Whistler is one of the pricier places to stay in British Columbia. But if you want to save money and camp you must be prepared to drive into the town as there are limited camping facilities close to the resort.
Campsites close to Whistler are usually open from May to September and competition for sites is extremely high during the summer and the long holiday weekends from May to September.
If you plan to camp in the early spring, late fall or winter be prepared for constant sub-zero temperatures and several metres of snow on the ground.
BC Parks runs the provincial park campgrounds around Whistler. The most basic offer a patch to pitch your tent and a compost toilet. The best and more expensive campgrounds have flush toilets, warm showers, covered picnic tables, playgrounds, interpretive programs and boat launches. Unfortunately these tend to be some distance from Whistler.
To guarantee your spot, you can book online up to three months in advance through the Discover Camping website. Campsites cost between $16-$30 per party/car and there is a booking fee of $6.30 per night up to a maximum of three nights. Electrical hook-ups cost an extra $8.
1. Nairn Falls Provincial Park
Nairn Falls BC is the most convenient BC Parks facility for Whistler. It’s a 20-minute drive north of Whistler near the town of Pemberton. The park, on the Green River features the 60m high Nairn Falls and a few short hiking trails.
2. Garibaldi Provincial Park
If you’re looking for comfort camping, avoid Garibaldi Provincial Park located 25km south of Whistler. This huge alpine park has several wilderness campgrounds at nine locations available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Facilities are basic and most of the campgrounds are a good hike from the nearest parking lot.
There are also a few equipped overnight shelters which cannot be booked in advance so be prepared to sleep under the stars.
3. Alice Lake Provincial Park
Alice Lake lies 50km south of Whistler not far from the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
The park is very, very popular with families and the main activities are hiking and swimming in the very cold lakes.
Other Camping Options
BC’s Ministry of Forests has several campsites in the Callaghan Valley west of Whistler. Most forestry sites are off the beaten path but the Cal Cheak site just north of Brandywine Falls is within easy walking distance to the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
These campsites are smaller, quieter and offer basic facilities. Many of the sites are free or charge a rate much lower than BC Parks.
Riverside RV Resort & Campground is the only camping facility within Whistler itself. Squamish, 45 minutes south of Whistler and Pemberton, 20 minutes north of Whistler have a selection of privately run campgrounds and RV parks.
Tips: Around 60% of sites run by BC Parks can be booked in advance so some sites are always available on a first come, first serve basis. When the weather is good, competition for the spaces can be fierce so arrive at 7am when the gates open.