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.
While there are some free camping options in Ontario, most campgrounds and parks charge fees. Free camping is generally available in the form of "Crown land" and "conservation reserves," which are vast areas of undeveloped land managed by the government. These areas do not have facilities, so you'll need to come prepared for a more primitive camping experience. To find out more about camping in Ontario, visit Hipcamp.
In Ontario, Canada, you can camp for free on Crown land, which makes up about 87% of the province. Crown land offers dispersed, backcountry camping with no facilities, so you'll need to be prepared and practice Leave No Trace principles. Some popular areas for free camping in Ontario include:
Keep in mind that you'll need a Crown land Camping Permit if you're a non-resident of Canada. You can find more information about Crown land camping and regulations on the Ontario government's website.
In Ontario, Canada, people go camping in various provincial parks, conservation areas, and private campgrounds. Some popular camping destinations include:
These parks offer a variety of camping experiences, including tent camping, RV camping, backcountry camping, and even yurts and cabins. For more information on camping in Ontario, visit Ontario Parks.
The best month for camping in Ontario, Canada, is typically July. During this time, the weather is warm and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F. June and August are also good months for camping in Ontario, as the weather is still pleasant and there's plenty of daylight for outdoor activities. However, be prepared for occasional rain showers and mosquitoes during these months. Keep in mind that the weather can vary across the province, so it's essential to check the specific region you plan to visit for more accurate information.
In Ontario, Canada, there are numerous provincial parks that offer excellent camping experiences. One of the most popular and best parks for camping in Ontario is Algonquin Provincial Park. It is the oldest and largest provincial park in Ontario, covering over 7,600 square kilometers. Algonquin offers a variety of camping options, including backcountry camping, drive-in campgrounds, and roofed accommodations. The park is known for its beautiful lakes, rivers, and forests, providing ample opportunities for hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, and fishing.
Other notable parks for camping in Ontario include:
Each park offers unique landscapes, activities, and camping options, so the best choice will depend on your preferences and the type of camping experience you are looking for.