5 of the Top Camping Destinations in Canada: Wild Places Edition
Canada is loved by RVers for its many wild places. Here, we look at five of the best camping destinations that showcase Canada’s natural wonders. These national and provincial parks are truly special places – three of them have the honor of being UNESCO World Heritage sites. Just over 1,100 locations across the globe have been awarded this recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which highlights sites that have special cultural or historical significance.
These destinations are all about the earth’s history, wild animals, and diverse ecosystem. Many are remote, so you’ll need to bring the luxuries with you (no problem if you’re in a Bowlus!), but they offer experiences that you’ll be talking about for years.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
To get to Gros Morne National Park (pronounced Grow Mourn), load your car and luxury RV onto a ferry departing from northern Nova Scotia and head over to Newfoundland. Explore the region’s rugged mountains, forests, and cliffs, or stroll along coastal pathways and beaches. If you’re brave, dip your toes into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Canada’s first national park is split into two sections by the 15 mile long fjord known as Bonne Bay.
Gros Morne’s breathtaking natural beauty and diverse landscape secured its position as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The region known as The Tablelands is one of the most popular sites to see. Here, you can catch a glimpse of the Earth’s mantle, thrust to the surface around 400 million years ago as continents collided. The Green Point Geological site is also an awe-inspiring look into how our continent was formed.
Bring your hiking boots so you can explore the park’s unique geography. You’ll find everything from easy trails to more strenuous mountain hikes. Fishing, cycling, and kayaking are also popular and winter visitors enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Keep your eye out for wildlife, especially moose and caribou.
Motor down scenic route 431 to take in the park’s unique ecosystem, or book a cruise of Western Brook Pond, a freshwater fjord. Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse is known for its spectacular sunsets and just about anywhere in the park is a great place to take in the night sky.
There are five campgrounds in Gros Morne National Park. Green Point Campground is open year round and Lomond has been renovated recently. There are also several privately owned campgrounds in the area.
Forillon National Park, Quebec
At the southern end of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is Forillon National Park. Located on Gaspé Bay, the 95-square mile park features stunning sea vistas, dense forests, and many cultural heritage sites.
Forillon’s beaches are popular destinations. Penouille Beach is sandy, and the water is warm enough to swim in during the summer. The Cap-des-Rosiers Beach features views of the St. Lawrence, the lighthouse, and the Cap-Bon-Ami cliffs.
The park has miles of hiking and biking trails ranging from easy to moderate, all giving you a glimpse of local wildlife (including black bears and moose) and amazing seascapes. Other outdoor activities include fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, whale watching and sea kayaking.
History buffs will want to check out Fort Peninsula, which is the only publicly accessible WWII coastal defense battery left in Quebec. The Hyman & Sons General Store (circa 1920) and Dolbel-Roberts house are 2 other unique historical sites you won’t want to miss.
The park’s visitor center offers free WiFi, laundry facilities, a shop, and charging stations for your electric vehicle. At the Recreation Centre, you’ll find a heated pool, outdoor playground, gift shop, tennis courts, and free WiFi.
In the park, Petit-Gaspé and Des-Rosiers campgrounds offer RV sites. Petit-Gaspé has more amenities than Des-Rosiers, including a swimming pool, playground, and an amphitheater. Whichever campground you choose, many of the sites offer no water or electricity, so if you want to plug in, you’ll need to make your reservation well in advance of your stay (even if you’re in a Bowlus equipped with solar, you’ll still want to reserve your site ahead of time).
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Algonquin Provincial Park is a wonderland for water lovers. Just three hours from Toronto or Ottawa, the park encompassed over 4,300 square miles of northern Ontario.
The park has more than 1,500 lakes, so canoeing, boating, trout fishing, and swimming are big draws for visitors. Biking and hiking are also popular summer activities. In fact, the only way to see the interior of the park is to hike or paddle in – but it’ll be worth the trip to experience the serenity of the landscape. The park has 14 hiking trails ranging in length and difficulty, and over 2,000 canoe routes.
In the winter, you can ski, snowmobile, go skijoring, or book a dog sledding tour with one of the park’s commercial partners. At any time of year, the park is an amazing place for stargazing.
The area is known for its diverse wildlife, including white-tailed deer, black bears, foxes, turtles, wolves, and a variety of birds. A lot of the park’s wildlife can be seen along Highway 60, a 34-mile long corridor that snakes through the southern part of the park. Odds are good that you’ll catch a glimpse of one of the park’s many majestic moose. That same stretch of road also brings you to the visitor center, the Algonquin Art Centre, and the Algonquin Logging Museum.
The park’s eight campgrounds are also spread along Highway 60 and most accept RVs including luxury travel trailers like the Bowlus Terra Firma or Endless Highways Edition. Five of the campgrounds offer electricity, including Canisbay Lake, Lake of Two Rivers, and Mew Lake. Water is available at comfort stations around the campground. Sites go quickly in this popular park, so you’ll want to make reservations in advance.
Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon Territory
Kluane National Park and Reserve is home to seventeen of Canada’s tallest mountain peaks, including the nearly 20,000-foot tall Mount Logan. Kluane is remote, but well worth the road trip to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities for visitors. Trails range from easy strolls to more strenuous backcountry adventures. Put your mountaineering skills to the test in the park’s ice fields, or float down the Alsek River past ancient glaciers. Bring your rod and reel because the fishing in Kluane is some of the best you’ll find.
The park is expansive at nearly 14,000 square miles, and the best way to take it all in is to hop on a flightseeing tour. Private tour operators bring you to the park’s pristine interior and some even touch down on the icefields and allow you to explore for a while.
Wildlife is abundant in Kluane. Dall sheep, mountain goats, and caribou all call these lands home, as do bears and wolves. Photographers can hone their skills capturing these amazing creatures against a stunning backdrop.
Camping in the Yukon is rustic, but if you’re in a Bowlus you’ll have all the luxuries you need, no matter the season. The provincial government manages several campgrounds nearby. Cottonwood RV Park is on Kluane Lake and offers lakeside sites, hookups, and WiFi. Pine Lake is also popular and has picnic tables, fire rings, a boat launch, and a sandy beach. Campers are advised to be bear aware and to keep food in the provided bear proof lockers.
Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Just two hours outside of Calgary, you can experience Canada’s badlands as you step way back in time.
You can probably guess the park’s main attraction. This now arid landscape was once a lush subtropical paradise and home to more than 50 species of dinosaurs. 150 full skeletons have been uncovered to date. The best way to see these giants is on a guided interpretive tour, which will get you access to areas otherwise off limits to visitors. Book your reservation in advance for these popular programs.
There are five self-guided hiking trails in the park, all accessible year round. Take the trail to Cottonwood Flats for a glimpse of the park’s 165 bird species or follow the Trail of the Fossil Hunters which leads to a 1913 quarry site frequented by, you guessed it, early fossil hunters.
Dinosaur Campground is near Red Deer Valley and offers 120 campsites, some offering electricity. The sites have fire pits, showers, laundry facilities and a playground. Some even back up to Little Sandhill Creek. There are also campgrounds in the nearby Tillebrook Provincial Park and Kinbrook Island Provincial Park, both of which are well worth exploring during your visit to the area.