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Camping on Vancouver Island

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#41 Ginger Snap

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 10:07 AM

I love reading other's reviews of campgrounds around the region... I love camping, and am always looking for a new place to try out. My favourites on the island:

Sproat Lake (lower, not upper... lower is right on the lake, upper is across the highway)
Goldstream (it's not exotic, but it is well maintained with close trails, and if something goes wrong or the weather takes a wrong turn you are 20 minutes away from a warm cozy bed.)
Gordon Bay

We were just up at French Beach last weekend... not my favourite.

As a teenager we used to camp at a placed called Burnt Bridge (I don't know if that is what it's really called, crown land up near Shawnigan Lake)... it had NOTHING... just a patch of woods, but it was right on the Koksilah River, and so beautiful.

We have so many beautiful places to camp here on the island, but I think two of my favourite all time spots are actually in Alberta... Tunnel Mountain in Banff, and Waterton National Park, near the Montana border.

#42 gumgum

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 07:58 PM

OK I need some help.

Can someone direct me to a good campsite on Cowichan Lake? I'm hoping for sites right on the water. Somewhere pretty wild, but easily accessible. I've been to Gordon Bay, but not a huge fan. It was well run, but it wasn't a bit too structured and the site were too far from the lake.

Any suggestions?

#43 G-Man


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Posted 07 September 2009 - 06:15 PM

There is a good one at Nixon Creek which is right on the lake. That would be my suggestion.

#44 Holden West

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 06:28 PM

Heather Campsite further around Cowichan Lake, small and nice and close to the water. Some are right on the water.
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#45 gumgum

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 08:28 PM

Thanks guys!
I'll have to check them out. Good to see they are close to one another.

#46 Mike K.

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:41 AM

I stayed on the lake at a campsite called Caycuse (I think) on the south shore. It was decent enough but I guess I'm biased as I never stay at designated campsites.

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#47 Mike K.

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:29 PM

Globe and Mail article about an RV excursion from Victoria to Port Renfrew, up to Lake Cowichan and back down to Goldstream.

RVing through BC
Cinda Chavich, The Globe and Mail

For purists, a holiday in the great outdoors usually involves a sleeping bag and tent, or, depending on the weather and if we're feeling a little spoiled, a rustic hostel somewhere high in the mountains. Suffice to say, the loo is always in a separate building and running water is rarely part of the package. [...]

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#48 drivingmissjenny

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:00 PM

Alright, so I know there are tons of camping threads not only here but other sites in regards to camping on the island, but lets face it. Most of them are old and really just too general for what I'm looking for. I'm planning a camping trip for my birthday and am looking for tips to make it a success.

most importantly, we're looking for sun hot sun! the sunniest/warmest spots you know! as far as ocean camping goes, i find its usually cold due to the wind coming off the water so we're aiming for a lake but not dead set on it.

Next, within 30-60 mins of victoria. time will be a factor for some so the closer the better.

There won't be many of us, say 10 people at the utter most and prolly 3-4 tents at most. I understand this means we'll most likely have to get 2 sites. That being said, I'm looking for something as CHEAP as possible. No $40/ night stuff. I'm looking for like $20/night or cheaper if possible.

campfire/beachfire would be great if thats even possible anymore? i would take fire over swimming anyday.

washroom or at least outhouses for those that will need to poop.

and lastly pets (on leash) not necessarily needed, but would be nice to bring the fur balls along.

thanks in advance for you input!

#49 G-Man


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Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:27 PM

Well with the 30 to 60 minute range you are pretty much limited to bush camping or going to Mcdonald Park, Sooke Potholes, Goldstream or Bamberton.

#50 drivingmissjenny

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:39 PM

i guess it could go a bit further. i've heard a lot about various sooke area places like french beach, sombrio, mystic beach.. i was hoping someone would know more about them.. i can't seem to find anymore info

#51 D.L.

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:51 PM

There are a few lakes in the Port Renfrew area that have campsites. Lizzard Lake and Fairy Lake I think they are.

#52 pseudotsuga

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 04:34 PM

i guess it could go a bit further. i've heard a lot about various sooke area places like french beach, sombrio, mystic beach.. i was hoping someone would know more about them.. i can't seem to find anymore info

Those are all on the west coast and will have the ocean breezes mentioned. Consider West Shawnigan - I think there is still a campsite there? - if you want heat. Or maybe something on Lake Cowichan or the sites Dylan mentioned.

Edit: Google tells me Koksilah River Park (burnt bridge) is the only campground in Shawnigan. You'll get plenty of heat there in summer, the river is nice, and lots of trails to explore. Pretty close to the road, so may not be super quiet.

#53 vandervalk

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:40 PM

i guess it could go a bit further. i've heard a lot about various sooke area places like french beach, sombrio, mystic beach.. i was hoping someone would know more about them.. i can't seem to find anymore info

French Beach is gorgeous. It's a Provincial campsite so it's a typical drive in, grab a spot amongst large trees with fire pit and washrooms. The walk to the beach isn't far for any of the campgrounds.

Sombrio beach is nice, but you'll have to walk in. It can be loaded with surfing/surfers and late nights might not be the most relaxing. I've heard some say it can be annoying as surfers can get territorial. You'll have to walk 15 minutes down a well marked trail to get to the beach. However, if you went around the left side of the "Beach" you'd pretty much be alone and not bothered. Most of the surfing is done in the front part.

Mystic Beach is the best in the spots that you've mentioned. This is a 2km hike in over a suspension bridge and best times are low tides.

One that I would seriously consider would be the WF campground right in Jordan River. Mind you it's not uber private and it's near the highway.. but I would think Sandcut Beach is the best one. Close to Jordan River, easy walk in and very private. Most don't know about this place.

You can check out my website http://www.discovers.../recreation.php take a peek at the beaches. You'll find a video for each one that you mentioned.
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#54 drivingmissjenny

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:35 AM

thanks everyone for the input! i think we've decided on french beach. but keep em coming! i like seeing peoples' personal opinions on these places rather than the crd or bc parks sales pitch


#55 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 10:06 AM


Alberta joins liquor ban in national, provincial parks for May long weekend

Vandalism complaints spark crackdown

By Eva Ferguson, Calgary Herald May 12, 2010

Read more: http://www.calgaryhe...l#ixzz0oOrFmUgU

I'm not sure why they would just apply this to long weekends. It's kind of sad.

#56 AllseeingEye



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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:34 PM

I know this is a bit farther than you probably want to go but Country Maples near Chemainus is great especially if you have kids and or pets. You can RV, camp or tent, there is a large outdoor pool and recreation field/area. Lots of room for working on the tan there. And a 15 minute hike puts you on the Chemainus River for a refreshing swim.

If you don't have kids then CM is probably not for you; French or Sombrio Beaches are both good especially if you aren't terribly concerned with all the comforts of home.

"Back in the day" - I'm talking 25 years or more ago - Sombrio was home to an eclectic array of ex-US/Vietnam vets; they were harmless and one actually helped fix a wonky boom box for our group. There were a series of home built saunas right on the beach made out of whatever natural materials were available. Pretty cool really.

#57 tedward

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:38 PM

What about Sooke Potholes? They are supposed to be reopening today after a year-long closure.

#58 Bernard

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:03 AM

I am off to Caramanah valley in a few hours for the weekend.

#59 Bob Fugger

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 07:32 AM

There's Gordon Bay Provincial Campground at the south end of Cowichan Lake, which is a 90 minute drive and an altogether different vibe than oceanside camping.

Of course, if you really wanted to keep close to home, I would suggest the boulevard in front of Our Place or our very own Beacon Hill Park. Just make sure that you're packed up by sun-up. :P

#60 sebberry


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:11 AM

They already have the tools and laws to crack down on people who are drunk and causing problems, is searching motorhomes for grandpa's scotch really necessary?

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