Perhaps due to our residence here, our perspective may be biased, but given the province’s diverse landscapes and pleasant summer weather, we genuinely believe that Ontario stands out as one of the premier camping destinations in Canada. The combination of lakes, beaches, forests, and the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield creates an enchanting backdrop for any camping excursion.
Our sentiment is shared by many, evident in the popularity of camping as a cherished pastime in Ontario. Week after week throughout the summer, countless families load up their cars and depart from the cities to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. While backcountry camping holds its appeal, the campgrounds listed below are all accessible by car.
Campgrounds within Ontario Provincial Parks are thoughtfully designed to facilitate outdoor adventures. Making reservations is a straightforward process (though planning is key), sites are well-kept, and facilities are modern.
Ontario’s parks open up a myriad of opportunities for various interests, from boating and hiking to swimming. They also excel in providing educational experiences, offering insights into the history, flora, and fauna of each park. Don’t miss the chance to participate in a free naturalist-led Discovery Program.
While park services may vary, you can generally expect amenities such as flushing toilets, running water, and electric sites. Some campgrounds go above and beyond, offering hot showers, laundromats, and on-site concessionaires selling essential supplies.
For those seeking a blend of comfort and outdoor experience, certain parks provide yurts—multi-sided structures equipped with heating and electricity. This option proves convenient for those not fully equipped for traditional camping.
Catering to diverse preferences, parks accommodate those seeking social activities and those yearning for tranquility, with options for radio-free and pet-free sites. Choose your ideal campground from our curated list of the best places for camping in Ontario.
1. Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park stands out as one of the most renowned parks in the entire province. We visit this destination frequently to appreciate the scenery and engage in canoeing, but not to seek solitude or escape from the crowds. This park is bustling with activity!
Covering nearly 8,000 square kilometers, Algonquin Park boasts several exceptional campgrounds, most of which are situated along the Highway 60 corridor running through the mid-southern section of the park. Each campground has its distinct character.
The highly sought-after camping spot in this region is the Lake of Two Rivers Campground. Its sites are stunning, nestled beneath towering white pines. The campground offers immediate access to hiking and biking trails and features a large, sandy beach ideal for swimming or launching a canoe.
For those desiring more seclusion, explore one of the park’s more remote camping areas. Achray Campground is among the best, offering a vast sandy beach and the historic Tom Thompson cabin dating back to 1916. Several excellent canoe routes, including one leading to the spectacular Barron Canyon, depart from this area of the park.
2. Killarney Provincial Park
Located about four hours north of Toronto, Killarney stands out as one of the most picturesque camping destinations in Ontario. This is our go-to spot for serene camping, where we can occasionally find solitude, witness wildlife, explore hiking trails, and engage in backcountry canoeing. I emphasize “sometimes” because these opportunities are scarce during long weekends when the park is bustling with visitors.
The campground is situated on George Lake, featuring crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming or canoeing. In the distance, white quartzite mountains glisten in the afternoon sun.
Killarney’s campground is divided into several sections, each offering a unique experience. The sites are generally small, and the best ones near the lake are primarily suitable for tents and small tow-behind trailers. Further back from the lake is an RV area, though the sizes are limited, and hookups are available.
For those interested in trying yurt accommodations, six are available, along with two cabins.
Numerous hiking trails of varying distances depart directly from the campground, leading you past hidden lakes or to impressive viewpoints.
A short drive away lies the historic town of Killarney and the stunning Georgian Bay shoreline with its distinctive pink rocks. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor some of the best fish and chips in the area at Herbert Fisheries.
3. Bronte Creek Provincial Park
For novice campers looking to familiarize themselves with the basics of camping, Bronte is the ideal destination. Situated within the GTA limits, this park offers a “camping lite” experience. Need additional supplies? A large grocery store is just five minutes away. Looking for high-speed internet for streaming on your phone? You will have a full five bars here. Need to recharge your phone? Every site comes equipped with electricity.
The park also boasts a unique feature—a 1.8-acre outdoor swimming pool (additional fee). Another delightful attraction for youngsters is the Children’s Farm, complete with live animals waiting to be petted.
For those wanting to stretch their legs, five hiking trails wind their way throughout the park and along 12 Mile Creek. If you visit in June, keep an eye out for wildflowers blooming in the meadows and trilliums in the wooded areas.
The sites are generally spacious and open, making even the largest RVs welcome here.
4. Bon Echo Provincial Park
Camping at Bon Echo Provincial Park will forever leave you with the striking image of the sheer granite rock wall plunging 100 meters straight down into the depths of Mazinaw Lake.
Two campgrounds await you at Bon Echo: Mazinaw Campground features 395 campsites beautifully situated in a hilly area with exposed granite and large white pine trees. All sites, except for the walk-in sites, are equipped with electricity.
A short stroll down to the lake leads to a broad swimming beach and a few historic buildings. Given the hilly terrain, careful site selection and consideration of your camping equipment are advisable.
Hardwood Hill Campground, smaller with 100 sites, is situated across the road and at a distance from Mazinaw Lake. It is ideal for those seeking a more natural experience and a better chance of encountering wildlife.
5. Killbear Provincial Park
Nestled on a peninsula and bordered on three sides by water, Killbear stands out as one of the most popular campgrounds in Ontario, especially among families.
The expansive Killbear campground spans seven loops, offering 880 sites. Positioned within a pine and mixed deciduous forest, these mostly level sites feature a blend of sand, grass, and dirt.
Killbear boasts seven beaches, each strategically located near a campground loop, providing an ideal setting for swimming, canoeing, and various water activities along Georgian Bay.
For those who enjoy hiking and biking, the park offers four trails, with three designed for hiking and a six-kilometer-long trail suitable for both biking and hiking.
6. Sandbanks Provincial Park
Sandbanks, with its 500-plus sites, stands as another expansive campground. Comprising four distinct campgrounds, it provides diverse experiences, catering to both family-oriented enjoyment and serene, private retreats.
Positioned just inland from Lake Ontario, the campground’s main attractions are its three beaches. Two of these beaches offer warm, shallow waters, while the third features a dune extending into the water.
Exploring the park is made delightful by six hiking trails that meander through various landscapes, showcasing the rolling sand dunes, vibrant wildflowers, and serene marshlands.
7. Pancake Bay Provincial Park
Regarded by many as having the most exquisite beach on Lake Superior, Pancake Bay is a favorite stop for a picnic lunch, even if we’re not camping here. Embracing a wide bay with crystal-clear water, the broad beach features soft, golden sand—an anomaly among Lake Superior’s beach areas. The water is generally calmer, warming up to a pleasant swimming temperature.
Camping at one of the 325 sites is a delightful experience. Most sites are just steps from the beach, offering splendid views of the lake. Nestled among pine trees, the well-spaced sites ensure good privacy.
It’s crucial to note that the weather on the north shore of Lake Superior can change rapidly, so be sure to pack for all weather conditions!
8. Awenda Provincial Park
Awenda caters to nature lovers, providing a quieter retreat compared to many other provincial parks, featuring extensive forested areas.
The campground at Awenda is tailored for those seeking solitude and tranquility, with 300 sites dispersed across six areas. Notably, the sites are generously spaced, offering a camping-in-the-woods experience with ample privacy.
Awenda stands out as one of the few parks with a designated pet-friendly beach among its five coastal areas. Here, your four-legged companions can freely splash and run.
Activities beyond the Georgian Bay coastline include hiking on seven trails, one of which guides you to ancient sand dunes.
9. Oastler Provincial Park
Situated on a small lake amidst a blend of pine and deciduous trees, Oastler Provincial Park is a sought-after destination for campers due to its proximity to Toronto. The sites are spacious, and well-separated, and, unlike many other parks, securing a waterfront site here is highly likely.
Our preferred campsites, especially when not with a group, are the walk-in sites extending from the end of the peninsula and secluded from others. These sites are conveniently reached within a short walk, minimizing the distance for carrying your gear. Additionally, this area is designated as radio-free.
Oastler Provincial Park is an excellent choice for fishing enthusiasts, with rock bass, pike, and rainbow trout inhabiting the lake’s clear waters. Bring your bikes to explore the nearby Seguin Recreation Trail, a 75-kilometer former railway line offering as much distance as you desire.
Renowned for its scenic beauty, this campground in Ontario has one caveat: the regularly used railway tracks at the end of the lake can generate noise from passing freight trains.
10. Pinery Provincial Park
Pinery Provincial Park features an extensive campground with 1,275 sites distributed across three camping areas.
This campground caters to a large audience, making it an ideal choice for families seeking a fantastic location where children can socialize with others while parents enjoy some peaceful moments.
The campground’s vast size and popularity are attributed to its 10 kilometers of sandy beach along Lake Huron. There’s a plethora of water activities available, with options to rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and other watercraft.
Don’t forget to bring your bike and walking shoes. Beyond the beach, you’ll discover 10 walking trails, including the 14-kilometer Savanna biking trail that winds through the park.
For bird enthusiasts, especially during May and June, the park is recognized as one of Ontario’s prime birding hot spots.
11. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Just a short distance from Thunder Bay lies Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and the Marie Louise Lake Campground, offering over 200 sites, many perched on a rocky outcrop with stunning views over Lake Superior.
For the most breathtaking vistas, aim to secure a site in Marie Louise Campground Area B. Keep in mind that this area can be windy, so pack extra tent stakes. Most of the campsites come equipped with electrical connections.
Renowned for its rich wildlife, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park boasts 25 hiking trails throughout the park, providing an excellent opportunity to observe the diverse flora and fauna.
The park is also a haven for road biking enthusiasts, with its rolling and curving roads delivering exhilarating rides. For mountain bikers, the Thunder Bay Lookout Trail offers nine kilometers of challenging terrain, featuring bumps, humps, steep climbs, and turns.
12. Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula National Park encompasses a breathtaking area of rocky headlands and inland lakes, located at the far end of the Bruce Peninsula near Tobermory.
The campground features 232 sites distributed among three loops: Birches, Poplars, and Tamarack. While campsites are relatively close together, the views overlooking Cypress Lake compensate for the cozy quarters. If you fancy sleeping off the ground, there are also 10 yurts available.
What makes camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park truly special is the plethora of activities in the surrounding area. Enjoy family-friendly excursions like glass-bottom boat tours of Fathom Five National Underwater Park, including a stop at Flowerpot Island, or take a refreshing swim in Georgian Bay.
A notable perk of staying at the campground in Bruce Peninsula National Park is the guaranteed access to the stunning beach at Indian Head Cove, even during peak times. It is a pleasant 20- to 25-minute hike from the campground each way.
For those inclined to stay on solid ground, explore one of the numerous hikes in the vicinity and cap off your day with shopping or dining in the charming town of Tobermory.
Q: Are these camping sites suitable for beginners?
A: Absolutely! Many of these parks offer amenities and facilities suitable for both beginners and seasoned campers.
Q: What wildlife can be encountered during camping in Ontario?
A: Wildlife enthusiasts may spot moose, deer, various bird species, and, in some cases, black bears. Always follow safety guidelines.
Q: Are reservations required for camping in these parks?
A: It’s advisable to check each park’s reservation policy, as some popular sites may require advance- bookings.
Q: Can I bring my pet camping in these parks?
A: Policies vary, so check with each park beforehand. Some parks are pet-friendly, while others may have restrictions.
Q: What activities are available besides camping in these parks?
A: Depending on the park, activities may include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and interpretive programs. Check Park websites for specific details.