campsite

5 tips for reserving an Ontario Parks campsite

Did you know that you can reserve your campsite or roofed accommodation up to five months in advance of your arrival date?

You can book online (and even see a sneak preview of your campsite) or by calling the Ontario Parks reservation line, 1-888-ONT-PARK (Canada & USA).

Why does booking for 2021 feel so busy?

So far in 2021, we’ve seen almost 100% increase in reservations (bookings made between January 1 and February 5) over the same time last year!

Just in the first few weeks of 2021, campers have made 58,475 reservations, up from 29,504 reservations in the same period in 2020.

With double the number of customers attempting to make reservations during the months of July and August compared to last year, it is more competitive when trying to obtain a site. In many instances there can be hundreds of customers vying for the same site for the same arrival date.

These are our top five tips to optimize your reservation experience:

1. Plan in advance and book early

Screenshot of reservation page.

Competition can be fierce for favourite campsites at busy parks. Over 50% of the reservations made between January 1 and March 31 are for Ontario’s five busiest provincial parks.

Your best bet? Reserve early.

Our online reservation system opens at 7:00 am, five months in advance of the first date of your trip. If you want the best chance of getting your dream site, pick your campsite in advance, prep your device, and book as soon as the window opens.

And if you’re aiming for one of our five busiest parks (see below)? Have a few back-up sites on your list — those parks fill fast.

2. Try a new park

GrundyLake campers

These are our five busiest provincial parks:

We know many people camp in the same park, even the same site every year. But many of our lesser-known parks are every bit as beautiful.

Here are some suggested alternatives to our busiest parks.

3. Book late

campsite

Yes, we know — we just said reserve early.

But not all of us know our vacation days five months in advance.

Our parks get thousands of cancellations every year, many at the last minute. Savvy campers keep a close eye on the reservation system, ready to snatch up newly available sites.

4. Check your filters (and be willing to compromise)

The more flexible you’re able to be about campsite specifics, the easier you’ll find it to land a campsite, especially at a busy park or during a busy weekend.

Electric sites and sites that accommodate large RVs are extremely popular. Consider trying a non-electric site, or a different campground.

If it’s an electrical site or nothing, the next tip is a good one for you.

5. Book weekdays or shoulder seasons

fall campsite

Campsites and cabin/yurt rentals book quickly on weekends, holidays, and during peak vacation times (July/August).

However, we often have top-quality cabins and campsites (including electrical sites) sitting empty during the week, particularly in the spring and fall.

Where will your next trip be?