Can You Go Camping in Ontario? (Explained)

Can You Go Camping in Ontario

Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy nature and explore, coupled with the fact that it is also a very affordable way to chill out. 

In Ontario, camping is always fun because there are several camping options you can pick from. 

There are also excellent campsites that provide camping amenities to enhance your camping experience, 

So, if you are looking for fantastic camping locations, is Ontario a great choice? 

Ontario is a fantastic place to go camping in. Several parks and forest reserves are exclusively reserved for camping activities. There are several camping location options you can pick from, ranging from camping in tents, cars, or even glamping. 

In this article, we will provide you with a list of unique locations to visit the camp in Ontario and share some amazing tips you would need to have a top-tier camping experience. 

Can You Camp for Free in Ontario?

Can You Go Camping in Ontario

It is free for Canadians to camp in permitted areas in Ontario. There are some areas like operating parks in Ontario where you would have to pay a fee before you camp there. 

You can access camps in Ontario in several locations, so you don’t have to pay to camp. Some of these areas include;

#1. Crown Land 

Ontario has several big cities, and crown land is one of these government-owned cities. Although you can camp freely on crown land, it is only under certain conditions. 

To camp freely here, you must be a Canadian resident and have been in the country for about seven months. 

If you are a US citizen and want to camp at crown land, you must buy a per-person or per-night permit before camping. 

While camping on crown land, you should respect the environment and avoid areas you are not supposed to go close to. 

Also, before embarking on your camping journey here in crown land, you must research the environment. 

#2. Kawartha River 

This lake is another famous canoeing ground located east of Toronto. There are several rivers, small lakes, and forested areas in this location that you can visit during your camping. 

These lakes provide you with great views of the landscape and also provide you with fun outdoor activities to engage in during your stay there. 

#3. The French River 

The French River should be on your top list of camping locations to visit in Ontario. The beautiful waterways provide you with several fishing and canoeing opportunities. 

There are several areas around this French river where you can camp, with no fees or reservations required beforehand. 

Also, there are several backcountry routes to explore around this area. 

#4. Temagami 

The Temagami area is perfect for free camping because it is home to a large wilderness area. Like riverine areas, there are several opportunities for fishing and canoeing in this area. 

#5. Georgian Bay Island National Park

Most campgrounds on this fantastic island require a fee, but not to worry, backcountry camping is acceptable in this campground. 

This island has an amazing view with excellent boating, swimming, and hiking areas. 

This location is fantastic for outdoor recreation and camping exercises. 

#6. The North Bay 

The north bay is a popular camping spot in Ontario. Visitors can just set up their camp along the water sides while they enjoy the view of nature. 

Can You Go Camping Anywhere in Ontario? 

Camping anywhere or wild camping is acceptable in Canada and is not prohibited except in specifically prohibited areas. 

If you are not a resident of Ontario, then you need a permit for you to be able to camp in areas around. 

Even with free camping in government-reserved parks, there and specific rules that you need to follow. 

These rules vary depending on the type of camping experience you would be embarking on; some common rules include the following

  • The campsite permit holder must be up to 16 years. 
  • You shouldn’t vape or smoke at the campsite. 
  • There must be at most six to nine people occupying a campground. 

Six Best Places to Camp in Ontario 

There are diverse camping areas with diverse landscapes for you to camp in Ontario. There are several options for a variety of interests in parks in Ontario. 

#1. KillBear Provincial Park 

Killbear provincial park is one of the most popular campgrounds in Ontario. These campgrounds are majorly reserved for families and are surrounded by water. 

This huge campground has about 880 sites across the seven loops. If you are a fan of watersides, then kill bear park is the best location for you, having about seven beaches. 

Apart from the rivers it surrounds, this park has four trails suitable for hiking and biking. 

#2. Oastler Provincial Park 

ostler park is on a small lake surrounded by pines and deciduous trees. 

Different from several other waterside parks, getting a front space close to the lakes is effortless due to how spacious this park is. 

If you’re a fan of fishing and hiking, you should check out this park for a fantastic camping experience.

#3. Bronte Creek Provincial Park 

If you want to get acquainted with the ins and outs of camping, the Bronte creek park is the best place. 

The 1.8-acre outdoor swimming pool and children’s farm make this park unique. 

If you also want to stretch your legs a bit, there is a location where you can wind your way throughout the park to attain maximum hiking experience. 

#4. Pinery Provincial Park 

The Pinery provincial park has a large campground spreading across the three camp areas. 

This vast camp is suitable for family camping trips, so if you want to go on a family camping trip and need the perfect spot, you should check out pinery park. 

You can also carry out several water-based activities like canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boating in this park, don’t miss out on this experience.

#5. Pancake Bay Provincial Park 

There are about 325 campsites at the pancake bay park, usually characterized by soft and golden sand on the beaches. 

This park is located on Lake Superior, and it is said to have one of the most beautiful lakes and beaches around that area. 

One crucial piece of information is that the weather around Lake Superior can change quickly, so pack up for all weather conditions. 

#6. Bon Echo Provincial Park

Two unique campgrounds are at bon echo park, with about 500 campsites also located in a hilly area. 

These two significant campgrounds, the Mackinaw and hardwood hill campgrounds, have 395 and 100 campgrounds, respectively. 

If you prefer a more natural experience, visit the hardwood hill campground, and the Mazinaw Campground has an exceptional walk-in site.

Below are the different camp locations and their most fun activities.

Bon echo provincial park Fun Activities At These Parks 
Algonquin provincial park biking and hiking activities 
Killarney provincial park hiking activities 
Oastler provincial park fishing activities 
Brontë creek provincial park outdoor swimming and hiking activities 
sandbanks provincial park hiking activities 
pancake bay provincial park swimming activities 
bon echo provincial park swimming activities 
awenda provincial park naturally quiet and soothing 
rushing river provincial park hiking activities and cycling 

Can You Camp in Ontario Private Campgrounds

Yes, you can camp in private campgrounds in Ontario; the only difference between this and a government-owned campground is you have to pay for this. 

Since private campgrounds are owned and managed by companies or private individuals, they cannot be free. 

These individuals offer amenities like electricity, water, playgrounds, and laundry facilities, but these vary for different playgrounds, so because of these expenses, these campgrounds can’t be free. 

Are Car Camping Allowed in Ontario? 

Yes, car camping is allowed in Ontario. Several campgrounds offer car camping facilities. 

Some well-known campgrounds for car camping in Ontario include; Bruce peninsula national park, bon echo provincial park, and Algonquin provincial park. 

You should also note that the rules and regulations for each car campground vary, so you should contact the campground directly before you embark on this.

Some rules you must consider while car camping include

  • Making reservations beforehand. 
  • The permit holder must be at least 16. 
  • Six people should be the maximum in a car camp. 
  • Check-In after 2 pm and check-out before 2 pm. 


Do You Need a Permit to Camp in Ontario? 

Yes, you would need a permit to camp in Ontario. The permit you would be getting depends on the type of camping you want to embark on. 

How Much Is a Tent Permit in Ontario? 

The tent permit ranges from $26 to $46 per night, but the price is also affected by several factors. 

Factors include location, how long you would need the tent, amenities and services you may require, and the number of people. 

What Do I Need to Camp in Canada? 

Generally, you would need several materials to camp in campgrounds successfully. Some essentials include shelter, a sleeping pad, and sleeping bags. 

Is Camping Free in Canada? 

Camping is usually free in government-reserved areas in Canada, but you must make inquiries before heading out on your camping adventure.

Josh Matthews

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