These free campsites near Vancouver are perfect for a spontaneous trip

It’s getting progressively warmer and camping season is fast approaching in the Lower Mainland.

Camping in provincial parks usually has to be booked two months in advance, which makes it difficult for those of us who like to make last-minute plans (or who believe it really should be free to sleep in the woods).

Luckily, there are completely free campsites just a short drive from Metro Vancouver. Fun Fact: BC Hydro operates several campgrounds that do not charge a per night fee. It simply asks you to limit your stay to two weeks or less.

There are also handy websites like, but be aware that some Walmart parking lots are included there.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite free camping spots for you and the crew this summer:

Mount Seymour

Lijuan Guo/Shutterstock

That’s right, you can camp overnight along this North Shore hiking trail. Camping is allowed anywhere north of Brockton Point, which means the first pump, second and third peaks are all fair.

You can find tent pads or flat ground, but there are no toilets or fresh water sources – be sure to bring the essentials with you.

Squamish River

Squamish River

Vancouver Daily Hive

This mint-colored river is popular for fishing and as a laid-back place to relax on weekends. Four-wheel drive is recommended to get to the riverside.

Seton Lake Recreation Area

Seton Lake

Seton Lake near Lillooet, BC (Alena Charykova/Shutterstock)

This campground operated by BC Hydro is about three hours north of Vancouver in Lillooet. There’s a glacier-fed lake for swimming and boating, and firewood is available for purchase. It is open from May to October and locations are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Veder River

Veder River

Vedder River in Chilliwack, BC (Lukas Block/Shutterstock)

If you drive into the Fraser Valley, you’ll find some pretty isolated camping and fishing spots along the Vedder River. Keep in mind that there are no toilets or other facilities and you must pack all your rubbish.

Jones Lake

Jones Lake

Jones Lake, BC (EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock)

The lake reservoir near Hope, British Columbia is a source of hydroelectric power, but also offers great photo opportunities for those wishing to swim or kayak.

Note that the road to the campsite can be rough and a four-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance is recommended. It is open from May 1 to October 31.

Falls Lake at Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area

This is a small rustic single storey backcountry campground by a beautiful lake in the mountains along Highway 5. The lake is about a 40 minute walk from the start of the trail. Be warned, BC Parks says thefts have been reported in the parking lot.

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