Today’s post comes from Claire Zlobin from LifeWithABaby.com.
In honour of Black History Month, I wanted to talk about one of the things I always hear that Black people don’t do: camping.
I’ve been hearing that “Black people don’t camp” for years, which is, of course, false.
However I do think this deters some people from attempting to go camping, because they feel like they’ll be othered, or the only ones there.
I’m here to show you that Black people do camp, and that camping is an excellent low-cost vacation.
Why I love camping
I’ve been camping since I was a teenager.
I got introduced to it through a school program and loved it! I’ve enjoyed the wellness benefits of the outdoors, and appreciate all the amenities available through camping at a low price.
From beautiful beaches to scenic hiking trails to stunning stars showing off, camping has something for everyone.
With camping, you can get access to a beachfront vacation for the whole family at an affordable rate.
When I became a mom, camping became a favourite activity with my kids. To me it is an excellent way for them to engage with nature from a young age and develop a love and appreciation for the great outdoors.
I started camping with them early, from backpacking in the O.S.A. lake in Killarney Provincial Park to beach-hopping at Awenda Provincial Park. We’ve had a camping party to celebrate almost all their birthdays.
Now I know what you’re thinking…
What about the amenities?
Contrary to the idea that all camping is the same, there are many types of camping available — from cabins to yurts to tent/car camping, and then the more adventurous backcountry camping.
Other than backcountry camping, most Ontario campgrounds are equipped with comfort stations and comfortable, clean flush toilets.
Some even have a laundry room with a coin-operated washer and dryer!
If you’re nervous about going camping for the first time, Ontario Parks has resources to make it easy to learn how to camp. Check out the Learn to Camp program for great camping information for beginners.
I’ve had the opportunity to have some memorable camping adventures at parks around Ontario.
Here are a few of my favourites:
My favourite spot year-round for camping in Ontario is Killarney.
Killarney has it all: yurts for new people who want to try out camping, but aren’t ready for tents, absolutely stunning scenery and trails, and warm water for swimming.
There are many trails in Killarney to take in the park’s breathtaking scenery, and the gorgeous pink granite that this area is known for.
Killarney is excellent year-round. My favourite time to go is in the fall when you can see all the glorious ways the forest paints itself.
Make a day trip into town and take the short ferry across to George Island and hike the trail. It’s mostly flat and moderately difficult.
On your way back, there are many places to get ice cream and lunch. My children always insist on stopping at the “fish and chips place,” as they call it, also known as Herbert Fisheries. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it! Just follow the line-up of people.
Within 2 hours of downtown Toronto, Craighleith is a great spot for new campers.
Its proximity to the Blue Mountain makes it a great basecamp for day trip adventures
Visit Blue Mountain village (just 10 minutes away), or spend a day at the beach at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (30 minutes away).
Even better, you can access Wasaga Beach for free by showing your vehicle camping permit.
What makes this park extra-special is its fossils! Craigleith is one of the few spots where you can view fossils in Ontario. Fractured plates of shale form their shoreline, and contain fossils that are 450 million years old.
The Massasauga Provincial Park is a great spot to try backcountry camping. It’s not too far from the GTA with very little paddling required.
In as little as 30 minutes, you can get from your car to your campsite.
It’s important to note that this park is a protected sanctuary for the Massauaga Rattlesnake.
Awenda has several gorgeous beaches accessible by a short drive from the campground.
There is one cabin at the park, but it is very popular!
If you are looking for privacy and campsites that offer lots of shade, Awenda is your place. The trees here are something to behold, and my family and I loved the summer Discovery programs.
Long Point Provincial Park is spectacular!
Maybe it’s because it’s within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, or maybe it’s because it boasts a gorgeous 1.5 kilometre sandy beach with the warm water Lake Erie is famous for.
If that wasn’t enough to get you there, it is very accessible, whether you’re travelling with a stroller, wheelchair, or have other accessibility needs.
It’s beautiful in the fall, and is one of the largest bird and waterfowl migration areas in North America. Long Point is all-around a very special place with lots to see and do.
Try something new!
If you’re not camping because someone told you it’s something we don’t do, then you are missing out on an opportunity to try something that is both wonderful and budget-friendly.
Why not book a site and try your hand at camping this summer?