It’s prime camping season! But with the August heat, it’s crucial to find the perfect spot: easy access, lots of trees for hanging up the hammock and for shade (both equally as important!), and close proximity to a nice, cool lake!
When I was younger, I may have preferred to head out without a plan and bushwhack to find a spot for my tent, but with a camper and a baby, I now much prefer our gorgeous provincial parks. And why not? You can book your spot at one of the many available campgrounds online in advance, they’re always clean and lovely, and usually have everything on my previously mentioned list.
Here is a list of your next four camping trips – a provincial park in each direction from Prince George!
North: Crooked River Provincial Park
Crooked River Provincial Park is a great area to visit with a variety of activities to do while you’re there. In the middle of the park is Bear Lake, about 74 km north of Prince George, and the campground around the lake makes for a good day trip from the city or a longer camping trip. The best part of the park, in my opinion, is the sandy beaches on Bear Lake. There is a huge beach in the day use area – playground, picnic tables, ample room for soaking up the sun; and on the other side of the lake, there are over 60 camping sites, many of which sit right on the lake with nearly private beaches! Needless to say, you’ll want to reserve early to score one of these spots. From the campground you can also access many hiking trails, including right around Bear Lake, allowing for a chance to scope out the beach and the other campsites. There’s also another lovely, flat trail to Square Lake, looping around that lake too. And if you prefer flippers or waders over hiking shoes, you can walk to Crooked River, a great spot for fly-fishing, or hop across the highway to Hart Lake for its stocked rainbow trout.
East: Purden Lake Provincial Park
With over 75 sites in the very treed campground in Purden Lake Provincial Park, you can definitely enjoy some quiet solitude. Each time I’ve spent a weekend here, I’ve been amazed at how quiet it is. The beach is a bit of a walk from the campsites, but it’s worth it. This is another beautiful beach, with a large grassy area, and even a separate area that is dog-friendly. Unlike the smaller Bear Lake, Purden Lake welcomes boaters and has a separate launch away from the beach. The lake is quite large so there’s plenty of room for water skiing, tubing, and just touring. You’ll also see lots of fishers on the lake too. Purden Lake is located about 64 km east of Prince George.
South: Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park
Ten Mile Lake Park is only 12 km outside of Quesnel, BC, and 110 km south of Prince George. The park has three sandy beaches and a large picnic shelter that can be reserved for groups. Many of the camping sites are on the lake here too but reservations are definitely recommended – the beautiful treed park is very popular with Quesnel locals and visitors alike! The park also has some great hiking trails and allows motorboats. One of my favourite day trips in the summer is to visit Barkerville Historic Town & Park, an old gold rush town just over an hour east of Quesnel – this would be a great day activity if you’re camping at Ten Mile Lake for an extended time.
West: Beaumont Provincial Park
I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually camped overnight at Beaumont Provincial Park yet, but I have driven through the campground and it’s on my list of places to stay! It’s a bit farther away – 134 km west of Prince George – but would make for a great break if you’re trekking farther west to Prince Rupert, or as a destination all its own. It’s not far off the highway, but it felt very peaceful and isolated, with lots of thick stands of trees – my kind of place. And after seeing a friend’s pictures of the sunsets on the lake – well, it moved a couple notches higher on my ‘to camp’ list!