Enjoy Victoria Day in a BC Park

Campsites and reservations are in high demand over the May long weekend, and campgrounds near big cities fill up quickly

Ministry of Environment

This Victoria Day long weekend, campers are encouraged to go on an adventure – travel to a new park, explore a different trail, or try a new outdoor activity. The long weekend marks the unofficial start of camping season, and is a great opportunity to explore B.C.’s provincial parks.

Campsites and reservations are in high demand over the May long weekend, and campgrounds near big cities fill up quickly. Through Discover Camping, the province’s camping reservation system, visitors are able to reserve individual campsites up to three months in advance of arrival date.

First-come, first-served campsites are still offered in many campgrounds for visitors without reservations, while group sites are available up to 12 months in advance. Reservations can also be made through the call centre at 1 800 689-9025 for a surcharge of $5 (plus tax).

Bookings are up almost 14 per cent in 2014 – 41,154 to date compared to 36,038 this time last year. Some of the most popular parks include Haynes Point and E.C. Manning in the southern interior, Rathtrevor Beach on Vancouver Island, Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley, and Shuswap Lake in the Okanagan.

Visitors are encouraged to frequently check availability in BC Parks by visiting the Discover Camping website at: www.discovercamping.ca. Here, campers can get started by entering desired preferences into the system and using the quick date section to find long weekend availability.

Discover Camping’s interactive system allows campers to view the layouts and amenities at 109 reservable campgrounds in 97 provincial parks throughout British Columbia.

There are plenty of new activities and upgrades at many provincial parks.

These continuous improvements are sure to guarantee a fun-filled BC Parks’ experience.

* Later this summer if you’re on Vancouver Island, be sure to check out Goldstream Provincial Park’s new playground and child-friendly bike trail.

* Visitors to Rathtrevor Beach and Goldstream provincial parks can now enjoy new picnic tables, new washroom facilities and more signs, improving accessibility and mobility for visitors.

* Emergency cabins at the Bowron Lake circuit, a world-class canoeing opportunity, continue to be upgraded for the safety of adventurous backcountry visitors.

* Washroom facilities at Mount Fernie are seeing upgrades, and the campgrounds and day-use areas continue to be improved at Mabel Lake and McDonald Creek campgrounds.

Don’t forget to pick up a free BC Parks Passport at any visitor centre in B.C. and most provincial parks. These passports are a great way for families to have fun and experience new places, while collecting stamps and stickers to earn great prizes. Passports also include advice on trip planning and Visitor Centre coupons.

For more information about B.C.’s provincial parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca

BC Parks Visitor Services provides tips for finding your perfect campsite:  https://soundcloud.com/bcgov/nathalie-dechaine-bc-parks-may-06-2014