For a swift immersion in nature, escape to Algonquin Provincial Park and enjoy a few nights camping beneath the stars. Awaken by the shores of a serene lake, gather around a campfire to watch smoke waft through the trees, and let the calls of loons and howls of wolves serenade you to sleep.
Algonquin Provincial Park stands out as Ontario’s most popular camping destination, boasting numerous campgrounds to cater to a large influx of campers. Predominantly situated along the Highway 60 corridor, about three hours north of Toronto, these campgrounds also offer proximity to hiking trails, a restaurant, a store, and a bike rental shop, enhancing the overall experience.
Nestled on the east side of the park off the Trans-Canada Highway (417), Achray Campground lures campers from Ottawa and other eastern areas, offering a scenic retreat about three hours away.
Campground options vary, ranging from spacious, bustling, and vibrant settings to intimate, tranquil spaces. Larger campgrounds with appealing beachfront areas often attract families, while those seeking solitude may opt for smaller sites with increased privacy.
Regardless of your preference, securing reservations well in advance is crucial, especially if you plan to camp between early July and the first week of September when the campgrounds experience high demand. To navigate through the choices, consult our list of the best campgrounds in Algonquin.
1. Lake of Two Rivers Campground
Situated conveniently along Highway 60, Lake of Two Rivers boasts the most picturesque campground setting in the entire park. Towering pine trees provide shade over campsites, and a lengthy stretch of soft sand graces the shores of Lake of Two Rivers, facing the campground. Meandering along the campground’s edge is the Madawaska River.
For those seeking adventure, you can rent canoes from the beach to explore the lake or the river. A designated swimming area, cordoned off for safety, is ideal for families and kids. Adjacent to the campground is the Two Rivers Store, which offers groceries, supplies, a restaurant, an ice cream shop, and bike rentals.
This extensive campground features 241 sites, including many with electrical hookups. Most sites are generously sized.
The two loops near the beach are more open, with limited privacy between sites but easy access to the waterfront. The loops situated farther back offer more appealing campsites with undergrowth beneath the pines, providing visual separation between sites. The further back you venture, the quieter and more private the sites become, with increased undergrowth.
During the peak periods of July and August, including the Labour Day weekend, the campground experiences high activity, and the volume of campers may create a lively, noisy atmosphere. It exudes an energetic vibe, so if you prefer a tranquil, woodland experience, exploring a smaller campground might be more suitable.
For a mid-week visit in the spring or fall, this campground proves perfect, offering fewer campers and a serene, beautiful environment.
2. Kearney Lake Campground
The nearest campground to the East Gate on Highway 60, Kearney Lake Campground features 104 sites, with many situated along the lake or in proximity to wetland areas. It’s an ideal campground for those seeking a peaceful, rustic connection with nature.
Designed for tents, the sites are modest in size, and none of them offer electrical hookups. While the 201 to 243 loop provides a comfort station with washrooms and showers, the remaining facilities consist of basic pit toilets.
Nestled by Kearney Lake, both loops present a variety of waterfront sites. The waterfront sites in the 201 to 243 loops are particularly remarkable, offering delightful views of the lake.
3. Rock Lake Campground
Situated eight kilometers off Highway 60, Rock Lake Campground may be less convenient for hikers, but it presents a favorable option for canoers and kayakers. From the beach, you can embark on a paddle across Rock Lake and the adjoining waterways.
The electrical section of Rock Lake, which overlooks a splendid stretch of the lake and the beach, provides minimal privacy between sites. The sites are compact, and the presence of RVs can give the area a crowded feel during peak times.
The non-electrical sites, located in a separate loop, offer slightly more privacy but remain relatively small. The primary advantage of camping here lies in the easy access to the lake.
Adjacent to Rock Lake Campground is Coon Lake Campground, which offers limited scenic views and atmosphere.
4. Pog Lake Campground
Nestled along a scenic stretch of shoreline on Pog Lake and the Madawaska River, just a short drive off Highway 60, Pog Lake Campground boasts a delightful setting. The sites, dispersed amidst mature pine trees, are generously sized, offering beautiful views, and the presence of undergrowth between sites enhances the overall privacy. Choosing a site in this campground is a task that’s hard to go wrong with.
Section C, surrounded on three sides by water—Pog Lake and the Madawaska River—features quiet, private, well-spaced sites. Ideal for those seeking peace and tranquility, this section is a bit distant from the beach area.
Section A, housing the main beach, is a suitable area for families desiring access to swimming spots. Waterfront sites, approximately ranging from sites 107 to 112, are open and lack privacy but provide a good view of the water and convenient beach access. The beach itself is shallow and ideal for children.
Pog Lake offers a mix of electrical and non-electrical sites, along with a designated radio- and pet-free area for those seeking a noise-free escape.
Additionally, the Old Railway Bike Trail, easily accessible from Pog Lake Campground, opens opportunities to explore the Lake of Two Rivers Campground, Two Rivers Store, and beyond the Track and Tower hiking trail. Heading in the opposite direction, the trail leads to Whitefish Lake, Coon Lake Campground, and Rock Lake, where the Booth’s Rock hiking trail begins.
If you happen to be in the northern part of Algonquin Park, you’ll find a couple of camping options, one being the intimate Kiosk campground. Featuring only 24 sites, this campground exudes a cozy ambiance and offers a distinct vibe compared to the much larger campgrounds along the Highway 60 corridor.
Situated on the picturesque Kioshkokwi Lake, one of the park’s larger lakes, the campground boasts a decent beach, with approximately half of the sites located near or on the waterfront. It’s worth noting that sites 18-26 require a bit of a walk to access the beach area.
Facilities here are relatively basic, encompassing a mix of vault and flush toilets; however, no showers are available. This is a genuine place to disconnect, as mobile phones do not work in this specific area of the park at the time of writing.
Given its proximity to the northern part of the lake, many visitors use the Kiosk campground as a starting point for canoe trips, leading to a relatively quick turnover of sites. Boaters with motors of less than 10 horsepower are permitted to use them on the lake.
6. Canisbay Lake Campground
Located on the shores of Canisbay Lake, just off Highway 60 near the Track and Tower Hiking Trail, this campground offers a distinct setting compared to many others in the park. The presence of deciduous trees makes it an appealing choice for fall camping when the leaves undergo vibrant color changes.
The majority of campsites are situated in forested loops rather than along the waterfront. With a total of 242 sites, the campground provides options for electrical, non-electrical, and radio and pet-free zones. Despite its considerable capacity, the campground manages to avoid a crowded or expansive feel. The well-separated loops, along with adequately spaced sites, contribute to this atmosphere.
The prevalence of leaves, in contrast to sites dominated by pines, acts as a visual barrier and helps mitigate surrounding noise from other campers. Most sites in this area are of medium size.
7. Achray Campground
Nestled on the east side of Algonquin Provincial Park, this enchanting campground is situated along a picturesque stretch of shoreline on Grand Lake, featuring delightful beach areas.
Renowned Canadian artist from the Group of Seven, Tom Thompson, explored and served as a fire ranger in this region between 1913 and 1916. The captivating landscape around Grand Lake, including the oil painting “The Jack Pine,” served as inspiration for several of his artworks.
Located approximately 50 kilometers down a gravel road off the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 417), the campground exudes a remote ambiance. The 45 well-spaced campsites, many of which are waterfront, contribute to the tranquil setting.
A popular destination for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts, visitors can paddle out on Grand Lake and embark on portages to nearby lakes for day trips. Alternatively, one can set up a chair on the beach for a day of sun-soaking. The vicinity also offers numerous hiking trails, including the breathtaking 1.5-kilometer Barron Canyon Trail, providing panoramic views of the 100-meter walls of the Barron Canyon – considered one of the finest hikes in Algonquin Park.
While the campground is more conveniently accessed by campers traveling from destinations east of the park, such as Ottawa, the drive from Toronto exceeds 5.5 hours, making it a less ideal choice for those coming from the west.
Q: Is camping allowed year-round in Algonquin Provincial Park?
A: Yes, camping is allowed year-round, but some campgrounds may have limited services in the winter.
Q: Are there bear encounters in Algonquin Park?
A: Yes, black bears are present in the park. Follow bear safety guidelines and use bear-proof containers.
Q: Can I bring my pet to Algonquin campgrounds?
A: Pets are allowed in some campgrounds, but they must be on a leash. Check the specific campground rules.
Q: Are campfires allowed in all campgrounds?
A: Campfires are permitted in designated areas. Follow fire safety guidelines to prevent accidents.
Q: What should I do if I encounter wildlife during my camping trip?
A: Maintain a safe distance, do not feed the animals, and report any aggressive behavior to park authorities.