”The thing about Canada is…” If we had a loony for every time someone in Canada started explaining something to a foreigner we’d be able to buy ourselves a coffee and a donut every day. But this one may actually be different, because the thing about Canada is that 89 percent of the country is designated as “Crown Land” and is available for public use, which includes camping. So if you want to know where the best places to visit in Canada are, you’re in luck, because there are a lot!
Now we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that non-residents (travellers) must obtain a permit to camp on crown land in the province they will be doing the free camping in. If you chose to stay in regular, paid campsites, like the ones mentioned on the list below, you won’t require the permit. So let’s take a look at some of the best spots to set up camp in Canada this summer.
7 Incredible Campsites to Visit in Canada
1. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
The Trout River Campground and Gros Morne National Park is truly a place that must be seen to be believed. Fjord’s aren’t only found in New Zealand and Norway. The campsite is nestled on the shores of Trout River “Pond”, a 15 kilometer long lake cut so deep into the earth that it quite literally exposes the mantle of our planet. Enjoy epic hiking trails up to astonishing summits and from your campsite a view of the Orangey Tablelands surrounding the lake.
If you want to camp for free, there are areas where backcountry camping on crown land is permitted in the park but we recommend you plan in advance. Call 709-458-2417 or email email@example.com for information on locations and how to reserve a backcountry campsite.
There are several hiking trails that will take you through this part of the world that feels lost in time. The short and steep Lookout Trail is a firm favourite, or take the shuttle boat to the new Overfalls Trail, which leads to a stunning waterfall.
2. Point Wolfe Campground, Nova Scotia
A campground with access to all the best things about Nova Scotia. Experience the incredible changing tides and heads in the Bay of Fundy. Explore over a hundred kilometres of hiking trails that take explorers through the Acadian forest, over rolling hills and to crystal clear waterfalls. And of course, explore the quaint seaside villages on foggy mornings.
It goes without saying that you may find the best lobster rolls in the world in Nova Scotia. There are also a lot of free camping areas all over the province. The amazing coastline is strewn with white sandy beaches and the forested interior has a number of beautiful tea tinted lakes. Some beautiful areas you can explore are the Raven Head Wilderness Area and the Devils Jaw Wilderness Area.
3. Nopiming Provincial Park, Manitoba
The major benefit of this national park is that it shares all the natural beauties that make Whiteshell the tourist attraction it is, without all the tourists. There is an abundance of wildlife such as caribou, moose and even wolves, so we recommend sticking to the official campsites up here. The closest campground to Saskatchewan is Tulabi, which has 36 campsites, so consider booking in advance in season.
This is also the perfect area for adventurers with a bit of canoeing experience. From the campground you can paddle up the Bird River to Elbow Lake. There are a series of portages which you will need to be prepared for. Set up camp on one of the islands there for a night or two while you explore this secluded spot before returning back down to Bird Lake.
4. Juan De Fuca Provincial Park, British Columbia
Are you ready for a mini adventure? The Juan De Fuca Marine Trail is a 46 kilometer hiking trail along the Pacific coast of Canada, which you can do in three to four days or longer if you like. It is by no means an easy trail, with some tough spots along the way across rope assisted rocks and through muddy ravines, but for the most part you’ll be meandering through deep green forests and along spectacular coastal vistas.
The only spot along the trail we would recommend booking in advance is at China Beach, all other campsites are first come first serve and you can pretty much create your own adventure.
5. Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
You simply cannot travel to Canada and not see a bison, the Land of Living Skies must be added to your list. You can set up camp almost anywhere in the Grasslands’ backcountry where you can enjoy stunning prairie views while you keep an eye out for the majestic, once nearly extinct American bison. There are also numerous rivers for those who enjoy kayaking and fishing.
6. Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
If you aren’t going to be renting a car when you visit Canada, this is an excellent opportunity to do some of the best camping in the world. Fly into Toronto and make use of the free bus service that will take you up to the national park, and this is where it gets interesting.
Make your way to the interior, which can be accessed by foot or as we would recommend canoe. You can arrange with one of the local canoe rental companies situated on the lakeshore to hire the perfect canoe and any additional equipment you may require. From here you can venture up into the wilderness, exploring over 700km of canoe trails and camping along the shores of the rivers and fingers that stretch all over this mammoth provincial park. Heck, if you bring a fishing rod, you can even catch your own dinner.
7. Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
One of the parks with the longest ‘run time'. Because the coast of British Columbia doesn’t get much snow, you can camp in this National Park from early spring to late fall and still enjoy it’s beautiful beaches. Located on the immensely beautiful Vancouver Island, take a ferry over from the city of Vancouver and spend a few days exploring the allure of this national park. Dive into the interesting Nuu-chah-nulth history, traditions and culture from First Nation partners, or use the Rim as your base for exploring the Broken Group Islands. Green Point is the only campground on Long Beach but there are a lot more campsites along the coastline and in the interior sections of the park too.
What Are Your Travel Canada Options
The Canadian tourist visa may seem straightforward, but there are different requirements depending on where you come from. Passport holders from countries in the EU, United Kingdom, and a few others such as South Korea, New Zealand and Chile can travel to Canada with an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) which can be applied for easily online.
If you are from a country that is not eligible for the eTA, you will need a tourist visa to be able to travel to Canada. As long as you meet the requirements, this visa will be easy to obtain:
- Proof of funds to cover your travel expenses
- A reason to return to your home country i.e. enrolled at university, proof of employment, assets tying you to your country
- A valid passport with at least two blank pages
- Medical insurance for the duration of your visit
- Be admissible to Canada, this means no criminal record, no serious medical conditions
IEC Working Holiday Visa
We understand that travelling in Canada can be expensive, especially when you want to really take your time to explore the country fully. Let’s face it, not a lot of people have the financial resources to be full blown travellers for up to two years. That’s where the IEC working holiday visa can come in handy. With this visa, you are granted an open work permit which will allow you to work for any Canadian employer on a temporary basis.
Perfect short term job opportunities are all over Canada, from working in ski resorts during winter, to water parks and farms in summer, to retail, warehouse server jobs and a whole lot more in between. Because this is such a popular way to travel in Canada, there are lots of employers who have geared their ways of doing business toward hiring foreign travellers. You’ll find especially in ski-resorts and on farms, that accommodation is included.
Are You Ready For A Canadian Adventure?
A life changing experience is waiting for you. Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and the only way to see some of the best places to visit in Canada is by setting up camp in the incredible wilderness. Never fear, there are lots of small towns and big cities in between for when you need to recharge your batteries and replenish your supplies. Come and see it for yourself, you may find that you never want to leave.