Learn to Camp

Fun in the Park

One of the main reasons people visit Ontario Parks is the wide array of fun activities available to them. Camping offers great opportunities to relax at your campsite or the beach, spend time with your family and friends, enjoy great meals, and have a campfire. Ontario Parks also offers lots of outdoor recreation and education activities to enhance your visit!

Have a specific activity in mind? Use our park locator tool to help find parks with the right recreational opportunities for you!

Here are just a few of the fun things to do while camping at Ontario Parks:

Swimming

Bring your bathing suit! Many parks have amazing beaches with clean freshwater. Several parks loan personal flotation devices (PFDs) free of charge.

Biking

Biking is permitted on most roadways. Some parks have designated bike lanes and trails. Obey all signage. Wear a helmet and do not ride after dark without a bike light.

Boating/Canoeing

  • A number of parks rent boats, kayaks and canoes, which come with paddles, lifejackets, and boat safety kits.
  • You can bring your own boat or canoe and use the boat/canoe launches.
  • Plan your route. Be sure to have a park map before leaving.
  • Make it a day trip - many parks have picnic/swimming stops along canoe routes.
  • Need a Guide? Some parks offer canoe hikes where you can learn canoe skills.

Sports

Bring your soccer ball, baseball, kite, or other equipment and use the open recreation areas found in many parks. Play favourite games like Mah jong, cricket, and football.

Wildlife Viewing and Birdwatching

Wildlife viewing is best done around early morning or dusk. Keep your distance from wildlife, and be quiet & patient. Binoculars are helpful for spotting animals. Check with the Visitor Centre for wildlife checklists and recent sightings.

Fishing

  • To fish in Ontario, you need to buy a license and follow Ontario regulations on catch limits. Children under the age of 18 do not need a license if they are fishing with a license holder. Check for specific regulations for the park you are visiting.
  • Several parks lend fishing rods and tackle.
  • For more information, visit: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/LetsFish/index.html

Hiking

  • Choose your trail. Ontario Parks has over 2,000 km of trails ranging from short, self-guided walks to more challenging treks. Find the trail that is right for you:
    • How long is the hike?
    • What’s the skill level?
    • How far can the members of your group hike (especially young children)?
    • Are there places to swim and picnic along the trail?
    • Remember, there is nothing wrong with walking only part of a trail.

  • Be prepared. Study the trail map and give yourself enough time to complete the trail. Wear comfortable close-toed shoes and bring food, water, first-aid kit and warm clothing.
  • Need a guide? Many parks have interpretive trail guide booklets for purchase. Or, take part in a hike led by a park interpreter.

Special Events and Natural Heritage Education Programs

Ontario Parks has one of the world’s leading Natural Heritage Education programs, providing amphitheatre presentations, guided hikes, children’s programs, canoe hikes and campfires for park visitors. Parks with interpretive programs post schedules throughout the park and at the gatehouse. Popular programs include as wolf howls in Algonquin, historical spirit walks, and even stargazing!

Link to events page: OntarioParks.com/events

Visitor Centre/Museum

Many parks have a visitor centre or museum with exciting exhibits on natural and cultural history. You will also find information on local attractions, park services and interpretive programs, and park staff members are available to answer questions. Many parks have gift shops where you can purchase souvenirs.