Campgrounds in Ontario
Camping in Ontario is a great way to spend time with your family during the summer, or just as a way to get away from it all and enjoy the beauty of Ontario’s nature. There are many campgrounds in Northwestern Ontario. Each camp will offer different experiences, and options. Knowing how you would like to spend your vacation will be beneficial when planning your trip! Northwestern Ontario offers campgrounds with spots for both RVs and tents. Campgrounds have many different activities that can provide fun for the whole family. Ontario campgrounds also offer different amenities to suite your needs. If you are looking for a more rugged experience, you can also try backwoods camping. When camping in Ontario, the possibilities are endless.
All About Campgrounds
Ontario campgrounds offer many different types of campsites. Overnight campsites are used for a short stay, such as a night or a week. These types of campsites can be booked ahead of time, or can be booked the day of. Sometimes parks will be full and no overnight sites will be available. Ontario campgrounds also offer group camping sites. Group camping sites are great for family reunions, celebrations, events, and tourists traveling in a group. Group campsites often have a water tap, parking space, but may have no or limited electrical service. Most campgrounds will advertise if they offer group camping.
Planning Your Trip
Before your departure to the campground, check the weather reports for your destination and pack accordingly. If it will be rainy, consider bringing tarps to set up outside. Bring your emergency contact information for each family member just to be safe. Bring cash, travelers cheques, credit cards, and health cards. If your campsite has electricity, you may want to bring a cellphone and phone charger. Create a checklist for packing to be sure not to miss anything. You don’t want to find yourself without water or a flashlight!
RVing in Ontario is a one of a kind experience. Visit one of our many beautiful lakes and take in breathtaking scenery and wildlife. Depending on the season you decide to stay at an Ontario campground, the scenery and activity options will vary! RVing in spring is great for experiencing wildlife and viewing bird migrations. In summer, you can enjoy the campground’s lake the fullest. Take advantage of the beautiful Ontario lakes by fishing, swimming, and enjoying shore lunches. Some campgrounds offer canoe or kayak rentals as well. Ontario campgrounds hit their peak during the summer season, so be sure to book ahead of time! Summer is also great for hiking, exploring, birdwatching, and berry picking. Camping during fall in Ontario is great for viewing the many fall colours. If you plan to hunt, you will want to plan your camping trip for the fall season. If you plan to camp during winter, you will need to prepare ahead a bit more. Winter camping is recommended for more experienced campers, as low temperatures can be dangerous.
Tenting at an Ontario campground is a great way to get that much closer to nature! Nothing can compare to waking up to the sound of birds singing, and breathing in the fresh morning air. When setting up your tent to camp, it is a good idea to find the most even ground possible. Check for roots or rocks which may be in the way and cause problems! Set your tent up a fair ways away from where you plan on building your fire. Tents are typically made of highly flammable material, and the last thing you want is for it to catch fire!
It is important to prepare for your camping trip ahead of time so that you don’t find yourself without something when you need it! Here is a very basic packing list for you to reference when packing for a trip at an Ontario campground.
- Fleece jacket or wool sweater
- Both long sleeved & short sleeved shirts
- A swimsuit
- A raincoat
- An axe
- A flashlight and batteries
- A water container
- Matches & a lighter
- A tarp or rainfly
- A sleeping bag/blankets
- A stove & fuel
- A tent (unless you are using an RV)
- Food & water
- Garbage bags
- Bug spray & sunblock
Ontario Campground Etiquette
There are some unspoken rules that come with sharing a campground with other campers. Follow the basic camping etiquette to ensure that you have a great time without disturbing others!
- Do not walk through other people’s campsites
- Keep pets on leads and pick up after them
- When using a radio or listening to music, be respectful and keep it at a reasonable level
- Be conscious of sleeping campers when you are around the fire at night
- Properly extinguish your fire- the smoke can bother other nearby campers
- Maintain a tidy campsite
Fishing on Ontario’s lakes is always fun! Ontario has more lakes than people, and each lake offers different experiences. Fish species common to Northwestern Ontario include walleye, northerns, perch, muskies, bass and trout. While staying at an Ontario campground, hit up the lake for the day and catch your next meal. You can enjoy your fresh fish on the shore, or bring it back to your campsite. Fishing at one of Ontario’s campgrounds is sure to provide you with fun for all ages.
On a hot summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a dip in the lake. Ontario lakes vary in temperature, size, depth and water colour. Many Ontario provincial campgrounds have beautiful beaches which are maintained throughout the year, as well as sectioned off swim areas. The kids will love playing in the water and enjoying the sun! Most Ontario campgrounds also have docks which you can launch your boat off of. Go boating for the day, or try out some water sports! Tubing, water-skiing, and jet skiing- there’s activities for all ages to enjoy. If you are looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the lake, try renting a canoe or kayak. Many Ontario campgrounds offer rentals for guests. Explore the lake at your own pace, and take in nature’s beauty.
Aside from the lake, there are many other fun activities you can try during your stay at an Ontario campground. Many Ontario campgrounds have designated hiking trails or nature walks. These camp trails will take you through a variety of terrain and will give you the chance to see wildlife and nature up close. If you enjoy bird watching, these camp trails are ideal for sighting birds that you may not see in more populated areas. At about mid-summer, berries are becoming ready to pick across Ontario. If you are looking to pick berries, ask a camp ranger to recommend a picking spot! Picking berries on Ontario provincial campgrounds is against the regulations, so be sure to check with the campground before you pick. Popular berries in Ontario include raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.
If you are an experienced camper or you are looking for a more rugged experience, backcountry camping may be for you! When backcountry camping, you may experience difficult terrain, extreme high or low temperatures, and wildlife. Backcountry camping has a lot to offer. If you stay near a lake, you can fish, swim, explore using a kayak/canoe, and do water sports. You will likely have more privacy than you would on a public campground, so noise will not likely be an issue. Backcountry camping in Ontario is great for spotting wildlife. If you enjoy bird watching you are likely to see a variety of birds on your camping trip! You will also most likely see squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, snakes, and maybe even a fox, bear or deer.
When backcountry camping, there are things you can do to prepare in order to ensure you have a positive experience. Check the weather and pack appropriately. Bring waterproof bags to transport your gear. Stay hydrated, and bring a first-aid kit. Bring a GPS, map, or compass and know your area. Bring several forms of fire starters such as matches, lighters, etc. Plan your route and let people know where you will be! When traveling, it is a good idea to stay on pre-existing trails. If you are camping on a park, ask the park rangers about the regulations.
Backcountry Safety Tips
Camping requires preparation and planning in order to make the most of your experience. Part of the preparation should include becoming familiar with the types of wildlife in the area and recognizing signs of danger. Bears are some of the largest mammals in Northwestern Ontario. Under certain circumstances, they can be aggressive and dangerous. Recognizing signs of bears will help you better prepare for the possibilities when backcountry camping. Since the main draw for bears is food, it’s important to keep food secure and out of access. The first step to doing this is to keep all food in a cooler with a lid that locks. Get a strong, thick rope and wrap it around the cooler and tie it well for extra protection. Use the rope to hang the cooler from the ground, at least about seven feet so it is out of reach to bears. Do not eat in your tent while camping in order to avoid leaving the scent. Leftover food that you don’t plan on finishing should be burned, buried far away or stored in the cooler as well. It is very important to clean up well after eating. Even small pieces of food on the ground will attract bears. Wash yours pots and pans well before and after using. Mice and other rodents may come into contact with them. They carry bacteria and may make you ill. Keeping garbage out of the area is another good idea. Many Ontario campgrounds provide locked dumpsters for use. If this isn’t an option, you are best to store your garbage wrapped tightly in plastic bags far away in a tree, or burn it.
Campfires are a huge part of the Ontario campground experience! They provide a sense of closeness, and they are a great place for sharing stories, songs, and making memories. Nothing beats roasting a marshmallow or hot dog over an open fire. There are some basic rules to follow to ensure everyone is safe and gets the most from the experience! Before you start a fire, make sure there are no fire bans in effect. Do not bring firewood with you, but rather buy from the campground itself. Moving wood can spread invasive species. To start a fire, set up some tinder so that it crosses over each other. Light the tinder and let it burn for awhile. Slowly add more tinder, building your fire. Blow lightly at the base of the fire. Once the fire is a bit bigger, add firewood. Never leave your fire unattended, and keep a bucket of water nearby. Do not burn cans, or glass. Supervise children near the fire.
Hopefully this article has helped you with the planning of your trip to an Ontario campground! Ontario campgrounds have a lot to offer. Whether you are choosing to camp to get away from it all, experience nature, go fishing, or just have fun making memories, you are bound to have a great time. Happy camping!