazing view of the mountain towering above you and the icebergs in the lake. The icebergs themselves are pieces of broken glaciers from the mountain.
If you’re into hiking, you’re in for a treat because there are some world-class treks and hiking paths here that have amazing views of the valleys and the snow-capped Rockies. Pack some good shoes and warm clothes.
Cathedral Provincial Park, B.C
Although less rocky and mountainous than Mount Robson Provincial Park, Cathedral Provincial Park is not for beginners. If you’re looking to camp here, that means a full day of hiking to a campground location but once you get there you’ll be greeted by a natural landscape that is both beautiful and worth the hike. The campground is nestled beside the Cascade Mountains and next to an alpine plateau filled with fish-filled lakes, meadows full of alpine trees, and some of the most unique geology in Canada. The park is perfect for those looking to do some fishing, camping, or hiking, including paths that top over 8000-feet.
Pacific Rim National Park, B.C
Located in British Columbia along the pacific coast, Pacific Rim National Park is perhaps one of the most unexpected beach destinations in the country. The park has a stretch of beach that goes over 13 miles before disappearing into the horizon of the ocean. The park is a great destination for people who enjoy hanging out by the water and the constant flux of waves means it is one of the best spots for surfing in the province. Going for a swim is always a possibility too but be aware that the water is pretty cold even in the summer. And speaking of the summer, Grey Whales often appear just off the shores during the summer months so it is also a perfect place for whale watching. If you’re looking to camp, the best spots are on a ledge just above the beach so you wake up in the mornings to the sounds of the ocean and the birds.
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Waterton Lakes National Park is a bit of an odd spot, but one that we love. The park is located right next to a town for if you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to be in nature all day for several days at a time, consider a visit to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. It’s the smallest park by the Rockies so you’ll still be near the mountains and the lakes but also near the town so you can hit the trails in the morning and have a hot meal in a restaurant at night. If you’re new to camping and hiking, you can get all set up in town or even book a tour then head out to the mountains and lakes. And if you’re not into camping, book a stay in the elegant Prince of Wales Hotel which overlooks the lakes.
Waterton Lakes Park is the sister park of Glacier National Park in the US. You will need your passport to go between the two, but well worth it. We tent camped there and loved it.
Jasper National Park, Alberta
A trip to a national park in Alberta wouldn’t be complete without stopping by Jasper National Park. We love Jasper and the drive from Banff to Jasper is magnificent. Jasper is one of Canada’s most iconic national parks, so much so that young people from abroad often come to work in the park during ski season. If you’re visiting in the winter be sure to check out the slopes if you’re into skiing or snowboarding and if you’re visiting in the summer make sure to check out the beautiful hiking trails and campground in Wilcox Pass. For those interested in mountain climbing there are mount Athabasca and Andromeda which are popular climbing spots. Otherwise enjoy treeless hikes up the Rockies!
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
If you’ve ever wondered what the prairies looked like before the arrival of man, Grasslands National Park is where you can experience that. There are no buildings, farms, or wheatfields. Just miles and miles of grasslands and open plains as far as the eye can see. There are also plenty of wildlife roaming freely around like bison and pronghorn and if you’re looking to camp here, you can practically set up anywhere you feel like. The park is easily car-accessible so drive right in and set up wherever you feel like. Watch the sunrise in the morning and sunset at night over the horizon and feel like a pioneer. Mountain biking and hiking is a popular activity here as well as horseback riding. It’s even encouraged that you ride and explore at your whim. Though there are plenty of marked trails too.
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario
Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario is the province’s second-oldest park and not only does it serve a purpose for tourists and people looking for a stellar campsite, but it also protects a large swath of endangered Carolinian forest that stretches as far as Lake Erie. The park is absolutely massive and serves as a home for a massively diverse range of wildlife of both flora and fauna. The park’s large warm water marsh area, for example, is home to over 330 different types of birds as well as a variety of southern plants and animals like Virginia opossum and sassafras.
The park has over 200 camping spots available so it is quite popular with humans as it is with wildlife and the marked paths around the marsh are a great hiking option that is not particularly difficult. Plus all that sand and warm water in the area makes hanging out here in the summer months a popular activity.
Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario
Located about five hours outside of Toronto, Killarney Provincial Park is perhaps more colloquially known as “the roof of Ontario”. What sets this park apart is its natural beauty with its quartz hills, colorful trees, and plants as well as the stunningly clear blue lakes. Many people head out to Killarney Provincial Park for canoeing and kayaking as there are a few lakes in these parts that are well worth the visit but if being on the water is not for you there are plenty of amazing hiking paths and trails.
If you’re looking to camp here, head to George Lake Campground which has access to four different lakes as well as Granite Ridge Trail which offers some amazing views of the valley. For a real treat, visit during the fall as all the leaves start changing color.
Forillon National Park, Quebec
Located in the Gaspé peninsula, the region is one of the most visited areas and is easily accessible by car. Officially the peninsula ends at Cap-Bon-Ami which is where the local campground is in Forillon National Park and what you’ll find there is a beautiful camp location with rugged cliffs overlooking crashing waves and plenty of wildlife. There is even a spot known as the “eagles nest” where you can look out onto the bay and along the coast. From the campground, you have plenty of great options at your disposal like hiking along the beach, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, whale watching, or even fishing. Try checking out Les Grave Trail which runs the length of Gaspé and you’ll often see seals and whales along the way.
Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Quebec
It turns out that Fjords are not only found in Scandinavian countries. The Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay is where the Saguenay River empties in the St. Lawrence giving the area a pretty distinct and unique aquatic biome that is protected by the local marine park.
The large dramatic cliffs that line the fjord and are massive and covered in lush greenery that makes the sight from the water beautiful or the sight from on the cliffs looking down, equally as stunning. Hike the trails above the fjord and head to the campground above it where you can watch whales from your tent.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail is one of Canada’s more iconic treks but diverting off the path a little bit will reward with an experience that’s a bit more off the beaten path. The hiking here is phenomenal with the Cape Breton highlands rugged cliffs meeting with the beautiful rocky coastline. If you travel along the park’s western edge and stick to the coastline the dramatic difference between the highlands and lowlands is dramatically clear making for an interesting hiking experience.
If you’re looking to camp the night, check out Corney Brook Campground where you’ll be in proximity to things like moose-filled forests, cascading waterfalls, and scenic high points. For history enthusiasts, check out Cabot Landing Park nearby where it is believed that explorer John Cabot landed here in 1497.
Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park, Northwest Territories
For the thrill-seeking and adventurers out there, head to Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park in the Northwest Territories. Don’t let the geographical altitude deter you from exploring this truly beautiful part of Canada. Located just north of the Alberta border, this park is where the Slave River meets the Canadian Shield. There is everything from plains and prairies where buffalo and deer roam to white water rapids that will give any kayaker an adrenaline rush.
The campground is relatively quiet and off the beaten path and depending on the time of year, it can be your front-row seat to see the Aurora Borealis.
With over a dozen national parks and places to camp, making Canada you’re next destination for camping should be a no-brainer. Every province has a little something different to offer which truly showcases the diverse landscape of the country from east to west. Pack something warm, strap on your hiking boots, and spend some time with mother nature.
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