With Ontario’s incredible landscapes, this province is made for outdoor lovers. From our dense forests to our long freshwater beaches to our thousands of lakes and stunning coastline, camping is the best way to experience it all. And there are so many unique places to go camping in Ontario. Let me show you!
NOTE: Travel is not recommended at this time. These posts are here to serve as inspiration when we can explore again. Hey there – this post likely contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. This helps me earn a few dollars to run this website.
- My Top Five Places to go Camping in Ontario (so far!)
- Best Places to go Camping in Ontario
- Best Waterfront Campsites in Ontario
- Best Northern Ontario Camping
- Best Southern Ontario Camping
- Best campsites close to Toronto
- Camping in Ontario
I’ve gone camping quite often. My summers as a kid included at least one camping trip with friends. About five years ago, I started going camping with my friends and solo. Camping is such an incredible experience, and there are so many new places to explore all over the province. No two parks are the same.
With camping becoming an increasingly popular pastime in Ontario, this list helps you discover new-to-you parks, so you don’t miss out on an incredible summer of camping memories.
I’ve been to 51 provincial parks so far, and so many new ones are still on my list. If you’re like me and want to get out to enjoy the incredible province in all its natural glory, then here you’ll find the best places to go camping in Ontario.
My Top Five Places to go Camping in Ontario (so far!)
While I have my list of 30 best campsites in Ontario, the following places at my top five. They are my top five because of the stories and memories I will always have after visiting there.
That always makes a trip worth it, right? The fond memories of a particular place leave you with a positive impression that will last a lifetime. Think of your favourite camping trip you took as a kid (or an adult).
The following are my favourite camping memories. You can find out more about each park in the list below. Here are my top five places to go camping in Ontario:
Pukaskwa National Park
Honestly, if there was a place I could return to for the first time over and over again, it would be Pukaskwa National Park. I stayed here for just two nights during one summer, and it was magical. It felt like the deep wilderness, with no cell signal and far from any other humans. The hiking here is spectacular, and the park was pristine. Shockingly, this is the least visited national park in Ontario.
Flowerpot Island (Fathom Five National Marine Park)
There aren’t many people who can say they’ve seen the stars over the flowerpots on Flowerpot Island. With only six backcountry campsites on the island, it feels like you’ve been deserted in paradise. While most people experience the island during the day, seeing the stars in this dark sky preserve was one of my favourite camping memories.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park
MacGregor Point Provincial Park and I got off on the wrong foot. I had my first yurt winter camping experience here right when we got a January thaw. Everything with wet and icy and so disappointing. But, two years later, I tried again, and we visited during a three-day snowstorm. That was one camping trip I’ll never forget.
Killbear Provincial Park
An excellent way for a less stressful and less crowded camping experience is by visiting a park during the shoulder season. I did just that with the top-rated park, Killbear Provincial Park. We chose the last weekend of the season in what was a balmy and colourful October. But on our second night, there was a freezing rainstorm that turned to snow. The bright orange leaves were covered with beautiful white snow. It was cold as hell, but I was as happy as a five-year-old on Christmas morning.
Lake Superior Provincial Park
Having road-tripped across Canada several times over my life, Lake Superior Provincial Park was always a place I drove through but never stopped. I had a chance when I went on a Northern Ontario road trip one summer. The Agawa Bay campground was right on the bay, and the Jack pines would turn orange in the setting sun. The hiking here is fabulous, and I can’t wait to explore this park more.
Best Places to go Camping in Ontario
Here’s the list of the best places to go camping in Ontario (at least according to me!) It’s divided up by type of campsite. We’ve got the best waterfront campsites for those who need a little Vitamin Sea, best sites in Northern Ontario for those who like remote places, best spots in Southern Ontario, great places with short drives and best sites near Toronto for those who don’t want to stray too far.
Let me know which places you’ve been to and which ones you’d add to this list in the comments below.
Best Waterfront Campsites in Ontario
Being near the water makes camping oh so special. I think it’s the sound of the waves against the shore, or the access to a beach, that makes these waterfront campsites some of the best places to go camping in Ontario.
Flowerpot Island (Fathom Five National Marine Park)
Camping on Flowerpot Island is something special. There are only six backcountry sites on the entire island, and not many people get to experience this beauty. You have to take a water taxi to the island and hike (a short distance) to your site. Sites are equipped with a tent pad, a food locker and a picnic table. There are no campfires allowed, and there are only composting toilets on the entire island.
Flowerpot Island is part of Fathom Five National Marine Park near Tobermory, a dark sky preserve. So, if you camp here, make sure to look up and see the stars.
The best part of camping on Flowerpot Island is seeing the flowerpot rock formations at sunset, under the stars and during sunrise. There are also a couple of trails, but the flowerpots and the lighthouse are the main attractions.
Lake Superior Provincial Park
There are two ways to experience camping at the majestic Lake Superior Provincial Park in Northern Ontario – car camping or backcountry camping. There are several backcountry camping sites scattered among the hundreds of kilometres of canoeing routes and hiking trails. It’s first come, first serve; however, you need to buy a permit from the visitor centre.
Alternatively, you could book a site at either Agawa Bay campground in the south or Rabbit Lake campground in the north. There are over 200 sites to choose from, but I prefer the Agawa Bay campground because of its proximity to Lake Superior.
While you’re here, make sure to check out the excellent day hike trails, explore the waterfalls, or try your hand at paddling on the lake or rivers.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park
Camping at Pancake Bay Provincial Park surprised me. It was meant to be a stop-over park on our way south during our Northern Ontario road trip, but I was so pleasantly surprised with the beauty of it. It’s a beautiful park with hundreds of sites.
Other than the beach, which stretches the park’s length, there’s also a short nature trail and a long trail that takes you to a waterfall and a lookout over Pancake Bay. This campsite is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy the sunshine on a beach.
Pinery Provincial Park
If you want Caribbean vibes, then Pinery Provincial Park is for you. The giant sand dunes give way to the brilliant waters of Lake Huron. During the summer, Pinery Provincial Park is a hotspot for day-trippers, but even campers have a lot of fun in this park with access to their own beach area.
There are three campsites within the park, one along the Old Ausable Channel, one in the forest and the other by the beach. Either way, you’re only a quick jaunt to the nearest beach access point, making this one of the best places to camp in Ontario.
Beyond the beach use, you can also launch a kayak or canoe in the Old Ausable Channel or go for a hike on one of the many trails.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Maybe I’m a sucker for campsites you have no escape from, but I loved backcountry camping in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. This park is made up of dozens of islands in Georgian Bay; the largest is Beausoleil Island.
Here you’ll find a campground with 45 sites, 10 rustic cabins and five oTENTiks. This place is tent only since you’ll need a boat to get here, but the trek is worth it. The island also boasts over 50 backcountry sites scattered around the island with nearby docks for quick access.
I camped in Tonch East, where there was even a picnic pavilion and a composting toilet. Cedar Springs campground has a bit more amenities with a comfort station, drinking water and a playground.
Best Northern Ontario Camping
Northern Ontario has some of the best places to go camping in Ontario. But when you go camping up here, you have to be prepared for a few things, like fewer amenities, further distance from town centres, and more active wildlife. Camping in Northern Ontario isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s so rewarding. Here are some of the best northern Ontario campgrounds, according to me.
Pukaskwa National Park
As I mentioned above, Pukaskwa National Park is one of my favourite places to go camping in Ontario. It’s very remote, there’s no cell signal, and you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes. There are only 67 campsites, with a mix of hydro and non-hydro sites. However, these are first-come, first-serve campsites. There are five reservable oTENTiks if you’d prefer something concrete.
Pukaskwa National Park offers some of the best hiking in Ontario. No matter which trail you take, you won’t be disappointed. There are short trails that take you to beautiful vistas or long trails that take you to an incredible suspension bridge over White River.
If you’re adventurous, take the multi-day, 60+km Coastal Hiking Trail and camp and the dozen or so backcountry sites deep in the park.
Killbear Provincial Park
Killbear Provincial Park is such a great intro park to northern Ontario. Located near Muskoka, Killbear Provincial Park has serious cottage country vibes. There are hundreds of campsites in seven separate campgrounds, plus a group campsite.
What I love about Killbear is that there’s quite a lot to do here. Besides checking out all the campsites, there are many easy trails to beautiful vistas overlooking Georgian Bay. Plus, there are so many beaches to choose from for a relaxing afternoon.
Grundy Lake Provincial Park
Another great place to go camping in Ontario is Grundy Lake Provincial Park, located south of Sudbury. There are nine campgrounds within the park, with hundreds of non-hydro and hydro sites.
Grundy Lake also has several easy to moderate trails that take you through forests, along lakes and to viewpoints. The lakes are great for paddling and fishing, plus there are several beaches to explore within the park.
Grundy Lake has an incredible canoe route along several lakes and rivers throughout the park if you’re into canoeing. You can make it a multi-day trip with access to several backcountry campsites along the way.
Halfway Lake Provincial Park
“Ooooh, you’re halfway there!” Halfway Lake Provincial Park, located about an hour north of Sudbury, is popular with anglers and hikers. There are over 200 campsites here, with a mix of hydro and non-hydro sites, surrounding Halfway Lake and Raven Lake.
There’s also an excellent canoe route through the many lakes in this massive Northern Ontario park. Along the way, there are several backcountry sites along the way.
You’ll also find some pretty hefty hikes through the park, some short, others longer. Along the way, you’ll see some epic views and see the remnants of natural disasters that happened here, including a tornado, wildfire and glacial retreat.
Neys Provincial Park
With more than 150 campsites, there’s a lot of room to explore in Neys Provincial Park, located on the northern shores of Lake Superior. Neys Provincial Park used to be a prisoner of war camp during World War II, but today it’s an incredible park in the beautiful boreal forest. While you’re here, be sure to learn about the POW camp and Ontario’s history during WWII. Then check out the magnificent beaches
Along with the gorgeous shoreline, you can also explore the trails within the park. Several take you to epic lookouts, but the most impressive is the Pic Island Overlook. This view is what inspired Group of Seven painter Lawren Harris. It’s not an easy hike by any means, but the views are well worth it.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
While I’m not in love with the campground at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, I still think it’s one of the best places to go camping in Ontario, for one, okay, two reasons. The first is that Sleeping Giant Provincial Park has some of the best hiking in northern Ontario. If you get the chance to hike the very demanding Top of the Giant trail, then you know standing atop the Giant’s knees is a once-in-a-lifetime feeling. Also, the rest of the trails in Sleeping Giant are phenomenal and well-marked.
The second reason is that the place itself is just a magical place. You’re surrounded by nature and some of the most incredible landscapes in Ontario. Just on location alone, I can get over the average quality of the campground.
The campground itself has over 150 campsites but only two comfort stations. It feels like an older campground since the sites are close together, and there’s not much vegetation. However, the views of Sleeping Giant from the lake are amazing.
Rainbow Falls Provincial Park
Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, located along the northern shores of Lake Superior, is an interesting park. There are actually two sections to the park that both offer great camping in Ontario.
The northern section, called Whitesand Lake, has about 100 campsites. Here you’ll have access to the lake for swimming and paddling and well as some hiking trails, including one that leads you to Rainbow Falls.
The southern section, called Rossport, has just 36 campsites, but it’s located along Lake Superior’s shore. There are no hiking trails in this section, but the campsites and the beach’s views are just incredible.
Killarney Provincial Park
There’s no way you can create a list of best places to go camping in Ontario without mentioning Killarney Provincial Park. This massive park near Sudbury offers Northern Ontario’s exquisite scenery, which inspired the Group of Seven painters to persuade the government to make it a park.
The hiking here is out of this world, and if you’re up for it, the challenging hike to “The Crack” is well worth it.
George Lake campground within Killarney has under 100 sites and includes a radio-free area. There are several sites located along the 80km La Cloche Silhouette Trail for those who love backcountry camping.
Quetico Provincial Park
I’m sure you’ll be hearing more and more about Quetico Provincial Park in the coming years. This park is located about two hours west of Thunder Bay. It’s so far from everything else in Ontario that it’s in another time zone.
Quetico is known for its stellar backcountry canoeing routes – seriously, there are over 2,200 backcountry campsites – and its expansive wilderness. Most recently, it was designated as the newest dark sky preserve in Canada.
There’s also a front-country campsite located on French Lake with about 100 sites (both hydro and non-hydro). You’ll have access to some pristine hiking trails from the campground, including one that leads to a waterfall and through an epic Northern Ontario landscape.
While not a public park, a list of best places to go camping in Ontario needs to include Gordon’s Park on Manitoulin Island. Gordon’s Park has got to be the best place for stargazing in Ontario. Every year they host families from all over for their dark sky nights.
You can choose to tent camp here or reserve one of their tipis, cabins or bunkies. They even have a small bed and breakfast. You can also book on a weekend dedicated to looking for the Aurora Borealis – aka the northern lights.
Gordon’s Park is, in my opinion, the best private campground in Ontario.
Best Southern Ontario Camping
While Northern Ontario has some stellar campsites, don’t discount southern Ontario for having some great places to camping in Ontario. Because of the proximity to major cities, these parks tend to be busier, but Southern Ontario campsites are located in some beautiful places just like their northern counterparts. Here are some of the best places to camp in Southern Ontario.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
While Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Ontario, it’s a pretty great place to go camping in Ontario. Its dramatic cliffs surrounded by the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay make it a rugged, picturesque place. The main attraction of Bruce Peninsula National Park is the Grotto, a scenic cave with a pool of blue water.
Bruce Peninsula National Park has a ton of front-country sites at its Cyprus Lake campground, or there are two backcountry camping areas along the Bruce Trail.
Surrounded by many trails and easy access to the Bruce Trail, camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park is always a great idea. Plus, it’s only a short drive to Tobermory, where you can hop on a boat to visit Flowerpot Island.
Fair warning, this place gets increasingly popular in the summertime. Reservations are needed if you want to camp or even to visit for the day.
Point Farms Provincial Park
Point Farms Provincial Park is the less well-known cousin of Pinery Provincial Park. Located just north of Goderich, this place used to be the home of a Victorian-era resort, but today it’s a fantastic family-friendly beach destination.
Point Farms is relatively inconspicuous from the entrance; it’s quite a long drive through beautiful forest to get into the park. Once you’re there, you’ll find hundreds of campsites. A few trails crisscross the park, but the main attraction is the beautiful soft-sand beach.
You’ll love watching sunsets over Lake Huron from the beach, where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a Caribbean island.
Long Point Provincial Park
Speaking of sandy beaches, Long Point Provincial Park has one to boast about. It’s one of the oldest parks in Ontario and protects one of the largest migrating bird staging areas in North America. The park juts out into Lake Erie; one side is sandy, and the other is marshland.
Long Point Provincial Park has two camping areas, Cottonwood and New Park campgrounds. You can camp right on the dunes at the New Park campground. Although, that doesn’t sound ideal since there will be sand everywhere but to each their own.
Each campground has its own beach area, separate from the day-use beach, which is very popular in the summertime. If you’re into birding, then you can launch your boat into the marshy side and see some of the most significant birding areas in North America for yourself.
Silent Lake Provincial Park
Located about halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, this park is stunning. I visited in winter where I stayed in one of the available yurts; what I remember most is really how quiet the park was, it was magical.
Silent Lake Provincial Park has two large campgrounds, Granite Ridge and Pincer Bay, with plenty of sites during the summer. They also have three walk-in campgrounds if you’d like to try your hand at backcountry camping. There are also several cabins available.
Silent Lake offers some superb hiking, with the spectacular Bonnie’s Pond Trail that leads you up to a viewpoint or the 14+km Lakeshore Hiking Trail that loops around Silent Lake. If you’re into mountain biking, there’s one colossal trail split into several loops that you can try.
You can also head to the beach, launch a canoe and go fishing. But if you miss out on the summertime adventures, be sure to come back in the winter, where you can stay in a yurt and snowshoe on the trails.
Inverhuron Provincial Park
Don’t let the proximately to the Bruce Nuclear Plant fool you; this is such an interesting park to visit. Inverhuron Provincial Park is located along the Lake Huron shores north of Kincardine, in a site that Indigenous peoples have occupied for thousands of years.
There are three campgrounds within the park, with hundreds of sites to choose from. Most of the sites are electrical, but some are non-hydro sites. From the campgrounds, you can hop onto the Holmes Bay trail, a relatively easy loop trail that winds along the whole of the park. There’s also easy access to the pebble rock beach.
You’ll find the popular sand dunes and beach area near the day-use area, which is a popular spot in the summer. You won’t want to miss the sunset over Lake Huron from the beach.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park
As mentioned above, MacGregor Point Provincial Park and I got off on the wrong foot, but now it’s one of my favourite places to go camping in Ontario, especially in the winter.
The park is located along the shores of Lake Huron, just south of Port Elgin. While the park has a long shoreline, there’s only a tiny beach. Instead, this park is known for its beautiful trails and its bid migration areas. It’s even home to rare carnivorous plants in Ontario.
There are three campgrounds within the park, with hundreds of sites to choose from. The park even has yurts available for winter camping.
Make sure to check out sunset point to watch the sunset over Lake Huron, and check out the observation tower along Deer Run Trail. Plus, the walk along Old Shore Road Trail in the summertime is just beautiful.
Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo Provincial Park is one of the more popular places to go camping in Ontario. Located halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, this park attracts lots of visitors during the peak season. But there’s a reason why it’s so popular. Bon Echo is known for its stunning landscape and 100m high rockface with hundreds of Indigenous pictographs.
Bon Echo has hundreds of sites in two separate campgrounds. It also offers walk-in sites, 12 rustic cabins and plenty of backcountry sites located along hiking and canoeing routes.
There are several trails to explore here, including one that takes you to the top of Mazinaw Rock. If you’re into paddling, then you’ll want to check out the day-trip or multi-day canoe routes through the stunning lakes. Bon Echo also offers an interpretive boat tour of Mazinaw Lake, where you can get close to the beautiful pictographs.
Bonnechere Provincial Park
Bonnechere Provincial Park is located just south of the eastern entrance to Algonquin Provincial Park. The park takes up the river and part of the shoreline of Round Lake. There are three campgrounds here with a mix of non-hydro and hydro sites.
There’s quite a bit to do at this little park. Since most of the campground hugs the Bonnechere River, you can launch a canoe, explore the meandering river, or take a hike on one of the many interpretive trails. There’s a lovely beach for swimming, and this park is nearby the Bonnechere Caves, a cool cave system right here in Ontario.
Rockwood Conservation Area
Don’t overlook checking out your local conservation area for great places to go camping in Ontario. Rockwood Conservation Area, located outside of Guelph, is always a fun spot in the summer. This place is such a fun park, with so many geological features to explore.
Rockwood Conservation Area has three campgrounds with a mix of hydro and non-hydro sites. There’s a beach, a pavilion with a concession stand, a nature centre, a mini-golf course, and a place to rent canoes and paddleboats.
There are two trails, one takes you to see potholes, and another takes you along the clifftop and down into the caves. Don’t miss checking out the Harris Woolen Mill ruins!
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
This conservation area surrounds the 22-metre high gorge of the Grand River, which is totally fun for tubing down the rapids. There are eight campgrounds here with a mix of hydro and non-hydro sites. There’s also a splash pad, concession stand and a hiking trail along the gorge.
You won’t want to miss checking out the gorge’s excellent hikes and the exciting thrill of tubing down the river.
Best campsites close to Toronto
There are seriously so many unique places to go camping in Ontario. Many of them are just a few hours drive from the Greater Toronto Area. These campsites offer some fantastic perks, like beautiful landscapes, awesome beaches or great hiking, all within an easy drive of the city. Because of Toronto’s proximity, these places to go camping in Ontario are perfect for the person who needs to get away for a weekend escape.
Craigleith Provincial Park
This provincial park holds a special place in my heart. I love the solid rock beach and the thrilling waves of Georgian Bay. The park is small, and the campsites aren’t super private, but I love the vibe of Craigleith Provincial Park.
There are over 200 sites in this rocky campground. There aren’t any trails within the park, but you’re nearby so many excellent places to hike, like the Bruce Trail, and close to Blue Mountain for great restaurants and shops.
Be sure to check out the beach and go on the hunt for the 450 million-year-old fossils all over the place.
Craigleith Provincial Park is only 2 hours from Toronto.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is a great place to visit if you like hiking and lounging on the beach. There’s something for everyone here with a 2.5km-long sandy beach, a lighthouse, and over 16km of trails.
Presqu’ile is also one of the largest protected marsh and bird migrating habitats around Lake Ontario.
There are over 300 campsites in eight campgrounds in this park, with a mix of hydro and non-hydro sites. All the sites have quick access to nearby trails through marshland, forest, and along the shore, as well as the beach area. Don’t miss checking out Owen’s Point overlooking the bird sanctuaries of Gull and High Bluff islands.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is under 2 hours from Toronto.
Awenda Provincial Park
My earliest camping memories are from Awenda Provincial Park. I loved the campground’s thick pine forests and the giant boulders along the beach, where we swam for hours.
Awenda Provincial Park is located near Penetanguishene along the shores of Georgian Bay. There are over 300 campsites split between six campgrounds. There are many trails here, including one that takes you along the beach and another that takes you to an old homestead. Awenda also has an inland lake that is perfect for paddling.
Awenda Provincial Park is only 2 hours from Toronto.
Arrowhead Provincial Park
Arrowhead Provincial Park is a magical place that I can’t believe I didn’t visit earlier. This park is located near Huntsville in the heart of the Muskoka Region. Known for its oxbow lookout point and lovely waterfalls, this is a great park to introduce you to the northern parks.
Arrowhead Provincial Park has plenty of sites within three campgrounds, several rustic cabins, and one yurt-style shelter available for reservation.
There are plenty of trails to discover, including my favourite, Stubb’s Falls Trail, an easy trek to a beautiful chute waterfall. You can also canoe and fish on both Arrowhead and Mayflower Lakes. If you come back in winter, make sure to check out the incredible skating trail, tubing hill and ski/snowshoe trails.
Arrowhead Provincial Park is only 2.5 hours from Toronto.
Algonquin Provincial Park
You can’t mention a list of best places to go camping in Ontario without mentioning Algonquin Provincial Park. Algonquin is the oldest provincial park in Canada and, at over 7,600 sq km, it’s one of the largest in Ontario.
There are 11 front country campgrounds in Algonquin, all accessible from the Hwy 60 corridor that stretches east to west in the park. The remainder of the park can only be accessed by foot or by canoe, where there are hundreds of backcountry campsites scattered along the routes. Unlike other backcountry camping experiences, you do have to reserve your backcountry zone permit ahead of time.
I think what attracts people the most to Algonquin, other than its astounding beauty, is the fact that there’s so much to do here for every skill level. There are mountain biking trails, canoe routes, and so many hiking trails. There’s even an art gallery and a visitor centre to explore. But because of its popularity, Algonquin can get very busy, especially during the fall.
Algonquin Provincial Park is only 3 hours from Toronto.
Ferris Provincial Park
I’m a sucker for a swing bridge, and Ferris Provincial Park has one that stretches on either side of a giant gorge.
Ferris Provincial Park has two campsites with 150 sites. At the park, you’ll find a couple of trail systems that wind their way through the forest and an old homestead. You can walk along the gorge and view the waterfalls.
It’s a small park, but it’s close to Campbellford, a quaint town with shops and restaurants. Ferris Provincial Park is only 2 hours from Toronto.
Camping in Ontario
Camping is just a quintessential summer experience for many Ontarians. Hopefully, this list of 31 of the best places to go camping in Ontario shows you just how many spectacular places there are all over Ontario. So if your favourite park is full or if you’re looking to try out a new park this year, try one of these great places to go camping.
Have you camped at any of these parks? Let me know your favourite in the comments below!