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Powell River Camping: The Ten Best Campgrounds For Views & Adventure, Plus Backcountry Camping Info!

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Powell River isn’t your typical Canadian tourist destination. Its uniqueness is defined by the abundance of sun, crystal clear water, incredible wildlife and fine sand beaches that you get here. That picturesque waterside setting is perfect for your next adventure, and is exactly why Powell River camping is becoming a popular vacation choice for many.

Tucked away in the northwest of Vancouver, Powell River has something for everyone. The city itself offers a wide variety of recreational activities, while the surrounding nature has an abundance of outdoor adventures.

We know this place well, so to save you time we’ve put together our favorite Powell River campgrounds below.

Some are right along the lengthy shoreline of Saltery Bay. Others are much closer to the heart of the city, bracketed by the Georgia Strait and the magnificent mountains. Some have many facilities, others are rustic, and some are even free!

But all will give you breathtaking views and wonderful adventures away from the hustle and bustle of city life! We also give you information on backcountry camping at Powell River and bear safety tips further down this article too.

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Powell River Camping: Our Ten Favorite Campgrounds

This area was once awarded the title of safest and friendliest camping destination in British Columbia. We wholeheartedly agree with that.

With that atmosphere, combined with the great hiking, stargazing, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, and (free) guided heritage tours, it’s little surprise we find ourselves camping at Powell River whenever we get the chance.

It’s good to share though, so here our are favorite Powell River camping options.

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1. Rusty Gate Berry Farm RV and Tent Site

If you want some peace and quiet with a homey vibe, this lovely family-run campground is perfect for you. Rusty Gate Berry Farm is a self-contained campground with one RV site and one tent campsite on a private farm owned by a friendly couple.

The farm itself is a lovely five-acre U-Pick blueberry farm that is close to deep nature trails for hiking, biking, and ATV access. It’s also got close proximity to the Sunshine Coast Trail system and Powell River Canoe Route, which has made it a popular spot for camping.

They have just one RV site available, which is level and the parking is on loose gravel. They can accommodate 34ft long vehicles. As there’s just one site available, this place is quiet, serene and feels very special.

While facilities are limited, you will get the chance to enjoy your morning coffee while overlooking the blueberry field. Bliss.

Amenities and Services:

Portable water, electricity available (but not at the site), intermittent WiFi, power charging, and a small washroom and toilet are available. There’s a sanitation dumpsite 15 minutes away. There’s also hammocks, a picnic table, and a fire pit at the campsite. Firewood can be purchased.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

You can enjoy picking blueberries all day long in the summer, or playing with the farm fur buddies (a dog and cat). They’re pet-friendly as well and there’s a small playground for kids.

Exploring the beautiful yet never-ending backcountry is another fun thing to do when camping at Powell River. Francis Point Provincial Park and Tribune Bay Provincial Park are nearby. There are beaches, lakes, and waterfalls for swimming, kayaking, and boating, just minutes away from the farm.

Best Months to Visit: All year round.

Rates: Starting from CA$40

Address: 2575 Maywood Rd, Powell River, BC V8A 0P4, Canada


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2. Willingdon Beach Campsite & RV Park

If you want to experience oceanside camping at the heart of Powell River, Willingdon Beach Campsite may be your best pick. This place is easily accessible by land (drive from Vancouver), sea (a ferry ride), and, air (via Vancouver International Airport).

Willingdon Beach is municipal run and is situated on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia where the majestic and green mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. Unsurprisingly, you can expect great views if staying here.

The fine sand beach at this campground offers a relaxed vibe and is a favorite among families and groups of campers who want to listen to the sound of waves and witness breathtaking sunset views.

This may be the best Powell River camping option if you’re traveling with kids too, as there’s plenty to keep them occupied on site. Including playgrounds, spray parks, and volleyball courts near the oceanfront, as well as a nature park.

Amenities and Services:

There’s 83 campsites, including full and partial hook-ups. Some are beachfront, so ask for those when reserving!

There are clean on-site toilets, shower, and laundry facilities. A well-stocked and covered cookout pavilion is in the proximity of the campsites too.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

You can play beach volleyball on Willingdon Beach or try your hand at fishing on the fishing pier. All campers can enjoy a barbeque in the covered pavilion area. There’s often special events hosted at the Rotary Pavilion throughout the year too.

Since the beach is surrounded by mountains, rock climbing is a favorite amongst adventure lovers. If you’re a water baby, you can go kayaking, canoeing, boating, and scuba diving here. Bikers and hikers can explore the many deep nature trails that exist close to the campground too.

As an added bonus, there is a mini-golf site right across the street for any golfer inside you!

Best Months to Visit: Open all year round

Rates: Starting from CA$25.75

Address: 4845 Marine Ave, Powell River, BC V8A 5T3


Photo via Unsplash+

3. Inland Lake Provincial Park Campground

British Columbia’s provincial parks offer breathtaking sights and unforgettable experiences.

The mesmerizing beauty of rare and diverse nature in them attracts tourists every summer. From exploring pristine sandy beaches and deep forests to satisfying your curiosity by finding hidden caves, there is everything an adventure lover would dream of in a camping adventure in these parks.

So why not start your Powell River camping adventure in one of the provincial parks’s own campgrounds! This one, located north of Powell River, is very affordable, is situated in wonderful surroundings and is pet friendly.

Amenities and Services:

Staying here will be akin to primitive camping, so facilities are limited. However the 23 campsites can accomodate RVs and tents, there are pit toilets, several picnic areas, and potable water via a well. There are no double or pull-through sites available.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

Inland Lake Provincial Park is popular and known for having some of the most peaceful rivers for paddling and relaxing in the wild – so bring that kayak or canoe! You may swim in the lakes too. Trout fishing is another popular activity amongst visitors. Hunting is also permitted with a permit.

There are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails. And as this is a campground situated in the wilderness, the stargazing is fantastic too, as are the wildlife spotting opportunities.  

Best Months to Visit: From June till September

Rates: Starting from CA$18

Address: Highway 101, Powell River, British Columbia, V8A 4Z4, Canada


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4. Lois Lake (Powell River) Campground

Lois Lake is a natural clear water lake that serves as the starting point for the Powell Forest and Canoe Route. The campground here is user-maintained and has about 15 campsites. 

As it is user maintained this is a free campground that can be used by RVs as well as tents. It has no unnecessary restrictions or limits for types of vehicles or number of people. Everyone, including your pets, are welcome.

Lois Lake really is a hidden Powell River camping site so you might not find a lot of tourists, groups or families there. However, if you want to relax in an isolated and peaceful place with wonderful lake views, this free campground will be perfect,

Amenities and Services:

Picnic areas with picnic tables are available as are toilets (non flushable).

You can enjoy fresh drinking water from the lake itself and use it for cooking. Since the campsite is free, there are no other facilities available on the site itself. However, if you head to nearby areas, you’ll find all the necessary things.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

Try your hand at fishing for freshwater rainbow trout. You can also go swimming in the lake. Apart from that, anyone with equipment (like kayaks) can enjoy other water activities with no restrictions.

Hiking and biking lovers can explore the miles and miles of deep nature trails available nearby too.

This is another fantastic campground for stargazing and wildlife watching as it’s so rural, remote, and little known.

Best Months to Visit: Open all year round

Rates: Free

Address: Sunshine Coast Trail, Powell River, BC, Canada

Driving Directions: Head south from Powell River, turn left onto Canoe Road where it intersects with Highway 101/Sunshine Coast Highway. Set your odometer to zero and continue onto the Canoe Main Forest Service Road. At 2.3 km go straight through the intersection following the Canoe Route sign. Then turn left at the T intersection at 4.3 km and arrive at Lois Lake Campground at 4.7 km.


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5. Puntledge RV Park & Campground

Part of the Puntledge Indian Reserve, this Powell River campground is located adjacent to the Puntledge River in the traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation. Expect to feel like you’re in the middle of nature but with facilities right at your doorstep.

With a family-oriented atmosphere, they offer a ton of guided group activities like walking tours and fishing. While the campsites themselves are spacious, grassy and most have fantastic mountain or water views.

Puntledge is also a heritage-themed recreational center and there is a local food festival held every year as well as many events celebrating indigenous culture. Tourists are encouraged to enjoy the cultural activities taking place on the campground.

Amenities and Services:

Puntledge campground offers full-service, partial, and dry camping sites, water, electricity hook ups, WiFi, cable, sewer, hot showers, laundry facilities, and flush toilets.

They also rent their open field for large events like weddings, festivals, and family reunions.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

The Comox Valley where this campground is situated is a quite central location to Powell River, making this place an excellent choice if you’re looking to explore the area.

Along with the many hiking, biking and water activities in the region, you can experience the local K’ómoks indigenous culture by taking part in the events held at the campground.

The campground is also right next to the Salish Sea which boasts spectacular marine life. Observing sea lions, seals, and whale-watching are some popular activities here. That makes this Powell River camping option perfect for wildlife lovers!

Best Months to Visit: All year long

Rates: Starting from CA$38

Address: 4624 Condensory Road, Courtenay, BC, Canada V9J 1R6


6. Creekside Crossing Campground and RV Site

This family-run rustic campground is a great getaway in nature. You can choose to camp on the open meadow or in the cozy forest campsites. All campsites are surrounded by trees and natural foliage, so there’s plenty of privacy.

This Powell River campground is rustic and off-grid. But staying here will give you the chance to enjoy the creek, forests, or tan and have fun at nearby Palm Beach, Donkersly Beach, Gibsons Beach, and the freshwater Mowat Bay. All just minutes away from the campsites.

Without a doubt this is one of our favorite Powell River camping options when looking for something a little more rustic and wild, but still in civilization.

Amenities and Services:

It is totally off-grid so you will need to take your own drinking water, and there’s no electricity or showers. However there are clean outhouse toilets, picnic tables, and a fire pit on all campsites.

There’s even a small children’s playground and many hiking trails leading from the campground into the forest.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

Creekside is close to lakes where licensed fresh and saltwater fishing is permitted. Not just that, these lakes are great for swimming and paddle boarding as well as kayaking, and canoeing. There’s also plenty of hiking routes close by.

You can even go on a ferry ride to enjoy whale-watching in nearby Comox.

Best Months to Visit: All year long.

Rates: Starting CA$25

Address: 3004 Weldwood Rd, Powell River, BC V8A 0L4, Canada


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7. Kent’s Beach Resort

Powell River’s budget getaway, Kent’s Beach Resort has something for everyone. Their campground offers a mesmerizing backdrop right by the beach!

It’s pretty much impossible to find a Powell River campground so close to the beach and at such affordable prices. So look forward to waking up and having morning coffee with waterside views, before enjoying a bonfire on the beach and a swim at sunset.

Amenities and Services:

There are 20 campsites, including waterfront ones, all equipped with partial hookups (water and electricity – 15 &30 amp service). There’s also dry sites, sanitation dump sites, and a mobile sanitation dump service available.

There are clean washrooms including flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and a laundromat. Campers can access WiFi at the office desk. 

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

Its unique beach location offers a range of different activities, all of which can be enjoyed in one day. You can hike all the way from Sarah Point in Desolation Sound up to Saltery Bay, enjoy mountain biking, or stroll through the Powell River Historic Townsite and grab a drink at the micro-brewery there!

Alternatively, you can enjoy a single-day canoeing adventure (walking distance from the campground) overlooking fjord-like waters, and spotting wildlife like bald eagles and black bears.

Or if you fancy just chilling at the beach and enjoying the water, you’re just steps away. With all of that and more, we’re sure it will come as little surprise to hear this is easily one of our favorite Powell River camping options.

Best Months to Visit: All year round

Rates: Starting CA$27.50

Address: 14171 101 Hwy, Powell River, BC V8A 0N1, Canada


Photo for illustrative purposes only: Geithe

8. Garnet Rock Oceanside Resort – Camping and RV Park

One of the oldest upmarket campgrounds in Powell River, the award-winning Garnet Rock is a paradise overlooking the water. You’ll have the luxury of enjoying spectacular views of the Sunshine Coast at affordable prices, in a beautifully landscaped campground with fantastic facilities.

Their campsites are kept immaculately clean and they always have returning and long-term guests – including many digital nomads. So make sure you book in advance!

Amenities and Services:

All short-term campsites have beach access with shade and stunning ocean views – perfect for spotting marine wildlife like seals, orcas, and whales!

There’s also coin showers, laundry services, and free Wifi can be accessed in the proximity of the resort and on the office desk.

There is also a convenience area for campers with a fridge and freezer, as well as a sink for washing dishes. The resort offers local free-range eggs at $5 per dozen by the office desk. 

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

Explore the peaceful forest or go rejuvenate yourself at the beach that sites beside the property.

Plan a whale watching adventure on ferry rides or observe the diverse wildlife on the edge of the Sunshine Coast.

The resort also hosts events all year round for long-term guests and campers. This really is a special place.

Best Months to Visit: All year-round.

Rates: Starting CA$40

Address: 8425 Sunshine Coast Hwy, Powell River, BC V8A 4Z2, Canada


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9. Sunshine Coast Camping – Tent Site

Enjoy camping on private land with some much-needed peace and quiet but still within civilization. This campground is actually just one campsite – and it’s in someone’s back yard!

But this place, which sits just a stone’s throw from a lake but just a few steps from a grocery store, is the perfect place to crash at the end of your day if you want a chance to get back into civilization.

The host is a lovely woman called Julie who has a dog, two cats, and two kids. So, it is a pet and family-friendly place.

Amenities and Services:

There’s a toilet, potable water, shower, free wifi, and bins available. There is a grocery store right across the street too. This is a great place to rest, shower, and replenish supplies before heading off into the wilderness.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

As this campsite is situated at someone’s home, it’s a safe place to leave your stuff before going hiking, biking, swimming, and fishing in the lakes nearby!

Best Months to Visit: Summer months

Rates: Starting CA$50

Address: Powell River, BC, Canada (Private land – Exact location provided before booking as per request).


Photo for illustrative purposes only: Burns

10. Seabreeze Resort Campsite

From someone’s back yard to a small camping resort! Seabreeze is a little campground with 8 RV sites and 8 tent sites, and is known for providing a relaxing getaway in a lovely setting.

A little paradise in Powell River, this place has very good facilities for such a small campground, has spacious campsites, and lots of space for children to run around and play.

Amenities and Services:

There are 8 camping and 8 RV sites which have fire pits and picnic tables and you can get power hook ups for $3 per day.

There’s drinking water available, while shared facilities include flush toilets, hot showers, an open-air campers kitchen, coin-operated laundromat, and free WiFi at the office.

On-Site Activities and What’s Nearby:

You can sunbathe near the beautiful cottages of the resort while letting your kids play in the playgrounds right next to you. Swim on Lang Bay’s beautiful water or enjoy the fine sandy beach, or explore some scenic trails around the nearby lakes.

There’s a variety of wildlife nearby too. You can enjoy bird watching from the comfort of you RV or tent, including observing the resident eagles on the property!

Bonus: There are salmon runs in September!

Best Months to Visit: From May till September

Rates: Starting CA$30

Address: Seabreeze Resort 10975 Hwy. 101, Powell River, B.C.V8A 0L5 Canada


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Backcountry Camping At Powell River & In Canada

DISCLAIMER: Below we give general advice, but we always recommend staying in an official campsite. If you choose to go backcountry camping/dispersed camping, then make sure you do so with someone who already knows the area where you’re planning on camping for your own safety.

Wild camping, also known as backcountry camping, is generally tolerated in Canada. Although there are certain areas you are prohibited from camping in. Rather you must stay in a designated campsite. These include:

  • National Parks
  • Cities
  • Provincial Parks

It’s worth mentioning that rangers and conservation officers do patrol regularly and will hand out hefty fines to people wild camping in these prohibited areas.

Sometimes it is possible to purchase a ‘backcountry’ camping permit. That would then allow you to camp in a park outside of a campground. Not all parks offer them – and they’re not widely advertised. If there’s somewhere you wish to camp, then get in contact with local authorities to see if these are available.

As for where you are allowed to camp, Canadian residents can camp for free on Crown Land – which is publicly owned land. Thankfully 89% of land in Canada is classed as ‘Crown Land’. However much of that is still off limits – National Parks, for example, are also Crown Land.

In general: If land is publicly owned, it’s not one of the prohibited areas that we listed above, and you are far from settlements – you’re likely to be on Crown Land that can be camped on for free. However, keep an eye on local maps for confirmation, and obey any signs that say camping is prohibited

There are rules for free camping on Crown Land, however:

  • You may camp in the same place for 21 days only in one calendar year.
  • After 21 days you must move to a place at least 100m away if you wish to continue camping.
  • While free for citizens and Canadian residents, non-residents must obtain a permit to wild camp on Crown Land.
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Camping At Powell River: Bear Safety

Like many areas of Canada, there are bears roaming around the Powell River area. While encounters are not too common, you must take steps to avoid attracting them to your campsite. 

With that being the case we advise:

  • If you have a vehicle nearby, store food there rather than in a tent.
  • Use a bear box or bear canister to store food, rubbish, and anything with a scent.
  • Don’t pitch your tent near where food is being stored.
  • Never approach any bear, regardless of its size.
  • Don’t spray anything with a scent – that can attract bears.

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