With summer fast approaching, people will soon begin looking for vacation activities. Camping is a great summer vacation activity as it tends to be relatively low in cost with great rewards. The Queen Charlotte Islands are a great place to take the family camping. The islands are somewhat isolated, accessed only by a seven-hour ferry ride from Prince Rupert or daily commercial flights from Prince Rupert or Vancouver. As such the cost of getting there can be fairly high, but the scenery, history and residents make it incredibly worthwhile.
The Queen Charlotte Islands are made up of two large islands known as Graham Island and Moresby Island along with several smaller islands. Currently there is only major habitation on Graham Island and the northern end of Moresby Island. The southern part of Moresby Island makes up Gwaii Haanas protected area and world heritage site. Moresby Island is connected to the north island by a short ferry ride, approximately half an hour in duration. Both islands provide lots of things to see and do.
Many of the campgrounds on the Queen Charlotte Islands are somewhat rustic but do provide water and washroom facilities, and in several instances firewood for a fee. These campgrounds are for the most part able to accommodate tents, RVs, tent trailers and campers, but be sure to check each individual campground before booking to ensure they are able to accommodate your needs. Also remember to check beforehand if a chosen campsite accepts reservations or not.
There are two provincial campgrounds in Naikoon Provincial Park, along with at least eight private camping providers on Graham Island and at least one camping provider on Moresby Island. This article is going to focus on provincial campgrounds. Information on private and publicly run campgrounds can be found by looking atCamping in Private Campgrounds on the Queen Charlotte Islands .
Within the boundaries of Naikoon Provincial Park there are two provincial campsites: Agate Beach and Misty Meadows. According to The Queen Charlotte Islands’ online visitor guide, “Both Agate Beach and Misty Meadows are equipped with clean outhouses, clean water, picnic shelters with wood stoves, and bear-proof trash cans. Firewood is available for a fee.” (queencharlotteislandguide.com)
Agate Beach Campground; the Queen Charlotte Islands
Agate Beach is on the north end of Graham Island near Tow Hill; a short drive from Masset and Old Masset. Some of the campsites here border the beach itself while others are further away from the beach for those wishing a more sheltered spot. This is a fairly rustic campground; there are no power hookups or sani-stations for RVs, but the view and experience is fantastic. On clear days, looking out across the ocean, a southern portion of Alaska can be seen by a keen eye.
Beachcombing can last all day as long as searchers pay attention to the tide so as not to become stranded if they decide to wander far from the campsite. There are many hiking trails in the vicinity, and at low tide Tow Hill and The Blowhole are only a walk away. The camping experience at Agate Beach is unparalleled, and the sunsets visible from this campground are phenomenal on a clear day.
Do be prepared for wet weather and wind; coastal weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Agate Beach is an extremely fun campsite no matter the weather conditions, with lots to see and do. Remember to watch your step; as the name suggests, agates can sometimes be found along the beach.
Misty Meadows Campground; the Queen Charlotte Islands
Misty Meadows campground is further down the east side of Graham Island, near Tlell. This campground has more of the typical coastal feel to it, with tall ancient trees and plenty of undergrowth. This campground is set back from the beach and is more closely surrounded by trees than Agate Beach, and is therefore more sheltered from the weather.
The beach near Misty Meadows campground is windswept and fairly rocky above the tide line and has plenty of interesting driftwood to explore. There are also many trails further in from the beach to hike and explore, with the opportunity to see wildlife. Deer, squirrels, and raccoons are all possibilities anywhere on the islands, as are bears and a wide variety of birds.
While visiting the Queen Charlotte Islands remember to keep a watchful eye open. There are such a variety of possible things to see, from a tiny deer fawn, to an agate, to some amazing scenery or local art. The islands are truly a beautiful place to visit, and there are many camping opportunities for seasoned and novice campers alike.