Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Temporary fire ban, effective July 12, 2024, until further notice, at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. More information.

Know before you go

Importation information to read prior to making a camping reservation, including campsite party sizes, quiet hours, and garbage facilities.

Backcountry camping

Choose from one of several background campgrounds in the national park reserve.

Frontcountry camping

Discover our frontcountry campgrounds in the national park reserve.

Group Camping

Séjournez dans notre camping de groupe sur l'île Sidney.

Where to stay

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve campgrounds are open every year from May 15 to September 30. All frontcountry campgrounds are closed for the off-season (October 1 - May 14).  Backcountry campgrounds are accessible year round but are not regularly maintained from October 1 – May 14. Visitors may use them at their own risk.

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers a wide variety of camping experiences, including frontcountry, backcountry and overnight boat camping options! To see where each of these is located, download our Visitor Guide

Note: You must be 19 years of age to reserve a campsite. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

2024 Camping Season: Important Information.
  • Reservation Launch: Friday, January 19 2024 at 8:00 am PT
  • Beaumont Campground:  Gulf Islands National Park Reserve will continue to offer only daytime visits to Beaumont on South Pender Island, as well as use of the mooring buoys.  Overnight camping will not be offered in 2024, while we continue to explore the potential for an alternate camping area.  Please respect all on-site signage.

Be prepared, and know what is open and closed before you go.

Frontcountry Campgrounds

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers a variety of camping opportunities for families, backpackers, kayakers and boaters. If you have never been camping before, frontcountry camping (car camping) is a good way to start.

Drive-in campgrounds:

A couple relaxes near their tent

SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) Campground

Vancouver Island

SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) Campground is an excellent base of operations for exploring both the Gulf Islands and the Greater Victoria area, for campers, RVers, and cyclists.

A couple relax outside their RV, surrounded by the lush forest at Prior Centennial campground on Pender Island

Prior Centennial

Pender Island

There is a short walking trail on the western side of the campground, providing hiking opportunities that link to other local trails outside of the national park reserve.

Boat accessible front country campgrounds:

 Group of friends relax by their tent

Sidney Spit Campground

Sidney Island

Located at the north end of Sidney Island, this popular family-friendly destination is accessible by boat or kayak. The park offers sandy beaches, wooded trails and an abundance of birds and marine life. 

Backcountry Campgrounds

For a rugged, back-to-nature experience, we offer a wide variety of backcountry campsites throughout the Southern Gulf Islands. At backcountry campsites in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, you will find:

  • Tent pads, platforms or open field campsites
  • Pit or composting toilets
  • Picnic tables (all sites except James Bay on Prevost Island)
  • Beach access
  • No potable water – bring enough for you and your party

No campfires are permitted in the backcountry (including below the high tide mark)

Campgrounds with reservations:

A young biker couple take a break on a bike trail

Narvaez Campground

Saturna Island

Narvaez Bay is one of the most beautiful and undisturbed bays in the southern Gulf Islands. This area includes regenerating Douglas fir forest and Garry oak-arbutus ecosystems.

Shingle Bay Campground 

Pender Island

Shingle Bay has a rustic feel that only the best backcountry sites have, and it’s only a short walk from the parking lot, so it's also very accessible.

First-come first-served campgrounds:

 A couple strolls among the Arbutus trees on the shoreline of D'Arcy Island

D'arcy Island

D'arcy Island

Numerous coves, cobble beaches and a forest of arbutus and Douglas fir.

Cabbage Island as seen from an approaching boat, offers a white sand beach and appealing shade from its tall trees

Cabbage Island

Cabbage Island

The marshes and stands of Garry oak, arbutus and coastal Douglas fir on Cabbage and nearby Tumbo and Saturna Islands are some of the most intact wetland and vegetation communities remaining on the Gulf Islands.

Isle-De-Lis/Rum Island

Isle-De-Lis/Rum Island

The island is popular with kayakers who stop overnight on multi-day paddling trips, but plan to arrive early in the day as there are a limited number of campsites (3).

A couple relaxes near their tent

James Bay Campground

Prevost Island

James Bay Campground is only accessible by water, and is popular with kayakers. There are no tent pads in this open field style camping area.

A couple enjoy a gentle walk, along the beach

Shell Beach, Princess Bay and Arbutus Point

Princess Margaret (Portland) Island

Portland Island features three backcountry campgrounds linked by hiking trails. The island was once the site of a First Nations village, but now the shell midden beaches encircling the island are the most visible reminder of their presence.


Date modified :