With so many stunning and varied landscapes, as well as a plethora of both provincial and national parks, there’s no shortage of incredible campsites in Alberta. Whether you’re looking to admire the expanse of the badlands, the gentle breeze of a lake, or the mind-blowing peaks of the Rocky Mountains, there are tons of campsites in Alberta to pitch your tent or park your RV.
We’ve experienced a number of campsites in Alberta over the years, including turquoise lakes in the Rocky Mountains and boreal forests near Fort.McMurray, but we’ve also decided to reach out to other Albertans for this guide to get an idea of what everyone thinks are some of the best campsites in Alberta.
After doing some research, polling our audience, and our own first-hand experience, these are the best campsites in Alberta.
Two Jack Lakeside Campground
Considering the beauty of Banff National Park, it comes as no surprise that Two Jack Lakeside Campground, which is located near the famous Lake Minnewanka, is a very popular place to camp. What’s great about the tenting spots is that they’re right next to the lake, giving you superior views and lake access. The 64 unserviced sites are also just a short drive from the town of Banff, so if you’re looking to explore the town or eat something not cooked on a portable BBQ, there’s plenty of options.
In addition to the beautiful campground, Two Jack Lake is popular for canoeing, paddle-boarding, and fishing. There are also many things to do in Banff, such as hiking, rafting, horseback riding, and more.
This campground is located on Lake Minnewanka Loop Road, which is about 12 km from the town of Banff. It’s open from June 26 – October 4. This campground is in a national park so a parks pass is required.
Another popular Rocky Mountain area in Alberta is the Kananaskis. Located in-between Banff and Calgary, the Kananaskis consists of many stunning Alberta Provincial Parks and campgrounds, one of which is Interlakes Campground. Nestled along the rocky shores of Lower Kananaskis Lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, this campground has 48 unserviced sites, making it a great place to pitch a tent. It’s popular for hiking in Kananaskis, fishing, cycling, and water sports such as canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Interlakes Campground is located just off the Kananaskis Trail near the turn-off for Highway 742. It’s open from June 1st to October 20th. However, there is a new fee for all the Kananaskis Parks, which is $90 per vehicle for the year or $15 per day. This is in addition to the camping fees.
Spray Lakes West Campground
Ever since I first went camping at Spray Lakes West Campground way back in 2005, I’ve never really camped anywhere else. I still remember arriving too late at night to see anything and then waking up in the morning and having my breath taken away from the incredible mountain views. However, all the views at any of the Kananaskis campgrounds are surreal. This campground is suitable for both RVs and tents with 50 unserviced sites, many of which are very close to the lake. Some of them are so secluded, it feels like you have the campground to yourself. They do provide outhouses, however, as well as chopped firewood for a fee. This area is popular for cycling, hiking, and fishing, although my favourite activity is paddle boarding.
Spray Lakes West Campground is found in Spray Valley Provincial Park, 16 km south of Canmore on the Smith Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail (Hwy. 742). However, there is a new fee for all the Kananaskis Parks, which is $90 per vehicle for the year or $15 per day. This is in addition to the camping fees.
The Lodge at Panther River
Located in the backcountry near Sundre, this isolated region offers a range of adventurous activities such as horseback riding and white water rafting. There are a few campgrounds in the area but what makes the Lodge at Panther Valley stand out is that you’ll have amenities such as clean bathrooms and showers. As you may have guessed by the name, they do offer cabins as well, but they also offer camping for RVs and tents. This is right next to Panther River and for the truly adventurous, you can even partake in one of their overnight helicopter tours deep into the mountains. Camping guests are welcome to use their gazebo, which is complete with a BBQ and a vintage-inspired fire pit. The campgrounds feature powered sites, gravel pads, access to water, picnic tables, private fire rings, firewood, shower facilities, and more.
This lodge is located about 65 km (one hour drive) west of Sundre on a dirt road. You may see wild horses along the way!
In 2020, we were making a tourism video for Crowsnest Pass and stumbled upon this little gem near the BC border. Located within Chinook Provincial Recreation Area, Chinook Campground features over 90 well-treed sites, including RV and tenting spots. All sites have easy access to the small but beautiful Chinook Lake, which is great for paddle-boarding, canoeing, and kayaking. You can even go for a swim!
Chinook Campground is only a 13-minute drive from the historic town of Coleman. It’s just north off Allison Creek Road.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
A few years ago, we had the opportunity to go camping at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. Located along the beautiful North Saskatchewan River, it’s a charming setting that’s only a 15-minute drive from the town of Rocky Mountain House. While we didn’t particularly like the shared fire-rings, this is one of the most unique campsites in Alberta. First off, it’s within a national historic site, which just so happens to be a “living museum” with costumed interpreters showcasing the history of the fur trade, hands-on experience with Métis culture, and the archeological remains of four forts. How often can you wake up from camping and walk into an attraction like that?
But there’s more. Aside from tent camping, there’s also the option for renting a teepee, renting a beautiful cabin, or staying in a Trapper’s tent, which comes with a kit for baking bannock, starting a fire with flint and steel, and making trapper’s tea. This is what we did and it was a truly special and unique experience. Plus, they have on-site showers and bathrooms.
This campsite is located right next to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, which is less than 15 minutes west of the town of Rocky Mountain House. Please keep in mind that to visit the historical site itself, you will need to pay admission, which is very reasonable.
Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park
Another interesting place we visited in 2020 was Lac La Biche, which is home to the unique and stunning Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park, nestled on the shores of the massive lake. Protruding out into the lake like a peninsula via a narrow road, you’ll find hiking trails, a birding paradise, sandy beaches, and 72 powered campsites that can be used be tents and RVs. However, there’s also the option for comfort camping with year-round cabins for those seeking a “glamping” style of experience. The lake is wildly popular with fishers, bird watchers, and watersports such as paddle-boarding, canoeing, and kayaking.
Sir Winston Churchill Campground is located in Sir Winston Churchill Provincial, which is 5 km east of Lac La Biche on Hwy. 881, and 2 km north on Provincial Park Rd. Trails throughout the Old Growth Forest allow campers to hike and bike to all the sandy beaches.
Cold River Campground
Quite possibly the lesser-known campground of this list, the Cold River Campground is actually located in Saskatchewan. However, we’ve included it here because it’s a popular camping spot for people from Cold Lake. For those who don’t know, Cold Lake is one of the few cities in Alberta that share the border with Saskatchewan. The campground is in Saskatchewan but the lake is managed by Alberta, so we’ll let this one slide. Either way, it’s a cool spot right on the shores of massive Cold Lake and right next to the beautiful Cold River. I had the chance to go camping here for a bachelor party in 2019 and it made for some beautiful sunsets, fishing, and the ever-popular-but-somewhat-crazy tubing experience down the Cold River. I had been warned about this river but we all inflated tubes and went down despite the chill temperatures. It’s actually quite calm until you reach the end and are greeted with class 2-3 rapids. It seemed quite tame to me but it might depend on the water levels at the time. Anyways, the campground is quite rustic but is good for tents and RVs. Just pray that the wind is going offshore and not into the campground. Otherwise, your tent better be strong!
The campground can be somewhat tricky to find as it is located just off the dirt road of Highway 919, which is off Highway 21 near Pierce Lake. Another option closer to town (and in Alberta) is Cold Lake Campground.
Marten River Campground
If you’re looking for lake camping, it’s hard to beat Slave Lake as it’s one of the largest lakes in Alberta and a popular place for boating, canoeing, swimming, fishing, and more. One great place to go camping in the area is Marten River Campground, which is located a half-hour north of the town of Slave Lake and features over 100 sites, many of which offer power. Known as one of the best beaches in Alberta, Marten Beach is just over a 10-minute drive from the campsite, giving you more options for things to do in the summer. Activities include hiking and biking, but the lake is what steals the show around here.
This campground is just a half-hour drive north of Slave Lake, just off Hwy. 88. It’s open from June 1 – September 8th.
Pine Lake Campground
If you’re truly looking to get away from it all, why not go all the way to Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest national park in Canada. Now that should tell you something. Despite its size, however, Pine Lake Campground is the only one in the park, and to get there, you’ll have to drive all the way to the Northwest Territories and back in through Northern Alberta. As we mentioned, this is for those really looking to get away from it all.
Despite being one of the most isolated campsites in Alberta, it does feature tent pads, picnic tables, and fire pits. Water is also available (but must be boiled), as well as firewood, outhouses, and even a playground. There’s also a day-use area with a cooking shelter, change rooms, fire pits, and a swimming beach. If you’re camping with a group, you’ll want to check out the Kettle Point Group Camp, which features a large and cozy log shelter, tenting area, beach, fire circle, firewood, picnic tables, outhouses, and a playground.
This campground is 60 km south of Fort Smith, NWT. From Edmonton, you’d have to drive a whopping 1,350 km (about 15 hours of steady driving). It’s open from May long weekend to September 30.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Due to the popularity of this park, we’ve still never been able to book a site here. However, it is truly a beautiful and unique place in Southern Alberta. Home to both powered and non-powered tent and RV sites, Writing-on-Stone caters to almost anyone. There’s also a wide range of activities, including bird-watching, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and hiking. Perhaps most notable are the ancient pictographs etched into the sandstone rocks, which makes taking a guided tour a special experience. Some people even tube down the river.
As mentioned, this place is popular so book ahead. The campground is located 32 km east of Milk River on Hwy. 501 and 10 km south on an access road (Range Rd. 130A). It is about 1.5 hours southeast of Lethbridge and is open year-round (reservation season open from June 1 – September 30).
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Alberta is home to lots of varied and beautiful scenery, one of which is the stunning Alberta Badlands. Most people think of this place as Drumheller, which is home to the world-famous Royal Tyrell Museum and other popular attractions. However, Dinosaur Provincial Park is truly unique as it’s further away from the hustle and bustle of tourism but still home to incredible hoodoos, historic dinosaur digs, and more. In fact, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site! You’ll find both powered and non-powered sites as well as the Dinosaur Visitor Centre, hiking trails, and more.
This campground is almost 170 km east of Drumheller. It’s located 48 km northeast of Brooks and 18 km and is open year-round.
Bleriot Ferry Campground
Speaking of the badlands, another cool campsite near Drumheller is the Bleriot Ferry Campground, a little riverside campground perfect for relaxing among the giant cottonwoods. There is easy access to the Red Deer River for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or just floating along through the Canadian badlands. For those of you wondering why “Ferry” is in the name, it’s because it’s right next to the Bleriot Ferry port, which transports cars across the narrow river. It’s quite a unique experience. This campsite is also close to some very popular hikes and lookout points such as Orkney Viewpoint and Horsethief Canyon. There are 28 unserviced campsites on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Sites are first-come first-serve. The campground has pit toilets and fire-pits and is located 23 km northwest of Drumheller.
Awesome Campsites in Alberta
With more than 90 provincial parks, 5 national parks, and all sorts of crown land and private campgrounds, this list is by no means an exhaustive list of all the best campsites in Alberta. But it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to go, so we went ahead and gathered some of the best from a wide range of landscapes.
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