8 Reasons Why We Love Rathtrevor Beach Campground

We have a long list of reasons why we love Rathtrevor Beach Campground on Vancouver Island, but we narrowed it down to our top 8. Rathtrevor fills up every summer! See how to guarantee your spot ahead of others.

Written By: Jay Kennedy, Traveling Islanders
Rathtrevor Beach Campground Provincial Website
Located in Parksville on Vancouver Island – Approximately 30 minutes North of Nanaimo

Either you love camping or you hate it. We LOVE camping. Well, to be honest… over the years I have turned into what some would say is a “fair weather camper”. Yes, I admit I only truly love camping if the weather is perfect.

Weeks out from a trip you can find me analyzing and staring at the weather forecast multiple times a day praying and hoping to only see nice weather on our vacation days.

One time I actually convinced Gretta to cancel a planned Vancouver Island camping trip and drive all the way to Oregon instead because the weather looked more promising!

Yes, a ferry ride off the island, a whole other country and two states down. Don’t judge me.

A few weeks back we happened to have our planned camping trip smack dab in the middle of the most perfect weather there is on Vancouver Island. It was incredibly sunny and warm for so many days in a row. It was unbelievable, but true! Beautiful blue clear skies, +28 C. / 85 F. and sun-soaked summer beach days.

Not only did we have the perfect weather, we were at one of best campgrounds on Vancouver Island – Rathtrevor Beach Campground.

8 Reasons We Love Rahtrevor Beach Campground

1. Every Campsite Is Level, Spacious, Spaced Out And Pristine.

You know those campsites where you feel like you are right on top of your neighbours? No worries at this one at all. There is lots of room in-between sites here. This is a huge plus for why we love Rahtrevor Beach Campground. Solid, quality picnic tables and a nice campfire pit area complete with a half grill on top in case you want to do some campfire cooking.

Vancouver Island Camping, Rathtrevor Beach Campground, Camping

2. Bathrooms Are Modern, Clean And Accessible.

The campsite was designed as a perfect grid with bathrooms nicely positioned in the middle of the campground on each junction. For those campsites that are a little farther away, there are quality, clean and modern outhouses on the permitter road. The showers are push buttons so the kids don’t burn themselves, no-touch toilets, urinals and sinks. Very clean and modern.

3. Rathtrevor Beach Campround Staff Are Very Friendly

In my experience the staff at provincial campgrounds are typical quite nice. Well, at Rathtrevor they should win an award for friendliness.

4. Peaceful and Serene

Our nightly ritual was to bike down to the beach, sit on a log and enjoy a beautiful Vancouver Island sunset together. By the time we got back to our campsite we often noticed how quiet the campground was. Car traffic was non-existent, playground was all quiet, and many families were either putting their kids down for the night or quietly enjoying a warm campfire together.

During the day no one seems in a rush, we are all just loving kicking back and enjoying the summer family camp lifestyle. Oh… do I wish I could be back at Rahtrevor Beach Campground!

Rahtrevor Beach Campground, Vancouver Island sunset, Family Camping Vancouver Island

5. Kids Interpretive Programs & Nature House

My kids just loved this part of Rathrevor Beach Campground. Every night there was a program put on by the campground staff at the amphitheatre. This just brought a warmth to the campground that is hard to explain. My two boys thoroughly enjoyed the talk that was done on all the creatures you can find on the beach when the tide goes out. There was even a little Nature House we visited during the day. My kids loved the live bee hive exhibit.

Rathtrevor Beach, Vancouver Island Camping, Camping, Family Camping

6. Close To The Beach

Hop on your bike, throw a towel around your neck and you are at the beach in a few minutes. This is one of the main reasons we love this beach. The campground is located right next to one of the top 10 beaches in all of Canada!

Rathtrevor Beach, Vancouver Island beach, kid friendly beaches, top 10 beaches in Canada

7. Nice Playground centrally located with a “pump track”

Gretta said and I quote “When you are a packing the car and you find you might not have enough room for the bikes… better leave your tent behind or your kids will never forgive you.” This campground is perfect for just letting your kids go around the campground and enjoy a little freedom. They even have a “pump track” and child sized mountain bike trail as part of the playground.

Rathtrevor Beach Campground, Bike friendly campground, Vancouver Island Camping

8. Family Friendly!

Beach is close by, lots of families, modern bathrooms, quiet at night, friendly staff, kids evening programs, bike friendly and spacious private campsites are just some of the reasons Rathtrevor Beach Campground is perfect for families. Dogs are welcome too! (Dogs are not permitted on certain sections of the beach)

Rathtrevor Beach Campground fills up extremely fast during the summer, so you need to know how to reserve your spot.

Instructions on how to reserve your campsite:

Sites can be reserved 90 days before the start day of your vacation. Many of Rathtrevor’s campers have been coming for years so they know the drill by heart and have their favourite sites. Begin looking at the website a few days before you book to familiarize yourself with what sites are available. Rathtrevor fills up every summer, so without a reservation, you will not be able to camp here.

Official Reservation Page For Rathtrevor Beach Campground

Have a favourite campground on Vancouver Island? Do Tell!


  • Great article. We visited Rathtrevor beach when our kids were young and we all loved it. - Reply

    • Maybe it's time for you to take everyone back now that they're grown! - Reply

  • I've never camped here but I have visited the beach several times. The last time was a couple of years ago when my whole extended family spent a week at a beach house in Qualicum. I remember spending hours on Rathtrevor beach with my nieces building sand sculptures and playing in the waves with my dog. Great memories! - Reply

    • Sounds like you have some wonderful memories, Sarah. Rathtrevor never disappoints! - Reply

  • I have actually never been camping, but would like to. Especially if it was at a beach like this one! Looks awesome! - Reply

    • Camping is a great way to get lots of fresh air and to foster a love of nature. Go with some friends who love it and their enthusiasm will surely rub off on you! - Reply

  • The possibility of finding sand dollars and some views like this might get me to try camping! - Reply

    • The sand dollars are definitely fun to spot. Grad a friend who loves camping and has all the gear and go with them. Then you'll be sure to have a great first time, Tamara! - Reply

  • We're returning to Rathtrevor next week for our family camping trip. First time was last summer, this year 2 whole weeks, cannot wait! Funny I searched Twitter for "Rathtrevor" and your blog came up. Good job Jay - Reply

    • That's so great! We're heading there again this year as well. We all just can't get enough. And TWO weeks? That's fantastic! Have a wonderful time with your family. Even without campfires this year it will still be memorable. -g - Reply