The Parks Canada Learn-to Camp program equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to feel confident planning and carrying out your first camping adventure. In the Vancouver region, we are offering three ways you can get your first taste of camping or enhance your skills and take your camping experience to a new level:

Pop-up activities

Free drop-in sessions at convenient locations throughout the Lower Mainland. We introduce participants to Parks Canada and camping in the great outdoors.


Free low-cost workshops (ranging from one hour to a full day) to help participants acquire basic camping skills and learn about outdoor activities. Registration is required.

Overnight events

Low-cost, overnight camping experiences in Parks Canada’s places. Camping gear will be provided.

Program schedule


  • June 5: World Environment Day Community Information Fair (Richmond Public Library, Brighouse Branch)
  • June 8: Maritime Museum
  • June 15: West End Car Free Day
  • June 16: Main Street Car Free Day
  • June 21: Dragon Boat Festival
  • June 22: Dragon Boat Festival
  • June 23: Dragon Boat Festival
  • July 1: Canada Day at Canada Place
  • July 7: Commercial Car Free Day

  • July 13 - 14: City of Richmond Overnight
  • July 20 - 21: Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse (more information)
  • July 27 - 28: Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (more information)
  • August 17 - 18: Camp McLean Overnight

Workshop descriptions

Learn more about each of our different programs & workshops designed specifically to help adults and families have a safe and memorable camping experience.

Spring 2019 adult programs

Animal Aware (1 hr)
An amazing part of spending time in nature is seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Parks Canada’s Learn-to Camp team will provide tips on how to safely view animals while keeping a respectful distance.

Parks Canada Trip Planning 101 (1hr)
Have you ever wanted to experience camping but didn’t know where to start? You are not alone! Parks Canada’s Learn-to Camp team has you covered! Find out where to go on your dream camping vacation, how to book your site, and what you need to pack for a front-country camping experience.

AdventureSmart Survive Outside (1hr)
Gain the basic knowledge and confidence needed to safely experience your own outdoor adventures! The Parks Canada Learn-to Camp team will share outdoor travel tips and teach you about the survival items which should be carried with you on any outdoor excursion.


Summer 2019 family friendly programs

For all family friendly programs, children must be accompanied by an adult.

AdventureSmart Hug a Tree (30 minutes; Children ages 5-10)
Does your child know what to do if they get lost in the woods? A Search and Rescue prevention program hosted by Parks Canada’s Learn-to Camp team will teach children how to safely explore the outdoors and what they can do to remain calm and safe if they become lost.

Build Up Your Tents and Your Camping Experience (1.5 hr; All ages)
Join Parks Canada’s Learn-to Camp team to discover the basics of campsite set up. Explore campsite planning, safe food storage practices, Leave No Trace Principles, and tent set-up. You’ll have the opportunity to practice all of your new-found skills and to ask questions so you feel comfortable and capable setting out on your own adventure.

Camp Cooking (1.5 hrs; All ages)
The key to an unforgettable camping trip is unforgettable meals! The Learn-to Camp team will teach you the skills you need to build your own campfire and safely operate a camp stove. Discover camp friendly meal plans, safe food storage practices, and try your hand at using a camp stove while making your own tasty camping treat!

Animal Aware (30 minutes; Children ages 5-10)
An amazing part of spending time in nature is seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Parks Canada’s Learn-to Camp team will provide tips on how to safely view animals while keeping a respectful distance. This program is adapted specifically for children to promote their learning and engagement.

Overnight events

Students set up their tent during a Learn-to Camp event


$22/participant. Free for children under 2-years-old*

*Different fees apply for the overnight event at McDonald campground

Who participates

Anyone can participate in the Learn-to Camp program. If you want to learn how to camp, you are welcome to join us!

You will learn

  • How to pitch a tent
  • Camping outdoor recreation safety

We provide

  • Tent
  • Sleeping pads
  • Camping stoves

You should bring

  • Sleeping bags*
  • Food*
  • Eating utensils and dishes
  • Snacks
  • Pillow
  • Suitable, comfortable clothing for the outdoors
  • Pajamas
  • Rain gear
  • Comfortable and supportive shoes
  • Toys and books for the kids
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottles
  • A hat to protect you from the sun
  • Personal toiletries
  • Any personal medication
  • Camera
  • Items for young children (bottles, diapers, etc.)
  • Your health card
  • Flash light or head lamp

*Sleeping bags are not provided. Please ensure you have one for each member of your group. 

*Bring what you’d like to eat for dinner and breakfast. Due to the volume of visitors who use the stove tops we recommend bringing food that only needs to be heated.

Note: You will receive more detailed information on packing lists, scheduling, and all other necessary information approximately one week before the event.


Parks Canada employee helps father and son read instructions for setting up a camping tent

Pop-up event registration

All pop-up events are drop-in; no registration required.

Workshop registration

For registration information on workshops, check the schedules above.

Overnight event registration

To register for overnight events please contact Parks Canada toll-free: 1-844-365-2646 (10:00 am - 6:00 pm EDT, Monday to Friday)*

*Please note, you will need to have a credit card handy.

Contact us

For more information on the Learn to Camp program, or if your organization is interested in hosting a workshop or event, please email the Learn-to Camp Coordinator.

After you learn to camp

After attending a Learn-to Camp event, you will be comfortable camping on your own. Parks Canada has many options for those who wish to begin planning their next experience.

Accommodation at Parks Canada

From rustic to all-inclusive.

Parks Canada Reservation Service

Reserve. Relax. Experience.


Mountain Equipment Co-op is our national partner and is participating at Parks Canada places from coast to coast! Staff will be on-site with tricks and tools for an even more delicious camping experience.