Miracle Beach Provincial Park – Campbell River BC – Campground Review

Miracle Beach at High Tide

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.

Our Trip

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.

Sample of how private the sites are.
  • 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)

Patio lunch at Quay West Kitchen
  • 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.

Campground Cons

  • 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.

Links

Advertisements

Bear Creek Provincial Park – Kelowna, BC

https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/BearCreek

Bear Ck 2b

When our kids were young we kicked off summer by heading to Bear Creek Provincial Park for the Canada Day long weekend. It felt like the official start of summer and you could almost be guaranteed to have good weather. Kelowna has a great Canada Day Festival in town with lots to do for the entire family and even without Canada Day you will most certainly be able to find something fun to do. The last time we were at Bear Creek was in 2004, this is largely due to the fact the park is hard to reserve, but these notes are based on those trips so the next time I am in Kelowna I will go back to check it out again.

Continue reading

Married 20+ Years, 2 Weeks Camping Alone For The First Time!

After 20+ years of camping with family and friends Blair and I took our first 2 week camping trip ALONE. Sure we had done a few nights alone but this was our first extended trip on our own. We figured we had practiced enough over the years and now we were ready to go it alone. Some may question our decision but we have had some recent achievements so we believed we could do it! Here are some of our proud milestones:

  1. We usually back the trailer up without bickering or ending in hours of silence. Go Us!!!!
  2. We have not lost keys in the last 3 trips. Those who travel with us realize this is a big accomplishment.
  3. We have remembered to fill the water tanks on 3 of the last 5 trips, without being reminded!
  4. We have found common ground on our “gas war”. Blair likes to see how long we can travel after the gas light comes on and I go into panic mode once we get below half a tank.

With that kind of success, how could we not feel ready? We decided to make our first trip to Northern Vancouver Island. We did this for a few reason:

  • It is beautiful with lots of opportunity to hike and kayak, two of our favorite things.
  • It is remote – no one will witness our bickering if it does occur!
  • We are on an island – if we decided to bail on the trip it is not easy or cheap to get home giving us a better chance of sticking it out.

Our Route

We planned to take the ferry to Duke Point and driving to Miracle Beach for our first 3 nights. Miracle Beach has plenty of hikes within a short drive, great beaches to walk along and Campbell River is just a short drive if we have forgotten items and or want a dinner out.

From there we head to Port McNeil. This made a great home base to explore the north. We planned to spend a day at Telegraph Cove kayaking, a day in Port Hardy checking out the town and driving/hiking to Cape Scott, a day around Port Alice to kayak and explore the area, a day visiting Alert Bay, and a couple days around our site just relaxing and enjoying the oceanfront views.

After the northern segment, we headed to the popular and remote campground on Loveland Bay. This was to be the beach portion of our vacation and chance to relax, read and swim.

We ended the trip at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park. Here we planned a cave tour, some kayaking and a hike before heading back to the ferry at Duke Point and home. ­­­

It was an ambitious trip with lots of packing up and changing of locations but it gave us lots of opportunity to review several campground. I am currently finalizing all the reviews and the summary of how we made out. Spoiler alert, we came home together and lasted the full 2 week without any issues!

Porteau Cove Provincial Park – Squamish, BC Campground Review

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!! That is really the best way to describe this campground. I can see why it is near impossible to get a reservation here!!!! We stayed at Porteau Cove Provincial Park for the first time in mid August 2017. Somehow my sister managed to get a double ocean front site and she invited us to share it with her. All I can say is LUCKY US. This is, without a doubt, the most amazing campground.

Continue reading

Family River Rafting with REO

In 2017 we camped at Blue Lake Resort with 4 other families. To entice our teenagers to join us, we needed an exciting activity. It had to be thrilling enough for the young and young at heart and safe enough for those who didn’t want to admit they weren’t either of those. After much research we agreed river rafting fit the bill. Safety was a key factor, we had some nervous swimmers and some even more nervous moms, so we needed to go with a reputable company. Based on location and company reviews we decided to go with REO River Rafting.

Continue reading

Shannon Falls Provincial Park- Squamish, BC – Hike Review

Hiking has become one of our favorite activities while camping and Squamish is the perfect hiking destination. We recently camped at Porteau Cove Provincial Park and while there we took a morning hike to Shannon Falls Provincial Park. This is a very popular park in part due to it convenient location, 60 km north of Vancouver and right off of Highway 99, and because of the number of hikes that can be accessed from this park. There is a public parking lot but it fills up fast. If you are planning on visiting on the weekend you are best to arrive early.

Shannon Falls is the center piece of this park and the trails provide spectacular views from a variety of levels. The trails are in great shape and very well maintained but each year climbers irresponsibly venture off the trail to get closer access to the Falls. Unfortunately many do not appreciate the danger of the falls and the results are sometimes fatal.

Continue reading

Blue Lake Resort: Boston Bar – Campground Review

View of the lake from our hike

The summer of 2017 our annual  group camping trip brought us to Blue Lake Resort.   For previous 4 years we had camped in the Cariboo but all of our kids are now working full time or going to school so we needed to find a location within a couple hours of Vancouver. We also required 5 campsites, with at least a couple being lakefront, one cabin and, oh yeah, we all wanted to be together.  We knew this would be a tough order so when the folks at Blue Lake Resort said they could accommodate all our needs we were thrilled and confirmed our reservation.

Continue reading

WOW Golf Course, Penticton BC – Review

Well the name says it all – WOW Golf:

  • WOW – The view!
  • WOW – The number of balls we lost!
  • WOW – The challenging greens!
  • WOW – I am so glad we had a cart!
  • WOW – That was a fun round of golf!

This unique and challenging 9 hole course is worth an afternoon of golf. We were camping at OK Falls Provincial Park and planned to golf each morning and hit wineries in the afternoon. After a round at WOW Golf I think we might have been smarter to hit the wineries before the golf course.

Continue reading

Come to the Island – 7 great reasons to float on an island.

As you know we are social campers, not back country hard core campers. We love to gather with friends and family at a lake and hope for sun. This usually involves several women blowing up individual flotation bed and paddling several feet into the lake. I realize this sound terribly laborious and you must marvel at all the obstacles we have endured.img_5004

  1. How can so many women chat while continuing to floating away from each other?
  2. How can your drinks still be full by the time you reach your destination?
  3. Doesn’t the lake keep pushing us back to shore, resulting in constant paddling.

Continue reading

Lightning Lake Campground, E.C. Manning Provincial Park

Manning9We camped at Lightning Lake Campground a couple years back on our anniversary but just realized I did not do a complete review. Lightning Lake Campground is one of 5 campgrounds located within E.C. Manning Park and it is by far the most popular making it difficult to get into.  We also stayed at Coldspring Campground the same trip and you can find it’s review here.

Canyon Trail Sign

Continue reading