The closest camping to downtown is at Westbay Marine Village (453 Head St., Esquimalt, 250/385-1831, www.westbay.bc.ca , $30–45), across Victoria Harbour from downtown. Facilities at this RV-only campground include full hook-ups and a laundry. It is part of a marina complex comprising floating residences and commercial businesses, such as fishing charter operators and restaurants. Water taxis connect the “village” to downtown.
Fort Victoria RV Park (340 Island Hwy., 250/479-8112, www.fortvictoria.ca , $37) is six kilometers (3.7 miles) northwest of city center on Highway 1A. This campground provides free showers, laundry facilities, and opportunities to join chartered salmon-fishing trips.
Continuing west along Highway 1, take Exit 10, stay in the Colwood Lane, and then take Six Mile Road back under the highway to reach Thetis Lake Campground (West Park Lane, 250/478-3845, unserviced sites $26, hookups $30–36), with shaded sites, coin-operated showers, and laundry facilities. It adjoins Thetis Lake Park, which is crisscrossed by hiking trails and has one of the city’s favorite swimming and sunbathing spots.
Continuing west from the campgrounds detailed above, Highway 1 curves north through Goldstream Provincial Park  (19 km/11 mi from downtown, $24) and begins its up-island journey north. The southern end of the park holds 161 well-spaced campsites scattered through an old-growth forest—it’s one of the most beautiful settings you could imagine close to a capital city. The campground offers free hot showers but no hookups.