The weather is finally clearing up and we can start to imagine camping again. There are many lovely campgrounds within a decent drive of the city, so pack up your stuff! It’s worth noting that booking ahead is critical, and you’ll have more luck if you can manage mid-week camping.
Right in Prince Edward County, the lovely beaches of Sandbanks are pretty incredible. The beaches get very crowded in the summer, so the benefits of camping right there are obvious: you get the best beach real estate by showing up early. Swing by a local winery or two on your way home too.
Beautiful and dramatic, the Elora Gorge is part of the Grand River Conservation Area. There’s a splash pad, fishing, canoeing, and tubing down the river. The river can get pretty intense, so for tubing is really only for older kids who are good swimmers. Canoeing and kayaking can be whitewater-style exciting, or much calmer, depending on which part of the river you choose. There’s lots of information on their website.
If the idea of battling cottage country traffic on a Friday makes you break out in hives, try the only campground actually in the city of Toronto. Set up a tent, enjoy the Rouge River, and take a quick trip to the Toronto Zoo or Petticoat Creek. This is particularly a good option if you have very small ones and want to try out camping – the short travel time means if it all goes wrong at 2am, it’s not impossible to get home quickly.
Not quite camping, but cheaper than a hotel, there’s the Jellystone Camp Resort. You can park an RV, rent a tent campsite, or even reserve one of their ‘Canadian Habitats’, which look like yurts and come with a bed and table and chairs. There is a pool, resort-type activities like organized sing-alongs, nature hikes, and more. It definitely costs more than a provincial park campground, but if the idea of organizing activities at a campground all day stressed you out, this is might be a better option.
Image credits: Sandbanks Provincial Park/courtesy of Parks Ontario, Elora Gorge/courtesy of Grand Rivers Conservation Area, Glen Rouge/courtesy City of Toronto Conservation Area, Jellystone Camp Resort/courtesy the resort