With thousands of private and public campsites to choose from, it can be a little difficult narrowing down your next camping destination in Canada. To make planning your escape a little easier, we’ve chosen some of our favourite spots across the country—each more memorable than the last.
Here are 20 of the most unique Canadian camping experiences, so hop into an all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline and explore all Canada has to offer.
1. Located in Northern British Columbia on the Alaska Highway, Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park is home to the second largest natural hot springs in Canada. In the boreal forest setting, you may catch sight of a moose drinking from the warm swamp waters, which reach temperatures of up to 52 degrees Celsius.
2. Rest your head for the night amongst the old growth rainforest of British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park at Green Point Campground. The only drive-in camping within the park, it offers access to the picturesque 16-kilometre Long Beach.
3. This is one hike worth taking. Climb up to the Berg Lake Campground in Mount Robson Provincial Park. The campsite’s namesake is located next to a small turquoise lake, which contains mini icebergs that have broken off from a glacier on the mountain above.
4. Sleep directly inside a fort at Fort Langley National Historic Site. Spend your day dressing up as a pioneer, panning for gold, and experiencing life as a 19th century voyageur, before settling down in one of the park’s glamping tents for the night.
5. At the cross-provincial Waterton National Park, you’re just down the road from restaurants and store, but also within close distance to the park’s day hikes. Part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, it is a UNESCO and World Heritage site.
6. The Columbia Icefield Campground in Jasper National Park is among the highest places in Canada to go car camping. It also sits across from the famous Athabasca Glacier.
7. For the truly intrepid, the fly or boat-in camping spots at Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park are a must-see. High in Northern Saskatchewan, the 100 kilometres of sand dunes are the most northern active formation of their kind on earth. A unique ecological zone, rare and unusual endemic species of plants can be found in the area.
8. Float in “Canada’s Dead Sea” when you stay at the Manitou & District Regional Park and Campground in Central Saskatchewan. It’s located near Little Manitou Lake, a saltwater lake that bathers can easily float in. Used for years by Aboriginal people, it’s said to have restorative and healing powers.
9. Camping in the Prairies may not have the same curb appeal as the mountains, but wait until you hear about the backcountry camping in Grasslands National Park. One of the few remaining areas of natural Prairie left in the world, it is the home to endangered and rare species, including rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets, and Canada’s only prairie-dog colony.
10. While many of Canada’s campsites offer wildlife encounters, few offer encounters of this sort. From the Baie Sainte-Marguerite Campground in Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Quebec, you can watch belugas swim and play in the bay. There’s also an interpretative centre on site where you can learn more about the small white whales.
11. In Ontario’s Fathom Five National Marine Park, you can pitch your tent on your own private island—well, almost. The iconic Flowerpot Island (named for its interesting rock formations) has just six camping platforms near Beachy Cove.
12. In the Kawarthas near Peterborough, you’ll find the Warsaw Caves Conservation Area & Campground. As the name implies, the campground is home to a series of seven caves, which are accessible to amateur spelunkers to explore.
13. Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland is one of the few places on the planet where Earth’s mantle is exposed and the Trout River Campground is a perfect spot to appreciate this feature.
14. There are more than 200 species of birds at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary Campground on the St. Lawrence River. It’s one of the only campgrounds in North America located in the heart of a bird sanctuary.
15. It’s not easy to get to the Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada (you’ll need to fly or boat in), but camping at the Torngat Mountains Base Camp & Research Station is worth the trek. Explore the northernmost tip of Canada’s mainland along Labrador’s northern coast with an Inuit guide—just watch out for the polar bears.
16. Set up your tent just a 10-minute walk away from the beach at Parlee Beach Provincial Park near Shediac in New Brunswick. But this isn’t any beach—this is the warmest stretch of ocean water north of Virginia.
17. One of the largest protected areas in the world, Wood Buffalo National Park is home to herds of free-roaming bison, the nesting area for endangered whooping cranes, and the site of salt plains. The Pine Lake Campground features an aquamarine lake formed by sinkholes.
18. In Canada’s parkland system, Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia is the only site where nearly the entire area is also a National Historic Site. Stay at Jeremys Bay Campground and take a guided tour of the park’s 500-plus petroglyphs to learn more about the Mi’kmaw people.
19. If you’re looking for extremes, check out Kathleen Lake Campground. The only campsite in the Yukon’s Kluane National Park, it’s near Canada’s highest peak, Canada’s largest ice field, and a genetically diverse grizzly population.
20. Want to get certified as a northern explorer when you go north of 60? Head into the information centre at the Northwest Territories’ 60th Parallel Territorial Park for proof of your adventurous spirit.