Best Free Camping in British Columbia

British Columbia Free Camping

By Nathan Swartz

The wilderness to be found in Canada is outstanding. If you enjoy getting lost in fairy tale forests and sleeping so far beneath the stars that you forget what planet you're on, this is the country for you! British Columbia then amplifies this all again, with West Coast terrain bathed in lush, cushiony forests and mountain roads overgrown with free places to camp.

See a map of all free camping in British Columbia.

Free Provincial Park Camping

Similar to a state park in the United States, a provincial park is one run not by Canada's federal government, but by the individual provinces. The key difference here is that some of these slightly more local parks in Canada are so massive and wild that they rival the best the US' national parks have to offer.

Not to mention the likelihood of finding free campsites grows exponentially as well. Some of these places are referred to officially as a recreation site, and are actually well-maintained campgrounds, equipped with amenities like a boat launch, restrooms, picnic tables and fire rings. These types of camping experiences will be found most often immediately within the parks, such as those found at Atlin Provincial Park.

Others are more bare-bones, offering little more than a gorgeously wide spot along a dirt road, such as you'll find at the BC-37 Stikine Region Pullout. These latter varieties are often referred to as Crown Land, meaning this property is owned by the province and open for anyone to use for activities like fishing, tent camping, and hiking.

In fact, British Columbia, Canada is home to 644 provincial parks alone. More than enough to keep even the most dedicated campers exploring its endless forest for years to come!

Driving the Trans-Canada Highway alone, from Vancouver to Yoho National Park in the East, will afford you dozens of opportunities to find this type of free, and often dispersed, camping. As always, be a great camper and respect the land, your fellow outdoors-people, and governments that make this all possible by following Leave No Trace Principles.

Free Camping in City Parks of British Columbia

Near Frasier Lake, just about in the middle of the province, free camping can be had at two city parks.

White Swan Park Campground, located in Fraser Lake, BC, allows up to a two-night stay at no cost and even provides restrooms from May through September. This is still dry camping, mind you, but amazing views of the lake and extras like a playground and boat access make it an absolute favorite for those looking for an easy place to camp in a beautiful location.

Nearby, Burns Lake Village Campground offers a similar experience, though isn't quite as beloved by those careening along the highways in search of free camping in Canada.

Near the city of Nanaimo, a county park by the name of Spruston Staging Area provides additional options.

More Free Camping in BC

Though it would be nearly impossible to stay even one night in all of the many provincial places that BC offers, there are some other particularly interesting–and still free–places to camp in the region.

Dease Lake Gravel Pit is an easy roadside stop. Prophet Airstrip is a former official campground now open to public use. These and more free-to-stay sites exist across British Columbia.

From Vancouver Island to all points further north, Prince George to the Washington border, free camping is an easy option for those willing to respect these precious camping spots and make sure they remain open for generations of campers to come!

portable computer displaying map of camping locations
mobile device showing map of camping locations

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Recent British Columbia Free Campsite Reviews

Campbell River, BC, Canada

Dogwood Bay

Aug 31, 2021

"Large, beautiful campground"

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One of my favorite campgrounds in SoCal. Grounds are huge, and convenient drive (entrance is near the road but none of the sites are road-adjacent). Clean bathrooms though I didn't try the showers. Could see this being a party place, but didn't experience that. Some of the sites are close together.

Raj Madhure
3 reviews
Cranbrook, BC, Canada

Home Hardware Building Centre

Aug 28, 2021

"Parking lot "

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Stayed while driving west from Ontario. Signs are posted RV’s welcome. Cell phone good. Both Bell and Rogers.

Brenda Rooney
1 review
Fort Nelson, BC, Canada

Beaver Lake Recreation Site

May 30, 2021

"Quiet, Secluded and remote place"

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We loved staying here. There was only one other guy the entire time. The back two spots are the most spacious. every spot has a picnic table and a fire pit. There are many bears here.

Mack Bartle
5 reviews
Cranbrook, BC, Canada

Home Hardware Building Centre

May 04, 2021

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Free overnight parking next to Walmart. Walmart does not allow overnight parking. This stores welcomes overnight parking. Very quiet. 1 other camper. Felt safe.

Edward Cox
2 reviews
Fort Steele, BC, Canada

Wild Horse River Dispersed Camping

Apr 28, 2021

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This is no longer an option to boondock imo. Poorly maintained day-use area. If you need a one-nighter, and don't want to pay at the campground across the road there is a Rest Stop a few miles north.

Dan Markham
1 review