Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers a variety of camping opportunities for families, backpackers, kayakers and boaters. If you have never been camping before, frontcountry camping (car camping) is a good way to start.

Prevent the spread of pests. Buy firewood where you will burn it.

Although we might not see them, invasive insects that threaten our forests can easily hide in firewood. When firewood moves, so do these pests, potentially threatening our beautiful forests.

Learn more about rules for moving firewood and how you can prevent the spread of invasive species.

Drive-in campgrounds:

McDonald Campground

Vancouver Island
A couple relaxes near their RV

McDonald Campground is an excellent base of operations for exploring both the Gulf Islands and the Greater Victoria area, for campers, RVers, and cyclists. Forested, with both sunny and shaded sites, near municipal parks and a community trail system and 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.

Getting here

10740 McDonald Park Road, North Saanich, BC, V8L 5S5 (Google Maps)

GPS Coordinates: 48.673156, -123.425449

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.
Via public transit:
  • Route 72 (Swartz Bay/Downtown)

Reservations are recommended for drive-in RV and car camping sites. Reservations can be made at or 1-877-737-3783

Campground information
  • Campground map
  • Open annually from May 15 to Sept 30
  • Check-in time is 2:00 pm
  • Check-out time is 11:00 am
  • 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
  • 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

Pender Island
A couple relax outside their RV, surrounded by the lush forest at Prior Centennial campground on Pender Island

Located on North Pender Island, a few minutes away from the Otter Bay ferry terminal, with access from Canal Road. Set in the shade of a thick forest of ferns, cedar, fir, maple and alder trees. 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

5714 Canal Rd, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M1 (Google Maps)

GPS Coordinates: 48.766921, -123.272926

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.

Prior Centennial Campground has 17 campsites, which can fill to capacity throughout the summer months. Reservations are recommended and can be made at or 1-877-737-3783.

Campground information
  • Campground map
  • Open annually from May 15 to Sept 30
  • 17 primitive campsites with picnic tables
  • Potable water
  • Pit toilets
  • Fire pits for use and firewood for sale
  • Accessible from the road

Walk-on ferry or boat accessible campgrounds:

Sidney Spit Campground

Sidney Island
Group of friends relax by their tent


Notice to visitors: The Sidney Spit water system is undergoing maintenance and there will be no water available until further notice. This includes both the day use area and the campground. Visitors are advised to bring enough water for their party for the duration of their trip. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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, group camping and picnicking is available. All campers must register at a designated campsite before the last ferry leaves the island for the day.

Getting here

GPS Coordinates: 48.635465380988, -123.3299

  • Arrive by boat

Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made at 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.

Campground information
  • Campground map
  • Open annually from May 15 to 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
  • 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
  • Nov 1 to Feb 29: There is an annual closure of Sidney Island to facilitate traditional hunting by first nations

Nearby: Sidney Island Mooring Buoys and Dock

Frontcountry campground maps