Beyond Your Basecamp: 5 Things To Do If You’re Camping In The North Island

For those seeking solitude and some much-needed rest and relaxation, few places in BC offer the breathtaking coastal views and remote charm that’s found by camping in Vancouver Island North. Whether you’re sleeping under the stars on a beach or hooked up in the cozy comforts of an RV, this region offers plenty of locations to set up your dream basecamp. But like any good basecamp, your experience shouldn’t be confined to the boundaries of your campsite–but instead a launching point for other experiences!

During your camping adventures this summer, we encourage you to step out of your campground and truly experience everything the North Island has to offer.

See The Coast From The Water

Getting out on the water unlocks so many more opportunities to explore ocean-sculpted shorelines, sea life, and the incredible views of the Broughton Archipelago. Whether you’re in a kayak or on a whale-watching boat, no trip to the North Island is complete without also exploring the marine side of the region.

For kayaking, Alder Bay Kayak and North Island Kayak offer great day tour options. At The Water’s Edge in Telegraph Cove have kayak rentals available for some self-guided explorations.

Or, spend the day fishing in some of the most sought-after waters in North America. Visit the Fishing page to find operators who offer day trips and multi-day fishing experiences.

Learn More About Indigenous Art, Culture & History

Vancouver Island North is home to some of the best ways to experience indigenous art, culture, and history. Catch the ferry over to Alert Bay to visit the U’mista Cultural Centre and Culture Shock Gallery for interactive and educational exhibits about the life of Kwak̓wala speaking peoples.

Meet The Locals On A Guided Wildlife Experience

For whale watching, Coastal Rainforest Safaris and Prince of Whales feature day trips that take you into the heart of popular feeding grounds for orcas and humpback whales. These tours include an interpretive guide that can speak to the part every species plays in the delicate ecosystems of northern Vancouver Island, and can also include other sea life as well, as you encounter them!

Or, join Sea Wolf Adventures on an unforgettable, indigenous-led grizzly bear experience where you can see bears in their natural habitat and learn more about their important role in local First Nation history.

Take A Hike

If there’s one thing Vancouver Island North is well known for, it’s its remote appeal, and that lends perfectly to hikes that take you to some of the most scenic places on earth.

Fill your pack with lunch and snacks to-go from local eateries like Cafe Guido or Tia’s Cafe and hit the trails. While the multi-day trails are some of the most iconic, there are a number of smaller hikes that take only a few hours, such as:

  • Quatse Loop Trail
  • Marble River Trail
  • San Josef Bay

To learn more about trails in the North Island, download the North Island Trails app for Apple or Android or use the All Trails app. You can also view the trail app online here.

Find The Perfect Gift

Lastly, no trip to the North Island is complete without taking some time to check out local artwork. Commemorate your trip by visiting an art gallery or gift shop to see beautiful works of art, including prints, carvings, pottery, stained glass, household items, and more. Find a souvenir for yourself or the perfect gift for a loved one. Check out the Galleries and Studios page to get inspired and find businesses near you.

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Explore Vancouver Island North
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