British Columbia

Summer camping reservations with Parks Canada are now open — and filling up fast

It’s still the dead of winter, but British Columbians dreaming of warmer days and summer camping need to start making plans and reservations now — before all the campsites fill up.

Weekends in July and August at popular spots can be fully booked within hours

Weekends in July and August, and long weekends, are the most popular times to camp. (CBC)

It's still the dead of winter, but British Columbians dreaming of warmer days and summer camping need to start making plans and reservations now — before all the campsites fill up.

On Thursday, Parks Canada opened reservations for select campsites across the country. The most popular locations and dates can fill up within a matter of hours.

"It's a great time to start thinking about it," said Dave Tovell, a visitor experience manager with the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

"Some of the sites fill up really, really quickly."

Of the campgrounds in B.C., reservations for Fort Langley National Historic Site, Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve are available Thursday.

Reservations for Pacific Rim open at 8 a.m. on Jan. 7. Other sites open for reservation throughout the month. 

Reservations can be made for any of the 39 national parks and historic sites across the country. (Parks Canada)

July and August fill up first

Reservations can be made for any of the 39 national parks and historic sites across the country for visits between April 2019 and March 2020.

Camping at national historic sites like Fort Langley and Fort Rodd Hill are particularly popular, Tovell said. 

"The long weekends will fill up quite quickly and are then followed by weekends in July and August, and then the rest of the weekdays," he told Laura Lynch, guest host of CBC's The Early Edition.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which includes the iconic West Coast Trail, the Broken Group Islands and Green Point campground, also books up extremely fast.

"Typically, July and August [spots] will be filled up in the first couple of hours," Tovell said.

Book early

For those that miss the boat, though, it doesn't mean the death of summer camping plans.

"We do recommend people to book early if they can but, if not, there are always cancellations that occur," Tovell said.

Campsites are also less busy but still open in the shoulder season, and changing plans to May or September might mean snagging a spot in an otherwise fully booked campground.

With files from The Early Edition

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