WINTER: Snowbird locations and overnight RVing. TRAVEL ALERTS: Know Before You Go

Sunset and Waves Crystal Cove at Mackenzie Beach, Tofino BC - Photo Joss Penny

FAQs

Following are some frequently asked questions on camping and travel in British Columbia.

Lodging FAQs

How do I make a reservation at a lodging property listed on this website?

To make a reservation at a lodging property, contact the property directly by phone or online via their website. Many offer online booking and/or email enquiry forms. Listings with an online booking system will display a ‘book now’ button.

What amenities do lodging properties typically offer?

Lodging properties offer a wide selection of amenities such as Wi-Fi and a number are pet friendly; others offer continental breakfasts or a full dining experience, and some have housekeeping units to allow guests to cater to their needs in their own time.

What room rates are quoted on this website?

Room rates quoted often range from the lowest rate to highest rate for both the low and high seasons in British Columbia. As rates are subject to change, it is recommended you contact the lodging property directly to confirm rates.

What taxes will I have to pay on my lodging accommodation?

An 8% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) is charged by hotels, motels, cottages, inns, resorts and other roofed accommodations on all overnight room rentals, as well as the 5% Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). These taxes total 13% combined.

In addition, in British Columbia a Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) of 2% or 3% is charged in some 50+ provincially approved municipalities (towns or cities) by hotels, motels, cottages, inns, resorts and other roofed accommodations. The additional 2% or 3% MRDT is only charged on short-term room rentals and does not apply to overnight campsite rentals.

Camping FAQs

Can I have a campfire?

Yes, and most campgrounds have fire rings at each site. As smoke from campfires pollutes the environment it is advised to limit the use of campfires to cooking and warmth. Where possible use firewood purchased nearby or from the campground and always observe local burning regulations. Never leave a campfire unattended and do not move firewood from one location to another as it can spread pests and disease. Occasionally campfire bans are implemented in extreme dry weather conditions. (For information visit, bcwildfire.ca.) Note that CSA approved propane firepits for warmth and cooking devices can be used during a campfire ban unless specifically prohibited. The flame should be six inches or less.

Do campgrounds and RV parks have pet policies?

Most campgrounds allow dogs and cats; however, they are required to be on leash at all times. Pets should not be left unattended at a campsite. Campgrounds may have specific pet policies so check with the management before you arrive.

Do camping properties offer pricing deals or stay promotions?

If you are travelling on a budget or in the off-season then visit our Special Offers page where many excellent rates and offers are available.

Please explain common Canadian camping terms.
  • Overnight Campsite – A campsite that is used for a short stay.
  • Seasonal Campsite – A campsite that is rented for the camping season.
  • Cottage Rentals – These generally have a kitchen with pots, pans and dishes and a full washroom in the unit. Check with the campground for specifics.
  • Cabin Rentals – These generally have a basic kitchen with heated water and beds. It may also come with an outdoor barbeque.
  • Trailer Rentals – Many campgrounds have RV trailers for rent in their campgrounds. This provides a wonderful opportunity to try camping in an RV.
  • Washrooms/restrooms – Toilets and showers are located throughout campgrounds. A washroom contains toilets, basin sinks and shower facilities. The shower facilities normally have a place to change your clothes. Restrooms have toilets and hand basins (sinks).
What are some typical campground or RV park rules?
  • Campground quiet hours are generally from 11:00 pm until 8:00 am.
  • RV park/campground fires are to be out by midnight.
  • Checkout time is generally 11:00 am.
  • Visitors must check in at the office and park vehicles in visitor parking. (Online check in may be possible at some campgrounds.)
  • Pets are generally not permitted in the beach areas, swimming pool or recreation halls. (Many campgrounds have pet friendly beaches/areas.)
  • The speed limit in campgrounds is around 10 km/h (5 mph).
  • Do not climb on or destroy trees.
  • Beach areas and swimming pools are often unsupervised. Adults must therefore accompany children under thirteen years of age at all times.
  • Do not feed or engage with wild animals in the RV park/campground.
What are the overnight costs to rent a tent site?

A. These will vary depending on location. A campground located in a more remote area of the province and with fewer facilities will charge less than one in a popular resort area. Rates could range from around $15 a night to over $45 a night for an unserviced site (a site with no water or power).

What is glamping?

Glamping is camping in a somewhat ‘glamorous’ way. Unlike traditional camping where people stay in an RV or tent with their belongings, glamping is, essentially, ready-made camping. Guests stay in structures such as park model trailers, yurts or cabins located in campgrounds. A park offering glamping often provides modern-day conveniences including sheets, basic cleaning products and essential kitchen items and housekeeping services.

What taxes will I have to pay on my campsite?

The federal Good and Services Tax (GST) is charged on campsite rentals and the current GST rate is 5%. Campsite rentals are exempt from the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) so PST is not charged.

Who is listed in the camping section of this website?

Members of the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association offering overnight campsite rentals to the travelling public in independently run campgrounds and RV parks are listed on the website.  Want to connect your business to travellers visiting this site? Please see the Membership page.

RV Parks FAQs

Do campgrounds and RV parks have pet policies?

Most campgrounds allow dogs and cats; however, they are required to be on leash at all times. Pets should not be left unattended at a campsite. Campgrounds may have specific pet policies so check with the management before you arrive.

I live in the US and would like to bring my RV into British Columbia and leave it there for the summer season. What are the laws around this?

You can temporarily import a recreational vehicle to British Columbia (BC) for your personal use, however if you plan to leave it in the province between visits you must have first reported to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and obtained a Form BSF375, CBSA Report (formerly known as Form E99). The form must be displayed on your vehicle and be easily available to prove that you legally brought the RV into BC legally. For more information on Canada customs regulations call 1-800-461-9999 within Canada or 204-983-3500 outside Canada or visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

Please explain common Canadian camping terms.
  • Overnight Campsite – A campsite that is used for a short stay.
  • Seasonal Campsite – A campsite that is rented for the camping season.
  • Cottage Rentals – These generally have a kitchen with pots, pans and dishes and a full washroom in the unit. Check with the campground for specifics.
  • Cabin Rentals – These generally have a basic kitchen with heated water and beds. It may also come with an outdoor barbeque.
  • Trailer Rentals – Many campgrounds have RV trailers for rent in their campgrounds. This provides a wonderful opportunity to try camping in an RV.
  • Washrooms/restrooms – Toilets and showers are located throughout campgrounds. A washroom contains toilets, basin sinks and shower facilities. The shower facilities normally have a place to change your clothes. Restrooms have toilets and hand basins (sinks).
What are some typical campground or RV park rules?
  • Campground quiet hours are generally from 11:00 pm until 8:00 am.
  • RV park/campground fires are to be out by midnight.
  • Checkout time is generally 11:00 am.
  • Visitors must check in at the office and park vehicles in visitor parking. (Online check in may be possible at some campgrounds.)
  • Pets are generally not permitted in the beach areas, swimming pool or recreation halls. (Many campgrounds have pet friendly beaches/areas.)
  • The speed limit in campgrounds is around 10 km/h (5 mph).
  • Do not climb on or destroy trees.
  • Beach areas and swimming pools are often unsupervised. Adults must therefore accompany children under thirteen years of age at all times.
  • Do not feed or engage with wild animals in the RV park/campground.
What are the RV towing regulations in British Columbia?

Most recreational vehicles weigh less than 4,600 kg and can be driven by a driver with a passenger car driver’s license (Class 5 or 7 in British Columbia). An air brake endorsement is required if the trailer has air brakes. For more information visit the ICBC webpage on towing a recreational trailer in the province.

 

What chemicals can I use to treat sewage in my RV waste tanks?

Without knowing it, many RVers harm the environment and put their health at risk. Treating waste tanks with chemical products means handling and dumping dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde and ammonium compounds. These are hazardous materials and can contaminate septic tanks, poison groundwater and threaten human health.

We recommend RVers use safe and effective biological odour control products. These treatments add helpful bacteria that reduce waste by breaking it down into an easily biodegradable material. Decomposed through natural processes, such a treatment is not harmful to campground septic tanks or the surrounding groundwater. The abundance of bacteria makes the decomposition process very efficient and also eliminates any unpleasant odours.

What is a sani dump and why do I need to use one?

Sani dumps or dump stations as they are often called, are designated areas where recreational vehicles, such as motorhomes and trailers that are equipped with toilet facilities and a sewage holding tank, can be rid of liquid waste. RVs generally have two tanks: one for sewage known as a blackwater holding tank, and one for washing water or shower water and known as the greywater holding tank.

RV sani stations are found at various locations throughout British Columbia, including private campgrounds, RV parks, some gas stations and RV dealers. Anyone who dry camps or does not use full hook-up services will have liquid waste. This waste must be disposed of in a sanitary way at a sani dump station. Simply hook up the RV dump hose to the outlets. (One end of the hose fits on the RV outlet pipe and the other end of the hose in the ground dump tank.) Open the valves to release first the blackwater and then the greywater. Once the holding tanks are fully drained and rinsed it is recommended to flush the connection hose with running water.  Wearing gloves is advised for the procedure.

What is glamping?

Glamping is camping in a somewhat ‘glamorous’ way. Unlike traditional camping where people stay in an RV or tent with their belongings, glamping is, essentially, ready-made camping. Guests stay in structures such as park model trailers, yurts or cabins located in campgrounds. A park offering glamping often provides modern-day conveniences including sheets, basic cleaning products and essential kitchen items and housekeeping services.

What taxes will I have to pay on my campsite?

The federal Good and Services Tax (GST) is charged on campsite rentals and the current GST rate is 5%. Campsite rentals are exempt from the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) so PST is not charged.

Where do I dispose of the grey water and sewage (black water) from my RV holding tanks?

Sani-stations are found at various locations throughout the province, including campgrounds, RV parks, some gas stations and RV dealerships. For a list of places to dump go to www.sanidumps.com. RVers are asked to respect the environment by disposing of grey water and sewage in the proper manner.

Who is listed in the RV section of this website?

Members of the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association offering overnight RV site rentals to the travelling public in independently run campgrounds and RV parks are listed on the website. Also, RV Dealers and Rental Agencies that pay a listing fee.

Want to connect your business to travellers visiting this site? Please see the Membership page.

General FAQs

Are campgrounds, RV parks and lodgings inspected by an independent body?

No. Accommodations are no longer inspected by Destination BC. This independent onsite inspection to meet an Accommodation Approved status was discontinued in 2014. On this website we carry TripAdvisor peer reviews and ratings to assist you in making your selection. They are located in the details pages of the listings.

Are reservations required for BC Ferries?

Reservations on BC Ferries are available but not required. For information on schedules, rates and reservations call BC Ferries at 1-888-223-3779 from within BC or 250-386-3431 from out of province or visit www.bcferries.com.

Does the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association have a customer service guarantee?

The BC Lodging & Campgrounds Association has implemented a customer service guarantee which all accommodation members are asked to adhere to in the operation of their businesses. For more information visit our Customer Service Page.

How can I find out about road conditions in British Columbia?

The provincial government’s webpage on Routes & Driving Conditions is an excellent source for route information, driving conditions and driving events. It has links to webpages for road construction, avalanche area travel, border crossings, wildlife on BC highways, seasonal driving and useful driving information. DriveBC, run by the Ministry and Transportation, has an informative Traveller Information System website. Here you can plan your route, view BC highway cams, report a highway problem, track and view major road events (delays, closures, forest fires etc.), obtain information on inland ferries and more. Another good reference is the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and its webpage on safety and road conditions.

How can I make a complaint about a property?

If you would like to file a complaint against a tourism business or accommodation in British Columbia there are several options available. The first is to contact the business directly to discuss your concerns. If this course of action does not attain the desired results you may then contact Consumer Protection BC, which can offer assistance with financial or contractual disputes. Lastly, you can share your experience with other consumers via a review of the business on peer-to-peer review websites such as TripAdvisor. For guidelines on how to post a review on TripAdvisor visit: www.tripadvisorsupport.com/en-GB/hc/traveler/articles/396.

What animal wildlife could I encounter in British Columbia?

British Columbia is fortunate to have an abundance of wildlife and many animals can be seen from the provincial highways. Black bear and deer will often come down to the roadside to feed on new grass and berries and mountain sheep, moose and other animals are often seen in various regions of the province and at different times of the year. If wildlife is spotted while driving, drivers are advised to continue moving and not stop or get out of the car.

What are the driver’s license requirements in British Columbia?

A valid out-of-province driver’s license including an international driver’s licence can be used in British Columbia for up to six months.

What credit cards are accepted by properties in British Columbia?

Generally, both Visa and MasterCard are accepted at all lodging accommodations. Other credit cards may also be accepted such as American Express. Most properties also accept debit cards.

When is fire season?

In BC, fire season typically runs from April 1 to October 1. According to the British Columbia Wildfire Service, the probability of damaging wildfires has increased in recent years; on average, there are more than 1,600 wildfires annually. For information on what to do before, during and after a wildfire visit the BC Wildfire Service’s webpage called Get Prepared for a Wildfire in British Columbia and read the Wildfire Preparedness Guide. Also, refer to Wildfire Prevention Tips page in the Camping & RV in British Columbia website.

Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989