To spend time by the lake, in the deep woods, or on one of thousands of islands, head for Ontario.
Camping in Ontario is all about lakes and forests, with easy access to nature in the province’s national and provincial parks, wine-making regions, and lakeside cottage communities. Though home to Canada’s national capital, (Ottawa), its largest city (Toronto), and its most popular tourist attraction (Niagara Falls), Ontario’s location bordering four of the five Great Lakes means sandy beaches, thousands of islands, remote canoe routes, and miles of wooded trails to explore. The province’s peak outdoor season runs from May to October before the area settles into dramatic autumn foliage and snowy winters.
Two of Ontario’s national parks, Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay Islands, as well as the Fathom Five National Marine Conservation Area, are located along the Georgian Bay section of Lake Huron, northwest of Toronto. Other area highlights include Killarney and Killbear provincial parks, known for hiking and camping, and Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island, where several indigenous communities welcome visitors interested in learning about their cultures.
This immense region follows the shores of Lake Superior and stretches north through the deep woods to Hudson Bay. From the gateway cities of Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, campers can explore remote Pukaskwa National Park, as well as Sleeping Giant and Lake Superior provincial parks along the shores of the largest Great Lake.
East of Toronto and hugging Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County is popular among campers and glampers who love good food or want to laze on the beaches and sand dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park. Continuing east along the St. Lawrence River (which divides Canada from the United States), you can paddle from island to island or set up camp in Thousand Islands National Park. Major cities in eastern Ontario are Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, and Kingston, where the Rideau Canal meets the St. Lawrence.
Ontario’s southwest corner borders both Lake Erie and Lake Huron, between Toronto and Detroit. You can visit Canada’s southernmost point in Point Pelee National Park and tour the small wineries that cluster around the towns of Kingsville and Leamington. The popular beaches and campsites of Pinery Provincial Park are along Lake Huron’s southern shore.
Encompassing the city of Toronto, Rouge National Urban Park, the Niagara region, and the Muskoka Lakes—known as Ontario’s “cottage country”—Central Ontario also includes Algonquin Provincial Park, one of Ontario’s most popular canoe camping areas, and Bon Echo Provincial Park, where more than 250 indigenous pictographs are preserved on rocky cliffs.