This guide hopes to suggest five of the best RV parks that Canada has to offer – with a selection spread out from Central Canada to the East and West coasts, so that wherever you are one of these highlights will be within reach!
Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park (British Columbia)
This park’s eponymous hot spring is the ‘only’ the second largest in Canada, but it is certainly the most beautiful. Established in the late 1950s, the Liard River Hot Springs are famed for their near fantastical flora and scenery. Due to the conditions provided by the springs, the surrounding territory is uniquely tropical. Despite its location in the more remote north of BC, the Liard River Hot Springs remain an immensely popular camping and RV location, with adventurers travelling to Alaska often making the detour required to stop for a stay.
Due to its ecological significance, the hot springs and surrounding area are routed with boardwalks that protect the local wildlife. These restrictions do nothing to distance visitors from that life, however, as the park is set up such that key locales used by birds and mammals are in clear view. The hot springs are especially great for getting to see moose, but many other species frequent the area as well. The largest of the springs, called the alpha pool, is open for visitors and offers stunning sauna-like temperatures.
While it isn’t explicitly an RV Park, the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park deserves its place on this list precisely because it is such a refreshing departure from the standard RV Park experience. The park offers plenty of RV accessible campsites and is notably open all winter, making the springs an especially appealing location for RV equipped campers. Due to the prioritization of the surrounding environment, park amenities are limited and thus RV campers should be prepared to rely on their own facilities – for this reason Liard River Hot Springs is certainly not a through-season stay.
River Valley RV Park (Saskatchewan)
River Valley RV Park is the epitome of traditional RV Parks, a suitable archetype for any other park trying to satisfy the conventional needs. Opened in 1997 and privately owned, River Valley prides itself on cultivating a relationship with its visitors and fostering a quiet sense of community. The park has consistently stellar reviews from customers and recreation publications, often praising the demeanor of the staff and owners, all taking note of well-kempt, green park space and impeccably clean facilities.
River Valley aims to serve as a catch all for RV travel needs, ensuring every RV site is full-service. On their website the owners express this convenience as a day one priority, suggesting the location -- its proximity to the city, gas, groceries, and the Alaska route – as an attempt have everything the RV camper could want within their immediate reach. Given the location of River Valley – in the middle of Saskatchewan and the prairies, as such ostensibly in the middle of a major RV trip – this approach strikes one as a perfect sensitivity to context.
It is hard to do justice to the excellence of such a seemingly run-of-the-mill RV park: certainly, its amenities check all the boxes. Clearly however, there is a certain intangible element which helps River Valley to stick out in travellers’ minds. The only fair testament is the glowing praise they receive from customers on google and on their website. Those who travel the whole of North America still find this cozy prairie spot at the top of their lists.
Kawartha Trails Resort (Ontario)
Those who have spent any time at all in the Kawarthas know well just how stunning and inviting its many landscapes and waterways are. The Kawartha Trails resort is perfectly situated to give RV campers complete and convenient access to the best of the Kawarthas. Being situated on Otonabee River, part of the Trent-Severn waterway, you are connected to the Kawarthas’ main artery if you wish to undertake aquatic exploration – a must for all visitors.
Being situated on a river, Kawartha Trails offers beautiful waterfront RV sites for rental. Hosting a great many seasonal campers, Kawartha trails has a booming social life and plans regular and varied events to engage all campers. The park boasts a large ‘front lawn’ which faces the river and serves as an outdoor community space. Indoor activity is facilitated by the recreation hall, a more than century old barn which has been updated to suit the parks many events.
Kawartha Trails clearly aims to be the ideal spot for (extended) families, catering to typical generational and inter-generational interests: bingo, crafts, video games, shuffleboard, play structures, billiards. Live music and open mics are also regular park occasions!
Kawartha Trails is unique amongst parks listed here in focusing solely on full-season tenants. While this undoubtedly attracts a different audience than those looking to stay on the road, an exceptional park remains exceptional. Given the size and variety of experiences on offer in the Kawarthas, it might just stand to be argued that a whole summer is in fact necessary to properly take it in.
Camping de la Joie (Quebec)
Opened in 1972, Camping de la Joie is located right outside of Quebec City. de la Joie bills itself as “Nature in the heart of Quebec City” and lives up to this slogan. In a mere twenty-minute shuttle ride (provided by the camp runners) campers can leave the wooded mountain campgrounds to appreciate the vitality of Quebec’s second most populous city.
Like the other RV parks featured on this list, Camping de la Joie makes the cut because of what it offers in accord with its unique situatedness in Canada. For those passing through the province, de la Joie serves as a one-stop-shop for the Quebec tourist’s essentials: lush woodland and historic, highly cultured city-life. For those planning on a full season stay, de la Joie offers the unique possibility of camping ones way through city life: imagine starting each day in the hills and ending it in a Quebec City restaurant or theatre!
Fortunately, all this emphasis on city-access does not detract from the infrastructure present on site. de la Joie has a robust community hall with a restaurant and library. It has access to a pool and beach volleyball courts, and remarkably for its proximity to the city, spacious and private RV sites. de la Joie has effectively done the unimaginable and given their RV campers the best of both worlds. Reach out to this park’s highly praised staff to plan your stay and find out what Quebec City has to offer at the same time.
RayPort Campground (Nova Scotia)
RayPort Campground is a private, family run park that opened first in 1973. Located near Mahone Bay, a highlight of Nova Scotia’s eastern coast, the campground strives to function as a home base for travelling campers wanting access to all of Nova Scotia’s local charisma and seaside charm. RayPort is conveniently located in proximity to Peggy’s Cove, the Annapolis Valley, and Halifax – and is moments away from the beautiful town of Lunenburg. For the 2021 season, RayPort is presenting itself as the ideal campground to stay at if you want to visit and explore the world-famous mystery of Oak Island.
The campground itself offers full service on most of its RV sites. While degrees of privacy and space vary, there are well-wooded and waterside sites. The campground offers camp-wide Wi-Fi, free bathroom facilities, and a full-service (i.e., hands off for you) honey wagon. RayPort also hosts regular events and popular theme weekends. For any amenity and mood not on offer at RayPort, their website boasts a comprehensive guide to all the local (though the range of their archive extends quite far!) points of interest – including an amusingly Canadian list of every Tim Hortons within thirty minutes of the camp.
RayPort presents itself as a campground focused on relaxation and nature. Customer reviews corroborate this emphasis, and the sounds of nature and pleasant flow of the Martin’s River invite visitors to tap into that spirit of calm for which the Maritimes and its inhabitants are internationally recognized.
Regardless of your location, Canada has beautiful and unique RV parks within reach. This list selects five of the very best Canada has to offer. Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park in BC offers a one of a kind hot springs experience alongside unforgettable flora and fauna. River Valley RV Park in Saskatchewan repeatedly woos customers with its mastery of the traditional RV park and ineffable charm. Kawartha Trails Resort in Ontario takes one to the heart of Ontario’s most beautiful and relaxing region and invites you stay. Camping de la Joie in Quebec somehow synthesizes the everything special about the province and makes it readily accessible from the comfort and familiarity of your RV. Finally, RayPort Campground finds itself in the heart of Nova Scotia with mindfully curated access and introduction to most of the province’s essential experiences – all with a distinct maritime charm.
This list speaks volumes to the scope and diversity of what Canada has to offer for travelling RVers. While there is more to be said and experienced than could ever fit into the limits of a ‘Top 5’, this list aspires to an exceptional introduction.