Here in BC, camping in the summer is a tradition. To make up for all the time we would have loved to spend outside, but couldn’t due to the endless torrential downpours and early sunsets — summer is when the less courageous of us leave our homes and head for the outdoors.
Camping — whether it’s tenting in the backcountry or taking a camper van to any of the 10,700 campsites managed by BC Parks — is how we make the absolute most of our province’s best months.
With every natural area in BC being breathtakingly stunning, we decided to round up three of the best sites that we deem especially worthy of a visit this summer. And since you’re going to be picking up wine for camping anyways, we’ve included some reasons why Smoky Bay is the top pick for your adventures. So take notes and get packing.
Home on the Sunshine Coast, Saltery Bay is the provincial park to hit for next-level ocean-side camping. When its rocky beach’s tides are low, tidal pools expose starfish, sea urchins, small fish, and crabs that usually hide beneath the sea’s surface, while orca whales and sea lions can sometimes be spotted from a distance.
For divers looking to explore the ocean’s floor this summer, Saltery Bay offers just the place. Mermaid Bay, located minutes away from the campground, offers amazing sights for scuba enthusiasts. Here, you’ll get a close-up look at the abundant marine life and a 9 ft tall bronze mermaid statue that’s submerged beneath the sea.
End your day of frolicking in the water and through the forest with a hot dog and some s’mores (would it even be camping without roasting food over an open fire?) which is perfectly paired with a glass — or camping mug — of Smoky Bay Shiraz.
The only destination on this list that’s not a provincial park, this stunning swimming spot in Squamish has a reputation as the ultimate chilling location amongst many BC locals. The lake is surrounded by designated camping spaces, rope swings and docks, and couldn’t be a more ideal body of water for hangouts on any kind of floatation device (with a drink in hand, obviously) for hours upon hours.
Operating on a first-come, first-served basis, this free campground is ideal for anyone who doesn’t work a Monday to Friday job, as getting a space on a Saturday morning can be a bit of a battle. We recommend taking time off mid-week or arriving early in the morning to secure space at this coveted lakeside haven.
This campground doesn’t allow you to drive right up to your site, so be prepared to carry your equipment (don’t worry, the parking lot isn’t far at all). Your boxed Smoky Bay Cabernet Sauvignon is handy for this, since boxed wine is easier to recycle when camping, and lighter than lugging around a bunch of bottles. You can also pour it right from the box without any tools or openers required, making it the perfect sidekick for a chill in-the-bush experience like this one.
Smack between the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan (a three-hour drive from either) amidst the Cascade Mountains lies E.C. Manning Park. This densely forested natural stomping ground is unique to BC in that it’s a year-round recreation area, with trails that range from 15 minutes long to hikes that would take you six days to complete.
Among all the trails, horse riding areas, mountain-filled views, and the breathtaking floral displays, are four summer drive-in campgrounds — offering plenty of spots for those who choose to visit this uber-popular BC park. Once you’re settled and finished unloading the car, reach for your easy-to-pour (and pack) box of wine by Smoky Bay — aka, the ideal travel companions.
Already mentally setting up camp at one of these sites? Same. Ahead of your next camping adventure, visit your local BCLIQUOR store to purchase a box of Smoky Bay Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. Before then, you can enter to win a $1,000 Atmosphere gift card to complete your camping arsenal from Smoky Bay below.
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