700,000 tons of rock explode
There are so many camping and RV overnight options to choose from...
Along the eastern side of Vancouver Island, the day begins with the sun rising slowly over the mainland mountains, its rays sparkling on the ocean and sandy beach just steps away from your campsite nestled in a grove of cedars.
Camping in the central island finds your campsite off the beaten path, a flat patch of land found after a day's backpacking. During the hike through the second-growth forest you marvelled at the mountain peaks, stopped at bubbling creek for a cold drink, skirted the diggings of a black bear and ducked under a rock ledge during a brief rainstorm. On the west coast, your campsite is found on a rocky prominence jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Just before dusk, a grey whale lolled in the bay, the mist from its blowhole rising ten feet in the air. The day ends with a huge sun slipping below the watery horizon. Overhead, millions of stars twinkle in the blackest of skies.
On the north end of Vancouver Island, you pitch your tent in view of the lighthouse at Cape Scott. For the past eight hours, you have slogged through the muddy trails of Cape Scott Provincial Park, past the remnants of turn-of-the-century Danish settlements and the rotting poles of a 1913 telegraph line.
Tomorrow, when the sun rises, you will explore the sea caves, wonder about those who went down in the 1868 sinking of the Louisa Dawn, and clean the mud off your boots in anticipation of the hike out.
Whether you're pitching a tent or pulling an RV, Vancouver Island has thousands of campsites - from fully serviced to complete wilderness. Most of the fully serviced sites are close to urban areas, mainly on the south end of the island and strung out along the eastern coast. Central communities like Port Alberni, and west coast communities such as Ucluelet, Tofino and Bamfield also have fully serviced campgrounds and RV parks. Another great thing about camping on Vancouver Island is that a number of parks and campgrounds accept reservations. Simply call toll-free: 1-800-689-9025 or visit the Discover Camping BC website at www.discovercamping.ca
Most private campgrounds offer water and electrical hookups at each site, sani-dump stations for RVs, playgrounds, laundramats, showers and flush toilets, and more. A cards, socialize or just sit and relax. Others even offer cable tv hookups. Many allownumber also have well-equipped common rooms where you can play pool, have a game of pets, but they must be kept leashed and on your site.
Sites are usually treed, quite private, have firepits and firewood and are on or have short access to a beach. Many are wheelchair accessible. Some have pools, hot tubs and boat launches.
The government operates a number of campground/RV parks in some of the more accessible provincial parks. While some of these campgrounds are quite basic, they usually have a common water supply, firepits and firewood and picnic tables. A number of the more developed provincial parks, such as Rathtrevor and Miracle Beach, have playgrounds, interpreter programs, organized events and nature houses. Provincial parks allow pets; however, they must be kept on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas. There is a 14-day limit on occupancy in provincial park campgrounds. Reservations (1-800-689-9025) are accepted at a number of provincial park campgrounds. For more information, check out www.elp.gov.bc.ca/bcparks
It's the interior, west coast and north tip of the island where you'll find true wilderness camping. A number of the remote provincial parks have basic campsites with firepits, pit toilets and little else. The Ministry of Forests and the forest companies operate a number of free wilderness campsites that offer little in the way of amenities. You may find pit toilets. These remote campsites require you to pack in your food, water and everything else to ensure you are self-sufficient. Some of these sites are vehicle-accessible, usually over rough roads, many active logging roads. Many are only accessible by foot or boat. Maps of these remote campsites are available from Ministry of Forest and Provincial Park offices.
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