The summer of 2019 Blair and I had our first 2 week road trip to the northern portion of Vancouver Island. We intended to arrive in Nanaimo and head north to the more remote areas of the island. Of course, BC Ferries had other plans and landed us in Victoria due to cancellations and other unfortunate events, but that’s another story. After our rough start, and a much longer drive, we arrived at Miracle Beach.
We chose this campground for a few reasons:
- Its endless sandy beach and world famous beach combing.
- Its proximity to Campbell River and the expected fresh seafood that comes with the area.
- Its central location to several hikes in the area.
During our stay we wanted to spend time in Campbell River, a day on the beach and a couple of days hiking.
Day 1 – We headed to Ripple Rock Canyon to complete a morning hike. The history of this location is very interesting and we were advised to read up on it before visiting the site. It was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular. On the way back we stopped in Campbell River for lunch on the seawall and a walk to the docks. Here we stopped at Crabby Bob’s and picked up some fresh halibut for dinner before returning to our campground.
Day 2 – We drove to end of Strathcona Park to complete Baby Bedwell Hike. It was a 2-hour drive, partly on gravel road, and then a 3-hour hike – in and out. It is a challenging hike but worth it. The views were amazing and other than the torrential downpour on the way home, it was a great day.
Day 3 – We were to drive to Port McNeil but first we wanted to get in some beach time. It was low tide so we moved the RV to the day use parking lot and headed out to explore the beach. It was low tide so we were able to walk for miles. The beach-combing was fantastic with sand dollars, crab and several other creatures waiting to be observed. Here we saw a humpback whale right off the shore and a cruise ship leaving for Alaska. It was a great way to end our journey in the area.
Info on the park
The park is very large: 57 hectares and 201 non-serviced sites so choose your site wisely. It is a very popular campground so I would recommend making a reservation prior to arriving. We walked the entire campground and for the first time ever, I can say there is not a bad site. The sites vary in size but if you enter your camping equipment information, the system will only show you those appropriate sites. If you want a large site just check the dimensions on the campsite info page.
The thing to consider when booking this campground is location. We were in site 11, which was in the row closest to the beach access path, and the second site in from the main road. We walked to the beach often so I was very pleased with our choice. The park also has a shower house, 3 flush washroom buildings, several pit toilets, and lots of water taps. Because all the sites are great, you only need consider the following when selecting a site.
- Get as close to the beach as possible, it is a bit of walk even when you are in the first row. If you have young children and all the toys, towels and snacks that go along with them you may be driving to the beach parking lot regardless of your location.
- If you plan to use the campground washrooms, I would recommend a site close to the flush washroom buildings. The pit toilets are well located throughout the park but they are still pit toilets.
- The main road is busy, we were 2 sites in and it didn’t bother us but if I had young children on bikes I would choose to be a bit farther away from main road.
- If you have dogs or children, you may want to choose a site on the northeast side. They are closer to the dog trails, the nature house and the amphitheater.
Campground Pros (and there are many)
- The beach! At low tide you can spend hours out there. Take a picnic, chairs, toys and settle in for the afternoon.
- Large level and private campsites
- Paved roads for children to ride bikes on and easy walking access to the beach with strollers and wagons.
- Trails, playground, nature house and amphitheater – plenty of option to please all ages.
- Free shower house
- 3 flush toilet buildings and several pit toilets.
- Lots of beach parking. On the day we checked out, we parked our RV in the day use parking and it was easy to find a space long enough for the truck and trailer.
- Short drive (~15 minutes) to Campbell River where you can buy seafood on the pier and walk the seawall. Check out Quay West Kitchen for tasty food and drinks on the seawall.
- Sani dump and potable water on site
- Several great hikes within a short drive.
- Saratoga Speedway is nearby so the noise of the cars is a constant throughout the day. A reminder that you are very close to the tourist attractions
- Not enough showers for the size of the campground
- Beach house shower, bathroom and change rooms were very run down. It felt very dirty and unkept. The only part of the park that felt that way.
- Park size – for some this may be a downside because it is a very long walk to the beach from the back sites.