13+ FUN things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island (+ 2 day itinerary)

In this guide we’re sharing the best things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, plus where to stay, our favorite places to eat, and more!

For the second stop on our two week Vancouver Island Road Trip we headed northeast of Tofino to the beautiful city of Campbell River! 

After an incredible couple days in Tofino, we were very quickly falling in love with the island and this newfound love only grew stronger during our time in Campbell River. With epic mountains nearby, stunning waterfront views from town, a variety of parks, and tons of waterfalls to explore, Campbell River really has it all! 

Watch our experience in Campbell River, including seeing different waterfalls, kayaking, and more!

We spent two super fun days exploring this region of the island and in this guide we’re sharing 13+ things to do in Campbell River, plus everything you need to know to visit, including how to get there, what to bring, and a two day itinerary to help you plan your own adventure!

Looking for more things to do on Vancouver Island and in Canada? Check out our Canada guides and vlogs!

Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!

About Campbell River

Discovery Pier | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Campbell River is the third largest city on Vancouver Island and is located on the eastern side of the island along the Strait of Georgia, which is an inland waterway that separates mainland British Columbia from Vancouver Island.

While you may not find epic waves here, like on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Campbell River is still a gorgeous waterfront city that is a major outdoor paradise, both on and off the water! Campbell River, plus the surrounding area, is home to 5 Provincial Parks, marine parks, hiking and biking trails, snow sports, wildlife viewing, fishing, paddling, and so much more. It is also referred to as the “Salmon Capital of the World” because the waters are home to all 5 species of salmon!

Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!

These seven principles include planning ahead and preparing, hiking and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly (pack out what you pack in!), understanding campfire rules and always fully extinguishing your fires, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors. 

13+ FUN Things to do in Campbell River

As we mentioned above, there are a variety of things to do in Campbell River, both outdoors, as well as spots to check out in town. Below are some of the places we loved during our visit, plus a handful that are at the top of our list for next time!

Explore Elk Falls Provincial Park

One of the best things about Campbell River is that you do not have to go far to get immersed in nature. Located just 2 km from downtown Campbell River is Elk Falls Provincial Park, which is home to a 25 meter (82 feet) tall roaring waterfall, suspension bridge, canyon, a large network of trails, and excellent year round salmon fishing. And what makes it even better is that it is a FREE park to visit!

Elk Falls Viewpoint + Suspension Bridge

Distance (roundtrip): 1.8 km | 1.1 miles
Elevation gain: 55 m | 180 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

The easiest way to see Elk Falls is to park at the main parking lot and hike the Elk Falls Viewpoint trail listed above! This will take you down a bunch of steps to the main viewing platform, which directly overlooks the falls!

This will also take you to the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge! This bridge is 60m (197 ft) long and is one of the highest pedestrian bridges in all of Canada, stretching 60m above the canyon floor and river below it!

As soon as you make it to the suspension bridge you’ll hear the roar of Elk Falls and as you walk across the bridge, you’ll get to see the falls from a beautiful vantage point. But don’t forget to look the other way as well! The views down into the canyon, with the river running through it, is equally beautiful.

After viewing the falls from here, we highly suggest heading back towards the direction you came and then going right at the first junction, for one final view of the falls, this time from the left side of them.

These areas can be very busy, especially on weekends in the summer, but we visited on a holiday weekend bright and early and had it to ourselves. So make sure to arrive early!

Millennium Trail

Distance (roundtrip):  4 km |  2.5 miles
Elevation gain: 107 m | 351 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

For a slightly longer hike, you can take the Millenium Trail, which will take you to the spots listed above, plus more through the forest and along the river, where you’ll also come across Deer and Moose Falls. 

Canyon View Trail

Distance (roundtrip): 4.8 km | 3 miles
Elevation gain: 109 m | 357 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

The Canyon View Trail circles a section of the Campbell River and includes gorgeous views of the river and another suspension bridge. While there aren’t views of Elk Falls here, you may have a good chance of seeing bears, bald eagles, and fly anglers hoping to hook into salmon in the fall.

Go fishing!

If you’re a salmon or trout fisher then Elk Fall Provincial Park is a heavenly spot for you! The Campbell River, which runs through the park, as well as along the park’s campground, is home to four types of salmon, including Chinook, Coho, Pink, and Chum, and you can find at least one of them anytime of the year, plus cutthroat and steelhead (view the schedule here). Just make sure you have a valid fishing license!

Eat delicious local food

There is a pretty solid food scene in Campbell River! From dockside fish and chips and pub food, to eateries sourcing the freshest local ingredients and seafood for sea to table feasting, Campbell River has something to eat for everyone. Here are some spots we loved, as well as some others that came highly recommended!

Dockside Fish & Chips

Dockside Fish & Chips is a cool stand right on the water, known for its fish and chips and donuts (which we hear are great!). We tried the two piece combo with salmon (of course, since it’s the salmon capital afterall!) and red snapper with garlic parmesan fries.

As you can imagine, the fish tasted as fresh as could be and the breading on the outside was light and crispy. We had never tried fried salmon before and while leaner than white fish, it was extremely tasty. The parmesan fries were spectacular as well!

As Adam waited for his food, he was intrigued by their logo, which is a seal with an eye patch on. Apparently this is based on a real one eyed seal that hangs around the marina area and her name is Richard!

Session Taproom + Kitchen

Ever heard of a taproom and restaurant combined with a fitness studio? Neither had we! At Session Taproom + Kitchen that’s what you’ll find! This is a super cool spot, with an awesome design inside, plus a patio that overlooks the park in town and the water.

We tried the creatively named Tropic Like It’s Hot pizza, which is a jerk chicken pizza with a marinara base, pineapple and all kinds of other goodies on top. It was quite a unique and tasty flavor combo! 

Along with the Tropic Like It’s Hot they have tons of other unique pizza flavors, salads, and other options, as well as rotating beers and ciders, cocktails, wine, or any other beverage you might fancy. 

More places to eat in Campbell River

Enjoy coffee (with a view!)

FoggDukkers Coffee | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

In all of our travels FoggDukkers Coffee in Campbell River is in the running for top views from a coffee shop!

FoggDukkers is located in an old bait shack with rustic coastal vibes right on the beach and from their outdoor seating area you can look across the water at snow capped mountains, the southern tip of Quadra Island, and watch the boats as they sail past. 

While we were sitting there we saw tons of fish jumping out of the water and a sea lion. On top of that, the person who took our order at the window told us to keep our eyes out for whales. Between the views, wildlife, and good coffee, it’s hard to beat!

Two more coffee shops we want to try next time are The Island Grind Coffee & Teahouse and Nesbitt Coffee & Cheesecake!

Visit Discovery Fishing Pier

Discovery Pier | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

The 600 foot long Discovery Fishing Pier is Canada’s first saltwater fishing pier and provides spectacular views of the water, mountains, and town! We loved just standing on the pier and soaking up all of the scenery.

But beyond the views, this pier is known especially for fishing. In fact, it was built for it! The pier has rod holders, bait stands, cleaning tables, and covered areas with picnic tables and benches. If you do not have fishing gear, you can rent it from a stand on the pier from May to October. And don’t forget to grab an ice cream cone too!

Go on a wildlife tour

Campbell River and the surrounding Discovery Islands are a wildlife watcher’s paradise. You have a great opportunity to see whales, sea lions, dolphins, bears, elk, eagles, and so much more! There are many tour companies in town such as Campbell River Whale Watching and Adventure Tours, Aboriginal Journeys Whale Watching & Grizzly Bear Tours, and Eagle Eye Adventures that can take you out for whale watching and bear watching.

Whale watching

While whales are present year round near Campbell River, whale watching tours are most common between May and November. On these tours you’ll have the chance to see orcas and humpbacks!

If you can’t find a tour that suits you from the ones above, here are a few other tours to look into:

Bear watching

Grizzly bear tours are offered mid-August to mid-October, when they are gorging on salmon in the rivers. There are actually no grizzly bear populations on Vancouver Island. The closest grizzly population can be found in Knight Inlet and Toba Inlet, which is off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. The tours listed above will take you to these areas to look for grizzlies.

Take a guided fishing trip

If you’re an angler visiting the “Salmon Capital of the World,” it’s a no-brainer to go on a guided fishing trip! The fish are biting year round and there are many tour companies in town like Coastal Wilderness Adventures, Profish Adventures, and Outside Charters Inc. that will take you out on saltwater and freshwater excursions. This is high up on our list for next time!

Visit some of Campbell River’s parks and trails

FoggDukkers Coffee | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

There are plenty of places in Campbell River where you can get active, plus enjoy the weather and scenery. Here are just some of the spots loved by locals and visitors alike!

Ripple rock trail

Distance (roundtrip): 9.8 km | 6.1 miles
Elevation gain: 430 m | 1,410 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

Follow this trail with many viewpoints to Ripple Rock, which looks over the Seymour Narrows. It was here in the narrows in 1958 where the largest man-made non-nuclear explosion in history occurred to break up rocks that caused havoc on ships passing through for years. 

Tyee Spit/Dick Murphy Park

Dick Murphy Park is located on Tyee Spit, just north of town, and is a great place to go for a stroll or check out the sunset.

Rotary Seawalk

The Rotary Seawalk is a 6 km (3.4 miles) trail that traces the shore of Discovery Passage and runs parallel to Highway 19A. It’s a great path to walk or ride a bike and provides amazing views of the water, ships passing by, and wildlife. You can hop onto this pathway at Rotary Beach Park, as well as Frank James Park.

Have a beach fire!

Imagine ending a fun day of adventuring in Campbell River with a campfire on the beach! Many of Campbell River’s beaches, including Ken Forde Park and Rotary Beach Park, allow campfires on the beach, but be sure to check local fire bans or restrictions beforehand, avoid private property, and always have your fire below the high tide line.

Kayak on the nearby lakes

The area northwest of Campbell River is loaded with lakes begging to be kayaked on! A couple good options to check out are Loveland Bay Provincial Park and Morton Lake Provincial Park, which are both between a 30-40 minute drive from Campbell River. Just a warning though, both parks require driving on dirt or gravel roads, which may not be the smoothest.

Learn about the area’s history & sealife

Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Between the area’s indigenous, fishing, and logging history, there is a lot to learn about when visiting Campbell River! For those who enjoy museums and history, here are some spots to check out!

Maritime Heritage Centre

Cost: $8
Open Tuesday-Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM

At the Maritime Heritage Centre the historians are dedicated to preserving and presentation of their local marine heritage. Here you can see the fishing boat that was once on the Canadian $5 bill from 1972 to 1986 and an eclectic marine exhibit showcasing the history of Vancouver Island. 

Museum at Campbell River

Cost: $8 per adult, less for kids and seniors
Varying hours depending on the time of year (see the schedule)

The Museum at Campbell River is an award-winning museum where you can see, hear, and touch coastal history. There are exhibits on First Nations, you can sit behind the wheel of an early logging truck, and learn about recreational and commercial fishing in the area. 

Discovery Passage Aquarium

Cost: $8 per adult, less for kids and seniors
Open the spring through fall

The Discovery Passage Aquarium is a small aquarium located right by the Discovery Pier and pretty unique in the sense that it’s catch and release! The aquarium features local marine life and every year after closing for the season, releases them back into the water, which is pretty cool!

Quinsam River Salmon Hatchery

Cost: FREE
Open 8:00 AM-3:30 PM daily

The Quinsam and Campbell Rivers are important streams for coho and chinook salmon assessment, production, and habitat restoration and an important part of the health of the local salmon is the Quinsam River Salmon Hatchery

At the hatchery you can see the salmon in their natural habitat and go on a self guided tour of the hatchery. If you visit between August and October you may get to see a bear feasting on salmon too! We visited a hatchery in Valdez, Alaska and it was such an educational experience!

Go on a Driftwood Sculpture Scavenger Hunt

Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Throughout the region you can find driftwood sculptures created by local artist Alex Witcombe, which are part of a project called Driftwood Creations. On your hunt you can find Sarah the Hererrasaurus (raptor) on the Rotary Seawalk, Peabody the Raccoon, who has become the official Campbell River greeter also on the seawalk, Richard the Seal by Dockside Fish & Chips, Chadwick the Cougar at the Tyee Spit, Bruce on Spruce at Campbellton River Village, and more! You can find a map here. Happy hunting!

Explore Strathcona Provincial Park

Buttle Lake at Strathcona Provincial Park | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Established in 1911, Strathcona Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada and a massive one, with 250,000 hectares of wilderness. The park is dominated by mountain peaks, many of which are snow capped year round, as well as lakes, waterfalls, and so much more! 

The park is located about an hour from Campbell River and there are two main developed areas in the park, Buttle Lake and the Forbidden Plateau. During our visit we checked out the Buttle Lake area, but since we visited in May, the higher elevations were covered in snow and we were only able to check out lower elevation spots. So if you want to do more intense hiking, we’d suggest visiting in the summer or early fall.

Here are a few of the easier to access waterfall hikes, plus some longer and harder hikes that we hope to check out next time.

Lower Myra Falls

Distance (roundtrip): 1.6 km | 1 miles
Elevation gain: 52 m | 170 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

We LOVED this waterfall! After a short, but narrow and unpaved drive to the trailhead (parking is limited), you’ll embark on an easy hike through the forest to multiple viewpoints of Lower Myra Falls. This waterfall has multiple tiers as it flows from different pools down the mountainside. While you can enjoy the view of the falls just from the end of the trail, if the conditions are safe, we’d suggest walking down some of the rocks to view more levels of the falls.

Lupin Falls Trail

Distance (roundtrip): 0.8 km | 0.5 miles
Elevation gain: 43 m | 141 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

The Lupin Falls Trail is a super quick walk to a tall, but thin waterfall that cascades down a couple levels. 

Lady Falls

Distance (roundtrip): 1 km | 0.6 miles
Elevation gain: 42 m | 137 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

Another easy to reach waterfall is Lady Falls, which only takes about 15-20 minutes to get to. This waterfall looks super impressive! You view the waterfall from above, similar to Elk Falls, and not only do the falls look raging, but the water color is so blue!

Strathcona Provincial Park | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Landslide Lake via Elk River Trail

Distance (roundtrip): 25 km | 15.6 miles
Elevation gain: 1,129 m | 3,707 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

This is the #1 thing we want to do next time we visit Campbell River! This hike can either be a very long day hike or backpacking trip (which is what we hope to do) and takes you to Landslide Lake, which is surrounded by jaw dropping peaks. You can also continue past the trail to hike up to Iceberg Lake!

Kings Peak

Distance (roundtrip): 18.5 km | 11.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1,905 m | 6,253 feet
Reviews & Current Conditions

The elevation of this one is a DOOZY, but the views from the top look INSANE! This hike is not for beginner hikers, as it is steep and also requires some scrambling. You can also backpack out here, which can help spread out the distance a bit. 

Want to get 30% off an AllTrails+ membership? Click this link or use our code aplusk30 (you must redeem this code on the website, not the app)!

We use AllTrails+ on every single hike and it is the most helpful hiking tool out there! Some of the features we love are offline maps (so we can navigate even without cell service), wrong-turn alerts, and its 3D maps feature, so we can get a feel for trails before we hike.

Kayak on Buttle Lake

Since we were a bit limited during our time in Strathcona Provincial Park, we spent our afternoon in the park kayaking on Buttle Lake, which is a 23 km long lake and it makes for the perfect kayaking spot!

We loved paddling around the clear waters and admiring the mountains around us. And despite being a Sunday, no one else was really out there, so it felt like we had the whole lake to ourselves. We launched our kayak at the Karst Creek Boat Ramp, which is a convenient spot after hiking Lower Myra Falls.

Note: there are no kayak rentals here. We recommend our Challenger K2 inflatable kayak, which is super portable!

Visit Quadra Island

Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Between Vancouver Island and the mainland are the Discovery Islands and the largest and most accessible is Quadra Island. Quadra Island is sandwiched between the snow capped mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park to the west and mainland British Columbia to the east. To get to Quadra Island all it takes is a short, 10 minute ferry ride from Campbell River. 

Just about every outdoor enthusiast will find something for them in this outdoor paradise. Some of the popular sights on Quadra Island include the Cape Mudge lighthouse, Rebecca Spit Provincial Park, hiking to the top of Chinese Mountain, which is 4.2 km (2.6 miles) round trip with an elevation gain of 282 meters (925 feet), and learning about the Kwa’kwa’ka’wa’kw people’s culture and history at the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre

Play in the snow!

Photo by Rich McCue on Unsplash

Campbell River is truly a year round destination! While a good chunk of the best things to do in Campbell River are accessible during any season, there are some activities that are only doable in specific seasons, including playing in the snow!

The Mount Washington Alpine Resort is about 40 minutes south of Campbell River and is a great place to go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, and more!

And if you’re visiting in the summer, you can still visit Mount Washington for a scenic lift ride!

2 Day Campbell River Itinerary

Now that you’ve learned about the best things to do in Campbell River, it’s time to figure out your itinerary! 

While you could easily spend a week or more seeing and doing everything we listed above, if you’re like us, you may only have a couple days in Campbell River. During our two days in Campbell River we were able to experience a lot of what the area has to offer and below is a sample two day itinerary with our top suggestions to fill your time!

Day 1

  • Start the morning (and beat the crowds) at Elk Falls Provincial Park and see the epic Elk Falls and suspension bridge!
  • Grab brunch at Crooked Spoon Cafe or Ideal Cafe in Campbell River.
  • Head onto the Rotary Seawalk and walk to Foggdukkers to get some coffee and admire the gorgeous view! Continue on the Rotary Seawalk afterwards for even more views.
  • Spend the rest of the morning and afternoon checking out the Discovery Pier, hatchery or museum, any museums that may interest you, and looking for the Driftwood Creations! You could also take the ferry to Quadra Island or go for a hike on the Ripple Rock Trail!
  • Have dinner at Dockside Fish and Chips (they close by 7 PM!).
  • End the day with a sunset stroll at Dick Murphy Park!

Day 2

  • Grab a coffee and a quick bite to eat at The Island Grind and hit the road to Strathcona Provincial Park!
  • For your first stop in the park, head to Lower Myra Falls.
  • Kayak on Buttle Lake and enjoy a nice picnic near the water.
  • Continue chasing waterfalls with a stop at Lupin Falls and Lady Falls.
  • Head back to Campbell River and enjoy dinner at Session Taproom + Kitchen.
  • End the day with a beach campfire!

Have more time?

If you have an additional day, we’d suggest going on a larger excursion, like a fishing trip, wildlife watching tour, or doing an overnight hike at Strathcona Provincial Park!

When to visit Campbell River

Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Campbell River is a fantastic destination to visit any time of year, but to be able to experience the most activities listed on this guide, we’d suggest visiting in the summer or early fall! The summertime brings the lowest chance of rain, highs in the mid 70s and upper 60s, less snow at higher elevations, and the best wildlife opportunities. 

We visited in late May and the weather was fantastic, but we were a bit more limited on what we could do. However, the crowds were super low during this time. We visited Campbell River on Victoria Day weekend, expecting it to be insanely busy, and it was actually less busy than Tofino was on a weekday, which we loved! 

While winter is doable and there are still many things to do, it will be cold, rainy, possibly snowy, and some businesses and campgrounds will be closed. 

Getting to + around Campbell River

Campbell River is located on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island and is easy to get to from other major towns on the island, as it’s right off the main highway (Highway 19) that runs up the eastern side of the island.

But before we dive into how to get to Campbell River, it’s first important to know how to get to Vancouver Island! 

Ferry to Vancouver Island

Getting to Vancouver Island

By Plane

Being an island, the only way to get to Vancouver Island is by ferry or plane, with a plane being the quickest option. The best option will be to fly into the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ), which is only a 45 minute drive to Campbell River. 

The next best option is the Nanaimo Airport (YCD), which is about a 1 hour 40 minute drive from Campbell River or the Victoria International Airport (YYJ), which is a little over a 3 hour drive from Campbell River.

By Ferry

The most common way to get to Vancouver Island is by ferry, which is operated by BC Ferries. We LOVE riding the ferry and all of the ferries we have been on have all been nice inside, with food to purchase and much more space to spread out than an airplane. But if you’re like us, you may spend the whole time outside enjoying the views!

There are three routes from mainland British Columbia to Vancouver Island:

  • Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Duke Point): 1 hour, 35 minute ride
  • Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay): 1 hour, 40 minute ride
  • Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Nanaimo (Duke Point): 2 hour ride

Any of these routes are a good option to get on the island, depending on where you’re going first. For the quickest drive to Campbell River once on Vancouver Island, we’d suggest doing one of the Nanaimo routes.

The cost of the ferry varies depending on the number of people in your party, if you’re bringing a vehicle (and its size), and other factors. To see the price for your situation, search for a route on BC Ferries website. For two of us in our oversized Sprinter van, we paid $250 round trip, but it is much cheaper if you are in a smaller vehicle.

Dogs are also allowed on the ferry, but must remain in your vehicle or in a designated pet area. 

Visiting from the US?

Besides the BC ferries, you can also take the Black Ball Ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria, but this wouldn’t be the most convenient way to get to Campbell River.

Ferry to Vancouver Island

Getting to Campbell River once on the island

Once you get off the ferry or plane, you’ll have an awesome drive ahead of you along the coast to get to Campbell River! Here’s how long you can expect to drive from the starting points on the island we listed above:

  • Comox: 45 minutes
  • Nanaimo: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Victoria: 3 hours

As for transportation options both to Campbell River and while in Campbell River, you have a couple options. You can either drive your own car or rent a car, which is what we’d recommend. Or you can take the Vancouver Island Connector Bus (seasonal), which can take you from various destinations on the island to Campbell River.

Where to Stay in Campbell River

Campbell River offers a variety of lodging options for any kind of budget! Here are some suggestions of where to stay, including where we stayed during our time. 


Chateau Riverside Boutique Hotel
Comfort Inn & Suites, Campbell River

Vacation Rentals

Luxury Villa with hot tub and private beach access (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom)
Oceanside Cottage (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom)
Bright 3 Bedroom Home (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms)


Brown’s Bay Resort
Dolphins Resort

Loveland Bay Provincial Park | Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island


Quinsam Campground
This campground is located in Elk Falls Provincial Park, making it a great spot to be close to town, but also in nature. The Quinsam Campground is a large campground with 122 sites ($22/night and no hookups), with 25 being on the river and 70 sites being reservable.

It is open year round, with full operations from March to October and some amenities available in the winter months. 

Loveland Bay Provincial Park (where we stayed!)
One thing we noticed while in British Columbia, especially in Campbell River is how AMAZING their provincial park campgrounds are! We somehow lucked out with a few nights here last minute during a holiday weekend and we were so glad we got to stay here.

This was a very nice campground with 50 generously spaced, huge sites ($22/night and no hookups) on multiple tiered levels, clean bathrooms, and a beach area, which would be perfect to hang out or launch a kayak. There are also two group campsites! You can reserve all campsites in advance, which we’d recommend.

The only downside is that it is 35 minutes from Campbell River and requires a drive down a gravel road, which any car can do, but it makes the drive take longer. We still would stay here again though!

Miller Creek Recreation Site
The Miller Creek Recreation Site is a dry campground about 20 minutes from town, right on Campbell Lake! It is open from May-September and has 47 campsites ($18/night), with half of them being reservable in advance.


There are tons of free boondocking sites on the lakes west of Campbell River. Many of them will be down roads that will have varying conditions and may require a longer drive to town. We suggest checking out iOverlander and Campendium to see a full list of free options available, but here are a couple that stuck out to us!

Curious how we find free campsites? Check out our detailed guide to free camping to learn which tools we use, rules to follow, and other tips! 

What to bring with you to Campbell River

Things to do in Campbell River on Vancouver Island

Hiking gear

If you’re doing any hiking, make sure to bring the appropriate hiking gear with you (see what all we take here!). We also always recommend having the 10 essentials on you, which can come in handy both for hiking or for your road trip to Campbell River.

Camera gear

You will definitely want to bring a camera with you to Campbell River! The best camera is the one you have at the moment, but if you’re curious what cameras and gear we use, check out our gear list.

Bear Spray

Black bears do live in the Campbell River area, as do wolves and cougars (although these are more rare). When hiking in bear country we always carry bear spray with us. While black bears are not as aggressive as grizzlies, mama bears can be unpredictable, so we’d rather be safe than sorry.


The weather in Campbell River can be cool in the mornings and evenings, with warmer daytime temperatures that can feel extra warm when sunny, so you’ll want to pack some layers to ensure you’re always comfortable.

AllTrails Maps

Cell service can be spotty to non-existent once you leave Campbell River for your adventures, so we highly suggest downloading the offline AllTrails map for any hikes you plan on enjoying. If you’re visiting from the US like we were, we also had very limited international cell phone data on Verizon (0.5 GB a day), so downloading AllTrails maps was crucial for us to save data.

Ready to experience Campbell River?

Pin this list of things to do in Campbell River to help plan your trip!

about us

Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream (we’re a 5+ taco and 2+ scoop household), and enjoying nature.


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This website contains affiliate links from websites such as MileValue.com, Amazon.com, Booking.com, and Rentalcars.com. If you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. We only recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!


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