Hiking, biking, camping, and culture: Toronto has it all.
Canada’s largest city is a bit of an urban jungle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t escape into nature. Toronto is home to dozens of urban hiking trails and there are opportunities for kayaking and canoeing downtown. Just a short drive outside the city, camping options abound at provincial parks and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority sites, and if you’re willing to head an hour or two out of town for a getaway, you’ll be rewarded with starry nights and wide, open nature spots.
About an hour northwest of the Toronto area, Albion Hill is a tranquil nature escape surrounded by easy access to city amenities. This conservation area offers over 230 serviced and unserviced sites, with space for RVs. Albion Hill has forested hiking and mountain biking trails, a kid-friendly swimming pool and splash area, and even a bike washing station.
Just over an hour east of downtown Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, Darlington Provincial Park has a long, sandy beach and ample family-friendly programming in summer, plus opportunities to kayak or go paddle boating. The Lakeside Campground is radio-free for those seeking a quiet camping experience. It’s also open in winter for hiking and snowshoeing.
In Oakville, Bronte Creek Provincial Park has an impressive list of day-use and overnight activities. Pending the time of year, campers can enjoy disc golf, hiking, tobogganing, swimming in one of Canada’s largest outdoor pools, a children’s farm with live animals, ghost walks, a maple syrup festival, Victorian Christmas, plus four campgrounds, including group camping spots, and three yurts for a glamping experience.
This park is two hours north of Toronto but it feels like an escape to pure wilderness. Looking out over the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, there are exceptional views of the Canadian Shield—views so spectacular they inspired the Group of Seven artists. Visitors enjoy camping, glamping, waterfront cabins, and paddle-in backcountry sites on Beausoleil Island. Even if you don’t camp there, you can hike and bike on trails that range from easy loops of a kilometre or less to challenging terrain on much longer paths. Across the waters from this park is Awenda Provincial Park, where campers can find six campgrounds (including radio-free and pet-free options), 31 kilometres of trails, and a calm interior lake perfect for gentle kayaking.
Most camping facilities in and around Toronto are open from mid-May and mid-October. However, many Ontario parks are open in winter for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Book well in advance for Canadian holidays, including Victoria Day (the second-to-last Monday in May), Canada Day (July 1), and the Civic Holiday (the first Monday in August). Late June’s Toronto Pride Parade is another busy weekend.
The closest camping site to Toronto is the Glen Rouge Campground, which is part of the Rouge National Urban Park about 27 kilometers (17 miles) east of downtown Toronto. The park offers a variety of camping options, including tent camping, RV camping, and group camping., and it is easily accessible from Highway 401. Set along the banks of the Rouge River, Glen Rouge Campground provides a natural and serene setting close to the city.
There are several options for camping near Toronto without a car. You can access some campgrounds by public transportation, while others can be reached by bike or on foot. Here are a few options to consider:
Remember to check the schedules and routes of public transportation before your trip, as they may change or have limited service during weekends and holidays.