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Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia
Surrounded by surf, sand, cliffs and rainforests, Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to some of the most versatile campgrounds in Canada. Options include the Green Point Campground with 94 drive-in sites, 18 walk-in forest sites for a more rugged experience, and one group walk-in site.
Adventurers looking for unique experiences can enjoy rainforest trails, whale watching and visiting an interpretive centre to learn about the Nuu-chah-nulth people who lived in the region for thousands of years.
Banff National Park, Alberta
Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park. With about 3 million visitors each year, it also has some of the country's most popular national park campgrounds. Space in most of the 13 camping areas is reserved on a first-come-first-served basis, but don't let the crowds stop you – there are around 2,500 sites to choose from, each offering access to natural splendours and breathtaking scenery.
Climb to the mountain peaks, relax in the hot springs, and keep your camera handy to capture shots of iconic Canadian wildlife (always from a safe distance – these are still wild animals): moose, wolves, bears and caribou.
Other activities include fishing, hiking and canoeing. Campgrounds also offer free interpretive programs that teach visitors about the park through storytelling and theatre.
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Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Algonquin's proximity to two major urban centres, Toronto and Ottawa, makes it one of the most popular provincial parks in the country. With more than 1,500 lakes, 1,200 kilometres of streams and almost 8,000 square kilometres of wilderness, Algonquin offers some of the best camping in Canada.
Outdoorsy types can participate in a myriad of outdoor activities such as canoeing adventure tours, cycling on trails and bird watching (more than 250 species fly over the region). The park has three interior campgrounds – Achray, Brent, and Kiosk – and an easily accessible backcountry camping area without modern conveniences for campers who prefer to rough it.
You can also find three lodges and several children's camps along the Highway 60 corridor. Don't forget to stop by the Algonquin Art Centre – the gallery offers three wings of nature-themed art as well as an outdoor gallery space and activities for participants of all ages.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton Highlands National Park, located at the eastern edge of Nova Scotia, was the first national park established in the Atlantic provinces. Today, it remains one of the most beautiful areas in the Maritimes, thanks in no small part to the scenic Cabot Trail.
The park offers six front-country campgrounds, one backcountry campground (Fishing Cove), 25 hiking trails, golfing at Highlands Links (one of the best-ranked courses in the world), beaches with fresh and saltwater swimming, and wildlife such as the Canada lynx (who resembles a giant housecat), harbour seals and whales. There are outdoor theatres for those seeking art and culture in the rough, or you can simply take in the view from the 45-metre high Beulach Ban Falls.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Though the translation of this park's French name is "big gloomy," Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is better described as a Canadian delight. Campers and outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area for its rocky shores and breathtaking landscape, which is formed by glacial scraping and erosion.
Front-country camping is available at five different locations, and private campgrounds are also located in adjacent communities. Enjoy a nature walk up Gros Morne or head out to the nearby fishing villages and keep an eye out for eagles, caribou and moose along the way.
For more camping tips, expert advice and guides to some of the best campgrounds in Canada, visit our guide to the great Canadian outdoors.