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Ontario Parks

Day use at Ontario Parks

FAQs - Ontario Parks Free Day Use 2021

1. When is day use free?

Day use will be free Monday to Thursday, from May 1 to September 2, 2021 at 115 provincial parks where fees are collected.

2. If day use is free, do I still need to obtain a park permit? What should I display on the dash of my vehicle?

Yes, even though day use entry will be free of charge, visitors will still be required to obtain a valid daily vehicle permit when visiting a provincial park where staff are present and fees are normally collected. This is so staff can distinguish between a day use visitor and registered overnight campers and, for the safety of visitors and staff, so we can monitor park visitation levels to prevent overcrowding.

3. I only use my 2021 seasonal daily vehicle permit on weekdays, can I return my permit for a full refund?

To ensure our permit holders receive value for their money, we are extending the 2021 annual vehicle permit expiry date to December 31, 2022 and are also providing 2021 summer daily vehicle permit holders one additional season to use their permit. The summer daily vehicle permit will now be valid April 1 to November 30, 2021 and April 1 to November 30, 2022.

If you wish to return your 2021 seasonal permit and receive a full refund, you may send a request to Ontario Parks until June 30, 2021.

You can return your permit in-person at a park office, once open, or by mail. If you are returning your permit by mail, please follow the instructions for submitting a refund request form and mail your 2021 seasonal permit and the completed refund request form to:

Ontario Parks Revenue Administration Office
Refund Request
P.O. Box 2178
Orillia, Ontario
L2V 6S1

If mailing in, please allow 4 to 6 weeks to process the refund.

4. Are buses permitted free day use permits to parks?

Free day use entry will not apply to buses. Regular fees will apply.

5. Will all parks be open on May 1?

No, parks open for operation on different dates depending on their location. You can find park operating dates by following the Operating Dates link under the Visiting Parks tab.

6. Is day use restricted to certain hours?

Yes, at the majority of provincial parks day use hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., however there are select locations where the normal day use operating hours may vary, please see posted day use hours upon arrival.

7. Does free day use extend to people from outside of Ontario? What if I am from another province or out of country visitor?

Free daily vehicle permits are offered to all visitors to Ontario Parks on weekdays (Monday to Thursday).

We continue to encourage everyone to do your part to minimize the risk to ourselves and to others by ensuring you continue to follow all public health advice and engage in outdoor activities close to home.

8. Will entry to parks be free on statutory holidays?

If the statutory holiday falls on a weekday (Monday to Thursday), then day use vehicle permits will also be free on that day.

To help prevent overcrowding and promote physical distancing, capacity will be limited at many provincial parks during busy times. Arrive early to avoid disappointment, consider exploring other provincial parks in your area

9. Will normal fees apply for all other activities?

Yes, normal fees will apply for all other activities, including all camping and equipment rentals, if available; restrictions may apply. Please visit the individual park pages at to see what is available before visiting.

10. What recreational activities are available at Ontario Parks?

To provide Ontarians with a safe way to spend time outdoors, exercise and get some fresh air, Ontario Parks continue to provide facilities and services for local and safe outdoor recreation. COVID-19 measures, modifications and restrictions will apply. Please click on the “Parks” drop down menu to view operating dates, facilities and activities at the park you would like to visit.

Starting in April and May, many of our provincial parks will begin to reopen for the season and will gradually provide more facilities and services to our visitors throughout the spring. It’s important that you come to the park prepared with all the equipment and supplies you will need for your visit including hand sanitizer, extra water, soap, and other supplies.

Ontarians can also access, free of charge, provincial parks that are closed for the season, non-operating provincial parks and conservation reserves for self-guided activities. For public safety, if visiting an operating park, a non-operating park or conservation reserve, please ensure there is a safe place to park (please do not park along municipal roads). Please click on the Park Locator link at the top of this page to find a provincial park or conservation reserve near you and visit individual park pages for operating dates and a list of facilities and services available.

We are encouraging everyone to do their part to minimize the risk to ourselves and to others by ensuring we continue to follow all public health advice and engage in outdoor activities close to where you live.