Hack the Park! A Guide to Accessing Marine Campsites in Strathcona Park- even if you don’t own a boat

Categories: camping

Disappointed about not being able to get a campsite reservation this summer? You’re not the only one. Usually our little corner of Vancouver Island is a sure fire spot to snag a campsite, however this year we’re seeing higher demand than usual and Ralph River and Buttle Lake Campsites have been sold out several times. Pretty rare in our remote area. But, DO NOT DESPAIR, as always, we’ve got you covered! 

If you’re looking to go camping this summer, look no further! We present to you…. The life hack for getting a summer 2020 campsite!

While the drive in campsites may be filling up quickly, there is still ample space at the marine campsites. “But, I don’t have a boat!” you say! We do! And we rent them for multi-day trips! Here’s how you do it. 


Step 1) Pick your dates. Call us to reserve a multi-day boat rental or book online

We recommend canoes for multi-day trips. Do you know how much stuff you can fit in a canoe?? Hint: A lot of stuff. Think: firewood, floaties, tents, sleeping bags, and many marshmallows. Have kids or need more space? Take one of our freighter canoes!

Last minute adventure? We can usually accommodate walk-in rentals. Pop in and we’ll do our very best to make it happen


Step 2) Pick your campsite and pre pay online. 

Pre pay online ahead of time using the BC parks site before you leave home! There are several beautiful marine sites in Strathcona Park right on our lake within an hour’s paddle of the lodge.

You can launch right from our waterfront centre and paddle away on your adventure. Our friendly waterfront staff will even help you out with info on choosing the right boat, tips for loading your gear, and even give you a paddling lesson if you want one. They can also provide you with directions and beta on finding your site. 

Alternatively, you can load the boat onto your car and launch from one of the boat launches in the park. If you’d like to go for this option make sure to come prepared with the gear to make it happen: either a roof rack, or foam blocks and tie down straps.


Step 3) Paddle away with your friends, your family and your gear and feel like a total winner! 

Enjoy the peace and quiet of a marine site, complete with all the same amenities as the car camping sites, (picnic tables, tent spots, and outhouses). Best part? You’re always guaranteed a waterfront site when you book a marine site!


Step 4) Optional and highly recommended- enjoy a celebratory dinner and drinks when you get back! 

When you return from your trip, join us for dinner or drinks with a view in our restaurant, the Whale Room. Sit out on our gorgeous deck, toast to a great adventure, and revel in your genius choice to book a marine site! Pro tip: Book your dinner reservation ahead of time when you make your boat rental! You might even want to stay a few nights with us after your trip!

Happy trails to all!

  • Your SPL team