Recreational Vehicles: Renting & Where to Camp with them
Are you planning to rent an RV this summer? If it's a Truck Camper (available at Fraserway RV), you can join the North American Truck Caravan from Bend, Oregon to Banff, July 14th to Aug 15th (Canadian segment July 24th Vancouver to Aug 15th, Banff). It's free, and we have already pre-booked campgrounds. If it interests you, email me or check out Camper Caravan.
North American Truck Camper Caravan Tour 2005 (Free)
|Commercial Rentals||Private Rentals||Buying an RV||RV Types||RV Forums/Sites||Places to Camp|
|Drive BC.||Boon Docking||Tent Camping||Wildlife||Temporary RV Storage|
|If you have a good marriage, put your jacks down when you camp or everyone will know.|
Rentals - Commercial & Private:
Renting an RV can be a good way to tour the province especially if you are a group of 3 or more. It also offers the freedom to explore and offers a camping experience without the "roughing" it. Most rentals in Canada consist of a "Camper" which is a unit fastened to a standard Pickup Truck or a "Motor Home" which is a self contained unit, or a Camper Van. Both do not involve any towing. The advantage of the Motor Home is that you can access the interior while on the road and it is legal to sleep or relax in the rear while someone else is driving. With a Camper, it is not legal to ride in the back of the unit, since it is not an integral part of the vehicle. If you can rent a car with a hitch, you can also rent a pop-up tent Trailer which is a lot cheaper than a Camper. I have a Pickup Truck & Camper myself and you have to be careful when driving them. It takes a lot longer to stop and the unit is a bit top-heavy. I bought my unit at Fraserway who also does rentals. I would recommend them. Pictures of these types of unit can be found below the table. They are from Fraserway RV's Web Site. Rentals can be quite pricey, you can be looking at $1000 a week or more and remember you still have to pay for the campsite. I am trying to build up links to private Rentals, if you have an RV you rent out, E-mail me & I will add the info. You may also use my Forums Section. If your interested in RV trips through central & South America try this site: www.adventuretrek.com . For info on books about RV'ing in North America & Mexico try Rolling Homes Press.
If you are thinking of taking an RV around the Province, I have a section outlining a suggested route at Drive BC.
I'm actually considering starting a small business after retirement next year mainly aimed at Europeans. I would take care of renting an RV for them, pick them up at the airport, give them accommodation overnight & drive them to pick up their RV. I would do the reverse at the end of the trip. I would also take care of planning out a route and booking campgrounds. Have no idea what all that would be worth to someone, but if anyone wants to E-Mail me and give me some feedback, it would be appreciated. I'm also thinking of taking RV convoys through the Province in 5 years after my wife also retires.
|NorthCoast RV Rent- Tent Trailers Only, Bellingham|
|Motor Home Directory|
|Freedom Tours UK Based agent for RV rentals in BC (airport pickup, etc arranged)|
|Happy Motorhome Holidays German based RV Rentals for BC - associated with agency above.|
|Fraserway RV (recommended)|
|Recreational Vehicles for Rent in British Columbia, Canada from RV dealers|
|Candan Motorhomes RV Rentals|
|RV Rental and Sales|
|Go West Campers|
|Traveland RV Canada RV Supercentre and RV Rentals|
|Rent an RV|
|Horizon RV Rentals|
|West Coast Mountain Campers|
|Motorhome Vacation Rentals|
|Delta Recreational Vehicle & Trailer Rentals|
|RV Rentals Victoria|
|El Monte RV - American Agency, they have a location in Bellingham 30 miles south of the border, and in Seattle.|
|RV Links Search Site|
|Recreational Vehicles for Rent in British Columbia, Canada from RV dealers|
|Mike Rosman RV & Camper Rentals and Sales -Vernon, BC|
|High Country RV- Merritt, BC|
|West Canada Tours|
|Happy Holidays Motor Home|
|http://www.motorhomecanada.com - Private rental 29 ft motorhome|
|Rent my RV -Camperised Van from $75 a day|
|Private Rentals - not specific to British Columbia, but you can post a request here.|
|24 ft Motorhome - Web Site Phone 604-617-9444, also has tent trailer & Cabin for rent.|
|24 ft Motorhome - E-Mail Phone 604-808-8000 or 1-800-335-0363 ext. 3|
|29 ft Motorhome- E-Mail Phone 604-858-4974|
|33 ft Motorhome- E-Mail Phone 604-888-5255|
|Class "A" Motor Home Rental On Vancouver Island BC Canada|
Buying an RV to use then re-selling it:
This is a common practice in Australia and an industry has grown up around it. It is not so common here. It is possible to do it, but you have to remember that risks are involved. A check of Vancouver newspapers in the Spring will reveal a lot of used RV's for sale of all types. You will need to purchase insurance from ICBC (Insurance Corporation of BC) and its a good idea to purchase RV coverage from the Auto Association (BCAA) that will cost around $120. This is important if you are not sure of the mechanical condition of the vehicle. The biggest problem with doing this is that there is not an active re-sell market for these vehicles and it will be difficult to get rid of it at the end of your stay. Unless you have relatives or friends in Vancouver (or wherever you intend to leave the vehicle) to resell it for you, I would not consider trying this. There are consignment lots out there, but chances are the difference between what you bought it for & what you re-sell it for may be more than it would have cost to rent one in the first place. Add to that, the risk of there being serious problems with the vehicle, this is a big risk to take with your vacation. If you are considering purchasing an RV, I would recommend having BCAA check out the mechanics (about $100) and having a reputable RV dealer look at the RV portion of the vehicle. If it is an older unit and has spent winters stored outside, there is a good chance you are purchasing a pile of rot. These sites http://www.rvtrader.com/ and http://www.camping-canada.com have listings of RV's for sale.
RV Forums & Web Sites:
Here are a couple of links to forums dealing with issues around Recreational vehicles. They can be a great source of info. The best one, by far is RV Net.
|Go RVing : Canada's RV website|
|RV Canada - Canada's RV Internet Portal|
|CanadaTrader.com Buy/sell an RV|
|RVHotlineCanada.com - Online Recreational Vehicle Hotline - Canada|
|Loners on Wheels - RV Club for singles|
There are many places to Boondock in BC by driving up Forestry roads. If you are planning to do this, you want use active roads, since these are the best maintained, but also the most dangerous due to logging trucks. These trucks carry radios, but they operate in the 160 Mhz range which is not CB or FRS/GMRS. You need a scanner. It is probable your insurance will not cover you if you are in an accident with one, & they have right of way. Without a radio, you should stop before a blind corner, roll down your window & listen. Then use your horn through the corner & keep as far tot the right as possible. Traveling on a Sunday is also a good idea as usually they don't work on Sunday's. You need to purchase a map book. These are separated by areas of the Province & are available as http://www.backroadmapbooks.com .
Places to Camp around Vancouver:
(Note: If you run a Park & want it listed here, E-mail me . I have an RV myself, if you would like to offer me a free overnight stay (May - Oct) at your facility, I would be happy to camp with you for a night & tour your facilities, so I can give a better opinion.)
1) Sites close to US Border. Most of these are in or close to the quaint seaside town of White Rock and are convenient if you are crossing in from the US. White Rock has excellent transit service to downtown Vancouver for $4 each way. (about an hour)
Peace Arch RV Park - This park has RV and tent sites (604-594-7009, toll free Reservation 1-800-411-0081, or Fax 604-597-4220). It is just off the Freeway (I5/Hwy 99) at the King George Highway Exit which is the 2nd or 3rd after crossing the border at the bottom of a long hill. Take this exit and you will see the Park off to your right. This one is open year round. 250 sites, telephone & satellite TV hook-ups, heated pool, laundry, RV storage. About $27 Canadian a night. Weekly rates around $155. Good transit access. This Park is deceiving. It turns out to be much better inside than what the impression is from driving by. Best rows are A thru G. Most spots in those are quite private & treed. I recommend this one. You are also only 5 minutes walk from bus stops that provide 15-30 minute service to the Skytrain or White Rock.
Border RV Park- 1250 King George Highway. Take the first exit after crossing the border & head North on King George Highway about a kilometer. I'm not sure this one is still open.
Timberland Motel & Campsite - Located at the King George exit off Hwy 99 (that's the one at the bottom of the long hill after crossing the border). Follow the signs for White rock, the campground is on your left just after crossing a small bridge and passing through the light. Full Hook-ups, 60 sites (not all hook-ups). Nice shady area, next to golf course, laundry, close to White Rock, excellent transit access. Open year round.3418 King George Highway. Phone 604-531-1033. When I checked this one out in Spring 2005, it looked a little run down, but it is nicely treed. Lots of permanents.
Pacific Border RV Park - Located at 67-175A Street. Phone 604-594-7009. Follow the signs for the "Truck Crossing" (Pacific Crossing) when you reach Blain, the Border town on the US side. This is the crossing you must use if you purchase duty-free. This park is located behind the Large Duty free store on the Canadian side just after you cross the border. Indoor Pool, hot tub, cable, 119 fully serviced pads. Close to Golf, White Rock beaches. rates around $22 Canadian a night, weekly around $130. The problem with this park is that it is very close, especially on one side to Semi's idling while they wait tot cross the border.
Hazelmere RV Park - To get to this one, use the Pacific (Truck) border crossing. Proceed up 176th street and turn right on 8th Ave about 2 kilometers north of the border. The park is about 2 or 3 kilometers along 8th. This park is adjacent to large Golf Course. It has about 150 sites with various classes of hook-ups. A full hook-up is about $28 can a night. They have weekly & monthly rates. The Park has a Pool, Laundry, Convenience Store, Hot Tub, Arcade, Fitness Room, Mini-Golf & Nature Trails . There are also about 5 acres of walking areas for your Pets. Phone 604-538-1167.
Seacrest Motel & RV - Right in White Rock, 31 sites with hook-ups, cable , laundry. Take exit #2 after crossing border, go west 2 km on 8th Ave to 160th, turn right. Its 1/2 block up the hill. Phone 604-531-4720. RV spots are about $25 a night. Open year round. This site is close to beaches, pubs, restaurants & the quaint White Rock waterfront. Good transit access.
Parklander RV Park - Small wooded park located at 16311 8th Ave. If you cross at the Pacific crossing, proceed up 176th street and turn left on 8th Ave, Its about 3 km. or if you use the Douglas crossing, take Exit #2 and head west on 8th, its about 1/2 a km. 31 full hook-ups, close to beach. Phone 604-531-3711.
2) Sites close to the Ferry to Victoria/Vancouver Island.
RV ParkCanada (Tsawassen Water Slides) - This park is located near Tsawassen on the road the main ferry terminal. A good place to stay before or after a trip to Vancouver Island. It is a pleasant Park with grassy sites and is one of my personal recommendations. They even offer a free shuttle if you want to go over as a foot passenger. It is adjacent to a waterslide Park & has a large number of full hook-up sites. The Park has its own pool & tour coordinator. To get there, simply follow the signs for Victoria ferry from either Highway 1 or Highway 99. Just keep watch for the waterslides on your right about 5 km from the terminal.
3) Suburban Sites. These are not close to Downtown, the Ferry or the Border, but some of them are convenient for transit access, maybe more aesthetic than some of the others, or cheaper. Fort Langley is the one I recommend.
Fort Langley Campground - This is my personal favourite for private campgrounds around Vancouver. I camp here myself for a day or 2 every spring to check out my RV. It is located at the outermost point of the Vancouver Transit System, in the quaint historic village of Fort Langley. This means it is possible to get into Vancouver on transit, a definite bonus. It is a very pleasant wooded campground with individual spots for about $20 to $24 depending on hook-ups. (604-888-3678 or toll free 1-866-267-3678, Fax 604-888-3697) It has a store & a swimming pool. Its located right on the banks of the Fraser River, with a beach where the river is slow enough that it is not a danger for kids. The site has a Sani-Station, & about 1/2 the sites have full hook-ups. To get there if traveling from the east, take the 232 St exit off Highway 1 (Trans Canada Freeway) & follow the signs for downtown Ft. Langley. Proceed through the town & cross the bridge at the north end, the Campground is on your left. If traveling from the United States, use the Pacific (truck) border crossing instead of the I5 crossing (Exit into Blaine & follow the signs). This is the crossing you have to use if you are buying duty free, anyway. Proceed up 176th Street towards the mountains for about 10 miles until you cross the freeway (highway 1). Take the first right onto 96th Ave. follow 96th Ave as far as you can (about 5 miles) into Ft. Langley, turn left and across the bridge, the campground is on your left. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derby Reach - This regional campground is located near Ft Langley on the banks of the Fraser River. Very pleasant with gorgeous mountain views across the river.. To get there, see the description for the Fort Langley campground above. Instead of proceeding through the town, turn left on 96th Ave. About 2 miles along, 96th takes a sharp turn to the left. Instead of going left, go straight on & up the hill. Turn right onto Allard Crescent & follow it about 3 miles. The campground is on the right. It is self registration, costs $14 a night & has no hookups. The sites are large enough for most Motorhomes & Trailers & 5th Wheels up to 30 ft. There are 38 sites all along the river. The big problem with this campground is that it is popular with day picnickers, especially on weekends & during the salmon run time in the Fall. They tend to park their cars in sites & use the tables, giving the appearance they are camping, when in fact they are freeloading. The best bet is to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon & avoid weekends. You can challenge people by asking if they have paid to camp, but these days you never know how people react. There is often a Park Host present so use them if you can to grab a spot from a freeloader. No showers, pit toilets, water.
Datwiler's Mobile Home Park - Located in the Langley area. I suggest you click the link & visit their web site for directions, it is a little more complicated to find and there is a map there.
Tynehead RV Park - Located off Exit 50 on Highway 1 (160th street), Full hook-ups, Sani-Station, pool, cable. Open all year. Address 16275 102nd Ave. Phone 604-589-1161. E-mail: Tynehead@unitedcomp.bc.ca
Anmore Camplands & RV - Pleasant park located at 3230 Sunnyside road in Port Moody. Phone 604-469-2311. This park is located near Buntzen lake in the village of Anmore. It is difficult to locate unless you have a map of Greater Vancouver. Take the first exit off Highway 1 after crossing the Port Mann Bridge (westbound). Follow the signs for Port Coquitlam and phone them for directions unless you have a map that shows Anmore. I have some better directions in my beaches section under Belcarra Park & Buntzen Lake that will probably help you navigate to the right place. Transit access available.
Plaza RV Park - Located at 8266 King George Highway. Take the King George Exit (one at the bottom of long hill) off Highway 99 coming from the border & head north about 15 km into suburban area. This park has bus service every 15 minutes to the nearby Skytrain Access to downtown. 52 Sites. Phone 604-590-4440. E-Mail email@example.com
Dogwood Campground - Located at 15151 112th . To get there take exit 50 off Highway 1 if coming from the east. If coming from the west use exit 48. Pool, Laundry, 300 sites.
4) Sites closer to Downtown:
Richmond RV Park: - This park has now closed as the land is needed for the 2010 Olympics. It may re-open in another spot. Check the link.
Burnaby Cariboo R.V. Park - Well equipped park, convenient to the new Millennium Rapid Transit line. To get to this park, take the Cariboo exit (Exit 37) off Highway 1. If heading towards Vancouver, this is the first exit after passing under the Skytrain line which crosses over the freeway. Turn right on Cariboo Road, then left at the next light. Full hook-ups, cable, phone, indoor pool, fitness center. Rates are in the $35 range. Open year round. 604-420-1722. Toll free fax at 1-800-667-9901. Global toll free fax at 00800-408-55470.
Capilano RV Park - Closest RV Park to downtown, although you have to cross the Lions Gate Bridge to get there. Located on Native land at 295 Tomahawk in West Vancouver near the north end of Lions Gate Bridge on the shore of the Capilano River. Full hook-ups, 208 sites, Pool, Jacuzzi, laundry, Dump Station, Pool, (604-987-4722). Transit Access.
Riverside RV & Campground - This is the only RV & Camping Site in the Whistler Area. Open year round with Full Hook-ups. Pricey at $40 to $45 dollars, but it is Whistler after all. Laundry.
6) Government Campgrounds close by:
Government campgrounds in BC are not usually suitable for large Motorhomes, trailers & 5th Wheels. Many are hard to negotiate & heavily treed. You are usually OK with a Camper, Class C or trailers & 5th Wheels 20 ft & under. There are 2 government campgrounds in the Vancouver area. Both are located in the Maple Ridge Area and are accessed off Lougheed Highway. (Hwy 7). Neither have Hookups, but are more aesthetic than private campgrounds. Rates range from $18 to $24 depending on whether you make a reservation, a necessity during the summer months. The closest one to Vancouver, and the larger of the two, is Alloette Lake. The other one, Rolley Lake, is closer to the town of Mission, but is a better choice if you are looking for a warm safe swimming beach. To get to either of them from Highway 1, either follow the signs for Mission coming from the east or take the last exit before the Port Mann Bridge when coming from the west. Follow the signs for Mission, either way, and you will end up on the Hwy 7. The exits for both campsites are marked. The next closest is a series of 3 campgrounds on Cultus lake, about 60 miles east off Hwy 1. These are quite popular & the lake is popular with boaters. They can turn into party places on weekends, however. There is also a government campground at Alice lake, just north of Squamish on the road to Whistler. More information can be found at BC Parks. See also my Camping Section for more links to camping in the rest of BC..
Reviews of RV Parks & Campsites from others:
E-Mail me if you want to contribute
1) This one comes from Wren Noganosh of Ottawa: We drove Ottawa to BC in mid September for work (National Energy Board Hearings around the province) and the first place we set up was at the Cottonwood Meadows Resort in Chilliwack. We both loved it (my daughter traveled with me) -- beautiful wooded flat sites, winding roads in the park area, fairly quiet, and the owners were very helpful. There is a "clubhouse" with modem, large screen TV, laundry facilities and a small library. The restrooms were spotless as were the sites and clubhouse. Price was $23 / night with 7th night free. Rates 9.
2) This one comes from John Q of Pt Angeles, Washington: Most summers we go here http://www.alderbayresort.com/ Can't say enough good about it, great fishing, excellent marina, scenery, campground is always clean, neat, & well organized. I think it is safe to say, Alder Bay is probably the best RV/Marina deal on the entire Island.
3) This one comes from Julie & Steve Summutt of Woodland, Utah: Highly recommend Sunshine Coast Resort in the Pender Harbour-Madeira Park area. Small, intimate, full hook-ups, wonderfully landscaped, great hosts, cable TV, modem friendly. Fantastic views. Access by boat to a wonderful pub/restaurant. Manipulating a rig into one of the terraced sites is not for the uninitiated, but well worth the effort. We are big fans of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island...have been to these areas several times and never an unpleasant experience. By the way, we travel with two dogs, and they were welcomed everywhere. Kudos to BC....a beautiful Province with beautiful people. We have traveled the interior as well, to Banff/Jasper several times from the coast...love it all.
4) This one comes from C. Freeman: Two places that were particularly nice for us last summer were West Bay Marina and RV Park in Esquimalt (just across the blue bridge from The Empress in Victoria) and Ripple Rock RV in Brown's Bay ( just north of Campbell River). Ripple Rock is quiet and remote and the passing cruise ships in the narrow channel fill up the horizon 100 yards offshore. West Bay is just the opposite, with all the activity of the inner harbour of Victoria, sea planes coming and going, etc
5) This one
I know that Paul isn't too keen on
Vancouver Island in his descriptions of it, but I visited it in July 2002 and
camped at Goldstream Provincial Park. If you do decide to camp on Vancouver
Island and want to stay near Victoria, camp at Goldstream and do NOT consider
camping at French Beach or any other provincial park unless you want to do some
serious driving to get to Victoria and back. Of course, if you do not care then
this is not a problem.
I was considering camping at one of these other parks and I was glad I didn't. I drove out to French Beach and it was quite a ride from Victoria. (Note: As of July 2002 the B.C. Highway Department DID NOT put up a Highway Number Marker on the Exit to the the road to French Beach when traveling southbound into Victoria on the Trans-Canada Highway. Ask me how I know.)
I chose to camp at Goldstream for two reasons: (a) Close to Victoria ( 16km if I remember correctly); and (b) It had showers while most others did not. And, as an added bonus, the park was absolutely beautiful!
It did help that it was 75 degrees almost the whole time during our trip. The locals actually acted like it was hot outside when it was really perfect.
And, as expected, the ferry rides were the best part of the trip. On the way to Vancouver Island we took BC Ferries from Tsawassen->Sydney and on the way back
Nanaimo->Horseshoe Bay. Driving through Vancouver yet again on the way home (from visiting there a year before) to navigate the poorly signed Hwy.99 interchange to get through Richmond refreshed my memory of how confusing that was...
Peace Arch RV Park just off hwy 99 (I-5) about 4 miles north of the border offers Temporary RV storage for $5 a day if you want to go somewhere like Vancouver Island & not have to pay to take an RV across. It is secure & Gated.
Fort Langley Campground also has some storage available.
The following images are from Fraserway RVs Web Site and is a cross section of the RV's they Rent/Sell
Camper Van, good for a couple
Truck with a Camper, good for 3-4 people (I have the same unit as the one above)
Motorhome: These come in varying sizes, the smallest good for 3-5 people. The one pictured is know as a Class C & are usually fuelled with gas. Larger ones that resemble buses are known as Class A's & are usually diesel. You are unlikely to be able to rent a Class A.