Now that the May Long Weekend is over and done with, we are officially into camping season. The beauty of living in British Columbia is that when it comes to camping, we have unlimited options. If you want a nice, easy car camping experience that’ll ensure the safety of your family, and still provide amenities like running water, toilets, power for your RV, and manicured spots for your tent, you’re going to want to hit up one of the many provincial sites (do your research, some sites have more amenities than others). I’ve always enjoyed Porteau Cove, simply because it’s on the water, and it’s not a very far drive up the Sea To Sky Highway from Vancouver.
You can find more provincial sites here, and for the same types of safe and easy experiences there are also plenty of privately run sites in the province that will be accessible by pretty much any kind of car, and quiet when it’s time for bed.
That last line is where my friends and I have a hard time. When the sun goes down, and the fire is raging (depending on the fire bans of course), that’s when it’s time to crank it up a few notches, and the last thing we need is some park ranger or the owner of the campsite coming to our fire at 10:30 to tell us that we have to be quiet. There are songs to sing, friendships to be cemented, dance moves to be laughed at, hangovers to be cultivated, and lifetime memories to be created…there’s no going to bed.
If that’s how you feel as well, the first recommendation is to get yourself one of these backroad map books.
Do you see the two red circles on the cover of the book? They both indicate the area of BC that is covered within, and if you live in Vancouver this particular book will give you years of endless exploring. When you open the book, you’ll see pages that look like this.
The red circles on that page indicate different types of campsites that you’ll come across. Some are just spots cleared out in the woods, and some have a small amount of basic amenities (maybe an outhouse and a picnic table). The green line shows one option of how you might end up way out in the middle of nowhere. If you don’t like where that’s going, take one of the other billion side roads that you see on the map (various black squiggly lines). That picture is just one tiny section of one of the very many pages in the book. However, the whole point of this book is freedom. You don’t have to just go the places that the book says are campsites. If you find a gorgeous view that you can get to…set up shop and be free.
We have our own hidden gems that we like to go to, but this isn’t about telling you exactly where you should go..this is about giving you the tools to get out and explore what our province has to offer. When you find your spots, you’ll probably be a little tight lipped about where they are too, simply because the last thing you want is for the masses to overrun the magical places that you’ve taken the time to discover.
Some of these spots can be a little bit more difficult to get to than others. I’ve seen everyday passenger cars that you see in the city get to some pretty great spots, but it’s true that they won’t be able to get everywhere that something with a little bit of clearance and 4×4 can. You don’t need to be a diehard 4×4 junky with monster truck tires and a massive lift kit to take full advantage though. I have a stock Toyota Tacoma that gets me where I need to go just fine.
Once you’ve got the book, and a general destination it’s time to find yourself a good group of friends, pack up your regular camping supplies/food/clothes, and get out there to see what this province has to offer.
Just like that, you’re free to crank the tunes, find out who the worst dancer in your group is, drink more beers than you thought you could, be loud, carry on, and generally love your life without having to worry that you’re going to get shutdown by an angry parent or park official. Just don’t forget to pack out everything you packed in.
Happy camping season!!