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Hornby Island is a terrific little island located just between Vancouver Island and the mainland. It is great for nature lovers with superb hiking, biking, wonderful scenery and tremendous beaches, which is why Hornby Island camping is considered among the best on Canada’s Pacific Coast. In addition to all the amazing outdoor treasures, art lovers also flock to Hornby for the excellent art galleries, and there also happen to be several popular vineyards on the island for those wine drinkers in the group.
Many people describe camping on Hornby Island as the highlight of their visit to Vancouver Island. In this guide, we break down all the Hornby camping and glamping options.
Then to plan your Hornby Island camping visit in more detail, check out our 14 Amazing Things to Do on Hornby Island to start putting together an itinerary for this fantastic little BC island.
Other handy posts from the area:
Hornby Island Camping
Tribune Bay Campsite
Starting with the biggest campground with the most convenient location (for some things, anyway), this huge camping area is right next to Tribune Bay Provincial Park, Helliwell Park and the most popular beach on the island (it is only steps away from Tribune Bay Beach). This makes it the most popular of the Hornby Island camping options.
It is also just down the street from the Co-op and Ringside Market, the most extensively stocked grocery store on Hornby Island, as well as a gas station, two restaurants, an ice cream shop, a bike shop and no less than four gift shops. You will have no excuse to leave here without souvenirs for everyone you know.
Downsides: There are some bushes and trees but most of the sites are pretty open and often fairly close together so you may want to bring tarps to create a little more privacy. It can also get pretty loud, especially in summer during prime party season, and there have been many reports of quiet time not being enforced, as well as “grumpy” owners.
116 drive-in sites
18 sites with 15-amp electrical hook-up
Tribune Bay Campsite Prices
$43 per night – RV or tenting (although RVs over 20 ft may have trouble finding a spot with enough room).
Electrified sites: $48 per night – RV or tenting.
Cyclists/Backpackers with tent: $35 per night.
The price includes 4 people with a maximum 6 people per site.
Additional Adults (over age 18): $10 per night.
Additional Children (over age 6): $5 per night. You can have as many extra children under 6 as you want at no extra charge (I guess they figure you’re already suffering enough). They do count toward the 6-person maximum, though.
Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. There are full washroom facilities with coin-operated hot showers and a busy, fun playground for kids (or drunk adults).
Address and Contact Information:
5200 Shields Road
Hornby Island, BC V0R1Z0
On the far side of the island from Tribune Bay, this pretty campground with the weird name features great sunsets (and some comfy Adirondack chairs to enjoy them in). It is fairly close to the ferry dock, but realistically, as long as you have a car, everywhere on Hornby is within 15 minutes.
What is important about the location are that some of the sites are waterfront. Also, the hosts are friendly and the sites are spacious and uncrowded. It is a good place for families and they are very strict about enforcing quiet hours. Bradsdadsland is open all year-round and is the best choice for Hornby Island RV camping.
$66 – $74 depending on site location in high season (late June through Labour Day weekend in September3).
$42 – $58 in shoulder season (May/June/September).
$36 – $41 in the off-season (Oct-Apr).
$4 – 14 for extra people (depending on the season).
Fully equipped washrooms with coin-operated child-friendly showers, laundry facilities, recycling and a freezer room. There is even a small general store where you can pick up the basics.
The fenced playground has an impressive collection of swinging apparati – three swing sets, two rope swings and a classic tire swing. There is also a badminton net, sandbox and, naturally, a tractor (for playing on, not driving, presumably).
Address and Contact Information
2105 Shingle Spit Road
Hornby Island, BC V0R1Z0
Also located on the west side of the island (with more great sunset views), Ford’s Cove is a smaller, quieter option that is the only Hornby Island camping area not within earshot of a road. It is open all year-round and is just a couple minutes walk to the beach, which boasts a huge collection of tide pools at low tide, great for both photos and exploration.
The campground is also just a 5-minute walk from Mount Geoffrey Provincial Park where you’ll find some terrific hiking trails.
The sites are nicely separated by both space and trees, there are some nice grassy areas for recreational fun and the place is very environmentally conscious (they use a wind generator).
The general store offers the basics, plus fishing gear and licenses, sandwiches, croissants, coffee and even fresh pizzas (in the summer). There is also a good fish and chips shop nearby and a place to rent kayaks.
14 tent sites
1 RV site
Ford’s Cove Prices
Tent (up to 4 people): $30 – $50 depending on the season.
Motor Home/Van (up to 2 people): $30 – $50 depending on the season.
Additional people: $4 – $6 pp.
Indoor flush toilets, coin-operated hot shower, outdoor sinks and tap water that is safe for drinking. Campfires are allowed as long as there is no island fire ban in place.
Address and Contact Information
10835 Central Rd,
Hornby Island, BC V0R 1Z0
Hornby Island Glamping
If you happen to be less into sleeping rough and more about just finding a comfortable place to lay your head that is close to the outdoors, maybe Hornby Island glamping is more your speed. Incidentally, don’t you think it should be called a “glampground”? I do.
This unique waterfront glamping site is another west side spot with great sunsets. They feature modern, fully furnished, solar-lighted glamping tents that don’t require any assembly or setup on your part.
Every tent has a beautiful waterfront location with ocean views from the door, not to mention their own deck, chairs and fire pit. Some are designed for 2 people while others can fit a couple kids in there as well.
There is a private beach, a century-old orchard, a cider shop (where you can buy or just sample) and, of course, some resident cows. Remember to watch your step.
They open for the summer starting in mid-May and tents go quick, so it is best to book online (and early).
7 (a variety of different sizes and locations).
Fossil Beach Prices
From $266 -$370 per night (double occupancy)
$40 for each additional person
There are private washrooms and showers in the cider house and a communal cookhouse for shared meals. There are paddle boards if you want to get some exercise and hammocks for, well, the opposite of that.
Address and Contact Information
750 Savoie Road,
Hornby Island, BC, V0R1Z0
Isla de Lerena
The other Hornby Island glamping option is beautifully located in a rural section of forest and vineyards.
The comfortable, nicely furnished tents are available from May to September and are the ideal place to escape the bustle of the island in high season (although it is a pretty small island so you should take “bustle” with a grain of salt).
Isla de Lerena is also a popular winery with a tasting room open every day from 12-5 pm, and there is an excellent lounge and pizza kitchen on-site, in case making your own meals is also on the list of things you’d rather not do on vacation.
9 Glamping tents that sleep 2-4 people depending on tent.
Isla de Lerena Glamping Prices
$175 (2 people) – $265 (4 people) per night.
$25 per night per extra person
$25 flat fee for pets
Isla de Lerena features a barbeque, propane fire rings, eco-friendly composting toilets and a modern shower house. And, yes, they have wifi.
Address and Contact Information
1885 Central Rd,
Hornby Island, BC
Tips for Hornby Island Camping
It you are thinking of visiting Hornby, or have already decided and are in the planning phase, here are some things to consider:
There are only 1,000 permanent residents on Hornby Island but the total population can swell to as much as 4,000 in summer. While there is plenty of space and enough different activities that it never feels overly crowded, there are limited accommodation options so it is important to reserve your Hornby Island camping spot early.
Environmental sustainability is very important to Hornby Island residents and waste disposal facilities are limited. Anything that can’t be reused or recycled should be taken back off the island with you to be disposed of properly. There is also no dumping station for RVs.
Water shortages occur every summer on Hornby Island due to limited infrastructure and regular droughts. To ensure you don’t run out, we recommend bringing as much water in with you as possible.
Ferry schedules change with the seasons so make sure you have the latest info on ferry crossings to make sure you don’t get left behind with nowhere to stay. Most of the time, the last ferry leaves Hornby Island for Denman Island at 6 pm.
Consider visiting in the shoulder season. While summer obviously has the best weather, warmest water and most of the events and festivals, spring and fall usually offer excellent weather also, just without the summer crowds.
And if you really want the place to yourself, stop by in winter when it may not be beach weather and a lot of shops and restaurants will be closed, but it will still be a good time for hiking, kayaking or just taking in the views.
You may have already noticed but there is no Hornby Island provincial campground.
There is no free camping on Hornby Island.
Hornby Island Map
Click the star to save this map to your Google Maps – then find it under Saved/Maps (mobile) or Your Places/Maps (desktop)
How to Get to Hornby Island
Hornby Island is located just off the east coast of Vancouver Island, in the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia and is normally accessed by ferry from Buckley Bay. It is possible to fly to nearby Comox Airport (YQQ).
It is also possible to arrive directly on Hornby Island at Ford’s Cove by boat or float plane through a private charter.
Hornby Island Ferry
Hornby Island is located two islands east of Vancouver Island, north of Nanaimo. Including driving time and three separate ferry connections, the trip from Vancouver takes approximately five hours.
How to get from Vancouver to Hornby Island by ferry
Most international visitors fly into Vancouver. From the airport it will take 3-4 hrs to reach Hornby Island via ferry and car (and ferry again). For checking out flights we usually find that SkyScanner is the fastest and most accurate site.
And if you are flying in you’ll probably be needing to rent a car as public transportation on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands is fairly limited. We’ve used Discover Cars out of Vancouver airport (as well as many other countries) and they usually have the cheapest deals and have always been very reliable.
Once you’ve landed and picked up your car (or maybe you just live in Vancouver), you take either the Horseshoe Bay ferry (1hr – $62/vehicle + $18 per passenger) or Tsawwassen Ferry (2 hrs – $62/vehicle + $18 per passenger) across to Nanaimo.
From Nanaimo to Hornby Island
Drive north to Buckley Bay. Once at the Buckley Bay ferry terminal you take the 15-minute ferry to Denman Island ($22/vehicle + $9 per passenger return), drive across to the east side of Denman (staying on the main road the whole way to get to the Hornby ferry terminal), and then take another 15-minute ferry to Hornby Island (the same price again).
In summer, the ferries go back and forth roughly hourly throughout the day and the ferry times are specifically planned to coordinate well with the additional ferry from Denman Island to Hornby Island.
Hornby Island Camping Summary
Camping on Hornby Island can be an exceptional, relaxing experience as long as you come prepared. Things tend to book up fast, especially in summer, so be sure to reserve your site as soon as you have your dates figured out.
Using this guide and our 14 Amazing Things to Do on Hornby Island post, you should be able to decide which place makes the most sense for what you have planned. Hope this helps and enjoy your Hornby Island camping experience!
Other useful articles you may want to check out: