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  • Writer's pictureCarmen Castro

Camping Near Vancouver: 5 Cool and Reservation-Free Camping Spots

Updated: May 14

Camping season has arrived, and you're probably planning a trip with your friends, family, or even as a lone explorer, but you don't want to travel far to enjoy some nature time and recharge, and you know what? You don't have to.

In this post, we'll focus on campgrounds that are situated less than two hours from Vancouver and that don't require reservations too far in advance, if any. And as much as we would have loved to include some BC parks on our list for you to visit (because they have gorgeous park grounds and a variety of activities to do around camp), we won't this time, as the four-month reservation procedure can make it impossible for some individuals to plan that far ahead of time without jeopardizing other commitments and possibly cancelling the camping trip entirely.

But hey! Kudos to you if you already have some reservations in BC Parks; if not, we hope that this post helps you find a good place to go explore and build some camping memories this year.

River camping in Squamish, BC

Camping Near Vancouver: Our 5-sites recommendation list goes as follows:

Kearsley Creek (Mission)

Distance: 72 km from downtown Vancouver

Family oriented

Situated in Mission on Stave Lake, this campground offers 65 sites to choose from, both in the forest and close to the water, some of which are first-come, first-served sites (cash only).

For your convenience, you can also make reservations 30 days in advance and no less than 7 days prior to your planned arrival date.

The beach is great for little ones as the water is shallow close to shore, although consider bringing water shoes to protect little feet from rocks and sticks.

Services: No services are available.

A reservation fee is required: Prices start at $18.00 per night for a single site.

Sayres Lake (Mission)

Distance: 75km from downtown Vancouver

Family oriented

Situated in Mission on Sayres Lake, this campground offers 37 forested sites, some of which are first-come, first-served (cash only). To get to this site, 4WD is recommended due to the steep gravel hill to the lake. Reservations can be made within 30 days in advance of your visit and no less than 7 days prior to your arrival date.

This lake is great for swimming; there are a few swim-up docks, and the lake is clean and inviting. The drawback is that it can be noisy very late at night.

Services: No services are available.

A reservation fee is required: Prices start at $18.00 per night for a single site.

Cal-Cheak (Whistler)

Distance: 110 km from downtown Vancouver

Situated only 15 minutes from Whistler, this recreation site offers 55 forested sites distributed in 3 small campgrounds:

  • Callaghan Camp

  • North Camp

  • South Camp

This area is first-come, first-served only, with self-registration and paying the camping fees using a yellow collection box. Reservations are not available on this site.

This campsite is great for its proximity to hiking and biking trails, and there is also a creek and a suspension bridge just a few minutes away from camp. Furthermore, it is really close to Whistler Village if you want to indulge yourself in one of the top destinations in North America.

Services: No services are available.

Price: $15.00 per night, from April 1st to October 31st.

Squamish Riverside Campsite (Squamish)

Distance: 99 km from downtown Vancouver

Situated along the Squamish River, close to Ashlu Creek, this site offers nine sites, both forested and riverfront, that are first come, first-served. Black bear and grizzly bear sightings have been reported in this location, which is also a very popular fishing spot. There are many options to explore the area as well as a few hikes nearby.

Services: No services are available.

Price: Free

Chehalis River (West Harrison)

Distance: 108km from downtown Vancouver

Situated on the west side of Harrison Lake, this campground offers 57 sites, both forested and riverfront, some of which are triple sites. 35% of the sites are first-come, first-served (cash only), and the remaining 65% are available by reservation within 30 days of your arrival date. This area is popular for fishing for steelhead and salmon.

Services: no services are available.

Reservation fee required: Price is $18.00 per night for a single site plus camping fee.


Please be aware that these locations do not provide services; which means that there will be no power, potable water, or mobile services available.


Camping near Vancouver is possible if you can travel a couple of hours to find a place to relax and be away from the bustling city for a few days.

Make sure you have all the gear necessary before going on your camping adventure. Being prepared is the beginning of an awesome trip, we recommend you to check out our post: Camping Start-Up Gear: Essentials, Add-Ons and an Approximate Budget

Please let us know in the comments if there are any other sites that you'd recommend to us.

Pack your stuff, bring your loved ones, and have an unforgettable adventure!


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