Guide to Making BC Parks Reservations

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How many of you are anticipating sleeping under the stars, cooking outside, enjoying the days with no schedules, roasting s’mores and exploring new places? If you are like us, we can’t wait for camping season to be here. Now with all this rain, camping is likely the furthest thing on your mind, but it shouldn’t be. Now is the time to decide when and where you are going. BC Parks reservations can be made 4 months in advance, which means if you are wanting to go camping this summer, NOW is when you should be booking.

Making camping reservations for BC Parks can seem daunting but follow these 6 tips and tricks and it should be a breeze!

Be Flexible

camping-for-canada-dayWeekends, especially long weekends, fill up quickly. If you can be flexible with your dates and arrive mid-week and then stay for the weekend, the likelihood of you getting a space increases.

Explore Further Away

Green Lake Provincial Park

If you are hoping to go camping during a busy time of the summer (especially long weekends!) consider visiting a BC Park that is further from a city centre. The parks that are closer to cities seem to fill up faster. Take the plunge and take a longer road trip to better your chances of getting a site.

Go Camping with Your Friends

group-campingMany BC Parks offer group camping sites. These sites can be booked 12 months in advance (rather then the usual 4 months for a single site). Group sites need a minimum of 15 adults, so invite your family and friends and go camping together!

Make Your Reservation Over the Phone

phone-and-bc-parks-mapsBooking online may seem quicker, but in fact it is not. If you know which site within the campground you want (you can do this research prior to the day you want to make your reservation), calling in is faster. The website takes time to load all the maps and photos and by calling in you can get a site quicker then someone doing it online. Calling in costs an extra small fee ($5 surcharge), but when you are booking on a day when high demand inventory is released, it’s worth it to get the site you want. Plus, when speaking with a reservation agent over the phone, they likely have the secrets on which site is the best one in the BC Park you are planning on visiting!

Do your Research Before Your Trip

playground-in-campgroundBefore you call in to make your reservation, spend some time on the website and figuring out which site you want within the campground you are going to. There are campground maps and photos of each site to help you figure out which one you like. We always make a list of our top 10 site numbers, in hopes that one of them will be available when we call.

Mom Tip: Take the time to scope out all the sites before you leave the campground you end up staying at. Then if you want to make a reservation for the following year, you know exactly which the prime sites are (close to the lake, playground, bathrooms, etc.). Plus it’s a great excuse to go for a walk or bike ride around the campground!

Multiple Devices When Booking Online

booking-bc-parks-onlineIf you do decide to book online rather then calling in, then less devices are best! During peak booking times, we always assumed the more devices we were using to get a site online the better. Turns out we were wrong! According to BC Parks, “Sometimes, when the system registers that there are two devices logged onto a single account, in effect trying to hold a single reservation, the system can read this as two people trying to access a single campsite, and this can cause the system to shut down partway through the reservation process, and the person will lose their held reservation.” So if you decide to book online, stick to one device!

Making a BC Parks reservation doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. If you make sure you are well prepared, then find that perfect site shouldn’t be difficult! Happy camping!

Have we inspired you to start thinking about your summer camping adventures? Check out these articles that are sure to help with your planning!

Best Campsites for New Campers

Packing for a Last Minute Camping Trip

Wildlife Safety: “Bare” Campsite

Meet the Family Behind this Blog!

Is this a sponsored post?: No, it is not. We’ve been asked numerous times about how we book our BC Park reservations and we wanted to share the tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years with our followers!

Jami Savage
Jami Savage
Jami Savage is one of the top Family Travel Writers in Canada, and has been featured on CTV and Vancouver Sun, and more. Go here to read our families story about how we went from backyard adventurers to world travelers, and how you can do the same. If you want to send Jami a quick message, visit her contact page here.
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  1. Hey Jami,
    Thanks for the tips. We’re planning a bike trip this summer on Vancouver Island (central & north) plus probably parts of the Sunshine Coast. Do you need to make reservations even for cycle-in camping, or are there spaces set aside for people without vehicles? Do campgrounds fill up so much that this is something we need to worry about?

    • Hi Jane,

      As a mom and family travel writer, knowing our family has a place to stay at the end of a long travel day is very important to me. Therefore we always make reservations in advance. The fee to reserve is fairly minimal and knowing we have a spot is reassuring to us. Not all BC Parks have cycle-in or walk-in sites, but those that do, those are usually the spots that are the last to be taken. Also, every BC Park is different in terms of how many first-come-first-serve sites they have and how many reservable sites they have. And some parks are 100% reservable, if you don’t have a reservation, you can’t get a spot. The BC Parks website ( is extremely well laid out and full of great information (they even have photos of campsites so you know what it will look like before you even arrive!). Their call centre employees are very well versed in what each park offers, so giving them a call is also a great option! (1-800-689-9025)


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Jami Savage

Full Time Travel Writer, Mom who is passionate about empowering and educating travelers on how you can use your own tourism dollars as a catalyst for positive change worldwide. Click here to learn more about us, our family, and how we lead an adventure filled life!

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