Wondering where to camp in Ontario this summer? Ontario is a playground for outdoor lovers. With 330 provincial parks, an area larger than both France and Spain combined, and one-fifth of the world’s freshwater, it’s no wonder there are so many awesome places to camp in Ontario.
Dave and I have done a lot of camping in Ontario. Between the entire year we spent exploring the great outdoors while working with Ontario tourism, (and yes, there was a lot of camping) and other summers doing adventures around the province, we know Ontario like the back of our hand.
With Ontario opening up, camping is a great way to keep social distancing while not disturbing the locals. So let’s help you decide where is the best camping in Ontario this year!
Best Camping in Ontario
Sure you could just Google “campgrounds in Ontario”, but we break down what’s great about each destination and why you should go camping there from our first-hand experiences. So, dust off your tent, air out your Thermarest. and load the bikes, because we are about to share the best Ontario parks for camping Canada.
1. Algonquin Provincial Park
Located just three hours north of Toronto, Algonquin Provincial Park is for people who truly want to get off the grid. Be prepared for a rugged experience at backcountry campsites. Read more here.
When we did our first canoe trip through Algonquin we had 2km portages, we hung our bear barrels safely from intruding black bears and used backcountry outhouses for toilets. But you don’t have to do backcountry camping, there is drive-in camping, and guided canoe trips and moose safaris in Algonquin as well.
Algonquin Provincial Park is probably the most popular spot for backcountry campsites in Ontario. It is the ultimate canoe route where you can easily go into the backcountry while paddling through pristine lakes and rivers.
- Places like Algonquin Outfitters rents canoes and camp gear.
- Voyageur Quest. offers tours, rentals and cabin rentals
2. Collingwood – Craigleigh Provincial Park
Collingwood is located two hours from Toronto and is one of Ontario’s most exciting outdoor destinations. Located on Georgian Bay, there are many campgrounds that have full facilities.
Our favourite campground is Craigleith Provincial Park located directly on Georgian Bay. It makes for a great base to explore the Blue Mountains for hiking and mountain biking. Book sites here.
Wasaga Beach is nearby, the longest freshwater beach in the world, and you can easily pop into the town of Collingwood. There are plenty of things to do in Collingwood from the High Ropes course, rock climbing and Scenic Caves, you can easily fill a weekend or even a week camping in Collingwood.
3. Manitoulin Island
When we went camping on Manitoulin, we stayed had a unique camping experience in a TeePee with the Great Spirit Circle Trail company and we did some serious backcountry camping on the Benjamin Islands. All booked through the Great Spirit Circle Trail.
But there is lots of regular camping on Manitoulin with both cottages and campgrounds available. Why go camping on Manitoulin Island? This is a destination on Lake Huron that has so many things to see and do.
Great hikes, scenic boat tours, canoe trips, Aboriginal experiences, gorgeous waterfalls like Bridal Veil Falls, fine dining, and incredible lookouts!
- Mindemoya Cottages and Campground has barbecues, recreational activities, located on Lake Mindemoya.
4. Grand Bend – Pinery Provincial Park
The popular place to camp in Grand Bend is at The Pinery Provincial Park located directly on Lake Huron with 10 km of sandy beach!
Fun Fact, I performed at the Huron Country Playhouse one summer. This professional theatre gives campers something unique to do at night in Grand Bend. But it is the beach that attracts campers to Grand Bend. It’s one of the best in Ontario.
With bars and restaurants and plenty of things to do in downtown Grand Bend, you’ll love camping here for a weekend.
The Pinery Provincial Park is located on Lake Huron and has full facilities, hiking trails, canoe and hydro bike rentals and it was voted by National Geographic as one of the top 10 sunset spots in the world!
- Visit the Pinery Provincial Park Website.
5. Slate Islands Provincial Park
The Slate Islands is by far our favourite place to go camping on Lake Superior’s north shore. You can take a shuttle from Terrace Bay 14 km out to the cluster of islands in the middle of the lake.
You can explore on your own and even have your canoes or kayaks shuttled out with you or you can book a trip with companies like Naturally Superior Adventures.
When out there, you’ll come into contact with Woodland Caribou. There are 100 of these rare creatures that inhabit the islands.
There hiking to the highest lighthouse on Lake Superior at Patterson Island, an Old Copper Mine on Mortimer Island, high sea cliffs and the World’s largest shattercone! But we really loved the deserted beaches.
- Visit Naturally Superior Adventures for guided tours or shuttles to the islands. .
- Great Things to see and do on the Slate Islands
- The Rare Woodland Caribou of the Slate Islands
6. Pukaskwa National Park
Pukaskwa National Park is a fantastic place to pitch your tent on the North Shore of Lake Superior. You can do backcountry camping here or car camping in Hattie Cove.
There are full facilities with toilets and you can even book an o-Tentic if you want more glamour camping. Pukaskway has hiking trails for day hikes, most notably to the suspension bridge. You can rent kayaks and canoes and you can book a boat shuttle to take you out to the backcountry.
- Visit Parks Canada for more details.
- On the Coastal Trail of Pukaskwa National Park
- 36 Epic Adventures in Canada
7. Lake Superior Provincial Park
If you are looking for a camping experience that is a little less rugged, Agawa Bay offers good car camping with bathroom and water amenities.
Located directly on Lake Superior north shore 90 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie, Agawa Bay offers three kilometers of beachfront! And the beaches on Lake Superior are beautiful. There are six beaches you can visit!
Driving this stretch of highway is a must with viewpoints and pullovers, it’s only an hour from Wawa. There are great hiking trails, most notably the Orphan Lake Trail which is a beautiful scenic loop. And be sure to go to Agawa Rock to see the pictographs.
- Visit Lake Superior Provincial Park for more details.
- Check out our Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure
8. Missinaibi River
The Missinaibi is a Canadian Heritage River and the world’s largest crown wildlife preserve encompassing 2 million acres of land! It’s not on Lake Superior, but it is north of Lake Superior, so you are getting into the far North of Ontario.
There are Ojibwe and Cree artifacts dating back 2000 years and visitors can see more than 100 Indigenous Pictographs. Camping in Missinaibi is backcountry camping, so experience is a must, or you can book a canoe tour.
There are car campsites at Barclay Bay with basic amenities like water taps and animal-safe food storage. Get ready to experience the true backcountry camping experience in the Missinaibi.
- You can book backcountry tours with Lure of the North
- And camping information at Missinaibi Provincial Park’s Website
- Enjoy our Missinaibi Winter Trek – Expeditions are Glamorous in Retrospect
- A Day in the Life of an Extreme Adventure
9. Albion Hills
Albion Hills Conservation Area is just one hour north of Toronto and is a fun place to go camping in Ontario that isn’t too far out of the way. It has excellent mountain biking trails for beginners and experts. They have 50 km of double and single track trails and basic campsite amenities.
- Albion has full camping facilities. Visit their website for details.
Dave and I lived at Milton campground for an entire summer, so we know and love this campground. It’s an excellent base for hiking the Bruce Trail, climbing at rattlesnake point, or mountain biking at Kelso.
Milton is an adventure lovers Ontario destiantion just a short drive from Toronto. We actually commuted to Toronto daily when living there one summer.
Nearby there’s the Hilton Falls Conservation Area, Crawford Lake Conservation Area and Mount Nemo Conservation Area nearby with waterfalls, hiking trails and cycling routes where you can easily fill a few days camping outside of Toronto.
- Visit Milton Heights Campground for details and information.
11. Niagara Falls
People often think of the hotels and casinos of Niagara Falls, but there is a more rugged and affordable way to enjoy the Niagara Escarpment. When we went bouldering and hiking in Niagara Glen, camping seemed like the appropriate way to stay overnight.
Yogi Bear Campgrounds attracts the big RVs and families, but there is a wooded area for tent camping only.
It may be filled with families, but it is the closest park to Niagara Falls so you can explore all the awesome things to do in Niagara Falls and still experience the beautiful great outdoors of the Niagara Escarpment.
- See Jellystone Niagara for more details.
- The Very Best Things to do in Niagara Falls
- How to get to Niagara by Bus from Toronto
12. Turkey Point
I am partial to camping in Turkey Point because it was my summer beach destination growing up. Dave and I even slept on the beach once (sans tent) waiting for my brother and sister-in-law to come to their boat at the Turkey Point Marina.
Today, Turkey Point has turned into an fantastic tourist destination with Ziplining and vineyards nearby. There’s even glamping at Long Point Eco-Adventures!
Turkey Point Provincial Park has a fantastic beach for swimming, hiking trails, restaurants and the rocking Turkey Point Hotel for nightlife. Check rates and availability here.
13. Long Point Provincial Park
If you are a birder, Long Point Provincial Park is the place to be! It is a designated World Biosphere Reserve because of the massive bird migration through the area. Long Point is a long sandy stretch of land reaching far out into Lake Erie.
Port Stanley is an hour’s drive from Long Point Provincial Park (Dave and I have cycled to and from Port Stanley in a day) and Port Burwell is in between.
- Ontario Parks has more information at the Long Point Provincial Park website.
For backcountry camping at its finest, the Fathom Five National Marine Park has six backcountry campgrounds. You can actually camp on Flowerpot Island. Hire a tour boat to take you to Flowerpot Island where you can do some hiking and if you have canoe or kayaking experience, bring your boats along!
If you don’t want to go backcountry camping, Lands End Campground has RV and tent camping with full facilities on the mainland. Explore the Shipwrecks of Tobermory, hike the Bruce Trail, see the grotto and take a boat tour.
- Visit the Bruce Peninsula camping website for backcountry camping details and Cyprus Lake frontcountry camping.
Located directly on Georgian Bay, Midland attracts visitors to explore its history. Saint Marie among the Hurons was the first European settlement in Ontario dating back to 1639. Midland is also a great place to hop on a boat tour to explore the 30,000 Islands. It is the largest freshwater archipelago in the world!
Camping at Awenda Provincial Park makes for a great base. Located direclty on the water, there are beaches, hiking trails, and an inland lake for canoeing. It offers car camping and there is a cottage to rent if you want more comfort.
- Details: Awenda Provincial Park
16. Parry Sound
A little farther north from Midland is Parry Sound. KOA campgrounds always have good camping sites and we find you can’t go wrong. With RV, Lodges and tented campsites it is a good choice for most campers.
Located on the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, you’ll have the world’s largest freshwater archipelago to explore. Downtown Parry Sound has a lot to do after you’ve done your hikes, boat tours or kayaking trips. And a fun fact: It is hockey legend Bobby Orr’s home town!
- Visit the Parry Sound KOA for more details.
17. Sauble Beach
For the ultimate location for a beach getaway, Sauble Beach is a super place to set up your tent. It’s the second-longest freshwater beach in the world after nearby Wasaga Beach, but it was voted the number one beach on Ontario!
Carson’s Camp is 1km from the beach with full facilities including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, adult only hot tub, and gym. It offers cabins and trailers for rent and has tent and RV camping.
- Visit Carson’s Camp for details.
- Visit the Sauble Beach Township website for a list of all the things to do here.
18. Bass Lake Provincial Park
Okay, this is not on Georgian Bay or the Bruce Peninsula, but it’s not far by Ontario driving standards, and we didn’t quote know where to include this but we really wanted to! We love camping and exploring around Orillia, Ontario.
Bass Lake Campground has canoe and kayak rentals, a scenic hiking trail right on site and its not far from Orillia to head into town for some more sightseeing.
We like to camp at Bass Lake because it is close to our favourite mountain bike trails in Ontario at Hardwood Hills. Orillia has a lovely waterfront, restaurants and cafes, there’s Couchiching Beach, and Casino Rama is located just out of town.
- Visit Bass Lake for more details: RV and tent camping available.
19. Arrowhead Provincial Park
We love Arrowhead Provincial Park. There is so much to do here. Located just outside of Huntsville Ontario, Arrowhead has three different campgrounds, 10 cabins and a deluxe glamping tent!
There is so much to do in the park with several hiking trails, canoeing, and mountain bike trails. Huntsville has always been a favorite for Torontonians to escape teh city as there are plenty of Lakes, parks and trails to explore. Plus there’s dining, nightlife, shopping and everything you need when popping into town!
Haliburton Forest is our all time favourite forest in Ontario. It has several wilderness campsites that are accessible by car. The facilities are basic with outhouses and picnic tables giving you a true backcountry feel without having to canoe or trek deep into the wilderness.
There are plenty of things to do in Haliburton, from the longest canopy walk in the world, to visiting the Wolf Sanctuary and the other usual things to do in Ontario campsites like mountain biking, hiking and canoeing.
- Visit the Haliburton Forest Website for details.
21. Muskoka Lakes
The District of Muskoka is massive and there are countless campsites in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country.
St. Lawrence Park is a good campground near Brockville and it was where we set up camp when diving the Saint Lawrence River. There are several campsites dotting the Saint Lawrence River giving access to the Thousand Islands tours.
You can swim in the Saint Lawrence and there are beaches. The water is warmer in the Saint Lawrence than the Great Lakes of Ontario in the summer, making for a great camping destination to explore the towns of Brockville, Kingston, Gananoque and you can scoot over to the United States! (that is, when the border opens)
- Check out the city of Brockville for more details.
23. Bon Echo Provincial Park
Located just two hours from Ottawa, Bon Echo Provincial Park offers great backcountry and car camping. It has the largest visible collection of Aboriginal Pictographs on Mazinaw Rock. A 100 metre tall rockface reaching up from Mazinaw Lake. There are canoe and kayak rentals and if you want to take on a canoe route, Bon Echo Provincial Park has a proper canoe route with a portage and everything! Visit the Bon Echo Website
Heading east of Toronto is the town of Peterborough. This is another cottage country destination. A unique campsite in Ontario is the Beavermead Campground located in the heart of town! It’s fully serviced with tent and RV campsites offered. It’s located directly on Little Lake and you can even paddle right into downtown Peterborough from the campground! Peterborough is located directly on the Trent Severn Waterway and is home to the highest lift lock in the world.
- Check out Beavermead Campground for details.
25. Kawartha Lakes
The Kawarthas are located just north of Peterborough and another fantastic place to camp in Ontario. With 250 lakes to choose from, the possibilities are endless. There’s the usual hiking, cycling and paddling, but there is also the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trail.
The city of Kawartha Lakes has plenty of nightlife and dining if youw ant to escape the tent for a bit. You can do backcountry camping, car camping and there are O-tentniks available for rent too!
- Visit Kawartha Tourism for more details
These are the best places to camp in Ontario that we’ve experienced. There are so many campgrounds around the province, I guarantee you’ll find one to suit your needs. From backcountry camping to luxury campsites and glamping experiences make sure to get outside this summer and explore Ontario!
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