The best camping near Kingston, Ontario.
Explore some of Canada’s historical sites and visit the Thousand Islands’ sandy beaches and boutique wineries.
Kingston has a rich history, where visitors can learn about Canada’s early days and explore the shores of the St. Lawrence River along multiple waterfront trails. The famous Thousand Islands dotted around the river just east of Kingston attract thousands of sightseers annually, in either their own watercraft or seasonal tour boats. Day trips to the wineries and beaches ofRead more...
Kingston has a rich history, where visitors can learn about Canada’s early days and explore the shores of the St. Lawrence River along multiple waterfront trails. The famous Thousand Islands dotted around the river just east of Kingston attract thousands of sightseers annually, in either their own watercraft or seasonal tour boats. Day trips to the wineries and beaches of Prince Edward County are an easy 1-hour drive each way, and the extensive backcountry of Frontenac Provincial Park is even closer, just 41 kilometres from the city.
Where to Go
Frontenac Provincial Park
North of Kingston is one of Ontario’s top spots for backcountry camping. Frontenac is open year-round and caters to both paddlers and backpackers with 12 small clusters of campsites (48 interior campsites in total) that limit the impact on nature while providing basic facilities. Each campsite has a tent pad, firepit, picnic table, privy, and food locker.
Prince Edward County
“The County” is not quite an island, but it does feel like an escape from the mainland filled with antique shops, wineries, and sandy shores. Campers pack the 500 car camping sites at Sandbanks Provincial Park all summer, and day visitors join them on the popular beachfront. Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard to enjoy the water even more.
The Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River create a complex archipelago. Thousand Islands National Park comprises 19 of these islands, and primitive camping is available on many of them. Navigation can be difficult due to dangerous shoals, so purchase a good set of charts unless you are in a canoe or kayak. Several private campgrounds operate near the Thousand Islands Parkway on the river’s north shore.
When to Go
If you’re planning to enjoy the water, July and August are the warmest times to take a dip but also the hardest times to book a campsite. Choose a spring or fall trip for a more relaxing experience, with fewer crowds. Campsites in Thousand Islands National Park are available from late May to mid-October.
Know Before You Go
- As a university town, Kingston is relatively quiet from June to August, while the students are away for the summer.
- Cycling is a great way to see Kingston’s waterfront, and there are also cycling routes throughout the city.
- Prince Edward County is home to dozens of craft winemakers, cideries, and breweries. Most offer tastings and onsite shops.
- The three large beaches at Sandbanks Provincial Park are natural dunes and considered some of the best sandy beaches in Canada.