14 Best Places for Camping near Toronto | PlanetWare (2022)

Written by Michael Law
Dec 11, 2020

Ontario has thousands of campsites spread out over provincial, national, and private campgrounds in truly spectacular settings. Deciding where to go camping can be overwhelming for the seasoned or novice camper. The best place depends on what you like, how far you want to travel, and how experienced a camper you are.

Fortunately, the campgrounds near Toronto are excellent options and a good starting point. They are also well equipped to handle the large number of visitors that descend on them each summer.

Camping areas near Toronto have their own set of unique attractions like giant swimming pools, beautiful sandy beaches, bike routes, and hiking trails just to name a few. The campgrounds in the provincial parks also offer evening talks in the amphitheater areas on topics like animals, plants, and the environment.

Demand can be high in the prime months, so it pays to plan ahead. Most provincial park campgrounds can be booked online five months in advance. The campsites at the three conservation area campgrounds (Indian Line, Albion Hills, and Glen Rouge) are released in March each year and can also be booked in advance.

The campgrounds listed below are generally 1.5 hours or less from the Greater Toronto Area.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Rockwood Park Campground

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Rockwood Park Campground is set on a lovely and unique body of water, which is a widening of the Eramosa River. The area is renowned for its towering cliff wall on one side. Hiking, canoeing, and swimming are the main activities here.

This is a small and intimate campground, and you'll need to plan ahead to secure a spot.

Sites are large, with grassy areas to spread out your gear, and mature trees provide shade in some cases.

Of the 105 sites available, you'll have a choice of 43 sites with electrical and water; 16 sites with water, electricity, and sewer; and 43 unserviced sites. Note that in July and August a two night minimum is required on weekends.

2. Elora Gorge Campground

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If you are planning on camping at Elora Gorge, be prepared for non-stop fun. Tubing is the main activity here, and the tubing route is set right in the campground. Pitch your tent, spread out your toys, then grab your tube and float down the river.

For those not keen on the river, or if you're camping with young children, an excellent splash pad is also available.

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The campground has 400 sites, of which 250 are unserviced, and 150 have water and electricity. Sites are spread out over seven areas, and all are along the banks of the river.

Note that alcohol and cannabis are prohibited at this park at all times, even at your campsite.

3. Sibbald Point Provincial Park

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Sibbald Point Provincial Park is located on Lake Simcoe near the small town of Jackson's Point. The park is about a one-hour drive from Toronto, and access is easy.

One of the best features of this park is the wide, long, sandy beach. It's ideal for families with small children, as the water is shallow and warm.

The campground at Sibbald Point is large, with over 600 sites in 10 loops. Sites are almost an even split of electrical and non-electrical. The camping areas are generally level and have good shade from the surrounding trees. The sites in the Lakeside and Butternut loops are the closest to the beach.

More than half the campsites are in radio-free zones, so bear that in mind when booking if you are planning on bringing your tunes.

4. Bronte Creek Provincial Park

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When it comes to camping near Toronto, Bronte Creek is as easy as it gets. This is one of only two true urban parks located within the Greater Toronto Area. Accessible right off the QEW Highway, the park is hidden among the city's suburbs.

Despite its urban location, the park is an oasis of calm and quiet. The campground has just over 140 campsites. The camping area is large and well laid out, with room for even the largest of RVs and all your gear.

Four loops, all with electricity, offer well spread out sites. The Savannah loop is radio free.

Bronte Creek Provincial park is a wonderful place to explore. Twelve Mile Creek is a short stroll away, just perfect for a morning or after-dinner stroll. A short drive from the camping area is a 1.8-acre pool, a farm with animals happy to be petted, and a museum showing early life in Ontario.

Bring your bikes or walking shoes, over 10 kilometers of trails wind their way through the park.

5. Mara Point Provincial Park

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For a smaller, more relaxed camping experience close to Toronto consider Mara Point Provincial Park. This campground, like Sibbald Point, is also located on Lake Simcoe, one of the best lakes in Ontario.

The campground here has only 105 sites, and they are a mix of electrical and non-electrical sites that can accommodate everything from tents right through to large trailers. A limited number of pull-through sites are available.

The beach at Mara Point is considered to be one of the best on the entire lake, and a designated swimming area is roped off to ensure safety.

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6. Albion Hills Campground

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If you love biking, swimming, and camping, put Albion Hills high on your list of places to camp near Toronto. This conservation area has over 50 kilometers of single and double track trails. Other special features include showers and a bike wash station.

Camping here is a laid-back affair with many of the sites located along the river. You'll have your choice of 234 sites, including a mix of electrical and non-electrical.

One of the highlights of camping at Albion Hills is the 440-square-meter pool and interactive splash pad. The kids can spend hours splashing about and then fall asleep early while mom and dad enjoy the peace and quiet around the campfire.

7. Guelph Lake Campground

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Guelph Lake campground is a great place for camping near Toronto and even more perfect if you live in Guelph and only want to drive a few minutes to get your fill of nature. Set on the shores of beautiful Guelph Lake, the campground has 292 sites, many with lake views.

Campsites are spread out over nine separate loops, and if you want to be close to the water, try for a spot in Driftwood, Meadowvale, Lookout Point, Lakeview, or Sunrise. Of the 292 sites, 183 have no services; 109 have water and electricity.

Guelph Lake is a large body of water, ideal for sailing, fishing, and swimming at one of the two beaches. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent near the main beach.

8. Conestogo Campground

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If you love boating and camping, Conestogo Lake Campground is the place to set up for a weekend or longer. Conestogo Lake is a large reservoir lake with two arms that extend back six kilometers.

Unlike many other campground areas on lakes, this area allows powered watercraft. Water-skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing are all available to those who bring their boats.

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The campground has 167 sites spread across five different areas: Oaks, Cove, Ash, Maples, and Lower Park. Sites are a mix of serviced and unserviced. If you have a boat and need to launch it, avoid Lower Park, as it is below the dam.

9. Balsam Lake Campground

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Balsam Lake is a bit farther from Toronto than most of the other campgrounds mentioned here but well worth the 1.5-hour drive.

Located in the Kawarthas (Kawartha Lakes region), Balsam Lake is a beautiful spot with an exceptional campground. Campsites are set in a mixed forest of pine and broadleaf trees and are relatively tightly spaced.

Just over 500 sites are available, and the sites in the Ash, Elm, Fir, and Oak loops are closest to the lake. The sites are a mix of electrical and unserviced; Hawthorn loop is radio-free.

If you want to get away from all the crowds in the campground, consider setting up in the Eco sites. These are walk-in, dog-free sites set back in the forest and are very private.

The beach is lovely at Balsam Lake, consisting of a curving ribbon of sand with fantastic views out over the water. The entry is shallow and stays that way for a fair distance out, which makes it a good camping area for families with small children.

Note that the park has undertaken diseased ash tree removal recently, and evidence of this work will be apparent for some time to come.

10. Darlington Provincial Park

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If you are looking to camp near the shoreline of Lake Ontario, Darlington Provincial Park is the place to go. And, it's less than an hour from downtown Toronto.

The campground is located just back from an amazing long stretch of sandy beach. You can camp within mere meters from Lake Ontario and be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. If you are up early enough, catch the sunrise.

The park has three camping loops; Hillside, Lakeside, and Cliffside. The sites are generally grassy and under a canopy of trees that provide ample shade. The closest sites to the lake are within the Lakeside and Cliffside camping loops, and those near the water have spectacular views.

11. Earl Rowe Provincial Park

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Earl Rowe is a good midsize campground with a pleasant lake and pool. The campground has nearly 400 sites, with a mix of tent only with no electricity right through to fully serviced electrical pull-through sites.

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The campground is divided into two areas: Westside and Riverside. Each area has a further four subsections within each. If you are looking for a shady site right near the water, consider a spot in Riverside. For peace and quiet, try out the Blue Heron loop.

The lake water at the two beaches gets nice and warm. Should you wish to get out on the lake, boat and canoe rentals are available at the camp store. If you'd rather swim in a pool, Earl Rowe Provincial Park has you covered. On-site is a one-acre pool complete with lifeguards; there is an additional fee to use the pool.

12. Bass Lake Provincial Park

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Located just east of Orillia, Bass Lake provincial park has four campgrounds with nearly 200 sites available.

The park is a small, cozy place to set up a tent or trailer and just relax. Sites are under tall broadleaf trees with plenty of shade to go around. The four campgrounds are Lakeview, Eastside, Cedar, and Hilltop. With the exception of Lakeview, all the campgrounds have electricity.

The small lake has a good beach, and the warm waters of Bass Lake are perfect for swimming.

13. Indian Line Campground

Indian Line's claim to fame is being the closest campground to downtown Toronto. For those without a car, the campground is accessible via public transit on bus routes 11, 22, & 511, and via the UP train.

Sites are wide open and grassy with little shade. Some have electricity, water, and sewer service. If you are new to camping, this is a good place to give your gear and skills a test run.

Indian Line campground has four loops: Finchgate Village, Hill View Village, Humberview Village, and Poplar Village. Of the four, Humberview Village is the closest to the beach but the pool and playground are located between Finchgate and Hillview.

If you are backpacking or trying to save money, a night or two here is much less costly than even the cheapest of hotel rooms in Toronto.

14. Glen Rouge National Urban Park

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Closed for renovations until 2022, Glen Rouge is another great spot for urban camping. In fact, it is the only campground wholly within the Toronto city limits.

The park has 125 campsites generally in wide, flat grassy areas. You'll have a choice of electrical and non-electrical sites. The park is surprisingly diverse with 13 hiking trails through the forest and along the river.

Another highlight of camping here is access to Rouge Beach. This pebbly beach is directly on Lake Ontario with its clear, cool waters.

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The campground is undergoing significant upgrades in the plumbing and other infrastructure. When these are completed, this will be one of the premier urban campgrounds in Canada.

FAQs

What is the best site for camping? ›

What Are The Top Camping Websites (for Finding a Place to Camp on My Next RV Trip)?
  • Go Camping America. ...
  • Thousand Trails. ...
  • RV Parks & Campgrounds. ...
  • Boondocking. ...
  • The Dyrt.

Where can I camp for free in Ontario? ›

The Top 10 FREE Camping Spots in Ontario
  • Island Lake and Barrens Conservation Reserve – Rainbow Country – ...
  • North Yorston Conservation Reserve – North Bay District – ...
  • Lake Temagami – Ontario's Near North – ...
  • McCrae Lake Conservation Reserve – Muskoka – ...
  • Aubrey Falls Provincial Park – Algoma County –
16 Nov 2021

Can you camp on beaches in Ontario? ›

Some are provincial or national parks that have beautiful onsite beaches for visitors to use, while others are popular public beaches that have camping options close at hand.

Can you sleep in Walmart parking lots Canada? ›

Is overnight RV parking allowed at Walmart Canada? In Canada, it is illegal to spend the night in a shopping mall parking lot. Walmart is an exception to this law since it allows RV parking on its store lots wherever possible. Before settling in for the night, make sure you have permission from the store manager.

Where can you park overnight for free Ontario? ›

If you're car camping, a vanlifer, or an RVer, then rest stops and truck stops usually allow you to go boondocking or stay the night for free. The same goes for Walmart parking lots, some big supermarkets like Real Canadian Superstore, and visitor information centers, which sometimes offer overnight parking.

Can you just camp anywhere in Ontario? ›

Canadian residents are permitted to camp for free in Ontario up to 21 days on any one site in a calendar year. You must follow rules or restrictions posted on signs. Non-residents, 18 years and up need a non-resident camping permit to camp on crown land north of the French and Mattawa rivers.

Can you camp on the side of the road in Canada? ›

Wild camping, also known as boondocking, and standing free with a motorhome are partly allowed in Canada. In cities, provincial and national parks, it is strictly prohibited. However, on public land, it is permitted with a few restrictions. Wild camping is always allowed in Canada if it is not prohibited.

What is rough camping? ›

Wild camping is camping in remote places with no facilities, rather than on campsites.

Is it illegal to camp in the woods in Canada? ›

Camping in National Parks

At national parks in Canada, wild camping may be permitted if you buy the appropriate permit. Most of the backcountry campsites are secluded and far away from any road. To reach the sites you have to hike in and bring your own equipment. If you do find facilities, they are usually basic.

Why do people go camping? ›

Some like to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. Some families go camping to revitalize their relationships, away from all the distractions at home. Many youth organizations teach young people how to build a fire, pitch a tent, or read a compass. Camping means different things to different people.

What benefits can I get from camping? ›

Camping provides a host of benefits. Simply put, camping is good for you, both in body and mind. Benefits include relationship building, opportunities to learn and develop new skills, unplugging and getting away from screens, connecting with nature, stress reduction, and increasing physical fitness.

What does camping on Tiktok mean? ›

The videos, which first began after Politico leaked a Supreme Court draft decision about the future of Roe v Wade on 2 May, frequently use the hashtag #wegodowntogether, and feature users promising women places to stay and recover after abortions, often under the guise of a “camping” vacation or a visit to a friend.

What is the biggest provincial park in Ontario? ›

1970 - Polar Bear, Ontario's largest provincial park at 24,000 square kilometres, is created.

How many campgrounds are in Ontario? ›

With over 350 campgrounds to choose from, we know you will find your perfect campsite! Camping In Ontario wants to keep campers in the loop of places to go, special offers, events, attractions and highlights of the regions that make up the beautiful province of Ontario.

Can I pitch a tent anywhere? ›

The logical answer is that yes, technically, you can camp anywhere if you have permission. But campers needn't limit themselves to improved campgrounds. Dispersed campsites scattered across public lands provide an isolated place to pitch a tent.

Do you need a camping permit in Ontario? ›

Non-residents do not need a permit if you: rent a camping unit (such as a tent or trailer) from a person who conducts business in Ontario. own property in Ontario, or your spouse owns property in Ontario. carry out duties as part of employment in Canada.

Can I set up a tent on the beach Ontario? ›

Use only single-pole tents or small sun shelters

Our beaches have a limited amount of space, particularly with the high water levels in all Great Lakes. We're asking you to keep your larger tents at home, or to use them in day-use areas that have more space. Ask a park staff member if you're looking for a good spot!

What is the biggest provincial park in Ontario? ›

1970 - Polar Bear, Ontario's largest provincial park at 24,000 square kilometres, is created.

How many camping provincial parks are in Ontario? ›

Ontario has over 100 provincial parks across the province that offer car camping.

How do you camp in Tobermory? ›

Permits must be picked up from the Park Visitor Centre in Tobermory. While some campers travel to the island using their own boats, a private tour boat from Tobermory can also be taken to reach the campsites. Although leashed pets are allowed on the sites, campfires are banned.

How many campgrounds does Algonquin park have? ›

Algonquin is popular for year-round outdoor activities. There are over 1,200 campsites in eight designated campgrounds along Highway 60 in the south end of the park, with almost 100 others in three other campgrounds across the northern and eastern edges.

What is the smallest provincial park in Ontario? ›

Ferris may be Ontario's smallest park covering just 2 sq. kms. - or about the size of the parking lot at Algonquin (7,630 sq.

What is the oldest provincial park in Ontario? ›

Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893, was Ontario's first provincial park and one of Canada's oldest. Today, Ontario's diverse system of parks protects an area greater than Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined.

What is the second largest provincial park in Ontario? ›

Wabakimi is Ontario's second largest provincial park, larger than Algonquin or Quetico and Woodland Caribou combined but with far fewer visitors and no entry quota or campsite assignment systems. The original 'core' area of Wabakimi Provincial Park that was regulated in 1983 comprised about 155,000 hectares.

Can you sleep in your car when camping? ›

Sleeping in your car near a trailhead can make for an efficient and flexible alternative to tent camping, especially if you're trying to save time on setup or if there's no space for tents. Spending the night in your rig can also offer some additional protection from the elements.

What is the largest provincial park in Canada? ›

The largest is the 2,355,200-hectare (5,820,000-acre) Polar Bear Provincial Park on Hudson Bay. Although provincial parks in Canada are not the same as national parks, their structures and purposes are very similar.

Can you camp on Crown land in Ontario? ›

Canadian residents are permitted to camp for free in Ontario up to 21 days on any one site in a calendar year. You must follow rules or restrictions posted on signs. Non-residents, 18 years and up need a non-resident camping permit to camp on crown land north of the French and Mattawa rivers.

How much does it cost to camp Tobermory? ›

Rates
Off Season 2022 May 6 – June 9 and September 6– October 10NightlyWeekly = 7 nights
Basic unserviced tentsite42.00252.00
Basic secluded tentsite incl. firewood58.00348.00
Tentsite with electricity & water hook-up50.00300.00
Premium campsite with 30AMP electricity, water & sewer hook-up58.00348.00
31 more rows

Can you sleep on Flowerpot Island? ›

2022 Reservation launch for Flowerpot Island camping is on February 8, 2022, at 8 am EST. There is one camping location in Fathom Five, on Flowerpot Island. You'll fall asleep to the sounds of Georgian Bay lapping at the shoreline! There are six tenting sites on Flowerpot Island, each with a wooden tent platform.

Can you swim at Flowerpot Island? ›

Taking a dip in the refreshing water of Georgian Bay is a popular activity for those visiting Flowerpot Island. Common areas for swimming and snorkeling include the picnic area by Beachy Cove and at the flowerpots.

Is there bears in Algonquin Park? ›

Visiting Bear Country

Although Black Bears are reasonably common in Algonquin Park, with the population thought to be around 2000, there is no particularly good place for them and you will have to be very lucky to see one. Bears, like most animals, constantly look for food.

How much does it cost to camp at Algonquin? ›

Backcountry Camping Fees
Age 6 - 17 inclusive$5.65*/person/night
Age 18 +$12.43*/person/night
Additional Vehicle Permit$13.00 per vehicle/night

Do you have to pay to enter Algonquin Park? ›

Daily Vehicle Permit Costs

Ontario Parks charges fees for all day use entry into Algonquin Park.

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