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Ontario Parks

Camping with Children and Pets

Camping with Children

How young is too young? Camping can be enjoyed by kids of any age! Don’t wait until your children are pre-teens; you’ll miss out on some of the best years of family camping! Just like travelling anywhere else with your child, make sure you are prepared with everything you need.

Tips for Infants:

Equipment

  • Bring a portable crib for them to sleep in securely.
  • Many parks have wheel-chair accessible hiking trails that are perfect for strollers. An infant carrier is great for hiking when trails are more rugged.
  • A portable playpen can be set up on your campsite.
  • Look for campgrounds with flush toilets and showers.

Other Considerations

  • Do not apply bug spray containing DEET to children younger than six months: keep their skin covered (long sleeves) to avoid bug bites.
  • Do not apply sunscreen to infants younger than 6 months: use a hat and keep them shaded.
  • Be a good campground neighbour! If an infant becomes colicky at night-time (severe, persistent crying), a good tip is to calm the baby down in your vehicle to avoid waking or disturbing your campground neighbours.

Tips for Toddlers and Children:

Before the trip

At the campsite

  • Identify hazards, campsite boundaries, and clearly explain rules and camp life. Walk the campsite boundary with them and tell them they can only cross the boundary if they are with an adult.
  • Give each child their very own flashlight and whistle for safety. Ensure they keep the whistle with them and only use it in an emergency.
  • Don’t forget normal routine (e.g., naps, snacks) done at home.

Camping with Dogs

Pets enhance holiday time for their owners, but they can easily disturb times of relaxation and the outdoor atmosphere for others. Dogs are welcome at all Ontario Parks, and are permitted on campsites, park roads and most most hiking trails, except for a few specific campgrounds and sensitive areas.

However, dog owners must be respectful of nature and their fellow park visitors. To accommodate both those with and without pets, we ask that you adhere to the following rules related to dogs. Dogs are not permitted in the following areas:

  • Beaches and swimming areas (unless a designated dog beach):
    • comfort stations
    • roofed accommodations (except designated dog friendly sites)
    • waters adjacent to interior campsites where campers obtain drinking water
    • all areas posted prohibiting domestic animals (service animals excluded)
  • Always keep dogs on a leash no longer than 2 metres (6 feet) in length, unless in a designated off-leash area or designated roofed accommodation.
  • Do not allow dogs to damage or disturb park vegetation and wildlife.
  • Do not leave dogs unattended or allow them to make excessive noise.
  • Pick up after your dog’s waste (stoop-and-scoop bags are available at most gatehouses).
  • If bugs are bothering your dog, put bug spray on a bandana - not on the dog’s fur. This will keep them from licking off the bug spray which could make them sick.
  • Check out ontarioparks.com/dogsatparks to learn more about dog friendly areas and pet safety.

Pro tip: Learn more about how keeping dogs on-leash protects our parks’ ecological integrity here!

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