After spending the last two summers at Living Forest Campground in Nanaimo and then Oceanside RV Resort in Victoria this year we decided to check out a spot a little further north on Vancouver Island. We have long loved to camp in the area around the town of Campbell River. Many fun summers were spent exploring the region in our old camper van, camping in off the beaten path forestry campsites and the many provincial parks. This summer with the big fifth wheel we picked an RV Park right near downtown but situated on a narrow spit of land to the north. The park is called Thunderbird RV Park and is flanked on one side by a salt water river estuary and on the other by the ocean, a strip of fast flowing tidal water called the Discovery Passage.
The park is pretty costly at 900 dollars per month in the July/August high season but there really isn’t much cheaper around. This is pretty typical for Vancouver Island RV parks who have a fairly short season to make their cash. Vancouver Island summers are generally dry, sunny and warm but winters are wet and cool. If you don’t mind that type of weather you can get some nice deals when the vacationers have all gone home.
One thing that really offsets the higher campground fees is the fuel savings we get not having to use the big diesel truck much. Pretty much anything we need is about a five or ten minute walk away. We are close to big box store shopping, great restaurants, entertainment and best of all a marina for Anne’s boat! She has it moored down at the Discovery Harbor Marina just a few minutes away. It’s a nice little marina with very reasonable rates on moorage. This is also a great place to take fishing charters, whale and grizzly bears tours from. There are several companies offering tour and charter packages. The Campbell River area is world famous for it’s amazing fishing, especially big salmon. Check out Campbell River Tourism for all the info.
We have spent a month camped here so far and I absolutely love it! The scenery is terrific and there is always something going on whether it be man-made or wildlife. Our campsite backs onto the river estuary and is chock full of bird life. We like to sit out in the mornings and watch the action. The scene is always changing as the tide comes and goes. Sometimes it’s a grassy marshland with Blue Herons catching fish in the shallow pools and then several hours later we have a tranquil lakeside view full of Canadian Geese. The surrounding fir trees are home to many Bald and Golden Eagles and various other bird types. Early in the morning hours we get visited by black tailed deer snacking on the wild flowers. One of the grounds keepers told me he has even had to chase off a bear or two that has wandered onto the property.
Anne already has some excellent wildlife shots posted on her blog using her new fancy big lens, WOW! That lens is crystal clear.
In the hot summer evenings we grab our lawn chairs and happy hour supplies and walk a hundred yards or so to the other side of the spit and setup on the rocky ocean beach. Here we can watch the goings on along the Discovery Passage and enjoy the cool breezes off the water.
Discovery Passage is a channel that forms part of the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and the Discovery Islands which lie off the British Columbia coast north of the Georgia Strait. It was named by Captain Vancouver for his ship, the HMS Discovery. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Passage
Most of the ocean traffic navigating through the waters between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland pass by here so the assortment of vessels is incredible. We see vessels ranging from small row boats fishing for salmon all the way up to gigantic cruise ships heading to and from Alaska and all sizes in between. I especially like the tugs boats towing all kinds of interesting barges.
Thunderbird RV Park Pros and Cons List
So far it has been a very flowery review and it is a great spot and I really like it but as always nothing is perfect so:
- Campsites are a little on the small side and don’t offer much privacy.
- The hookups are only adequate. No breakers on the electrical and sections of the park have the water and sewer hookups located way at the back of the trailer.
- Many of the sites have water and electric on the wrong side and power cables so hoses/cables have to be routed under the rig and across the site.
- The laundry room only has 2 washers and three dryers.
- We paid extra for premium WiFi capable of streaming Netflix,etc. but on the busy weekends it had many drop outs and at times we couldn’t load a webpage even.
- If you like campfires it’s great, only problem is because the sites are tightly packed the neighbors fire was often smoking out our rig.
- Beautiful views and abundant wildlife viewing.
- Free fish cleaning station for you anglers out there.
- Very clean park and well maintained.
- Very close to all amenities like shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
- Very friendly helpful and staff.
- Easy access to the ocean beach, waterfront, marina and several walking trails.
- Dog friendly with on site poop bags and a nice park close by at the end of the spit to walk Fido.
- Very easy to meet folks and make friends.
Video Overview of the Thunderbird RV Park
Our Visit to Campbell River 2014 Photo Gallery
I’d say the Thunderbird RV park in Campbell River BC is well worth a visit. It’s a great home base to explore all the area has to offer. If you are a fisherman you will love it here! We are seriously considering spending even more time here next season as there is so much to see and do. I don’t think 2 months will be nearly enough. Stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks as I will have posts detailing some of the adventures we get up to and the sites and sounds of Campbell River.
Follow our RV adventures! Sign up for the free monthly Love Your RV Newsletter – Receive the eBook “Tips for the RV Life” as a gift. Also head on over to the Love Your RV Forum and chat with me and other RVers about all things RV. – Cheers Ray