Amazing National Parks for Camping in Canada

camping in canada

Every summer camping season, outdoor enthusiasts from within the country and around the world plan to spend quality time discovering the lakes, forests, mountains and coastlines of the Great White North. Pitching a tent in the beautiful Canadian wilderness is the thing to do for adventure travellers and active families, and the enticements of our weaker Canadian dollar make it even more tempting to those from abroad. It’s as if the entire country is on sale.

There’s no better way to discover Canada than by visiting and staying in its magnificent National Parks. From coast to coast, we’re highlighting five amazing National Parks for camping in Canada.

Summer season is camping Banff season. How to pitch a tent and plan your camping adventure in beautiful Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

Camping in Canada at National Parks

A note about camping during COVID-19: Parks Canada has advised that its camping reservation system will launch in April 2021.

Camping Reservations at National Parks

Canada’s National Parks are very popular, as you might imagine. Reservations are required for most of them as they tend to book up quickly. In order to set up your tent or RV in a Canadian National Park, you’ll need to get a Parks Canada Discovery Pass. The pass can be shipped to your address for free, or you can pick one up at a park entrance.

The Discovery Pass covers unlimited entry to National Parks, Historic Sites and Marine Conservation areas operated by Parks Canada. The Discovery Pass is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. Extras that may carry a separate fee, such as camping, tours or parking, are not included in the Pass.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

This incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site is a geological wonderland of ancient, uninhabited mountains and fjords. Gros Morne National Park protects thousands of kilometers of unique landscape on Newfoundland’s west coast. The Park has more than 225 drive-in and 8 walk-in campsites in five campgrounds. If you’re into backcountry camping, you’ll just need a Parks Canada permit before setting up camp.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

You can choose from dozens of hikes along wild trails and camp by the sea along sandy beaches at the end of the day. If your kids are older and adventurous types, climb Gros Morne. It’s an intense hike that will take you a full day, just make sure you have proper footwar and water for the journey. Create vacation memories and treat your family to a boat tour of the glacially-carved Western Brook Pond Fjord, with views of waterfalls, wildlife and the steep-sided, billion year-old fjord cliffs.

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Wapizagonke Lake, La Mauricie National Park, Quebec

If your family is more seasoned, the canoe-camping options at La Mauricie National Park in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec may appeal. This park and its campgrounds showcase the rolling hills, lakes, and unique topography of the Canadian Shield and Great Lakes region.

In addition to drive-in campsites, La Mauricie offers reservable canoe-camping for 150 canoe campsites scattered among a dozen lakes in the park. You can bring your own canoe or rent one from Parks Canada. Remember, you will have to pack all of your supplies, gear and food into the canoe and out again. There may be a portage or two as well, but it’s the ultimate camping challenge for adventure-seeking families.

Quebec is fun in winter too! Check out our Twelve Things to Do in Quebec in Winter

Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario

Looking to really get away from it all? Chart your course to the campgrounds at Thousand Islands National Park. These campsites are only accessible by boat. These scenic islands in the St. Lawrence are carved out of rugged granite and decorated with twisty pines. They make up the iconic, beautiful landscape of eastern Ontario.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

If you don’t have your own boat, no problem. Rent a kayak or canoe from a local outfitter and paddle your way to your waterfront campsite. You can also arrange for a boat shuttle/water taxi to get you there in less than ten minutes. The unique ecosystem of this park is a protected part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. Please enjoy your recreation in a sustainable manner that is sensitive to the rich, biodiverse environment.

Banff National Park, Alberta

Getting up close to nature and wildlife will be easy at one of the 13 campgrounds in Banff National Park. You may observe elk walking past your tent as you sip early-morning coffee. Or a black bear may cross your path during a day hike in Canada’s first national park.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

How you choose a campsite is up to you, whether you wish to be near hundreds of other campers at Tunnel Mountain Village I, up Icefields Parkway at Mosquito Creek, or testing out one of the 10 oTENTik ‘tent cabins’ at Two Jack Lakeside. The oTENTik is exclusive to quite a few Parks Canada campgrounds, and they’re all about helping you feel comfortable in the great outdoors.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

The oTENTik features an A-frame cabin/tent hybrid, mounted on a raised wooden floor. There are beds for up to 6 people, lighting, electricity, hot showers, indoor heat, an outdoor firepit and BBQ. Camping in Banff opens up unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities. in the 6,640 km2 of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers. Don’t forget to enjoy a dip in the hot springs as a special, unforgettable treat. Tip: Go at dinner time to avoid congestion and long lines.

Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia

Perched on the edge of the Pacific in Tofino, camping at Green Point in Pacific Rim National Park will give you a new understanding of the wild, west coast. The campground has recently been upgraded, and the wait has been worth it in order to access this rainforested park on the edge of the Pacific.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

The campground fronts onto the wide expanse of spectacular Long Beach. There’s nothing between you and Japan except for the wild pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean. Click here if you’re looking for more British Columbia camping tips.

Camping tips for new campers

For newbies to the camping experience, Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op have partnered to offer an exciting new service at Green Point. It’s called Equipped Camping.

Canada is the place to visit in 2017, and entrance to all National Parks is free. These five campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy camping in Canada.

There are five of these reservable walk-in sites. They are fully kitted out and set up with tents, sleeping bags and pads, cooking equipment and a fire pit. This is the perfect way to ease into the camping experience. This is especially true if you’re not sure whether your family will love it. It also saves you the trouble of buying (and hauling) all of the necessary equipment yourself. If you need camping recipes, we’ve got you covered here.

There's no better way to discover Canada than by visiting and staying in its National Parks. And there are some amazing national parks for camping across this great land! Here are just five great Canadian national parks for camping with the family. #camping #canada #nationalparks #parkscanada #familytravel

Photo Credits: Parks Canada, C. Laroye

Do you have plans for camping in Canada? Share your tips and favorite national park stories.

33 thoughts on “Amazing National Parks for Camping in Canada”

  1. Pingback: 13 Spectacular Microadventures in Canada | The Travelling Mom

  2. Pingback: How to Pitch a Tent in Beautiful Banff | The Travelling Mom

  3. Pingback: How to Find Free Camping in the USA & Canada – Wandering Wheatleys

  4. Pingback: My Picks: Top Ten National Parks in Canada To Visit - Travel Bliss Now

  5. Colleen Lanin

    Pinning this for future travels! I’m thinking camping will be the way to go once this crisis is all said and done!

  6. I am so excited about free admission to Canada’s parks this year! I visited two parks in Nova Scotia last summer and would love to see more.

    1. I hope you get to return to Nova Scotia or elsewhere in Canada this year Allison! Happy trip planning.

  7. Sridhar @InterludeJourney

    This looks like my kind of travel, love camping and explore whole new world and what nature has to offer to mind and soul. Glad to know that Canada is celebrating its 150th Birthday with Discovery pass for free. would love to read details about it see how i can use it. cheers to your useful tips.

    1. Thanks for your comment Sridhar. The Pass is so easy to use – just show it at any and all of Canada’s National Parks and Historic Sites for free entry. Camping is still extra of course. 🙂 Hope you get to visit!

  8. trisha velarmino

    What a great year to start for a travel. Everything that is indicated here is a must to try! thank you for sharing!

  9. Fabulous list! We’ve been in Tofino since October and love frequently exploring Pacific Rim. It’s a gorgeous park with some of the best trails we’ve experience in Canada and most of the trails end at a beach which is always a welcomed bonus!

    1. Lucky you being in Tofino all this time! 😉 So glad that you’ve been enjoying your stay – it’s such an incredibly beautiful part of the west coast and Canada.

  10. melody pittman

    This looks like so much fun! I am hoping to explore Canada by train this summer with my husband to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I had never thought about just camping our way through but it looks like a really great way to see everything.

    1. That’s a fantastic idea! A cross-Canada train trip is a great way to celebrate your anniversary. Happy planning!

  11. I really hope I can make it up to Canada to explore a few of the parks this year. I think the Pacific Rim National Park might be on the top of my list. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Great tip to get the Discovery Pass! Equipped Camping is cool, so first time campers don’t have to have all the gear. Everything is set up and ready to go. It would also be nice for travelers who don’t want to pack their own.

  13. Wow, what a great deal to visit Canada for its birthday. Good to know about the waived passes. I love visiting Canada but have not gone beyond Toronto. Hopefully, we can take advantage of the deal and visit this year. Banff would be the destination!!

  14. I checked out a few national parks whilst in Canada last year, amazing places and seeing your photos here sure does bring back some memories 🙂

  15. Shannon - SoleSeeking

    Sounds like a great idea for encouraging more people to get outside and explore. Thousand Lakes would be my first choice – looks lovely. I have heard some people complaining about the free passes on the radio though. Hopefully visitors will treat the parks with respect!

    1. The Thousand Islands are gorgeous, I would highly recommend visiting the area. You’re right, there is some controversy re: the free passes, as the taxpayers are underwriting the cost. There’s no doubt that the parks will be busy this year!

  16. Carol Colborn

    The three other parks around Banff would make for a great Banff vacation: Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper! All four make a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

    1. And an amazing one at that! We’ve visit all of them and they all have something gorgeous and unique to offer. Hope you get to visit soon.

  17. Canada seems to be a great destination for nature lovers and for great outdoors! It needs to go on our list!

  18. This is absolutely amazing! With a Park Ranger Husband we are all about visiting the parks. I am going to see about getting a park pass so we can visit more Canadian parks this year. What an amazing incentive to get out and explore the beautiful parks in Canada

    1. That’s wonderful Tammilee! The passes are a great incentive to visit Canada’s parks this year. Hope you get the chance to visit!

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I’m Claudia, an adventurous mom who loves to explore the world and travel with my family. This site shares modern-mom-tested family travel sanity tips, destination advice, and inspiration to stay ever curious and create lifelong travel memories.

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