Know before you go
The park 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.
If you’re looking for a little more adventure, walk or hike into one of three walk-in backcountry campgrounds (Narvaez Bay on Saturna Island, Shingle Bay on North Pender Island or Beaumont on South Pender Island). Or, for the ultimate adventure, paddle or boat to one of seven sites that are only accessible by water.
We offer three areas with mooring buoys and one dock for recreational overnight use.
If you are looking for a guided experience, we maintain a listing of all businesses licensed to operate within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Frontcountry reservations: Reservations are strongly recommended. In 2019, reservations can be made online at reservations.pc.gc.ca or by phone at 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783) beginning January 3, 2019.
Backcountry reservations: Reserve and choose a campsite ahead of time by booking online or calling 1-877-RESERVE. We currently accept reservations for the following backcountry campgrounds:
- Shingle Bay Campground, North Pender Island
- Beaumont Campground, South Pender Island
- Narvaez Bay Campground, Saturna Island
Note: If you are unable to register by phone OR if the campground is fully booked you must complete the self-registration process on site and setup inside the designated overflow area. Your self-registration permit must be displayed on your tent.
Self-registration: Self-registration envelopes and deposit boxes are available at all of our camping and mooring areas in the park.
Camping: Camping is only permitted within designated campgrounds inside the park. Use tent pads where provided.
Minimum age requirement for camping permit holders: In order to facilitate safe and enjoyable camping experiences in the park, and in keeping with British Columbia's age of majority, campers must be at least 19 years of age to obtain a camping permit at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Maximum length of stay: 14 days per calendar year (at all campgrounds).
Quiet hours: 10 pm to 8 am.
Garbage: Garbage facilities are provided only at McDonald Campground and Prior Centennial Campground. Elsewhere, pack out everything you pack in. Keep a clean site at all times.
Pack in pack out: "Leave No Trace™" principles promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation and stewardship. Learn more about Leave no Trace™ in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Fires: Except for in the fire rings provided at drive-in campgrounds (McDonald Campground and Prior Centennial Campground), campfires are prohibited everywhere in the park at all times, including beaches and below the high tide mark.
- Portable Campfire Apparatuses are permitted at drive-in campgrounds (McDonald Campground and Prior Centennial Campground) only. Portable campfire apparatuses must be CSA/ULC certified. Flame height must be below 15cm during posted fire bans. Portable campfire apparatuses are prohibited at all backcountry and day use areas (including Sidney Spit).
- Briquette–fueled barbeques are prohibited in the backcountry and at Sidney Spit at all times and in the frontcountry drive in campgrounds during fire bans.
- Gas-fueled outdoor stoves designed specifically for cooking are permitted in all areas of the park.
Dogs/pets: must be on leash at all times and their droppings must be removed from the park.
Alcohol: May be consumed in moderation only on registered campsites.
Maximum party sizes
Maximum overnight group size: 12 people
- If you are planning an overnight activity with 13 or more people you will require a “special activity permit” from Parks Canada. The only exception is if your group is registered at the Sidney Spit group camping site (to book this site contact the park directly).
- Campsites also have party size limits:
- Frontcountry campgrounds: 6 adults per campsite (total including dependent children must be 7 or under)
- Backcountry campgrounds: 5 people per campsite
Maximum day-use group size: 15 people
- If you are planning a day trip in the park for more than 16 people you need to apply for a “special activity permit” from Parks Canada.
Water: Potable water is available at our frontcountry campgrounds. There is no potable water at any of our backcountry locations. Bring plenty of water when packing for the backcountry. The water at Sidney Spit has high sodium levels and is not recommended for people with heart conditions.
Marine distress: 1-877-567-5111 or #727
Park emergencies: To report a park offence/park emergency contact Parks Canada’s national dispatch service toll free at 1-877-852-3100
Emergencies: Call 911