There’s something magical about camping – it takes you away from the busy world of constant emails, appointments, and commitments, so you can spend time with yourself and the important people in your world. When you’re camping, there’s no wrong time to dive into a book, take a hike through the woods, share some laughs around the campfire, and do what you want at a leisurely pace. It’s about eating good food, hanging with good people, and simply enjoying the great outdoors.

At the heart of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a camping paradise pretty much every day of the year. With mild winters and warm springs, you can camp more often, stay longer, and build a stronger connection with the natural world. #ExploreNanaimo to find a camping experience that fits your style.

 

Pitch a Tent Or Hook It Up

Drive up to a site and pitch a tent for yourself or the family to connect with nature, find solitude, and enjoy the Island’s natural beauty. With tons of convenient private and provincial spots available, you can spend more time relaxing and less time getting situated.

Alternatively, waking up in a proper bed and having your own bathroom are some of the more luxurious ways to connect with nature, and with full or partial hook-up sites, you can live just as well on the road as you do at home. Many of the campgrounds in Nanaimo offer full or partial amenities year-round. Pull through or drive in, hook up your unit, pull out the awning, and plop down in a comfy chair by the fire with your favourite beverage.

 

Where To Camp In Nanaimo

We’ve been blessed with an abundance of campsites that fit every budget. By the ocean or by the lake, in the forest or on an island – you’re spoiled for choice campsites in Nanaimo. Brannen Lake RV Park and Campsite – Less than 15 minutes away from the ferry terminal in Departure Bay, Brannen Lake offers trees and trails, beaches and natural beauty in over 120 spacious sites. This campsite has non-serviced, partial, and full hook-ups, a convenience store, free Wi-Fi, flushing toilets, hot showers, and laundry facilities, and they’re open year-round.

Brannen Lake RV Park and Campsite

Less than 15 minutes away from the ferry terminal in Departure Bay, Brannen Lake offers trees and trails, beaches and natural beauty in over 120 spacious sites. This campsite has non-serviced, partial, and full hook-ups, a convenience store, free Wi-Fi, flushing toilets, hot showers, and laundry facilities, and they’re open year-round.

Living Forest Oceanside Campground and RV Park

300 sites spread over 53 acres of ocean, forest, and river are available year-round at Living Forest. Pitch a tent along the river or park your RV on the beach, have an ice cream with a side of WiFi at the café while catching up on social media, and explore the trails in the forest or along the Nanaimo River. Family-sized campsites, sewer hookups and a sanidump, a large games room for kids in the summer and adults in the winter, and many more amenities make your stay comfortable.

Westwood Lake RV Camping and Cabins

Family-owned and perfect for families, Westwood Lake offers an intimate camping experience with 52 full and partial sites, 15 tenting sites, ten cozy cabins, and a two-bedroom cottage. Open all year, with quick access to the lake, equipment rentals for more fun on the water, and miles of hiking and biking trails.

Resort on the Lake

Go for a dip in Westwood Lake or swim a few laps in the heated outdoor pool. The Resort on the Lake has nearly 150 campsites, with tennis courts, a clubhouse, showers and laundry facilities, pickleball, a heated pool and hot tub, and many more amenities.

Jingle Pot RV Park and Campground

Centrally located and full of features, the Jingle Pot RV Park and Campground is about 10 minutes from the Departure Bay Ferry terminal and 20 minutes from Duke Point. Run by an avid gardener, this site is comfortable, friendly, and close to everything, with big-rig-friendly pull-thru sites, cable TV, laundry, showers, a paved parkway trail, and other camping
conveniences.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park

While you can’t bring vehicles to Saysutshun, the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and an island off the coast of Nanaimo’s downtown, you can find fantastic spots for tent camping. There are 18 walk-in sites and five group sites that can accommodate up to 50 people, and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Potable water, flush and pit toilets, hot showers, and food lockers are all available on Saysutshun, and since there aren’t any bears or cougars, you can enjoy your encounters with nature without worry. There’s even a fully licensed bistro with a delicious, locally inspired menu.

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"I always encourage visitors to spend time on the trail to Mount Benson, the best place to see how Nanaimo sits in the world."
Fred Jeffery
"There is so much natural beauty and history in Nanaimo. One of my favourite places to visit is Morden Mine Historical Park. Of course, I can't forget to mention the joy of indulging in one of the many varieties of the Nanaimo Bar."
Paula Plecas
Year-Round Camping in Nanaimo
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Year-Round Camping in Nanaimo

Whether you’re pulling a pop-up trailer, driving a fully stocked RV, or looking for the perfect spot to camp under the stars, there are plenty of sites for you in Nanaimo. We’re sheltered from the more severe weather of the Island’s west coast: our summers are warm and dry, averaging 20°C (70°F), and our winters rarely see the mercury drop below the freezing mark. November, December, and January are our rainy months, perfect for campers who love the sound of rain on the roof, and the rest of the year is pretty fantastic for all-weather campers.

Nanaimo S’mores
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Nanaimo S’mores
There’s a rumour that camping food has no calories. While that may or may not be true, it’s a pure fact that eating delicious treats is an essential part of camping. To bring a local spin to a classic camping treat, sprinkle some shredded coconut and slivered almonds on a square of chocolate atop a graham cracker. Slide in a perfectly toasted marshmallow, and cap with another graham cracker. Delicious, and if you can stop at just one, you have much more restraint than we do. Take the Nanaimo Bar Trail to find 39 stops that feature creative and delicious spins on this sweet treat. Enjoy a Nanaimo bar-tini, latte, waffle, pedicure, cupcake, massage oil, cakepop, and many more variations.
Campgrounds In & Around Nanaimo
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Campgrounds In & Around Nanaimo
Stay in a five-star hotel or under five billion stars. It’s your call. With hundreds of sites available for pretty much every kind of camper, you’ll find another reason to fall in love with Nanaimo by visiting our great outdoors.
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