British Columbia’s backcountry is a camper’s paradise with off-the-beaten-track trails and secluded scenery. But packing your own tent isn’t the only way to enjoy a night under canvas. Traditional teepees, roomy yurts, and safari-style luxury tents give visitors a chance to camp and get close to nature while enjoying the comforts of a resort. Leave the gear at home and try one of these alternatives to tenting instead.
Be at one with nature and keep the rustic vibe by staying in a traditional teepee—a conical tent that has long been used by First Nations people as a form of shelter. At Fraser Canyon’s Tuckkwiowhum Village—a First Nations heritage site and village located in Nlaka’pamux territory, just south of Boston Bar—guests can experience an authentic teepee stay; bring sleeping mats and cooking gear to get comfy. In Northern Okanagan’s Monashee Mountains, YD Guest Ranch offers dude ranch experiences, including a luxury tipi on a raised platform, complete with wooden stoves and a fully made-up bed to get a good night’s sleep under the stars.
Inspired by the circular tents of the nomadic peoples of Mongolia, Siberia, and Turkey, yurts are a popular choice for campers looking for added luxe. Situated above Vancouver Island’s Port Renfrew, Soule Creek Lodge’s yurts let guests stay high in the forest with wrap-around decks that have sweeping views of San Juan Bay and the Salish Sea, and hotel comforts like mosaic tiled bathrooms and comfy king beds. Beach camping can also be turned up a notch with a stay in a yurt . At Penticton’s Skaha Lake, Barefoot Beach Resort’s yurts range from simple options equipped with the essentials to luxurious ones with vaulted ceilings, domed skylights, deep soaker tubs, and hardwood floors.
Combining the comfort of a cabin with the freedom of canvas, tent cabins are an upscale way to enjoy nature. Like yurts, tent cabins include “proper” beds and can range from a simple sleeping area (adventurous souls can stay in a tent cabin for a glamping experience on the edge of Nahatlatch River with REO Rafting Resort) to upscale romantic options.
On the Sunshine Coast, Rockwater Secret Cove Resort’s Tenthouse Suites take hotel amenities like hydro-therapy tubs, fine linens, and a fireplace and house them in luxurious tents set in the forest.
BC is also home to world-class wilderness retreats where nature meets luxury in remote locations. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, near Tofino in the UNESCO protected Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, has canvas prospector-style riverside tents that are decked out with antique furnishings, vintage oil lamps, and private decks, some with an outdoor en-suite bathroom. In BC’s interior, Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, which is on a dude ranch overlooking Siwash Lake, has tented structures made of handcrafted spruce logs and pioneer-style white canvas. These are nestled amid Douglas firs with lake views.
Whether you sleep under the stars in a traditional teepee or take the trip of a lifetime to a safari-style wilderness resort, British Columbia has camping options that combine wildlife spotting with creature comforts to create an unforgettable trip.
Opening image: Cabin on the shore of Wilderness Lake. Photo: Kari Medig
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