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Author Topic: Yanks Camping in Canada  (Read 1182 times)

Punomatic

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Yanks Camping in Canada
« on: January 10, 2018, 10:51:42 AM »
DW and I have been dreaming of going RVing in Canada for some time. This morning I made reservations for a campsite at Banff-Lake Louise. This will be on a loop we are making from Oregon through Yellowstone (we also have reservations there) to Lake Louise and home again.

I am interested in input on where is the best place to cross into Canada when we are headed north from Yellowstone. I pictured us staying in Great Falls and then crossing at Sweet Grass. Would it be better to go up US287 to US89 and cross at Carway? I would like to make the trip between Yellowstone and Banff in three segments, staying first in Montana, then somewhere across the border and finally making the run into Banff-Lake Louise.

I have looked up the Canada government requirements for crossing (i.e., what we can and can't bring in), and we are confident that we won't have any difficulty in complying. I would like to hear about anyone's experience with crossing into Canada and back to the USA with pets. Specifically, we have an 11 lb. spayed dachshund mix. Near as I can tell, if we have a health certificate for her and only bring an unopened package of food produced in the USA we should be OK.

Another thought that occurred to me is this: do we need any special adapter for electrical or sewer hookups in Canada? All my past experience with traveling to Canada has been by boat and 20 years or more ago.

Finally, our plan after leaving Lake Louise is to continue west into B.C. and then cross into WA, east of the Cascades. We had hoped to stay at Lake Chelan, but I don't think we can get a reservation. Any suggestions for routes and/or campgrounds/RV parks in eastern BC and/or central WA?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and experience.
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Joezeppy

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 11:28:46 AM »
Another thought that occurred to me is this: do we need any special adapter for electrical or sewer hookups in Canada? All my past experience with traveling to Canada has been by boat and 20 years or more ago.


No special adapters required - we've only camped north of the border a couple of times but all the hookups were standard each time. The only other info I can add is that crossing should be pretty straight forward other than maybe a few extra questions about the type of food and amount of alcohol you have with you considering you're dragging a house behind you.  ;D
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Roy M

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 11:47:34 AM »
I would suggest crossing at Sweetgrass, be aware it is not open 24 hours. Once you get to Ft Mcleod, go west on highway 3 then north on 22, it is more scenic and less hectic than 2 and you miss the Calgary traffic. I can't help you with campgrounds, have been through the area numerous times but never stopped.
One of the nicest campgrounds we have stayed in is at Beebe bridge near Chelan. It is terraced so even the rear sites get a nice view of the Columbia river, sunrise over the hills is spectacular.

jackiemac

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 11:50:37 AM »
You are very close to Glacier NP. Well worth a detour....
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Pocket Rocket

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 12:48:38 PM »
The border crossing at Sweetgrass/Coutts is open 24 hrs https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/offices-bureaux/646-eng.html
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 12:59:52 PM »
     We crossed at Sweet Grass, and I would highly recommend that you go straight up to Drumheller, where there are HoDos, Badlands, and the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum.  When in Banff, go to Lake Louise and to the Ice Fields before heading west to BC.
     Enjoy the trip, make sure your tank is full before crossing as fuel is more expensive, as are tobacco and alcohol, but you are limited as to how much of those you can bring with you.  Although most businesses accept American money, it is best to stop at a bank and exchange US for Canadian.
     Do NOT attempt to bring firearm across into Canada unless pre-authorized, and that would be long guns only as hand guns are not permitted, or required.

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mypursuit

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 01:33:22 PM »
Second Beebe Bridge as a nice stopover right off the hiway.  For more seclusion and
some trees, Alta Lake SP is nice and has Wi Fi!  The Wenatchee area has a couple of
nice SP's fairly close to a Walmart if you need to stock up.  Hiway 97 to Oregon is a
good route. Farther south on the Columbia is Maryhill SP and the Maryhill winery.
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Punomatic

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 02:38:24 PM »
Thanks for all the quick replies. Your information is confirming and comforting. We will be staying at Alta Lake after we cross back into WA. I read that it burned a few years ago but is on the rebound. That's probably why we were still able to get a space there.

Thanks, Jackiemac, for the Glacier NP suggestion. We visited there  a couple of years ago, so now we are off to see other things.

Hfx_Cdn and Roy M, thanks for your suggestions for routes and things to see. We will study the map in more detail and see what strikes our fancies.

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Wheeldog

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 09:14:32 PM »
We round trip from Alaska to Arizona quite a bit. Never had much trouble at Sweet Grass......Sumas is another story. Pretty much every time we go through at Sumas into Canada, we get "the card" and have to go inside while they search our rig. Never have had much trouble getting into the states.

We have brought several  dogs through Canada, as long as you have health certificates......no problem. You can take long guns in as long as you have the proper paperwork and pay the fee. Don't even think of taking a hand gun into Canada, unless you want to visit one of their jail cells. If you have ever had a conviction for anything like DUI they may turn you back. Always tell the truth, even if you have something not allowed in Canada that you didn't know about and you tell them about it when they ask, they won't bust you. Lie to them and they will nail you.

You may not have as much of a hassle as we do. According to the border guards, they catch lots of Alaskans sneaking firearms (pistols) into Canada on their way home.

Keep in mind BC means "bring cash". It is expensive even by Alaska standards. We do our best to bring enough supplies to make it through Canada without having to buy anything other than fuel.
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Howard Kelly

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2018, 12:42:38 PM »
Also remember that your US dollar is worth about 20 cents more than our Canadian $$. you will find that out when you convert US to CDN. Have fun and enjoy
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beaverfever

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 02:24:55 PM »
Also remember that your US dollar is worth about 20 cents more than our Canadian $$. you will find that out when you convert US to CDN. Have fun and enjoy
exchange your us $$ at a bank on either side of the border, many businesses will take american currency but will not give you the exchnge rate just pocket the difference. same when leaving canada change it back to american currency near the border as it much simpler.

Punomatic

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 07:13:55 PM »
exchange your us $$ at a bank on either side of the border, many businesses will take american currency but will not give you the exchnge rate just pocket the difference. same when leaving canada change it back to american currency near the border as it much simpler.
This is a good point. I was wondering about using credit/debit cards. Do they give a pretty good exchange rate? I made my reservations at Banff-Lake Louise with a credit card and got an exchange rate of about +18% for my US dollars.
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Old Radios

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 07:25:47 AM »
Remember they don't like some food items that are open either. Dog food, fresh produce, etc. Sometimes they don't care and other times no way.  No guns either although you can get a permit for a rifle ahead of time. I think they are still $25.  Dogs must have current rabies certs also.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/what-can-i-bring-to-canada-1481670


We've been waved through after a couple of questions and also had everything opened and inspected.  You never know.  Same thing with coming back although we have always gotten at least a walk through.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 07:28:09 AM by Old Radios »
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massspike

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2018, 07:47:33 AM »
This is a good point. I was wondering about using credit/debit cards. Do they give a pretty good exchange rate? I made my reservations at Banff-Lake Louise with a credit card and got an exchange rate of about +18% for my US dollars.

Your credit card company gave you a bit of a haircut.

The banks give you the current buy/sell rate, and better then currency exchanges, so I wouldn't waste your time getting cash before you cross. Just pop in to a bank and use their ATM once you cross the border. There will be a service charge per transaction ($3-5?). The only problem would be if you need cash at/around the border but Canadian businesses will take US$.

Your credit cards may not have Chip-and-PIN (all CDN CC's do) so you will need to shop where they have card swipe. If you do have C&P, then you can get by without cash and just use tap-to-pay -- I only carry a $20 in my wallet and it can stay there for months.

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 02:07:46 PM »
The actual current exchange rate is 25%, and that is near the rate you will be charged by most major credit card companies, likely around 23%.  However, most add a fee of around 2.5% on each transaction, but if you exchange US cash at a bank you would expect to receive the 23% without the additional fee.  Or as indicated above, go to any bank ATM as long as your US bank are part of the group, all Canadian banks and Credit Unions are, plus many banks have reciprocal agreements which avoid any fees, for example Bank of America cards can be used at Scotiabank ATMs without fees, or TD Bank card I believe have no fees on either side of the border.
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ceedill

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 09:35:58 PM »
  if your planning on coming into Alberta at sweetgrass/Coutts crossing Drumheller would be a good place to go as it is straight north of there and straight east of Calgary, there is lots of camping there and lots of things to see as Hfx_cdn said.  also by fort McLeod there is some camping nearby and you could see the head smashed in buffalo jump, or go west down highway 3 see frank slide and Pincher creek area there is also waterton lakes which is the Canadian park north if glacier park, but there was a huge forest fire in that area this year , the townsite survived but a lot of the surrounding forest burned. Also going up hwy 22 you could stay in Kananaskis country.
Im not sure about camping there I know there is lots i think most of it is dry(boon docking) camping.
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Punomatic

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 09:21:26 AM »
Thank you all, again, for your input. We are so excited about our visit north of the border. Your information and advice is appreciated more than you will know. At this point we are thinking we will go by way of Drumheller. It looks like an interesting area, with several good options for parking the trailer and exploring.

Another question: we are probably going to pass through Penticton, BC, and we're thinking of making reservations at one of the parks on the lake shore. How far in advance do we need to do that? Do they fill up this early for a late July visit?
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2018, 11:55:58 AM »
Sorry I can't answer about Penticton, we have not RVd there.

Ed
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newfurrows

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Re: Yanks Camping in Canada
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2018, 04:26:41 PM »
I googled:"city of penticton bc rv campsites".  There are quite a few with websites
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