I need a list of campgrounds by province for a cross Canada road trip this summer. Any suggestions?
May 5, 2007 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I need a list of campgrounds by province for a cross Canada road trip this summer. Any suggestions?

I'm planning on taking a road trip across Canada (Alberta eastwards) this summer, using primarily campgrounds for sleeping accommodations. Something that's important to me on this trip is to have as much spontaneity as possible, meaning that I'd rather not research ahead very much. To facilitate this, I thought a list of campgrounds in different provinces along the way might prove quite useful. Do provinces often have something like this? If not, are there other resources I could use? Any help would be appreciated.
posted by northernsoul to Travel & Transportation around Canada (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Two publications that have helped me when planning extended trips in BC and in Alberta were the BC Recreational Atlas and the Alberta Recreational Atlas.

For each province, the book contains road maps, photographs and extended 1:250,000 maps with topographic information, as well as location maps for national, provincial as well as forest service camp sites.

Useful appendices list the amenities in each campsite (# campsites, RV facilities if any, running water, hot water, etc) as well as cost information if any.

Now you are leaving Alberta and going East, so you might want to inquire whether similar books exist for Sask, Man, Ont, etc If you live near a Mountain Equipment Coop, it's a good place to start (browse their shelves)

Your other alternatives are to contact the Canadian Automobile Association, and ask them for a Trip-Tik; and I would also recommend that you google a bit and contact each province's Tourism bureau, and ask for campground maps and information. They will be very happy to oblige
posted by seawallrunner at 12:06 PM on May 5, 2007

Well, this doesn't fulfill the "no research" criteria, but Mapquest will show you campgrounds for any province or city you choose. In the "map" section, enter "campground" in the "Place Name" field, and the city and/or province. You'll have to print or save PDFs for later reference.

Sounds like fun!
posted by The Deej at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2007

Provincial Parks are shown on the standard provincial roadmaps; *most* of these will have campgrounds, and in general they will be where you want to stay . Private KOA-type campgrounds tend to be pretty dire, caravans and patio lanterns shoved together on a field, whereas PP standards tend to be pretty good.
Although this would impige on the spontaneity thing, you might want to look at Provincial Parks and book ahead, since the better ones do fill up. E.g. the sites at Lake Superior Provincial Park, which I recommend highly.
posted by Flashman at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2007

I mean, yes, you can get lists of campgrounds but disassociated from geography that might not be too useful - seeing them laid out on potential routes I think would be better, and might help you decide which of miriad journeys you wish to take across the country
posted by Flashman at 12:30 PM on May 5, 2007

You might find this site useful in Ontario. I can personally recommend Pinery as a great swimming, biking and canoeing palce...
posted by Zinger at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2007

place! not palce
posted by Zinger at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2007

If CAA is like AAA then what you are looking for are their CampBooks. These are just what they sound like, listings of campgrounds and since the organizations are autmobile organizations they give you driving directions to get to them. I've used them extensively in the past and the accomodations they'll list range from KOA style places to freebie pit-toilet-no-water places. They're pretty good about letting you know what you'll get and there aren't any ratings, just listings.
posted by jessamyn at 12:51 PM on May 5, 2007

Call the Tourism Department in each province. Ask them to send you their tourism brochures for camping. Most provincial governments will have something like the Nova Scotia Doers and Dreamers Guide that outlines where major attractions, restaurants, shopping, and yes campgrounds are. Stick them in your trunk and do your research from them on the day of, so you retain your spontaneity.

Tourism departments will provide all this stuff to you for free if you just ask.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:26 PM on May 5, 2007

I've done this trip before. Jessamyn has it right. If you get a CAA membership and go to one of their offices, you can get a whole bunch of free Campbooks and other books that tell you areas of interest. When I took my last cross-Canada trip, I walked out of the CAA office with a heavy stack of 14 glossy travel books -- I can't imagine what that would have cost had I bought them in a store.

Better still, you can work with them to plan your route and they'll make you a little personalized booklet (I think they call it a triptik or something like that) with a map of your route, campsites along the way, the history of the towns you'll be driving through, etc. It was invaluable. I would follow the route as long as I could until about an hour and a half before sunset, call up the campgrounds my triptik said were nearby, pitch a tent, then pick up the next day and do it all over again, occasionally stopping to see a site that my triptik said was nearby. This sounds like what you want to do.

Oh, and if you're pitching a tent, try to avoid the campgrounds that are predominantly for RVs. (The KOA-type places Jessamyn mentions.) They're expensive and horrible.
posted by painquale at 5:11 PM on May 5, 2007

The easiest thing, if you don't want to do much preparation is to grab a road atlas of Canada (mine has a lot of campgrounds marked right in it) and then stop at the tourism info building when you enter each province. They will be able to provide you with a map/list of campgrounds in the province (free, of course). If you don't manage to stop, no big deal, you still have most campgrounds marked on the map (or you can do as joannemerriam suggests and have them mail you the info in advance).

As pretty much everyone mentions above, provincial campgrounds are much nicer than commercial ones. There aren't too many provincial campgrounds near the highway on the prairies, so look out for municipal campgrounds too, which are generally not as bad as the KOA-style. I hope you aren't planning to leave too soon, because the bugs will be terrible in Northern Ontario. Be prepared.
posted by ssg at 6:17 PM on May 5, 2007

The AMA route is the way to go. Not only can you get copious documentation on campgrounds, you can get a couple maps of each of the provinces you are traveling through plus city maps of any place large enough to need one. The membership will pay itself back almost immediately on the cost savings from maps alone. Have a flat or lock your keys in your car in Winnipegosis, Swan lake or Medicine Hat and your laughing.

Plus in Alberta they have the best registry service I've used. You can even renew your car registration online.

Fill up at Husky, Mowhawk or Turbo with an AMA card and you get a rebate applied to your account. Depending on what you drive your membership might be essentially free next year. And you can get the rebate even if you pay by credit card.

They also have decent prices on out of province medical insurance if you aren't otherwise covered.
posted by Mitheral at 8:05 PM on May 5, 2007

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