The Best Parks and Retreats for Camping Your Way Across Canada

If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a longer stay in the great outdoors, these are the best parks and retreats to explore from all across Canada

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If you’re feeling in need of a serious recharge, heading into the woods is a v. effective way to unplug and clear your head. What better time to take a step back from the hustle of the city and explore the hidden gems Canada has to offer than during the warmer months, when the weather is nothing short of perfection? If you ordered your 2018 Discovery Pass, Canada’s national parks are free for admission. So whether you’re in search of secluded backcountry sites or chic treetop glamping pods, here are the best spots to be one with nature and check off a few items on your summer bucket list.

Best Camping in British Columbia

The best camping in B.C.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in B.C. (Photo: Parks Canada)

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

The low-down: Accessible only by walking trails, this park is home to the majestic Assiniboine Mountain—its highest peak reaches 3,618 metres. If tents aren’t your thing, huts and cabins are also available throughout the green.
What to do: If you’re feeling adventurous, scale this world-class mountaineering destination.
Fees: From $10 per person, per night; huts are $20 per person per night
Campsite reservations available: June 26 – September 30, 2018
Find it: Edgewater, env.gov.bc.ca

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The low-down: This oceanside spot boats a rocky shoreline, sandy beaches and glimmering tidal pools.
What to do: Hike the 75 km West Coast Trail, test out your surf skills or learn about the culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth people through interpretive walks and interactive displays.
Fees: From $24 per night
Campsite reservations available: March 8 – October 8, 2018
Find it: 2040 Pacific Rim Highway, Ucluelet, pc.gc.ca

Woods on Pender

The low-down: This luxury camping spot offers a modern experience complete with TVs, Wi-Fi and hot tubs. Choose from airstreams, Shasta trailers or rustic cabins—there are even motels.
What to do: Paddle around the island in a kayak, limber up with paddle board yoga or tour the island’s winery & cidery.
Fees: From $120 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: 4709 Canal Road, Pender Island, woodsonpender.com

Cathedral Provincial Park

The low-down: A park fit for adventure-seekers, the uneven mountain peaks and alpine meadows are asking to be explored.
What to do: Tour around the lakes in a canoe, climb one of three mountaineering spots or hike into the park’s core.
Fees: From $10 a person, per night
Campsite reservations available: May 19 – October 9, 2018
Find it: Highway-3, Keremeos, env.gov.bc.ca

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

The low-down: This extravagant lifestyle resort offers the all-around wilderness experience, with the amenities of an all-inclusive resort.
What to do: Horseback ride through the lush landscape, hike the interpretive trail or site-see by way of helicopter.
Fees: From $1,800 per person, per night
Campsite reservations available: May 17 – September 16, 2018
Find it: 1 Clayoquot, Tofino, wildretreat.com

Best Camping in Alberta

The best camping in Alberta

Writing-on-Stone Park in Alberta (Photo: Courtesy Tourism Alberta)

Sundance Lodges

The low-down: Right in the heart of the Rockies, choose between camping in canvas tipis, trapper’s tents as well or unserviced campsites. If you don’t have your own camping supplies, you can rent everything you’ll need.
What to do: Walk the banks of the Kananaskis River to spy three major mountains—Mt. Allen, Mt. Lorette and Mt. Kidd.
Fees: From $32 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – September 16, 2018
Find it: Kananaskis Country, sundancelodges.com

Banff National Park

The low-down: Filled with picture-perfect Rocky Mountain views and glacial lakes, Canada first national park is home some of the world’s most beautiful scenery.
What to do: Visit the national historic sites to expand your knowledge of the area, then tour the bubbling hot springs.
Fees: From $11 per night, per person
Campsite reservations available: Varies per site, some sites are first-come-first-served
Find it: 224 Banff Ave, Banff, pc.gc.ca

Dinosaur Provincial Park

The low-down: Channel your inner paleontologist at this rocky park in the Canadian Badlands, home to the highest concentration of Cretaceous fossils in the world.
What to do: Hunt for fossils with a guided excavation, or paddle through remote areas of the badlands in the Red Deer River.
Fees: Campsites from $26 a night with a $12 reservation fee; comfort camping from $105 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 8 – October 7, 2018
Find it: Patricia, albertaparks.ca

Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park

The low-down: Step back in time at this park, which contains the largest concentration of First Nations petroglyphs and pictographs on the great plains of North America. Bring your own tent or stay in one of the park’s furnished comfort campsites.
What to do: Join a guided walk of the Milk River valley, or search for the more than 160 species of birds that call the park home.
Fees: From $26 per night with $12 reservation fee; comfort camping is $115 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – September 2, 2018
Find it: NW 36 TW1 range, Milk River, albertaparks.ca

Waterton Lakes National Park

The low-down: Take in the crystal-clear lakes, magnificent waterfalls in this gorgeous spot where the Prairies meet the Rockies.
What to do: Lend a hand to help maintain the park’s thriving ecosystem, or hike around to discover the five sets of red chairs hidden throughout the park.
Fees: From $16 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: Waterton Park, pc.gc.ca

Best Camping in Saskatchewan

The best camping in Saskatchewan

Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan (Photo: Courtesy Tourism Saskatchewan)

Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park

The low-down: If you’re looking for a a trip to the desert without hopping on a plane, Canada’s largest active sand surface is the spot. Stretching 100km, it’s only accessible by float plane or boat.
What to do: Snap some unreal photos of the sandy dunes, or try your hand at fishing in the surrounding waters.
Fees: None
Campsite reservations available: First-come, first-served
Find it: La Ronge, saskparks.net

Grasslands National Park

The low-down: This wide-open plain is one of the last remaining natural grasslands in North America. Stay the night in a tent, or one of the on-site tipis.
What to do: Hop on a wagon ride, or take a self-guided ecological and cultural tours.
Fees: $16 per night for campsites, $45 per night for tipi
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – October 8, 2018
Find it: Val Marie, pc.gc.ca

Flora Bora Forest Lodging

The low-down: Ditch the tent and stay in a unique deluxe yurts, fully furnished with a kitchen, bathroom, queen bed and private deck.
What to do: Paddle over to the nearby beach for a dip, or hike a natural trail.
Fees: From $196 per night
Campsite reservations available: April 21 – October 31, 2018
Find it: Emma Lake, florabora.ca

Prince Albert National Park

The low-down: A serene scene of grasslands, boreal forests and aspen parkland with the accessibility of the nearby town of Waskesiu.
What to do: Spy some rare plains bison while hiking the trails around Waskesiu Lake.
Fees: From $16 per night
Campsite reservations available: Mid-June to Labour Day
Find it: Waskesiu, pc.gc.ca

Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

The low-down: A memorable getaway spot, this wide-open park pays homage to its past as a hunting ground by maintaining a herd of plains bison.
What to do: Laze by the beach, or learn more about the park’s heritage by hiking one of seven interpretive trails.
Fees: From $18 per night
Campsite reservations available: mid-May to September 30, 2018
Find it: Moose Jaw, saskparks.net

Best Camping in Manitoba

The best camping in Manitoba

Nopiming Provincial Park in Manitoba (Photo: Courtesy Province of Manitoba)

Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park

The low-down: Named after Mount Hekla, one of the most famous landmarks in Iceland, Hecla/Grindstone is a series of island between the shores of Lake Winnipeg.
What to do: Climb the wildlife viewing tower at Grassy Narrows Marsh, or tee off at the golf course.
Fees: From $12 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – September 15, 2018
Find it: Helca, gov.mb.ca

Bakers Narrows Provincial Park

The low-down: Nestled in the trees of the Canadian Shield, this quiet retreat is key if you’re into fishing.
What to do: Scale the Viewing Tower for a 360 view of the lake, forest and rock, and follow the self-guided interpretive tour to learn about the history of Lake Athapapuskow.
Fees: From $12 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – September 2, 2018
Find it: gov.mb.ca

Clearwater Lake Provincial Park

The low-down: This Boreal spot is classified as a natural park to preserve the water quality of the lake, which spans nearly half of the park.
What to do: Cast a fishing line in the expansive lake, or visit the Sam Waller museum, filled with human and natural history from the area.
Fees: From $12 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – September 2, 2018
Find it: The Pas, gov.mb.ca

Nopiming Provincial Park

The low-down: Living up to its name (which means “entrance to the wilderness”), this park is filled with lush black spruces and more than 700 lakes.
What to do: Take a dip in Bird Lake and hike the scenic Tulabi Falls trail.
Fees: From $12 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 11 – October 7, 2018
Find it: gov.mb.ca

Riding Mountain National Park

The low-down: This section of Boreal forest offers up micro-cubes—contemporary furnished accommodations with panoramic windows for a sheltered stay with an outdoorsy feel.
What to do: Hike the 400 km of trails, or the Manitoba escarpment, that’s 1200 ft. above Winnipeg.
Fees: From $16 a night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – October 9, 2018
Find it: 135 Wasagaming Dr., Onanole, pc.gc.ca

Best Camping in Ontario

The best camping in Ontario

Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario (Photo: Courtesy Ontario Parks)

Flowerpot Island

The low-down: This quaint park has six campsites located by the cove. The island’s natural sea stacks and caves are an Instagram-worthy site.
What to do: Explore the caves, or hit the water for some swimming and snorkelling.
Fees: $10 per person, per night
Campsite reservations available: May – October 2018
Find it: Tobermory, pc.gc.ca

Long Point Eco-Adventures

The low-down: This fun-filled retreat aims to protect and conserve nature while serving up outdoor adventure. Accommodations include range from hotel-like suites and rustic pods.
What to do: Live on the edge with action-packed activities like zip-lining, axe throwing and apiary tours.
Fees: From $95 per night
Campsite reservations available: April 28 – October 28, 2018
Find it: 1730 Front Road, St Williams, lpfun.ca

Algonquin Provincial Park

The low-down: The first provincial park in Ontario, it’s scenic backdrops inspired the work of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.
What to do: Bike through one of three trails or join in on the wolf howl, offered every Thursday in August.
Fees: From $40 per night
Campsite reservations available: April 27 – October 8, 2018
Find it: Hwy 60, Whitney, algonquinpark.on.ca

Quetico Provincial Park

The low-down: This wilderness park is known for its rock cliffs, waterfalls and more than 2,000 lakes.
What to do: Spend time on the water, trekking one of the five portage routes.
Fees: From $17 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – October 9, 2018
Find it: 108 Saturn Ave, Atikokan, ontarioparks.com

Bon Echo Provincial Park

The low-down: This jaw-dropping escape features the 100-metre-high Mazinaw Rock with over 260 aboriginal pictographs.
What to do: Learn more about the park’s unique history with an interpretive boat tour on Mazinaw Lake.
Fees: From $17 a night
Campsite reservations available: May 11 – October 21, 2018
Find it: 16151 Hwy 41, Cloyne, ontarioparks.com

Best Camping in Quebec

The best camping in Quebec

Entre Cîmes et Racines Park in Quebec (Photo: Courtesy Entre Cîmes et Racines)

Mingan Archipelago National Park

The low-down: Filled with naturally sculpted rocks and sea shores, this dynamic park is home to some v. adorable tenants, like seals and Atlantic puffins.
What to do: Go island-hopping by inflatable boat, or take a guided tour to explore the flora and discover rock formations.
Fees: $16 per night
Campsite reservations available: Mid-June to September 2018
Find it: Havre-Saint-Pierre, pc.gc.ca

Entre Cîmes et Racines

The low-down: An hour outside of Montreal, this getaway offers 12 very unique ecolodges to unplug in—including one that resembles a Hobbit-hole.
What to do: Trek the 15 km of roads and trails or try your luck escaping the on-site maze.
Fees: From $100 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: 80 Chemin Simard Bolton-Est, entrecimesetracines.com

Forillon National Park

The low-down: The pebble beach of this sea-side park is the only fully preserved World War II coastal battery.
What to do: Cruise the waters in search of blue wales, and snorkel to check out the seals.
Fees: From $26 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 1 – October 8, 2018
Find it: Gaspé, pc.gc.ca

Jacques-Cartier National Park

The low-down: Less than 30 min from Quebec City, this mountainous park offers up five different ways to stay the night: camping, Huttopia tents, yurts and cabins, rustic shelters.
What to do: Explore the underground shelters, filled with winding passages and mossy carpets.
Fees: From $23 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, sepaq.com

Gatineau Park

The low-down: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at this lush park, only 15 minutes away from Parliament Hill.
What to do: Hike around the scenic Pink Lake, or explore the ruins of former PM Mackenzie King’s private estate.
Fees: Camping from $15 per night; ready to camp from $88
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: Gatineau, ncc-ccn.gc.ca

Best Camping in Newfoundland & Labrador

The best camping in Newfoundland

Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland (Photo: Courtesy Parks Canada)

La Manche Provincial Park

The low-down: “The sleeve” in French, La Manche was named for the shape of its long and narrow harbor with high sides.
What to do: If fishing is your thing, this park is known as one of the best fishing coves on the southern shore.
Fees: From $20 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 1 – September 17, 2018
Find it: Tors Cove, tcii.gov.nl.ca

Gros Morne National Park

The low-down: This United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site was shaped by colliding continents and glaciers.
What to do: Hike your way to the mountain summit or cruise the freshwater fjord.
Fees: From $26 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: pc.gc.ca

Pistolet Bay Provincial Park

The low-down: This stone-filled spot contains rock that was deposited approx. 500 million years ago.
What to do: Tour around the park by canoe, or head to the beach for an afternoon swim.
Fees: From $20 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 4 – September 17, 2018
Find it: Raleigh, tcci.gov.nl.ca

Terra Nova National Park

The low-down: Just three hours from St. John’s, this Boreal forest area is filled with tons of wildlife, including black bears, lynx and moose.
What to do: Visit Sandy Pond to hit the beach or take a dunk.
Fees: From $14 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 16 – October 7, 2018
Find it: Mallorytown, pc.gc.ca

Pinware River Provincial Park

The low-down: This dense forest is home to clear rivers, lakes and ponds, and a roadside quarry that has been dated at 1,466 million years old.
What to do: Hike the 1.2 km trail to the viewpoint, that overlooks the quiet town.
Fees: From $20 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 2 – September 18, 2017
Find it: Pinware, tcii.gov.nl.ca

Best Camping in New Brunswick

The best camping in New Brunswick

Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick (Photo: Courtesy Tourism New Brunswick)

Mount Carleton Provincial Park

The low-down: A mix of woods and mountain peaks, this expansive park is home to more wild animal species than any other area of the province.
What to do: Tour around the park on foot by touring one of the 11 hiking trails.
Fees: From $11 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 13 – October 8, 2018
Find it: Saint-Quentin, tourismnewbrunswick.ca

Ridgeback Lodge

The low-down: For a luxe glamping experience, this dreamy getaway offers rustic cabins or domes with private wood-fired hot tubs.
What to do: Swim the spring-fed pond, or build some s’mores by the bonfire.
Fees: From $120 per night (two night minimum stay)
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: 86 Old Reach Rd., Kingston, ridgebacklodge.com

Kouchibouguac National Park

The low-down: This serene park is filled with wooded forests, salty marshes and ocean beaches.
What to do: View a ceremonial Mi’kmaq dance, or hit the water with a canoe tour to scout grey seals.
Fees: From $16 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: Kent, pc.gc.ca

Sugarloaf Provincial Park

The low-down: The second largest provincial park in New Brunswick, this year-round spot is nestled in the Appalachian Mountain region.
What to do: Hike the ancient volcano, or ride through the downhill bike park.
Fees: From $11 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: 596 Val-d’Amour Rd., Atholville, tourismnewbrunswick.ca

Hole-in-the-Wall Park & Campground

The low-down: This unique campground, found on the largest island in the Bay of Fundy, is home to tons of marine wildlife, including whales and seals.
What to do: Hike through the trails to the famous Hole-in-the-Wall rock arch.
Fees: From $29 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 25 – September 30, 2018
Find it: 42 Old Airport Rd. North Head, Grand Manan, grandmanancamping.com

Best Camping in Prince Edward Island

The best camping in P.E.I.

Treetop Haven in P.E.I. (Photo: Courtesy Treetop Haven)

New Glasgow Highlands

The low-down: Housed on a southern-slope of an Acadian forest, this relaxed site specializes in relaxing, quiet camping.
What to do: Visit the Green Gables National History site, hit the beaches or hike the Confederation Trail at Hunter River.
Fees: From $32 per night
Campsite reservations available: April – November 2018
Find it: Hunter River, newglasgowhighlands.com

Northumberland Provincial Park

The low-down: Easily accessible by the Wood Islands Ferry, this scenic park features sea-side camp sites.
What to do: Take the edge off sleeping outdoors with a tour at the nearby Rossignol Estate Winery.
Fees: From $28 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 8 – September 23, 2018
Find it: 12547 Shore Rd. Rte 4, Wood Islands, tourismpei.com

Treetop Haven

The low-down: This wellness destination features five TreePods, geodesic domes up in the trees, for a unique glamping experience.
What to do: Walk the Craig’s Way Trail, or in the winter months, trek through the white stuff in snowshoes.
Fees: From $150 per night
Campsite reservations available: Year-round
Find it: 1210 Mount Tryon Rd. Rte 115, Mount Tryon, treetophaven.ca

Prince Edward Island National Park

The low-down: Sandy beaches, red cliffs and dunes make this unique park a site to see.
What to do: Join one of the daily interpretive program to learn more about the area’s history.
Fees: From $22 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 8 – September 27, 2018
Find it: North Rustico, pc.gc.ca

Panmure Island Provincial Park

The low-down: This spot is home to one of the most popular white sand beaches on PEI.
What to do: Tour the historic Pamure Island Lighthouse.
Fees: From $28 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 8 – September 16, 2018
Find it: 350 Panmure Island Rd. Rte 347, Panmure Island, tourismpei.com

Best Camping in Nova Scotia

The best camping in Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia (Photo: Courtesy Tourism Nova Scotia)

Ovens Natural Park

The low-down: This privately owned reserve, known for its famous sea caves, offers tenting sites, rustic cabins and RV sites.
What to do: If you’re feeling lucky, rent a pan and do some gold panning on Cunard’s Beach.
Fees: From $35 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 11 – September 30, 2018
Find it: Riverport, ovenspark.com

Caribou-Munroes Island Provincial Park

The low-down: Known for its mile-long sand beach, this park has some of the warmest saltwater north of the Carolinas.
What to do: Visit the Hector Heritage Quay, to learn about the early Scottish settlers that landed in Nova Scotia.
Fees: From $27 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 8 – October 8, 2018
Find it: 2119 Three Brooks Rd., Caribou, parks.novascotia.ca

Five Islands Provincial Park

The low-down: This sea-side park is home to 90-metre sea cliffs that overlook the tides.
What to do: Hike the Red Hill trail for the best view of the island.
Fees: From $27 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 8 – October 8, 2018
Find it: 628 Bentley Branch Road, Five Islands, parks.novascotia.ca

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The low-down: Parked on the Cabot Trail coastline, this enchanting park is filled with a mix of lush forest and rugged mountain peaks.
What to do: Explore one of the park’s 26 trails, or learn the art of the perfect lobster boil.
Fees: From $18 per night
Campsite reservations available: May 18 – October 28, 2018
Find it: pc.gc.ca

Amherst Shores Provincial Park

The low-down: The woodland campground is the picture-perfect spot for a cozy camping trip.
What to do: Hike the park’s main trail, that follows Annabelles Brook.
Fees: From $27 per night
Campsite reservations available: June 8 – October 8 ,2018
Find it: 6596 Hwy 366, Amherst Shores, parks.novascotia.ca

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