Whether you’re an experienced multi-day tripper or new to the world of tents and sleeping bags, there’s nothing like a camping getaway. Load up your backpack or the car’s trunk and escape from the city at one of these great nearby camping spots. Seek out dark skies, panoramic viewpoints and refreshing swims. Listen for bird calls, the crunch of hiking boots and the blissful dip of a canoe paddle. Finally, remember to follow each park’s specific guidelines and check if any of their offerings, such as group camping or rental services, are Covid-dependent. Let the marshmallow roasting begin!


West of the City

photoCape Croker Park - photo by Hailey Toft (flickr creative commons)

Rockwood Park

Part of the Grand River Conservation Authority, Rockwood’s 105 front-country campsites are an easy journey from Toronto. Enjoy scenic hiking trails around the reservoir, a sandy beach, fishing or beautiful paddling conditions while you’re there. Geology lovers will revel in the stunning setting of limestone cliffs, glacial potholes, bluffs and caves.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 90 km

Learn more: Click here


Cape Croker Park

Owned and operated by the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Cape Croker has seven front-country campgrounds with a total of 315 campsites, including picturesque lakefront sites. The park offers Anishinaabe cultural programs and breathtaking hiking along the peninsula’s world-renowned Bruce Trail. There’s also a boat launch, children’s playground and a beach volleyball pitch for extra family fun.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 245 km

Learn more: Click here


Bruce Peninsula National Park

The ever-popular Bruce Peninsula National Park offers Torontonians one of the closer backcountry camping options to the city, as well as front-country sites and yurts. Along what is arguably some of the best trekking available in the province, the park’s hike-in backcountry sites are accessed via backpacking the Bruce Trail.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 285 km

Learn more: Click here


East of the City

photoSilent Lake Provincial Park - photo by Jessica Lindsay-Sonkin (jalsphotography.com)

Presqu’ile Provincial Park

Historic Presqu’ile is home to eight front-country campgrounds, with over 300 sites scattered along the waterfront and tucked into mature forest. The long sandy beach makes for perfect swimming and picnics, while walking and hiking trails pass through scenic meadows, woodlands and marsh. Come here to enjoy the sights of migrating birds and monarch butterflies.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx.150 km

Learn more: Click here


Silent Lake Provincial Park

Motorboat-free Silent Lake lives up to its name, offering a quiet, peaceful car camping refuge away from the city. Here you’ll find sandy beaches, a mountain biking trail and great hiking. If you’re brave enough for winter camping or opt to stay in one of the park’s heated cabins or yurts, you can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing here in the colder months.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 220 km

Learn more: Click here


Bon Echo Provincial Park

Small but mighty Bon Echo is another of Toronto’s closer backcountry camping options. Here you’ll find paddle-in or hike-in backcountry sites and the stunning cliff faces of Mazinaw Rock, featuring over 260 Indigenous pictographs. Birding and rock climbing are popular activities at the park, and there are also car camping sites, walk-in campsites, cabins and yurts available.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 275 km

Learn more: Click here


North of the City

photoAlgonquin Park campground - photo by James Schwartz (flickr creative commons)

Algonquin Provincial Park

Ontario’s oldest provincial park and one of the province’s most popular, Algonquin offers diverse camping options for all levels of experience. The staggering number of campsites are a mix of hike-in, paddle-in or walk-in backcountry sites, car camping, group camping, cabins and yurts across its dozen campgrounds. It may be busy, but there’s truly something for everyone!

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 265 km to the park’s west gate

Learn more: Click here


French River Provincial Park

The French River’s beautiful geology, great fishing and thrill-seeking white-water options, winding along 105 kilometres of waterway from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, are all wins in my book. This is also a great spot for last-minute backcountry camping plans, as registration permits can only be purchased up to two weeks in advance of your arrival and all sites are first-come, first-served.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 315 km or 330 km to the to the French River Supply Post or Hartley Bay access points, respectively

Learn more: Click here


Point Grondine Park

A relatively new park, you’ll find Point Grondine in the Killarney region of the province. It is owned and operated by Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and offers hike-in or paddle-in backcountry sites, group campsites and Anishnaabe cultural tours. Two of their suggested canoe routes pass through adjacent public lands*, where residents of Canada are permitted to camp for free for up to 21 days on a first-come, first-served basis.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 400 km

Learn more: Click here

Learn more about camping on public lands: Click here

*Many public lands (also called Crown lands) occupy unceded or stolen Indigenous territories. When camping on public lands, consider donating what you would have spent on a campsite to an Indigenous land back or cultural organization, if you are able to do so.


Within the Greater Toronto Area

photoRouge National Urban Park - photo by JordanEightySeven (flickr creative commons)

Rouge National Urban Park

If driving is a major obstacle to your camping dreams, why not try the Glen Rouge Campground, set within the picturesque Rouge River Valley—it’s the only campground within Toronto’s city limits! Bring your tent or RV or stay at one of Parks Canada’s signature oTENTik glamping tents, one of which is fully accessible. At the time of press, this campground is closed for infrastructure upgrades but is expected to re-open in 2022.

Distance from Yonge & Bloor: Approx. 30 km

Learn more: Click here


Keep reading: