Are you an avid camper, an occasional outdoors person, or do you prefer to just “camp out” for the day? Whatever outdoor getaway you’re planning this summer, there are campgrounds, both near and far, that offer something for every type of camper.
Pick a Park
You’ve decided to plan a camping trip, and the first thing you have to do is choose your destination. Ontario Parks has more than 100 provincial parks and they all offer something different. Make your choice based on how far you want to drive and what your camping style is. Did you know that there are 21 parks within 200 kilometres of the GTA?
Ontario Parks offer many activities for you to do on your trip. Many parks offer equipment rentals for activities like boating, canoeing, biking (some parks have designated bike lanes and trails), and fishing (make sure you buy a fishing license). Ontario Parks also boast gorgeous beaches for swimming, peaceful wooded trails for hiking, and open areas for games or kite flying.
Need some kindling, matches or maybe a treat for the kids? Many parks also have gift shops for last minute items (or souvenirs) and museums with exhibits that offer both insight and education. Natural Heritage Education Programs provide amphitheater presentations, guided hikes, wildlife viewing and bird watching, children’s programs, canoe hikes, and campfire talks for park visitors. And, at the end of the day, there’s one activity everyone can enjoy no matter where you are: stargazing.
Learn the Lifestyle
We’re lucky to have Earl Rowe Provincial Park in our own backyard—which is suitable for both day and overnight camping trips. If you love the “idea” of camping but have no equipment or no idea how to go about it, consider registering at their Ontario Parks “Learn to Camp” program.
Go online and fill out the Request to Participate form and you’ll soon receive a response. Once you are registered you’ll receive an email outlining the details of your experience as well as tips for what to bring and other important details. Learn how to set up camp, pitch the tent, proper campfire techniques, safety tips, nature education and how to use the gas stoves to cook a hot meal at your site. What makes it so easy and enjoyable for those who are new to camping is that all equipment is provided. All you have to bring is food, toiletries, essentials, and a sense of adventure.
Reservations can be made online or by phone (1-888-ONT-PARK).
by Becky Dumais & Emily Bednarz