If you think the cold mountain ranges of Minnesota and Michigan are enough for you, well, I am sorry to say but you have not seen the best of North America yet. I am talking about Canada. This amazing country is a vast land filled with amazing people, wildlife, and places to visit, all year round. They are particularly well-known for their winter campgrounds as it is really a winter wonderland up there. If you are up for some adventure this year, look no further but up.
Consider this article as your guide for searching the best winter campgrounds in the Great White North. I will be listing five campgrounds situated in different places of the country, in no particular order. Do not worry as they are all the best and recommended by the campers themselves. I will be including basic information such as the location, the hours, other policies, amenities, and other relevant information. Lastly, I will also include several points regarding camping during the coronavirus pandemic, along with the things you need to remember in camping up north.
Canada Has The Best Winter Campgrounds
Get To Experience The Real Winter Wilderness
A lot of Canadians choose to stay at home during the winter months, which is not really the best thing considering that we spent the whole 2020 holed up in our homes. Canadian winter campgrounds and parks are empty during this time, so the wildlife and the ecosystem in these places will be pristine and undisturbed.
Winter season is the best time for campers to enjoy the winter wonderland. You will get to enjoy the quiet, cold outdoors all by yourself, or along with your other fellow campers.
Winter Is Perfect For Aurora Borealis Sightings
Nights in winter are especially long, meaning the night skies will be much more clear and brilliant. It is the best time for astronomical activities such as stargazing and spotting the amazing natural light show that is the Aurora borealis.
Canada has one of the best Aurora borealis spots ever due to its proximity to the North Pole. A friendly tip, however: you can download an app that will alert you where the next Aurora borealis would happen so that you can fully enjoy it in the evenings.
Cooler Temperatures Make Traveling Much Better
It is much more comfortable traveling outdoors in cooler temperatures, compared to the warmer months. If you hate sweating like a pig every time you go somewhere for your road trips, consider winter trips for your convenience.
You can also enjoy on the activities the winter grounds are offering, such as skiing and sledding, along with other winter sports. It is also much safer to travel in winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, there would not be any harm from the wild animals since most of the bears are in hibernation. Grizzly bears sleep shorter than black bears but they are usually hibernating from November to mid-March.
Elkwater Campground, Alberta
Enjoy The Winter Season Much Earlier Here
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Elkwater Campground offers early winter to its campers as it is usually closed on December 31st. It is located in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, 20 kilometers southeast of Medicine Hat, along Highway 1 and 30 kilometers South on Highway 41. They have at least 80 sites that are perfect for RVs, complete with power and water connection in an open mixed forest. You can have access to a playground, walking trails to the waterfront, as well as some modern amenities such as showers and toilets.
Take Advantage Of Their Amazing Range Of Activities
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They also offer a lot of activities, such as tobogganing and cross-country skiing, popular in winter. If the snowing conditions permits, you can reach Elkwater in thirty minutes from Medicine Hat. You can also walk around the lake, have some skating above the lake, have a bonfire with your family around, or just admire the starry nights. In Elkwater, they promise their campers to have the best of both worlds — the modern conveniences of home and the charms of the rugged outdoors.
Rates And Other Basic Rules
The most common sites cost around $48 a night, with the winter camping sites costing around $29 to $36, depending on the availability. They are open for reservations until December 31st, and you can call them at 1-877-537-2757. You can also reserve online at Reserve.AlbertaPark.ca. There is also a reservation fee of $12.
For individual campsites, reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance of the scheduled arrival date. All camping fees should be paid via credit card. They accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
Mount Fernie Provincial Park, British Columbia
Enjoy The Winter Wonderland Next Door
If you want to visit Canada during winter but you do not want to travel for miles, look no further than Mount Fernie Provincial Park. Located in British Columbia, it is near the United States border so you do not have to travel that far. Its proximity to Fernie City offers a lot of amenities such as good restaurants, golf courses, and art galleries for your cultural nourishment.
It is also near the Indigenous communities so you have to be very respectful with their territories, traditions, and practices.
Activities And Amenities Offered Inside The Park
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Mount Fernie offers its campers the perfect opportunity to enjoy sports such as mountain biking and fishing in the nearby Elk River. They also offer hiking inside the park, with different hiking trails situated all over the area. As for the amenities, cold water taps can be found around the park, and they are shut off during the off-season. They also allow campfires, picnic areas, showers, and amenities for persons with disability and the elderly.
Reservations And Other Things You Have To Know
Rates start at $30 per party per night. All reservations must be done through Discovery Camping, the official winter camping reservation site for the Province of British Columbia. All campsites function as a first-come, first-served basis when the reservations are not available. Reservations for the non-BC residents are available on July 8 as they prioritize locals first.
It is also highly encouraged to follow the necessary guidelines for COVID-19, such as physical distancing, wearing masks inside the grounds, and avoiding travel if you have symptoms or if you are in contact with someone who is tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days. Due to social distancing, they only allow up to eight people inside vehicles, including RVs.
La Mauricie National Park, Québec
The Perfect Winter Place On The East Coast
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If you prefer somewhere on the Atlantic coast, then La Mauricie National Park might be just the perfect place for you. La Mauricie is well known for its wide forests filled with different types of conifers and hardwoods. It also has 150 lakes of various sizes, so if you are a lake person, consider booking this place for your next winter trip. A lot of Quebecois and other campers from different parts of Canada and the neighboring countries swear by the overall appeal of this national park.
Activities And Amenities You Can Enjoy Inside
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La Mauricie is committed to giving each and every camper the best winter vacation they will ever have in their lives. Thus, they have arranged and initiated several activities aimed at the campers’ satisfaction.
The trail network which is accessible by the Saint-Jean-des-Piles entrance is now open as of December 5th last year, and the cross-country ski trails will be repaired, groomed, and polished, as soon as the snowing conditions allow them to do so. They can enjoy other amazing activities such as snowshoeing, hiking, and ice climbing.
As for the amenities, La Mauricie offers the oTENTik program, which allows the campers to experience nature and the outdoors in utmost level of comfort. Run by Parks Canada, this program is also equipped with a view to facilitating and simplifying the overall winter camping experience.
Reservations, Rates, And Other Relevant Information
La Mauricie is available every day from December 5, 2020 up to March 31st. Admission fees range from $7.90 for adults, $6.90 for the elderly, and $16.00 for a family or a group. Youth aged 17 below are free of charge for the whole year.
Parks Canada Discovery Passes are available as well, from $69.19 per adult, $59.17 per senior member, and $139.40 per family or group. Again, children are free of charge the whole year.
You can check the full list of fees on their official website. Campers can stay at the Riviere a la Peche Campground, with amenities including dry toilets, and a kitchen shelter with a wood stove. Remember that only tents are allowed in the winter season and you must register for these activities as it is mandatory.
Banff National Park, The Rockies
Experience The Great Outdoors In The Great Rockies
Banff National Park is well known as the oldest national park in Canada, founded in 1885. It is also the flagship national park of the country. It is located in the Rocky Mountains, 110-180 kilometers west of Calgary.
It encompasses a vast 6,641 square kilometers filled with mountainous terrain, a lot of ice fields and glaciers scattered all over, alpine landscapes, and lush coniferous forests. Banff National Park is near some important historical sites such as the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the Banff Park Museum National Park Historic Site, as well as other national parks like the Yoho and the Kootenay National Parks.
Amenities And Activities You Can Enjoy Inside
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Banff National Park offers a lot of activities for campers all year round, to the immense satisfaction of the people who keep on coming back. Winter activities include ice climbing, ski touring, dog sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, and many others. You can also visit the glaciers scattered all over the vast territory of the national park.
Camping is only permitted in designated areas even though the whole national park is free to roam around. You must secure a valid national park camping permit and a national park entry pass, as Banff National Park is a very well-kept national park.
Rates, Reservations, And Other Relevant Information
Reservations must be made through the Parks Canada official website. Entrance fees are priced at $10 per adult, $8.40 per senior member, and $20 per family or group. Since Banff National Park is managed by Parks Canada, the free admission for children aged 17 below are still in effect.
Depending on the location of the campsite, each site costs around $16.05 up to $39.04. This is also dependent on the amenities you want to have in your campsite. Reservations cost around $11.50 if done online and $13.50 if done over the phone.
Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick
Get Closer With Wildlife On The East Coast
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Kouchibouguac National Park is located on the east coast of New Brunswick. This park has barrier islands, a lot of sand dunes, lagoons, salt marshes, and forests. Since it is nearer to the ocean, it is much warmer here compared to the other national parks on this list. It serves as a habitat for a lot of species of seabirds, including the endangered piping plover, and it also has the second largest tern colony in North America.
Amenities And Activities You Can Enjoy Inside
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Kouchigouguac offers a lot of amazing activities everyone can enjoy during the winter camping season. People can enjoy its trails that are fit for fat biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. There are also a lot of short and easy trails, as well as longer, and more challenging trails located mostly in the central region of the park.
There are over 30 kilometers of trails marked specially for snowshoeing, complete with several warming shelters along the way. Equipment such as fat bikes, snowshoes, and skis are available for rent all days of the week at the Pijeboogwek waxing hut, which is located across the road from the Visitor Information Center.
Other activities you can enjoy include tobogganing, birdwatching, and winter camping. You can also go camping at Petit-Large campground, which can be found at the heart of a wide network of cross-country ski trails.
Rates, Reservations, And Other Relevant Information
Again, the youth are free if they are aged 17 below as this national park is also managed by Parks Canada. Entrance rates range from $7.90 per adult, $6.90 for the elderly, and $16.00 for a family or group entering a single vehicle.
Depending on the availability of the camping grounds, location, and the amenities included in each camping ground, fees range from $16.05 up to $122.64. You can check the full list of the fees in their official website.
Remember, always follow the health protocols regarding COVID-19 and avoid traveling if you do not feel well.
Canada is always known to be an amazing winter wonderland for all winter activities for everyone, from kids to adults. Canada has a lot of natural sceneries to offer and a lot of these are perfect for your winter vacations. You just have to make sure that you will reserve accordingly, follow all the safety protocols, and just pack up and enjoy! Remember that you are safe in your RV and that gives you time to enjoy the wonders of nature, from the Great White North.