Why We Keep Going Back to B.C.’s Green Point Campground

Located in the spectacular Long Beach area of Vancouver Island’s west coast, this unspoiled gem puts the "great" in "the great outdoors."

The past couple of years have been challenging for everyone. Getting out in nature and enjoying safe outdoor activities help maintain a sense of normalcy, so camping has become extremely popular. In these parts, campground reservations are snapped up faster than tickets to a Justin Bieber concert or a Vancouver Canucks home game.

On this day, my husband, Chuck, and I are excited to leave for Green Point Campground in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s one of our favourite campgrounds, located in the spectacular Long Beach area of Vancouver Island’s west coast.

Long Beach, Pacific Rim National ParkPhoto: Erica Henault
Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park.

It takes us approximately six hours to drive to the west coast from our home in Victoria. There is no ferry travel on this trip, which is always a bonus. We stop often to soak in and capture the spectacu­lar scenery along the way.

We always stop in Coombs, B.C., a small community along Highway 4A. Many tourists visit the Old Country Market there to get a look at their famous “goats on the roof” who bunk during the spring in enclosures on the large, gently sloping market roof and graze on the roof’s grass, keeping it green and tidy. Chuck and I usu­ally refuel with a cone from their amazing ice­ cream parlour. (Check out more iconic roadside attractions across Canada.)

Our drive takes us through MacMillan Provincial Park, world­ renowned for its lush, old­ growth forest and the majestic giant Douglas fir trees in Cathedral Grove.

Taking photos of Kennedy Lake en route to Green Point CampgroundPhoto: Courtesy Erica Henault
Erica taking photos of Kennedy Lake on the way to Green Point Campground.

We wind through mountain passes and drive alongside beautiful crystal­-clear lakes. Favourite rest stops include Sproat Lake and Kennedy Lake provincial parks.

Chuck and I have travelled this scenic route many times, yet it never grows old. We still discover new picturesque and stunning views on every trip.

We arrive at our campsite and let out a collective sigh of contentment. Long Beach is now our home away from home.

Camper Reading By Campsite FirepitPhoto: Courtesy Erica Henault
Erica enjoying a tranquil moment at the campsite.

We have slept in tents on many past camping adventures, but now we usually stay in our eight­-foot camper. This reli­able and cozy shelter holds many wonder­ful memories of years gone by, camping with our two energetic young daughters and an often wet dog. Now, although the two of us have more room to stretch out, we miss the giggling and shenanigans of our previous fun family adventures.

Chuck is one of the original Boy Scouts. He gets a campfire started in all weather conditions despite a lack of dry wood. He knows how to tie complicated knots, pound pegs into dry, rocky ground and dig trenches to redirect puddles away from our campsite.

He’s also the Clark Griswold (of National Lampoon’s Vacation movies) of camp­ing. He always brings along at least a dozen tarps of various sizes. We share our view­points to choose the one we’ll use: I want to see the trees in the forest surrounding our campsite and he wants to protect and shield us from the elements. After 45 years of camping together, we have learned to compromise. The result is a dry, warm shelter and a tranquil, beautiful view.

The saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” is especially true on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We are prepared for all types of weather. In the summer months, the temperatures can range from 7°C to 20° C. And in the cooler seasons, especially, expect rain!

Chuck preparing damper dough.Photo: Erica Henault
Erica’s husband Chuck preparing damper dough.

Everything tastes better outdoors. We recently tried a new recipe called an Aus­tralian campfire damper, a type of bread. The ingredients include flour, butter, milk and sugar. The dough is then wrapped around a stick and cooked over a camp­ fire. After a few failed attempts and belly laughs, we end up with a tasty, hot treat.

Cooking Austral­ian damper bread over a campfirePhoto: Erica Henault
Cooking Australian damper bread over the campfire.

We also bring ingredients for blueberry tea. This classic hot drink includes amar­etto liqueur, orange liqueur and tea. It is perfect for helping us stay warm on chilly west coast evenings.

Walking On Long Beach at sunsetPhoto: Erica Henault
Chuck walking on Long Beach as the day closes.

Most importantly, we bring a fun and flexible attitude with us. This is essential, as camping events and the forces of nature are often unpredictable.

Fascinating Tidal Pools At Long Beach, Pacific Rim National ParkPhoto: Erica Henault
Fascinating tidal pools at Long Beach.

There are many reasons why I love to camp. I spend uninterrupted time with my husband, having conversations that traverse the truly important layers of our shared life. Our discussions often contain periods of silence. As author Richard Wagamese wrote, “When you can sit in perfect silence with someone, you truly know how to communicate.”

Green Point Campground forest trailPhoto: Erica Henault
Chuck on a peaceful forest trail in Green Point Campground.

I go for long, meandering hikes along peaceful forest trails, slowing down to appreciate the extraordinary—and the exquisite beauty in the ordinary. I listen to the rhythm of the ocean, the sounds of nature and the sounds of silence. I lose myself in photography, capturing images I missed at first glance. The picture in front of me changes depending on the angle, the light and the time of day. It helps me gain perspective. I am in awe of spectacular sunsets! Tears stream down my face and I’m grateful that I have been given another day, another breath, another heartbeat on our beautiful planet.

Green Park Campground - Sunset at Long BeachPhoto: Erica Henault
A moody, breathtaking sunset after a storm at Long Beach.

Although I greatly appreciate my day-to-day life and the comforts of home, I also welcome a change of scenery. Camping allows me to vary my routine and step out of my comfort zone. I gain clarity with a renewed sense of peace and purpose, better able to manage life’s challenges. I feel the harmony, balance and beauty in the magnificence of nature.

I am reminded that I’m part of a bigger picture—and I’m incredibly grateful for the breathtaking view.

Next, discover more unforgettable things to do on Vancouver Island.

Originally Published in Our Canada