The Best Campgrounds Near Toronto
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I love me some city living. I adore being able to walk everywhere, and I feel so lucky to experience so many cultures and people from so many different walks of life on a daily basis. I even love the sound of the Lake Shore from directly outside our bedroom window (except on Sundays in the summer when there is yet another marathon starting at 7am… but that’s another article). Yet every now and again, getting away from the Big Smoke can be a blessing.
Stealing just a couple of days to reconnect with nature and remind you of what real life is really about, well, it can often save your sanity. If you’re in need of some roughing it under the stars in a tent you haphazardly constructed with your own perfectly manicured hands, you really don’t have to travel far. Refer yourself to the following list to rekindle your spark with Mother Earth and all her away-from-home, character-building discomforts…
This gem is actually in Toronto, so limited traveling needed! Located in the east end of the city, this spot is even TTC accessible. Rouge Park is one of Canada’s largest urban parks with over 2,000 acres of land and offers serviced and unserviced sites.
About an hour and a half drive from downtown Toronto you will find the Elora Gorge. Pitch your tent on the Grand River Conservation site and book an excursion to tube down the river. Head to the quaint town of Elora in the morning and you’ll really appreciate the out-of-city life.
So you got yourself some kids. You need a couple of days of family time to escape the craziness of city life. But the car and the kids just don’t mesh. Stress levels teeter on the edge after an hour of fighting and the standard “Are we there yet?” chant is beginning to chip at your patience. Fear not. Jellystone Park is in close reach, just an hour out of the city. And as the name would suggest, it is super kid friendly! Strap ‘em in, throw them some snacks and put that pedal to the metal!
Just a short car ride and you can be hiking, biking or simply snoozing on the beach. Do all the things that the city won’t allow: fish, swim in the lake and then fall asleep under a star-filled sky. Pretty enticing, huh? And it’s only 50 minutes away in Caledon. Dreamy day trip? Done.
A wee bit more of a trek, it’ll take you two hours to get to this pretty spot on Georgian Bay. But it’s well worth the journey, my friends. With 33km of trails on offer, it’s the perfect retreat from city living. Breathe it in and soak it up.
While Sandbanks Provincial Park is slightly farther away (around two and half hours), you’ll be happy you made the trek once you see the beach. Located in Prince Edward County, the park boasts the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation – it’s quite a sight to see.
Another campground that clocks in at two and half hours is Arrowhead Provincial Park, just North of Huntsville, but you’ll feel like you’re much further North with all the dense greenery, lakes, and hiking trails. The main attractions are a trail that leads to a waterfall and one that passes by a u-shaped river bend.
With all the unique landforms at Rockwood Conservation Area, including limestone cliffs, caves, and glacial potholes, it’s hard to believe it’s only an hour away from Toronto, located just outside of Guelph. The Eramosa river also runs through it, making it an awesome place for avid canoers and kayakers.
If you your idea of camping is hanging out, Sibbald Point Provincial Park just south of Orillia is another campground you should visit. There’s a large sandy beach that sits on Lake Simcoe and plenty of grassy picnic areas for kicking back and relaxing with friends.
Bronte Creek Provincial Park is the perfect place to camp if you don’t feel like driving far. Located in between Burlington and Oakville, it’s only 50 minutes away and also accessible by GO Transit leaving from Union and Exhibition Stations. The park features a 115-foot deep ravine, five great hiking trails and more!
Darlington Provincial Park is another great option for those seeking a nature retreat that’s under an hour away. The park is just outside of Oshawa on Lake Ontario and has a long, sandy beachfront, nature trails, and a number of day-use picnic facilities.
Did we miss any of the best campgrounds near Toronto? Let us know in the comment section.
Featured Image: Sandbanks dune camping via Flickr/Ontario Parks
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