Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you want to know about Campbell River and the Strathcona Region below! If you still can’t find what you’re looking for drop at us a line at [email protected]!
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Q: What kind of whales are in the area?
A: Humpbacks frequent our waters from spring to fall, we do see both resident and transient orcas as well.
Q: What kind of wildlife can I see in the area?
A: Campbell River is home to a wide variety of wildlife. The best way to experience it for yourself is on a wildlife tour with one of our experienced local operators. On these tours, it is possible to see Humpback whales, Orcas, Bald eagles, seals, sea lions (California & Steller), dolphins, porpoises and bears
Q: What time of year is the salmon run?
A: The salmon run is dependent on a number of factors but they usually begin swimming up the river to spawn in late July, continuing into the beginning of November. A good place to view salmon is at the Quinsam Fish Hatchery. ***during the spawning period there are black bears in the area, please exercise caution. For more information on being “bear aware” please visit.
Q: What is the best time of year to go bear watching?
A: Bear watching tours start mid August and run until the mid October, the best time to see bears all depends on the timing of the salmon run, generally September and the beginning of October are a good time to see the grizzly bears. Tours book up quickly so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Q: How long are bear watching tours?
A: Due to the fact there are no grizzly bears on Vancouver Island, local operators travel to nearby inlets on the mainland. Tours last about 8hrs with a bear viewing time of 3hrs.
Q: Are children allowed on wildlife tours?
A: Age limits are up to the individual operator’s discretion, typically children are allowed on whale and wildlife tours, however, most bear watching tours require all guests to be over the age of 12.
Q: What is the best time of year to go whale watching?
A: Whale watching tours run from the beginning of May until the mid October. For a list of operators visit our marine & wildlife tours page.
Hiking & Biking
Q: What are good hikes in town?
A: There are a number of great hiking trails in the Campbell River region. The Elk Falls Provincial Park has a number of popular trails, beaver lodge lands, for those wanting to venture further out of town the Strathcona provincial park offers trails for all skill levels.
Q: Where can I go biking?
A: Campbell River is home to a number of excellent biking areas. For those looking for a leisurely ride along the water check out the Rotary Sea Walk, this 6km paved path gives riders an excellent ocean view. For those looking to get off road, the Beaver Lodge Lands have a variety of trails for beginners as well as experienced riders or check out the Snowden Demonstration Forest for more advanced terrain.
Q: Do I need a Fishing License?
A: Yes, a fishing license is required for both salt and freshwater. You can buy licenses online or at a local tackle shop like Tyee Marine of River Sportsman.
Q: Where can I rent a fishing rod
A: Rod rentals are available seasonally(May-September) at the Discovery Fishing Pier.
Q: What time of year is best for salmon fishing?
A: Campbell River has year round salmon fishing, the opportunities are best during the summer months.
Q: Are there any boat rentals in the area?
A: No, for saltwater fishing you must hire a fishing charter.
Q: Is there any freshwater fishing in the area?
A: Yes plenty! Campbell River has an abundance of rivers and lakes that make for great fishing. You can check out the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC for stocked lakes in the area.
Q: Are there currently any restrictions in the area?
Q: Where can I go to to learn about local history?
A: The Museum at Campbell River is a great spot to go to learn about local history. It’s galleries cover local Indigenous history, early settlement and industrial histories such as logging and fishing. The Maritime Heritage Centre is great for those wanting to learn more about our marine history. The centre features the BCP45, a local fishing boat that was featured on the Canadian five dollar bill in the seventies.
Q: Are there any bus/walking tours offered in town?
A: No there is not. Visitors can go on a self-guided tour of Pier Street. The city has installed signs throughout downtown that mark historically significant places.
Q: Where can I watch live music?
A: In the summer Spirit Square hosts live music (dates TBD) also many pubs/restaurants offer live entertainment on the weekends
Q: Can you go on a tour of the John Hart dam?
A: There are no tours offered of the dam, guests can go to the interpretive centre at Elk Falls to learn about the project.
Q: I want to learn more about first nations culture where do I go?
A: Apart from our city museum, the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre on Quadra Island has a collection of potlatch regalia that has been repatriated. The Cultural Centre is a great place to go to learn about the traditions and values of local First Nations groups.
Q: Are there any local artisan studios I can visit?
Q: Is there a craft brewery in town?
A: Yes, it is called Beachfire Brewing and Nosh House and on Tuesdays, they do a specialty small batch. There is also a whiskey distillery called Shelter Point Distillery they do free tastings and tours.
Q: What kind of campsites are in the area?
A: There are many options for camping in the area. There are private campgrounds with fully serviced sites, provincial parks, recreation sites and glamping.
Q: What is a recreation site?
A: Recreation sites (rec sites) are unmainted and unserviced campsites that are typically free or if there is a site host have a small fee. Rec sites take a little bit of extra work to find as they are dispersed along logging roads(gravel sometimes rough). However, they are a really great and economical way to explore the region. If you are planning on rec site camping it is advised to buy a BackRoads Map Book which are available at the Campbell River Visitor Centre. You can also consult sites and trails BC for an idea of what is available in the region and what amenities the different sites have to offer (Ie. boat launch, pit toilet ect…)
Q: How early should I book a campsite?
A: In the summer months June to early September booking for a private or provincial campsite is strongly recommended. Bookings for provincial parks are done online through the BC Parks website. Reservations must be made at least two days in advance. Bookings for private campgrounds can be made directly through the campgrounds themselves.
Q: How do I tell how many sites are left for the night in a provincial campground?
A: There is no way to tell how many sites are left online, the only way to know if the park is full is by going to the campground. If it is full there is typically a sign out front saying so.
Q: Where can I camp during the winter?
A: most of the private campgrounds remain open year round. The Quinsam Campground at Elk Falls is open all year however during the winter there are no services available, so campers must be self-sufficient. You can also camp at most rec sites during the winter months but you must be self-sufficient as well.
Q: Where is a sani-dump?
A: There are seasonal sani-dumps at Miracle Beach & Elk Falls. There is year round sani-dump located at the Quinsam Crossing.