The preparation of our 23-day camper tour Western Canada and Vancouver Island took a lot of time. Because we had reserved all camping spots in advance, we had more time on site to enjoy the beautiful nature and we did not have to worry about looking for camping spots. Usually the parks of British Columbia and Alberta are fully booked during the high season. If you have not booked in advance, you have no choice but to either stand on the overflow parking or pay a lot for a usually uninviting private campsite. It is therefore best to book a camping pitch from Parks Canada in advance.
Camping in the National Parks
Parks Canada's sites in British Columbia and Alberta are highly sought after in high season. In my opinion, they are, together with the places in the Provincial Parks, the best to spend the night. On the Parks Canada website you can clearly see from which date AND time you can reserve these places. Within the hour, from the possibility of booking, all camping spots of Parks Canada are reserved for the high season. Being rap is really the message here! Through the Parks Canada website you can reserve places in the National Parks.
Camping in Provincial Parks
The places in the Provincial parks can only be booked later. These places are comparable in size and location, but can only be booked 4 months before arrival. The “problem” with a reservation in these parks is if you want to stay overnight in the same park for several days in a row, you have to make the reservations day after day. It is therefore possible that you have to move to a different place for several days, because someone else was too quick for you when booking and reserved “your” place. You can place them in the Provincial Parks Through this link to reserve.
Ready steady GO!
You actually have to be ready behind your laptop or computer on the hour after you can make a reservation. Usually that is the order of the day 8:00 am local time in British Columbia or Alberta. In Europe it is then 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. later and therefore 16 p.m. or 00 p.m. Are you already home from work? Picked up children from school? Do they have to go to the sports club? In the case of the Provincial Parks, I wouldn't panic to reserve that beautiful spot on the water a little later. But for one of those few places in the National Parks, it is best to put your finger on the book button at 17:00 PM (or sometimes 17:00 PM) punctually !
Cheap flight to Vancouver YVR
It had been a number of years that we wanted to take a tour through Western Canada, but the price of the flight was usually too expensive. The month before I bought the tickets I had requested a quote from Tioga Tours, but the price of the flight on the quote at that time was 5500 euros for 4 people from Brussels and 3276 euros from Amsterdam. The price for the Mobilhome was OK, but due to the high cost of the flight I had put the tour on hold again. A month later and after some searching about campers, camping pitches, the ferry to Vancouver Island, fuel, food, etc… it just happened to be… the price had dropped enormously!
We were able to book the flight very cheaply through Lufthansa. Flights to Vancouver and Calgary are always very expensive, but this time I got there early and we got lucky. In November 2017, I searched for cheap flights to various destinations in Canada on momondo. Usually a flight in that period costs around 850 euros per person at best. At that time, the price had dropped to 1658 euros for 4 persons! I had a hard time believing it. Did I wrongly set the search engine to 2 people? Checked again, but it was indeed the price for the 4 of us together.
All hands on deck! Called Jessica asking if she could get leave in August for 3.5 weeks. The day after, the price could have been adjusted and then it might again become too expensive. After waiting for two hours, I received the redeeming answer. The leave request was approved and we were able to book. Since the price was the same at Lufthansa, I booked directly with Lufthansa. The first step was taken. Later I heard that her boss had bought the same cheap tickets to Vancouver that day, but before July.
The price of a flight ticket changes every day
The bizarre thing was that the flight that we booked was exactly the same flight that was in the quote. So waiting a little can do wonders! Through this link you can search flights with search engine momondo or via this link you can book directly with Lufthansa.
Forget about traveling to Canada ETA (Eletronic Travel Authorization) not to be requested! You absolutely need that to enter Canada. It costs 7 $ CAD per person and you can here .
West Canada tour
Our “Western Canada & Vancouver Island tour” lasted a total of 23 days and could take a little longer in my opinion. There are always places where you want to stay a little longer or where you would like to take it a bit easier, but that is about the only disadvantage of recording everything in advance.
Below is a summary of our tour of breathtaking British Columbia, Alberta and Last but not least Vancouver Island! Excursions and sights are further elaborated with tips on some days.
You can read the daily reports of the tour of Western Canada and at the end of Vancouver Island at the bottom of the map by clicking on the link “Read more” or on the accompanying photo of the description. We made the RV trip in the summer of 2018 with a 25 foot Diesel Navion Mobilhome rented from Traveland RV Rentals in Langley BC. With a few exceptions, we stayed in the parks of Parks Canada and the Provincial Parks of British Columbia and Alberta.
With this link you get a practical overview of all daily reports.
Tour Western Canada - Route and places of interest Map
Day 1: Brussels - Vancouver
Departure from Brussels to Vancouver, BC with Lufthansa
Overnight at the Victorian Hotel, Vancouver BC
Day 3: Manning Park
Ride from Hope to Okanagan Lake North Provincial Park via Manning Park (240 km / 150 mi)
On the way: lunch in the park after which we took a walk of 4.5 km (Lightning Lake Loop) around the lake in Manning Park.
Camping: Okanagan Lake North Provincial Park - Quiet 1 night site - No electricity - Swam and played the Frisbee - You can hear the road a little
Day 4: Bike ride - Myra Canyon
Ride from Okanagan Provincial Park to Martha Creek Provincial Park in Revelstoke (290km / 180mi)
On the way: Bike ride in Myra Canyon over wooden bridges of an old railway line
Campground: Martha Creek Provincial Park - One of the nicest campgrounds we had - 1st night
Day 6: Hike -Loop Brook Trail & Meeting the Waters
Drive from Revelstoke to Kootenay National Park (270 km / 167 mi)
On the way: Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk (30 min) Located 43 km from Martha Creek Provincial Park + Giant Cedar Boardwalk (30 min) Located 2.6km further.
Walk Brook Trail and Meeting the Waters Trail
Camping: Kootenay National Park - Redstreak Campground
Day 14: Whistler Mountain
Short drive from Nairn Provincial Park to Whistler (35 km / 21mi)
RV parking in Whistler. Little to look for. Best to fix parking in the GPS in advance. We stood on Lot 3 (20 $ all day).
Suspension Bridge on Whistler Mountain
Peak to Peak to Blackcomb Mountain
Ziptrek Ecotours - Zipping with Eli
Camping: Riverside Resort Full Hook Up (71 $)
Day 15: Vancouver Island - Pacific Rim National Park
Saturday - Transfer to Vancouver Island
Ride from Whistler to Picific Rim National Park (300 km / 186mi)
On the way: Transfer Horseshoebay (100 km) to Nanaimo
Camping: Green Point Campground (Long Beach Area) in the Pacific Rim National Park - 1th night 23
Day 21-22-23: Ferry Vancouver Island - Cultus Lake
Friday (Day 21)
Ride from Miracle Beach to Cultus Lake via the Ferry (Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay) (260km / 162mi)
Camping: Cultus Lake Provincial Park (Place E20)
Saturday (day 22)
Ride from Cultus Lake PP to Traveland to bring the Mobilhome back
Camping: On the plane (Day 23)