Where to sleep while bike touring

Bike Camping

When bicycle touring, we fall back to the most basic of needs – food, water, and shelter. Finding enough food and water may or may not be a challenge, depending on how much you carry with you and how populated the area your travelling is, but finding a place to setup your tent or finding a warm bed for the night can sometimes be more challenging and feel like the greater unknown.


Camping is the most popular means of accommodation for tourers – it offers freedom, flexibility and affordability. There are many campgrounds in Canada; national, provincial, as well as private campgrounds. Most national campgrounds are in great locations and offer sites deep in the woods – this can mean a lot of biking even just to get to the campsite from the park entrance. The same can be true with provincial campsites, though often to a lesser extent. This is generally not the case with private campgrounds.

Wild Camping

Many tourers free/wild/stealth camp along the way. This is setting up the tent somewhere without permission, and trying to be discreet about it. In a country the size of Canada this can easily be done and is sometimes the only option when you find yourself in an unpopulated area. In Canada, it is legal for citizens to camp on Crown land (land owned by the Queen) which is actually 89% of the overall landmass of Canada. If you are not a Canadian citizen, you are supposed to get a permit to camp on Crown land, but I don’t expect this is enforced too strongly! However, there is a good chance the 11% of privately owned land is along your route if you are staying to the populated areas along the border, so you may find you need to ask local farmers rather than the Queen before setting up camp.

Warm Showers

The Warm Showers organisation brings together bicycle tourers and people willing to host them. Usually the hosts have bicycle experience or perhaps are about to embark on their own, so they are eager to hear your stories and offer you what they can to make your trip easier. Anything from literally just a warm shower, to a bed, a meal, and sometimes laundry facilities – what more do you need! We have recently started hosting people and it’s a great experience and opportunity to hear about people's journeys and live vicariously through them for a moment. Warm Showers is a worldwide organization, with lots of members in Canada – over 50 members in Montreal alone. Warm Showers

Hotels, Motels, and B&B's

Well this is the more obviously of options, though certainly the worst for the budget. Sometimes however there’s nothing better than a hotel room to relax and stretch out in, especially when coming in from a cold and rainy day. The anonymity of a large hotel can be a wonderful thing – though be sure to treat the room well so the next tourers are given a warm welcome at reception! Bienvenu Cyclistes!

In Québec, there is an organization called Bienvenu Cyclistes! which specializes in welcoming cyclists – look for the Bienvenu Cyclistes! sign in front. If it has this certification you can be guaranteed the following:

Other establishments:

  • A covered and locked location to store your bicycle at night.
  • If there is restaurant service, your nutritional needs will be taken into account and you will be offered generous portions of fruits and vegetables and high-carb meals
  • A pump and tools for making minor repairs
  • Information about local bicycle repair centres, bicycle rental outlets and tourist information offices


  • A camping space, even without a reservation, if you are travelling exclusively by bicycle
  • A sheltered location where you can eat during bad weather
  • A pump and tools for making minor repairs
  • Information about local bicycle repair centres, bicycle rental outlets and tourist information offices