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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Camping

Frontcountry Camping | Backcountry Camping | Camping: Know Before You Go

Frontcountry Camping Locations


McDonald Campground on Vancouver Island

Forested, with both sunny and shaded sites, near municipal parks and a community trail system. Only a few minutes from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal for access to the Gulf Islands and BC Mainland, and to the Sidney-Anacortes ferry terminal for access to the U.S.

McDonald Campground is an excellent base of operations for exploring both the Gulf Islands and the Greater Victoria area, for campers, RVers, and cyclists.
Reservations are recommended for drive in RV and car camping sites, and can be made at reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or 1-877-737-3783.

Getting Here:
From Swartz Bay ferry terminal, head south on Patricia Bay Hwy/BC-17 S toward Victoria for approximately 2 km. Exit (on your right) at McDonald Park Road/Wain Road/Deep Cove, and follow for 250 m. Turn left onto Swartz Bay Rd (signs for BC-17 N/Ferries), and follow for 400 m. Turn right onto McDonald Park Rd (signs for Sidney), and follow for 225 m. The campground will be on your right.

From Victoria, head north on Patricia Bay Hwy/ BC-17 toward Swartz Bay/Ferries. Follow for approximately 28 km. Take Exit 31 to McDonald Park Rd toward Deep Cove/Wain Rd. Continue for 400 m on McDonald Park Rd. The campground will be on your right.

Street Address: 10740 McDonald Park Road, North Saanich, BC, V8L 5S5

Campground Info:

  • Open annually from May 15 – Sept 30
  • Check-in time is 2pm
  • Check-out time is11am
  • Campground is not staffed - Parks Canada staff members conduct periodic rounds
  • 49 primitive campsites with picnic tables
  • Potable water
  • Pit toilets 
  • Fire pits (firewood for sale onsite and locally)
  • Conveniently located in the beautiful seaside town of Sidney-by-the-Sea
  • Accessible via public transit (Route 72—Swartz Bay/Downtown)
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.673156, -123.425449
  • Visitors should expect some road noise from the adjacent highway

Cycling Specific Features:

  • Great access to the Lochside Cycling Trail, which runs from Swartz Bay to Downtown Victoria
  • Bike-Friendly walk-in sites close to entrance in pleasant wooded area, with communal campfire ring

Prior Centennial Campground on Pender Island

Set in the shade of a thick forest of ferns, cedar, fir, maple and alder trees, Prior Centennial Campground has 17 campsites, which can fill to capacity throughout the summer months. Reservations are recommended and can be made at reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or 1-877-737-3783.

There is a short walking trail on the western side of the campground, providing hiking opportunities that link to other local trails outside of the national park reserve. This trail also leads to the well-known local Disc Golf course, which is a draw for many campers.

Getting Here:
Prior Centennial Campground is located on North Pender Island, a few minutes away from the Otter Bay ferry terminal, with access from Canal Road. From Otter Bay ferry terminal, head straight on MacKinnon Rd (which becomes Otter Bay Rd a few metres further), and follow for approximately 2.25 km. At the T intersection, turn right onto Bedwell Harbour Rd and follow for about 2 km. The campground will be on your right.

Campground Info:

  • Open annually from May 15 – Sept 30
  • 17 primitive campsites with picnic tables
  • Potable water
  • Pit toilets
  • Fire pits for use and firewood for sale
  • Located on Pender Island
  • Accessible from the road
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.766921, -123.272926

Sidney Spit Campground on Sidney Island

Located at the north end of Sidney Island, this popular family-friendly destination is accessible by boat or kayak. The park offers sandy beaches, wooded trails and an abundance of birds and marine life.

Camping:
Camping, group camping and picnicking are available. All campers must register at a designated campsite before the last ferry leaves the island for the day.
Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made at reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or 1-877-737-3783.

Group Camping and Picnicking: For group camping and picnicking, reservations are required.

To reserve the group site contact the park directly at 250-654-4000 or 1-866-944-1744

Note: Water must be carried from the main campground to the group campground.

Getting Here:
Arrive by boat or take the seasonal walk-on ferry service from the Town of Sidney. Alpine Ferry Service to Sidney Spit (walk on only) runs regularly during the high season (late June through Labour Day) and intermittently outside of the high season.

Campground Info:

  • Open annually from May 15 – Sept 30
  • 29 primitive campsites with picnic tables
  • 1 group campsite/group picnicking area
  • Wheelbarrows are available at the main dock to transport camping gear
  • Potable water (NOTE: water has high sodium content – not recommended for people with heart conditions)
  • Pit toilets
  • Accessible by private boat or walk on passenger ferry
  • Note: no fires or burning are permitted at Sidney Spit, including below the high tide mark
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.635465380988, -123.3299
  • There is an annual closure of Sidney Island to facilitate traditional hunting by first nations from November 1 – February 29th.

Nearby: Sidney Island Mooring Buoys and Dock