6 Ways to Maximize Your Campbell River Summer Vacation

6 Ways to Maximize Your Campbell River Summer Vacation

Are you planning your first visit to Campbell River? It may surprise you to hear that we are not as rural as you think. In fact, Campbell River has become a top Vancouver Island travel destination in the last couple of years, and as a result, the summer months are becoming our busiest season. To help you with your travel planning, we’ve put together six tips to maximize your trip and ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Photo credit: Bluetree Photography

1. Reserve your ferry ahead of time

When planning a trip to Campbell River, keep in mind there are three ways to get here. You can fly directly to YBL Campbell River airport, drive from other regions of Vancouver Island, or ferry from the mainland to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) and then drive to Campbell River.

We highly recommend booking a reservation ahead of time if you are taking the ferry. And book it as early as possible, as ferry reservations have been selling out fast. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a reservation, it is common to wait several hours to get on a ferry on long weekends, holidays, and in the summer months, which isn’t a great way to start a vacation. Also, BC Ferries now allows walk-on passengers to make ferry reservations, and you don’t have to wait for 2-months out to book your reservation. So book today!  

For more details on how to get here, see this blog post

Photo credit: Bluetree Photography

2. Book Your Accommodations in Advance

Since 2020 (i.e. the pandemic era), B.C residents are staying closer to home and exploring their backyard more, which means accommodations are filling up faster than usual. In fact, hotels and motels are already telling us they are almost full for this 2022 summer season. So to avoid disappointment and stress, book your accommodation far in advance.

For a list of Campbell River accommodations, check out this page

Photo credit: Bluetree Photography

3. Rec Sites in the region are first come, first serve

Recreation sites (rec sites) are un-maintained and unserviced campsites that are typically free; however if there is a site host, a small fee may be charged. Rec sites take a little bit of extra work to find as they are dispersed along logging roads (these roads are gravel and can be very rough).

It’s important to know that these sites do not allow reservations and are available on a first-come-first-serve bases. So if you are travelling during peak times, be prepared to do a bit of driving (aka poking around) before finding an available site. Or, if your travel time is flexible, a great alternative is to come during the week. 

Here is some more information on  Rec Sites in Campbell River

Photo credit: Tyler Cave

4. Book your campsite ahead of time

We know we might be sounding like a broken record, but this is your friendly reminder to book your campsites ahead of time. Camping is a popular past-time in the summer months, and in Campbell River, we are spoiled with a variety of campgrounds and RV parks. However, because camping season is short-lived, campsites tend to book up, especially on long weekends like May long, Canada Day long weekend, and August long weekend. 

For a list of Campbell River Campsites & RV parks, check out this page. 

Photo credit: Bluetree Photography

5. Visit on a weekday

We promise weekday activities are just as fun as weekend activities! So if your travel dates are flexible, consider visiting Campbell River during the week to beat the crowds. Also, all the major attractions, restaurants, and popular tours are open and running during the week, so you don’t need to worry about missing anything if visiting mid-week.

6. Don’t forget to pack your rain gear

Did you know that Vancouver Island is home to temperate rainforests, and as a result, we experience a lot of rain! And since Campbell River is located on Vancouver Island, we like to remind people to pack warm layers and rain gear (coats and umbrellas), even in the summer months. Don’t let the wet weather stop your adventures. (If you need some tips on how to camp in the rain – check out 5 Tips on How to Enjoy Camping in the Rain )

Photo credit: Bluetree Photography

We look forward to welcoming you to Campbell River this summer! For more planning tips, check out this page. And if you have any further questions feel free to visit us at our visitor centre or email us at: [email protected]