Whistler and Squamish are two of our all-time favorite travel destinations. With an abundance of outdoor adventures and incredible culinary experiences, there really is something for everyone on the Sea to Sky Highway.
If you are just skimming this and need the quick answer to where to camp, stay at Riverside Resort in Whistler and MTB Fun in Squamish.
If you are looking for free camping/boondocking for a night, go to Wedgemont Trailhead just north of Whistler and Walmart in Squamish.
For a more thorough description of each campground and to plan which campground best meets your needs, read on 🙂
Squamish and Whistler have campgrounds to meet the needs of all types of adventurers.
We like to play hard and rest hard, which means we prefer to go, go, go and then every three to five days we like to be able to shut down, relax, and most of all, take a really long hot shower. When we are in play mode, we don’t want to spend a fortune on a campground if we are literally only sleeping there between activities, and so, we search out as many free camping opportunities as possible. Likewise, when it’s time for some R&R, we don’t mind spending some money, but we want to be able to enjoy a hot shower, have WiFi, and breathe in some gorgeous scenery while our muscles are recovering.
There are numerous free tent camping opportunities near Squamish and Whistler, but since we travel in an RV and by the looks of how many CanaDream, Crusie Canada, and Adventurer RV’s we see traveling the Sea to Sky highway, we directed this blog more towards people traveling in RV’s and car camping. This blog has great options if you are looking for some epic tent campsites near Whistler.
Rates: $64-72 (plus taxes) per night from May 1-Oct 9, $56-$60 (plus taxes) per night Oct 10-April 30; Tent Sites are $43 per night (plus taxes) May 1-Oct 9 and are $26 Oct 10 – Dec 18 and Jan 3 – Apr 30.
Big Rig Friendly: Yes
Showers: Yes, $1 CAD for 5 minutes
WiFi: Yes + Free
If money isn’t an object, this is THE campground you want to stay at in Whistler. It has it all and is in the perfect location if you want to be near Whistler Village, Lost Lake, and many of the biking and hiking trails. Getting a site will be your biggest challenge because they fill up fast seeing as they really are the only option in town.
I loved how spacious the campground felt. There are 6 sections, with the lower three all being very close to the playground and sand volleyball area. The cabins are right by the main reception building that houses the laundry, mini market, and a full service cafe. Right behind that is the full hookup RV sites, which is right next to the paved bike path, The Valley Trail, that takes you into Whistler Village. Just on the other side of the bike path is the tent camping area. As far as tent camping goes, this wouldn’t be my first pick unless I was in desperate need of some showers, but the location is great if you want to be close to town.
The other three areas are located across a one lane bridge and up the hill a bit, but they are closer to the Scandinave Spa as well as the mountain biking and hiking trails that surround Lost Lake. I actually preferred staying up here. There is a multi use area that has a partial hookups area for RVs up to 26 feet and at the top near the spa is the area with the yurts. Click here to get prices for the yurts and cabins.
The yurts looked awesome btw and I would totally want to stay in those if I was not traveling in an RV and wanted to spend some time at the spa, hike, and mountain bike.
- Centrally Located: One of the best parts of Whistler is that there is an extravagant network of bike paths that connect various sections in Whistler. When you stay at Riverside Resort, you are literally on the bike path and minutes away from epic mountain biking, shopping and eating in Whistler Village, and scenic swimming and relaxing at Lost Lake.
- Amenities Galore: Riverside Resort has all the amenities you want in an RV resort…hot showers, dump station, full hookups, dishwashing station, laundromat, trash and recycling, a full service cafe, and a playground.
- Hot Showers: While the showers weren’t free, at least they were relatively cheap–only $1 CAD for 5 minutes.
- Free WiFi: The WiFi is free and worked relatively well. It wasn’t fast enough to upload or download videos but it was great for web browsing and social media. The WiFi also seemed to work better from the upper camping area than when we stayed in the lower.
- Dish Washing Stations: Next to every restroom/shower building is a dish washing station which is great for tent campers (or large families like me traveling in an RV that is completely broken :/)
- Lending Library: My kids loved that you could borrow movies for free from the front desk, there was a book exchange library, and board games to borrow.
- Laundromat: There is laundromat on site, which is also available to the public. Laundry cost about $4 for the washer and $3 for a 45 minute dryer cycle.
Overall, if you are coming to Whistler and want to partake in the numerous things to do in the town of Whistler, this is where you want to stay.
I highly recommend coming here with mountain bikes because then it’s really fast to get to town and you can explore all the great trails surrounding Lost Lake, many of which were easy enough for my 8 year old to ride. If bikes don’t work in your agenda don’t worry, there are many places to rent bikes or you should take a hike to Lost Lake via Lower Panorama Trail.
It’s relatively expensive however if you are used to staying in privately owned campgrounds and KOAs that cost $50-100 a night for camping with a resort like feel, then it’s not too bad. We rarely camp so luxuriously so it felt expensive to us but I did feel like the location makes the price worthwhile. I already told my husband that next trip to Whistler we are budgeting for an entire week here!
Rates: Full Hook Up Sites May 1-Oct 1 $60-$65 per night (plus taxes); $50 per night (plus taxes) Oct 1-May 1 *up to 2 adults and 2 children (all additional children or adults are $5/night, plus pets are $5 per night); Tent Sites are $45 per night (plus taxes) and available May 1-Sept 30. These non-serviced sites can fit trucks with campers and small RV’s.
Showers: Yes + Free
Large RV Friendly: Yes
WiFi: Yes, but it costs $10 per 24 hours (it’s fast though)
If the busy village of Whistler isn’t your thing and you want a campground with views and trails, then camping a few miles south of Whistler might be better for you.
This campground feels more like a destination in itself especially for those wanting access to the snowmobile trails in winter and ATV trails in summer.
There are two main sections, the full hookup area, which has great views of the surrounding mountains and a tent camping area, which sits under the canopy of the forest, and can fit RV’s up to 24′.
- Frisbee and Wiffle Golf: The campground has a frisbee golf and wiffle golf course, and while it sounds fun, they are both in the forest and unless you are really good, you will spend more time trying to recover your disc or ball from the underbrush than actually playing.
- Taxi Service: If you want to go to town and not have to unhook and drive your RV, there are taxi services that will pick you up from the campground.
- Trails Nearby: There are trails directly from the campground and it’s only a short drive from here to many of the best trailheads like Garabaldi Lakes.
- Activities + Excursions: Whistler Stables is based at the Whistler RV Park and Campground and there is paintball nearby. Also, Daily Bear Photo Safaris and Olympic Venue Tours will pick you up at the campground if you are sign up for their excursions.
- Free Showers: The showers here are free but they were warm but not super hot and you literally have to push the button every 5 seconds.
- Dishwashing Station: There is also a dishwashing station but only cold water and there was no trash nearby, which made cleaning the food out of the dishes a bit of a challenge.
- Fast WiFi: Even though you have to pay for the WiFi, it was nice to have fast WiFi.
Whistler RV Park is really cool if you want to Sled-in, Sled-out/ ATV-in, ATV-out. The views are epic and if you aren’t on a tight budget or don’t need to be right in the heart of Whistler, this campground has everything you need. As a digital nomad, I appreciated how fast the WiFi was, even though I had to pay extra for it.
The negative here is that it’s pricey for being so remote. For the same amount of money you can stay in Whistler and have just as many amenities plus the option to go out to eat and explore.
Large RV Friendly: RVs over 30 feet not recommended
I love free camping especially when it is in a spot that feels safe and is easy to get to. If I actually have cell service there then I’m really in heaven!
This free camping spot is right by a river and has places to tent camp or to just pull up and sleep in your RV/car. It’s not ideal if you are pulling a trailer, but if you are a really good driver, there is a large dirt area to turnaround after you cross the one lane bridge (not sure if I am confident enough to do it, but I know there are people out there that would in a trailer).
Finding the free camping area here is very easy. As you drive north out of Whistler and past Green Lake, just look for the signs for Wedgemont Hike and turn right there. You’ll immediately see a parking area on the left that you can park at or, go over the one lane bridge to an even larger dirt parking area. You probably won’t be alone as this has become a very popular camping spot. You can also head left up the road towards the actual trail head for Wedgemont and there are a few spots that fit an RV/car (no turn around for trailers though).
- Cell service: As a digital nomad, I loved that I had a cell signal here and could work off my hotspot. If your carrier happens to not work (if mine does, yours probably will because I have T-Mobile and they seem to not work very many places)
- Close to civilization: You can’t walk to town from here, but you are only a few miles from town which is really nice. You are also very close to Green Lake here.
- Noise: I preferred to camp right by the road which meant I could hear cars drive by but that road really isn’t that busy so it was fine for me. If you go over the bridge it’s much quieter.
- Facilities: There’s nothing here other than the river running by. Please help protect the forest and keep these great free camping areas open by picking up your trash.
Quick note about this trailhead
The hike to Wedgemont Lake has been on our bucket list for awhile and on this last visit to Whistler I had the confidence to try and get to the trailhead, after all, it’s only 2 km up this dirt road. I attempted it late in the evening when there wasn’t much traffic and despite the warnings of an 18% grade, we (barely) made it to the top (we have a 30 foot RV btw). But once up there I thought How the heck am I going to get back down the next day if there is traffic? It’s a narrow and steep descent to the bottom with very few turnouts. I bailed and went back to the bottom that night and so Wedgemont gets left on the bucket list until we visit with a smaller vehicle.
You really don’t need high clearance for this one, but I don’t recommend it for RV’s! However, you could probably get to the Cheakamus Lake trailhead south of Whistler since it’s wider and less steep, but do it early or late since it can get busy.
Campgrounds Between Whistler and Squamish
On the way from Whistler to Squamish there are two camping opportunities, Cheakamus Canyon and Cal-Cheak.
Cheakamus Canyon Climbing Area has a primitive campground adjacent to some awesome rock climbing. It was recently renovated and has nice sites, pit toilets, and is surrounded by forest. The only negative is the road up, while it is paved, is steep with quite a few potholes, making it not ideal for RV’s.
Cal-Cheak is a great campground with 55 sites set in the natural beauty of the National Forest. Some sites can fit RV’s, but this is primitive camping which means no electricity or sewer. Camping here is a great option since it is only $13 CAD per night and there are hiking trails and rock climbing nearby.
Camping in Squamish has many options. There are plenty of forest roads, large pull outs, quiet residential areas, a provincial park, municipal campground, and private campgrounds to give you a lot of options.
Free Camping in Squamish
Last time we visited Squamish, we wild camped on Mamquam Forest Road but because there were so many campers who weren’t cool about leaving no trace, the city has been cracking down and not allowing camping there any more, although many still try.
Due to the strain on the environment from having so many people wild camp, the city is asking people to not wild camp in the following locations:
- Spit Road – Squamish Estuary/Wildlife Management Area
- Downtown Squamish
- Mamquam Forest Service Road/Powerhouse Springs Road
- Any residential area
If you like forest roads, Cat Lake is only ten minutes north of Squamish and there are plenty of free camping options or you can pay to tent camp in the walk in sites at Cat Lake. This is a nice area for hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking/SUP.
Technically Walmart doesn’t allow overnight parking however many RVs and vans do stay overnight and we’ve never been rolled for it. Canadian Tire also has many RVs parked overnight even though it does say 2 hour max parking.
Tips if you choose to free camp:
- Trash + Recycling: It is easy to find trash cans around town, at gas stations, and large stores, but it was hard to find places for recycling. Mountain Fun campground (see below) has recycling.
- Dump + Fill: Canadian Tire is a great resource if you are RV camping as they have a free dump and water fill station in their parking lot.
- Showers: If you are looking to shower, the Brennan Park Recreation Centre is great and also a good spot for WiFi.
- WiFi: Zephyr Cafe, Backcountry Brewery, Canadian Tires, Nesters Market, and Squamish Library are our go-tos for WiFi.
It’s really hard to tell when you are just driving the Sea to Sky highway, but there are actually a lot of great campgrounds in Squamish. There were three that were my absolute favorites: Alice Lake, Mountain Fun, and Mamquam River.
Alice Lake Provincial Park
Rate: $23-43 per night
Showers: Yes, free
Big Rig Friendly: Yes
Alice Lake Provincial Park is a destination campsite. This campground is one of the most gorgeous campgrounds we’ve stayed at. Besides having spacious sites beneath huge trees, the views of the sunset over Alice lake are to die for. There are a few campsites here with electricity and there is also a dump and fill station at the entrance. Getting reservations can be very hard so try to book way in advance.
- Trails: There are great hiking and mountain biking trails from the campground. I recommend mountain biking Cliffs Corner for fast, easy, flowy downhilling or uphill 50 Shades of Green if you are looking for a great workout. Biking or hiking Jacks is a nice in between. Make sure to also hike the easy loop Four Lakes Trail. My kids love staying here because there’s a fun playground with an easy mountain biking skills park. You can also kayak and SUP on Alice Lake and rentals are available at the lake.
- Free Showers: The campground has a toilet block with flush toilets and free hot showers. If you want a hot shower, don’t wait too late in the evening though or the hot water will run out.
- No WiFi: While Alice Lake is more affordable, I didn’t have cell service there and there wasn’t Wifi. Luckily, there’s so much to do that I didn’t mind being off-grid for a few days.
- Snack Bar: There is a small snack bar by the lake but that’s about it for food options nearby. If you camp here, just remember to stock up on the way in.
If you can plan ahead to get a site at this very popular campground, do it. It offers plenty of options to keep you or your family entertained, while also getting some R+R under a gorgeous canopy of old-growth forest.
Mountain Fun Basecamp
Rate: $43-65 per night
Showers: Yes, hot and free
Big Rig Friendly: Yes
WiFi: Yes, free
There is so much to love about this campground…it’s in the forest, there are full hookup and dry camping sites, dish washing stations, a charging station, really hot showers that are free, it sits right on a large network of mountain biking trails, and the staff is really nice.
There are two main areas, full hookups and tent areas. The tent areas are quite large and many can fit good size RVs. Our 30 foot had no trouble fitting in site 12, which is in the non-hookup area.
A perfect campground for mountain bikers
- Mountain Biking Trails: If you MTB, you’ll love it here. Right from the campground you can hop on the Wonderland Trail which takes you up to the extensive network of trail around Alice Lake. Note: Trailforks says that Wonderland is a green but it is blue according to the wooden signposts and it’s accurate. It was way too technical for my 8 year old. For beginner riders, go across the street and ride Ray Peters Trail to Larry’s Loop, Reefer Rip, Rusty Bucket, and finish on Sweet Judy.
- Bike Rentals: If you don’t have bikes, you’re in luck. The campground rents mountain bikes and at a really affordable rate. $15 for kids and $25 for adults for the entire day.
- Dish Washing Stations: The dish washing stations are huge sinks with a hose and I loved that I could send my 11 year old to wash dishes and not worry about him breaking anything.
- Charging Stations: I thought the charging station in the campground was pure genius and I don’t know why more campgrounds don’t do this. In the middle of the tent camping area there’s a pole with a surge protector attached so that you can charge your devices. I was stoked for the charging station just so I could use it in the morning for 10 seconds to use my electric offer grinder without waking up my kids.