Canada is well known for the many federally supported camping and day use parks across the country. Parks Canada manages these parks and has said:
“As of June 1, some Parks Canada places began a safe, gradual reopening of some outdoor areas at national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Openings will differ across the country.”
However, they go on to say:
“Camping is not permitted until at least June 21, while we assess necessary health and safety measures. This includes oTENTiks, yurts and backcountry camping. All existing reservations set to take place prior to June 21 will be automatically cancelled and refunded in full.”
Highways through national parks have remained open but all parking facilities and associated services for visitors — including washrooms, day-use areas, visitor centres, and mooring — are closed until further notice.
More information and links to specific federal parks can be found here (link opens in new tab): https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/securite-safety/covid-19-info
Private Campgrounds: Private campgrounds, especially those hosting full time RVers, mostly remained open and took reservations and campers through the pandemic, if they were already open.
Some private campgrounds are taking the lead of Provincial campgrounds and limiting access to BC residents only. Others don’t have such restrictions. Therefore please check with the RV park before booking to ensure they will allow you to book and stay if you are out of province.
Keep in mind that no matter where you stay, private or provincial, there are new rules for campers and tenters. For example, many campgrounds have social distancing rules, while pools and playgrounds are currently closed.
Provincial Campgrounds: As of May 14, most BC Provincial Parks are now open for day use. Provincial campgrounds REQUIRE reservations online at https://discovercamping.ca/bccweb/ Provincial campgrounds are also open for BC RESIDENTS ONLY. No out of province campers will be allowed. Anyone from out of province who reserved camp spots before the lockdown are entitled to refunds, but if you are from out of province and attempt to book a spot you may forfeit your fees.
There may still be some provincial campgrounds not open so please visit http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/parks-affected/ to view the complete list of campground openings
Crown / public land camping: People are allowed to camp on vacant Crown Land for up to 14 days (if there are no designated closures, you can comply with the orders and guidance provided by the provincial health officer). Again, check with BC Parks website to see which areas may still be affected.
More about BC Parks response to covid-19 (link opens in new tab): http://bcparks.ca/covid-19/
Private Campgrounds: Private campgrounds are allowed to open with restrictions (see https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-private-and-municipal-campgrounds.pdf) designed to limit the spread of Covid-19. These restrictions include limitations on the number of campers permitted, physical distancing expectations, facilities usage and more.
Provincial campgrounds: Campgrounds reopened June 1. However Alberta Parks is temporarily limiting camping occupancy to 50 per cent capacity while they adjust to enhanced cleaning services and determine how to best support visitors during the pandemic.
Group camping and comfort camping are not available at this time. Individual and backcountry campsites can be reserved online at Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca. Further, temporary access restrictions to some facilities such as shower buildings and playgrounds are in place.
Only one household is allowed per campsite with a maximum of six people per site. Second RV units will not be permitted. A second tent may be permitted depending on the site and requires campground approval.
Tenters will be permitted in Alberta Parks’, and last but not least, Alberta Parks is transitioning to cashless operations, so be prepared to reserve and pay online at http://reserve.albertaparks.ca/
Dump stations will be available.
Crown / public land camping: People are allowed to camp on vacant Crown Land for up to 14 days. Check https://www.alberta.ca/camping-on-public-land.aspx to see which areas may still be affected.
More about Alberta Parks response to Covid-19 (Link opens in new tab): https://www.albertaparks.ca/albertaparksca/news-events/response-to-covid-19/
Private Campgrounds: Starting June 1, long-term seasonal, overnight stay and limited-term campers will be allowed under the following conditions until the public health order is amended:
- Reservations must be accepted in advance.
- Overnight stays and limited-term campsites may only be occupied at 50 percent capacity, with no adjacent sites occupied at the same time.
- Contactless transactions must be used (electronic payment, delivery of firewood, etc.).
- No group campsites/reservations permitted. Double sites may not be booked.
- All shower and laundry facilities must be closed.
- Access can be provided to washroom facilities, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols must be followed and the frequency with which bathrooms are cleaned must be increased.
- Campers must be encouraged to use bathroom facilities in their trailers or recreational vehicles, avoiding public bathrooms.
Food services and rentals, including yurts, will not be allowed, so campers should be prepared to bring their own tents, items and any equipment they wish to use.
Recreational facilities like beach access, picnic areas, playgrounds and tennis courts must be closed, according to the province’s reopening rules.
Campsites may allow boats to launch, as long as campers are observing physical distancing rules.
Provincial Campgrounds: Beginning June 1, only Saskatchewan residents will be allowed to camp in Saskatchewan provincial parks. Camping must be booked online (link opens in new tab): https://saskparks.goingtocamp.com/home
As of June 12, 2020 outdoor playgrounds, beaches and associated washrooms will reopen
Find out which provincial parks and campgrounds are open here (link opens in new tab): https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/places-to-go/provincial-parks/our-parks?#sort=relevancy
General rules as a result of Covid-19:
- Overnight stays and limited-term campsites will only be occupied at 50 per cent capacity, with no adjacent sites occupied at the same time.
- Reservations are encouraged via the online reservation system or the call centre.
- No group campsites/reservations are permitted. Double sites may not be booked.
- As of June 12, beaches and outdoor showers will be open, however, visitors are asked to continue physical distancing while enjoying the beach.
- All indoor shower and laundry facilities will be closed.
- Washroom access will be limited to one household at a time.
- Campers should use bathroom facilities in their trailers or recreational vehicles and avoiding public bathrooms.
- Park users will be asked to continue physically distancing and gatherings are limited to a maximum of 15 people (indoors) and 30 people (outdoors).
- Some shared facilities will remain closed including swimming pools, indoor showers, laundry facilities and cookhouses.
- As of June 12, 2020, playgrounds will be open to the public. Visitors to park playgrounds are asked to continue physical distancing and practice frequent handwashing.
- In-pool swimming lessons are on hold until further notice.
- All interpretation services, children’s programming and community-based programming, is postponed until further notice.
- Programs and activities will be offered virtually (on facebook) and contactless (Park Activity Kits found at the Visitor Reception Centre or Park Office).
- Campers are being asked to protect themselves and others by not going camping if they are showing signs of illness and to bring along supplies to help stop the spread of the virus.
- The rental of tents and yurts is not permitted (Including Camp-Easy).
Private Campgrounds: Campgrounds, yurts and vacation cabins, can open if people are able to maintain a distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges. Effective June 1st, amenities such as beverage rooms, pools, hot tubs or fitness centres can open to the public following the restrictions and guidelines outlined in the public health order. Additional information can be viewed online at https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/restoring/index.html
Provincial Campgrounds: Provincial campground bookings started in mid May. While there is a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people in line with current public health protocols, there don’t appear to be limits on the number of campers in a campground, unlike other provinces. There will be increased cleaning in facilities, but campers and other visitors will have to wear water shoes or sandals in showers and bring their own toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizer.
More information for campers here: https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/pubs/parks-protected-spaces/parks_covid.pdf
General information including camping info: https://engagemb.ca/covid19-csp
Private Campgrounds: Private campgrounds reopened as of mid-June. Campers must adhere to social gathering size restrictions and maintain two-metre physical distancing with people outside their household and when outside of their campsites.
Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the season.
Provincial Campgrounds: During the week of June 22 the province will start gradually opening campgrounds and more facilities and services including providing washrooms, drinking water and opening trailer sanitation stations. The remaining backcountry camping will also now be available at all provincial parks and conservation reserves.
Reservations for arrivals up to and including the park specific extended closure date will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty. There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund.
More information on Provincial Campgrounds and Covid-19: https://www.ontarioparks.com/covid19
Provincial & Private Campgrounds: As of the writing of this article, camping in Quebec is closed to all. We will update this article when the province revised their rules.
Camping is not permitted until at least June 21 in certain Parks Canada locations, while the province assesses necessary health and safety measures. This includes oTENTiks, yurts and backcountry camping. All existing reservations set to take place prior to June 21 will be automatically cancelled and refunded in full.
Note that an announcement regarding camping and group activities will be made at a later date. Please visit https://www.campingquebec.com/fr/camper-au-quebec/pratique-du-camping/covid-19/ frequently for information and updates.
Private Campgrounds: Private campgrounds can open if the organization can respect physical distancing measures, except for brief exchanges where it cannot be avoided. They will also be subject to the COVID-19 general guidance. Water parks and swimming pools are not included in this phase.
Provincial campgrounds: Since the provincial borders remain closed to non-essential travel, the government reminds the public that provincial parks, campgrounds and other tourist attractions are only accessible to New Brunswick residents and other individuals that have the proper authorization to be in the province.
More information available here (link opens in new window): https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/thc-tpc/pdf/Parks-Parcs/Message-NBParksALLcampers-e.pdf
Private Campgrounds: Private campgrounds were allowed to reopen June 1 but must follow Government guidelines regarding Covid-19. Campsite owners must also track all guests and visitors into their sites and keep that information for one month for contact tracing purposes.
Provincial Campgrounds: Provincial campgrounds will open on June 26. At this time, campgrounds will only be open for seasonal campers who reserved their site prior to March 31, 2020. Other than confirmed seasonal campers, no overnight camping will be permitted. Common areas such as laundry rooms, activity shelters and kitchen shelters will be closed until further notice. Campers will be asked to use the washroom facilities in their unit as much as possible. Campers will be required to maintain physical distancing at all times.
More information on PEI’s response to Covid-19 (link opens in new tab): https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/renew-pei-together
Private Campgrounds: Effective June 5, private campgrounds opened for all types of campers. They can only operate at 50 per cent capacity and must ensure public health protocols are followed, including social distancing and adequate distance between campsites.
Provincial Campgrounds: Due to public health measures, provincial campgrounds are only open to Nova Scotians.
- They are not accepting any out-of-province bookings.
- Only campers with reservations will be allowed to enter campgrounds.
- Drive-up or walk-in campers will not be permitted to enter campgrounds or stay overnight.
- Campsites will be limited to family units/ members of the same household
- No visitors will be permitted in campgrounds. Registered campers only.
- No group camping
- Facilities available with restrictions:
- Provincial campgrounds will operate with a reduced number of campsites available to ensure physical distancing requirements are met.
- Washrooms facilities including vault toilets, flush toilets and showers will operate at reduced capacity, allowing one family unit at a time and limited hours of operation to allow for enhanced cleaning
- Park offices will provide service to campers at their drive-up window or allow one visitor inside at a time.
- Before entering any park facilities, please adhere to the direction provided on signage or from staff
- Wood and ice will be available for sale
- Dump stations will be open to registered campers only
- Non-campers cannot use dump stations
- Beaches, trails and picnic areas will be open. Visitors must practice physical distancing
More information on Nova Scotia’s reaction to Covid-19 (link opens in new window): https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/outdoor-activities/
Both provincial and private campgrounds opened on or before June 15 with restrictions. Day use is permitted, with overnight camping limited to RVs or cabins with their own water supply and washrooms. Overnight tenting will be allowed later on (when the province further limits pandemic restrictions to Alert Level 2).
According to the provincial government, overnight camping at 13 of the province’s provincial park campgrounds will be permitted on June 19.
Private Campgrounds: Since Yukon borders are closed, campgrounds are open but only accessible to Yukon residents, with exceptions. Residents from Atlin, Lower Post, Fraser, Jade City, Fireside or Pleasant Camp are welcome in Yukon territorial parks and campgrounds as long as they are not there to self-isolate.
Territorial Campgrounds: All road-accessible campgrounds are open and camping permits are on sale now. The following restrictions are in place:
- You need to be more self-contained
- Pre-purchase your camping permit online or at a vendor.
- Pack everything you need before hitting the road to limit stops in the communities.
- Only buy supplies in the community if stores are welcoming business.
- Bring extra water, soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
- Only camp with members of your “combined household bubble,” maximum 1 bubble per campsite.
- Clean your picnic table before and after use.
- If your RV has a toilet use it and not the outhouse.
- Follow all park and campground rules and the 6 steps to staying safe.
Parks Canada sites: Some Parks Canada sites opened on June 1, while others remain closed.
Chillkoot Trail National Historic Site, including Log Cabin parking lot – remains closed.
Ivvavik National Park – closed.
Kluane National Park and Reserve – specific lakes and trails open.
S.S. Klondike National Historic Site – parking lot and grounds open.
As of June 15, Territorial parks were reopened for outdoor activities only. Travellers outside of NWT (Northwest Territories) or Nunavut are not permitted.