Are you interested in taking your family camping but are not sure where to start?
It can seem a bit overwhelming for those looking to book their first camping experience. From trying to navigate booking websites, to what to pack and what groceries to bring. Staying home could be the easier choice, but certainly not the most fun way to spend a summer!
We’re here to help! As lifelong campers we’ve broken down the basics on what you need to do to have a great first camping trip. We’ve also summoned support from our awesome Adventure Awaits community and asked them to provide their recommendations and pictures on the campgrounds they think new campers would enjoy!
When and How to Book
Gone are the “Good Old Days” when we could load up the car after school and head out to a campground. Now, when January rolls around people are already planning their May Long weekend camping trips and getting ready to beat the rush when site booking days open.
Unfortunately now, in order to book a site it’s a first come, first served timed reservation for both our National and Provincial Parks. This can be very challenging (and frustrating) if you’re looking to book a spot. We recommend setting an alarm for reservation day and using both your phone and computer to try and get a spot. TIP: Have your account set up and be logged in prior to reservation opening time.
In our “Where To Go” section below we include links on how to book each of the suggested sites, but here’s a basic timeline for how the big booking sites work:
Canada’s National Parks – Booking opens in January and you can book for the whole calendar year.
BC Provincial Parks – Bookings open four months (to the date) ahead of the day you want to camp. TIP: If looking to book on a busy weekend take a few days off early and book in for the Wednesday or Thursday and give yourself a long weekend. You’ll increase your odds of getting a site and get to spend some more time camping… win win!
Private Parks – Most private parks are open over a year ahead for booking, but you have to inquire with each one to determine their own booking requirements.
What to Bring
Trying to decide what is a must and what needs to stay home? We are regular campers and have perfected not only the art of camping, but also the ability to pack up for a last minute adventure in under half an hour. How? We have this handy “Ultimate Camping Checklist” and when we’re heading out on a camping trip we print it off and everyone scrambles around the house to gather our items! Click this link to get your copy of the checklist!
Where to Go
When looking to book your first camping trip we recommend families find a place that is:
- Easy to get to. Therefore all of these destinations are 6 hours or less from Vancouver.
- Has onsite amenities, the more the better! With washrooms being a bare minimum (for those families that tent) We looked at sites that also included showers, water, power, and fun things like playgrounds, lakes, pools, play fields, and more.
Here’s a list of our top 20 places to take your family on your first camping trip:
Blue Lake Resort
Located 15 Kilometers north of Boston Bar, or just a short two hour drive from Abbotsford, Blue Lake Resort is the perfect getaway for families looking for a quick escape. This campground offers a variety of accommodation offers including tents, rustic cabins, RV and sites for 5th wheels and motor homes, making it a great destination for groups with varied needs. While you’re there enjoy playing in the lake, hiking through mountain trails, renting a boat, or riding your ATV through the miles of available trails. This place is a kid haven with a playground, youth centre, chickens and goats, and even a bouncy castle! With thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, this is the perfect place to start a new family tradition. This location would also be great to host a family reunion at! To make a reservation, visit their website.