Visiting Gulf Islands National Park Reserve will be different than previous years. Be prepared, and know what is open and closed before you go.

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve campgrounds are open every year from May 15 to September 30. All frontcountry campgrounds are closed for the visitor season. Backcountry campgrounds are accessible year round but are not regularly maintained from October 1 – May 14. Visitors may use them at their own risk. Check out this map to see what’s open and closed.

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.

 


Reservations

Reservation Launch: Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 at 8:00am PDT 

Online Reservations

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:

SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) Campground


Vancouver Island
A couple relaxes near their tent 

SMONEĆTEN (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 Location: 10740 McDonald Park Road, North Saanich, BC, V8L 5S5  

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

Reservations are recommended for drive-in RV and car camping sites. Reservations can be made at reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or

 


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 Location: 5714 Canal Rd, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M1

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.
Reservations

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


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
 

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 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

Reservations

Reservations are required and can be made at reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or 

Group Camping and Picnicking: currently unavailable until further notice.


Campground information
  • Campground map
  • Open annually from May 15 to Sept 30
  • 29 primitive campsites with picnic tables
  • 1 group campsite/group picnicking area (closed until further notice) 
  • Wheelbarrows are available at the main dock to transport camping gear
  • Pit toilets
  • Accessible by private boat or walk on passenger ferry
  • Please be advised there is no water available on Sidney Island. This includes both the day use area and the campground. Visitors must bring enough water for their party for the duration of their trip.
  • Fires or burning are not permitted at Sidney Spit at any time, including below the high tide mark

Nearby: Sidney Island Mooring Buoys and Dock


Frontcountry campground maps