Published on May 30th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor
Best Places to Camp in Ontario.
I love camping. There’s something about cooking hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire as the sun sets and the loons start calling that just says summer. Ontario has some great spots for all sorts of camping whether by car or backcountry hiking and canoeing.
Just in time for making your summer camping plans, we’ve compiled a list of seven amazing spots for pitching your tent and enjoying your favourite outdoor activities in some of the most spectacular settings available anywhere.
The largest freshwater lake island in the world, Manitoulin is so big that the island contains inland lakes that have their own islands. This makes it a natural favourite for water sports enthusiasts, offering spectacular spots for sailing, canoeing, swimming and fishing. Manitoulin is accessible by the famous swinging bridge, and has sites for both tent and RV camping.
Location: Lake Huron, accessible by bridge from Little Current, Ontario
One of the most popular camping destinations in Eastern Ontario, Bon Echo features all types of outdoor activity from camping, to canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking. Camping options range from backcountry hike and canoe-ins to car and RV camping sites, some with electricity and nearby running water. Bon Echo also boasts over 260 Aboriginal pictographs that are a must-see for history buffs.
Location: South Eastern Ontario north of Kaladar, near Cloyne
Sandbanks Provincial Park
Sandbanks boasts one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in all of Ontario. The park has over 500 car campsites as well as some larger sites for group camping. Great activities include cycling, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and boating. Outlet Beach is particularly recommended for families with young children because of the shallow waters and gentle drop off. Book early! Because of the spectacular beaches and location, Sandbanks is one of the province’s most popular camping destinations.
Location: On Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County near Picton, Ontario
The oldest provincial park in Canada, Algonquin is a great sprawling park covering over 7,650 square kilometres and featuring literally thousands of lakes (roughly 2,500 of them). The only way to experience much of the interior is by hiking or canoeing in for great backcountry camping options. Car camping is also available at numerous campgrounds within the park – mostly along Highway 60. These provide amazing moose sighting opportunities as the animals are attracted to the roadside for remnants of winter salting.
Location: Between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Central Ontario
Killbear features the rugged rocky shorelines typical of the Canadian Shield combined with numerous sandy beaches for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing. Car camping is available at seven different campgrounds, with most campsites just a five-minute walk from the water. The park also offers many trails for nature walks and hiking.
We’ve actually had a baby bear run right through our campsite only to be chased off by our schnauzer – a situation that had my wife and I tackling the dog and praying the mother bear wasn’t nearby. Other wildlife commonly seen include deer and even rattlesnake.
Location: Georgian Bay in the Parry Sound area, near the town of Nobel
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
With it’s 2.5 kilometers of sandy beach, Presqu’ile is an alternative to the better known (and often crowded) Sandbanks. It offers over 300 car camping sites in a variety of settings from waterfront to forested. Nature lovers will also enjoy 16 kilometres of trails along shorelines and through woodlands and meadows, a kilometre-long marsh boardwalk trail, and a nature centre.
Location: Brighton, Ontario, between Toronto and Kingston
Grundy Lake Provincial Park
Grundy Lake boasts five beaches, seven lakes, and kilometres of beautiful hiking trails. The park features car camping sites as well as backcountry sites accessible only by canoe. Pick your site carefully. While many of the campsites feature beautiful views and plenty of privacy, my family once had to settle for an unshaded rock that you couldn’t even hammer a tent peg into.
Location: Britt, Ontario – just south of Sudbury
There is so much to explore in a province as vast and beautiful as Ontario, this list only scratches the surface of the great summer camping options. Do you have a favourite spot we’ve missed? Please, share it with us!
By Peter Harris
© 2017 CAA South Central Ontario
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