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Winter Camping in Ontario | Best Parks, Tents & More Tips

Winter Camping in Ontario | Best Parks, Tents & More Tips

Ontario’s winters are icy with cold temperatures and frequent snowfall. There is no escaping it during the colder months, so you might as well embrace it. One of the best winter activities in Ontario you need to try at least once is winter camping. 

Campgrounds are usually cheaper during the off-season, making it the perfect time for winter camping in Ontario. The snow might stop the fun for some, but this time of the year is a great way to escape the summer crowds. There are many camping sites in Ontario, ranging from tent sites to log cabins. So whether you’re more of a traditional camper or a glamper, don’t let the cold winter stop you from this amazing experience.

Winter Camping Sites in Ontario

There are many parks for camping in Ontario despite the freezing weather. These camping sites suit both traditional campers and non-traditional campers.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the most well-known National Parks and the perfect place for romantic getaways in Ontario. The park is in south-central Ontario, just under three hours away from both Ottawa and Toronto on Highway 60. 

There are a few campgrounds within the provincial park, but Mew Lake Campground is the only one that’s open all year round. Set up your tent in one of their 131 campsites or relax in your RV. They also have yurts available for the glampers. Camp facilities include toilets, showers, laundry facilities and electrical sites. 

You don’t have to stay inside your tent the whole day. The park has plenty of activities to keep you warm. There are a few hiking trails open during winter for people of all hiking capabilities. The Spruce Bog Boardwalk is a great hike for a stroll, while Algonquin’s Mizzy Lake Trail is for more experienced hikers.

Snowfall can be pretty heavy in the park, but that doesn’t stop ‌ outdoor fun. Hike the Hardwood Lookout Trail to see Smoke Lake, which looks especially beautiful covered in snow. The park has fun snow activities like skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating.

winter camping ontario
Image by Algonquin Provincial Park on Facebook

Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Provincial Park is in Georgian Bay on Highway 637. It is a captivating park bursting with lush shrubbery and over 50 lakes. The beautiful scenery and great park facilities make it the perfect backdrop for any camper.

Killarney Provincial Park has many hiking trails ranging from moderate to strenuous. They are great ways to see amazing lookouts and a few animals along the way. There are three additional trails in the park only accessible during winter, which all offer incredible scenery of snow-covered forests, lakes and iced marshes.

The park has a total of 347 campsites that cater to all campers. If you’d prefer a more comfortable camping experience, Killarney also has six yurts and two cabins. These roofed accommodations get heated by a propane fireplace and have electricity to keep you warm. The two heated washrooms are only a few minutes away.

Killarney’s backcountry is an excellent option for an advanced camper who loves hiking and canoeing. It is a great area to pitch a tent and enjoy the views of George or Bell Lake without much interruption. There are also great remote hiking trails against the LaCloche mountain range.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, it is good to get a tent with good insulation like this MOON LENCE Camping Tent. It is windproof and waterproof with double layers to keep you insulated against the cold.

camping ontario
Image by Killarney Provincial Park on Facebook

Arrowhead Provincial Park

When you think of Huntsville Camping, Arrowhead Provincial Park should be at the top of your list. The park is only 10 minutes away from Huntsville, just off Highway 11. It is well-known for its winter activities, making it a great stop for winter camping.

Its snow-filled activities include skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and snow-filled hikes. You can bring your own equipment, but rentals are also available at a small fee. The park holds its yearly Fire and Ice Night event from January to March. Skiers partake in a nighttime ski trail of about 1.3km, lit up by hundreds of torches. 

There are a total of 378 private campsites in the park with both tented and roofed accommodation. The three campgrounds in the park are near its beaches. Roe and Lumby allow tent camping, while East River Campground is great for RVs. 

The park has one deluxe tent on top of a wooden platform and ten camp cabins. These roofed structures sleep up to five people for a two-night minimum stay. The deluxe tent only has a kitchenette, while the cabins come equipped with kitchenettes, electricity and electric fireplaces.

winter camping
Image by Arrowhead Provincial Park on Facebook

MacGregor Point Provincial Park

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is just south of Bruce Peninsula near Lake Huron. This provincial park is an ecological haven with many small animals and birds flocking to its wetlands and forests. Dogs are allowed on the grounds and includes dog exercising facilities.

There are a few biking and hiking trails ranging from beginner skills to advanced. These trails are available throughout the year and go along the Lake Huron shores, the park wetlands and beach areas. Some of the easier hiking trails are also wheelchair accessible. During winter, some of these trails are great for skiing and ice-skating too.

Altogether, there are three campgrounds with 346 campsites. Two campsites are group campsites that permit groups of 9 to 36 people. The campsites come equipped with showers, toilets and running water.If you prefer to go glamping in Ontario, a yurt might be more your speed. The park has a few yurts on Birch Boulevard campgrounds. These yurts sleep six people each and have electricity

Winter Camping Ontario
Image by Kathryn Dickson, KathyrnAnywhere

Frontenac Provincial Park

Frontenac Provincial Park is a great place to stop by for camping in southern Ontario. The park is just north of Kingston, near North Otter Lake. Beginner winter campers shouldn’t shy away from this experience. The park provides complimentary introductory winter camping workshops to get you up to speed with all the camping essentials.

This is a great camping site in Ontario for nature-lovers as there are backcountry recreations with over 22 lakes and long winding hiking trails to explore. The park is open all year round with great winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent some from the Park Office. 

There are many wildlife and historical sites on these grounds of the Frontenac Arch, which you can experience through the plenty of backcountry campsites. These campsites offer amazing opportunities to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature. 

If you do decide to go backcountry camping in Frontenac Provincial Park, you will need to get interior camping permits from the Park Office ahead of time.

ontario camping
Image from Frontenac Provincial Park on Facebook

Silent Lake Provincial Park

Silent Lake Provincial Park is just off Highway 23 in Bancroft, Ontario. There are two sandy beaches and, of course, the beautiful Silent Lake.  The lake is also full of wildlife like deer, lynx, and foxes which will occasionally make an appearance.

The hikes are the park’s highlights, with amazing lookouts at the end of each trail. In winter, thick snow blankets the forests, swamps, and trails. This is the ideal time for snowshoeing, skiing, and ice fishing. Silent Lake has special fishing exceptions, so it’s always best to know the Ontario Fishery Regulations

Silent Lake has many campsites, including walk-in camping grounds and two-car camping grounds. These forested car camping grounds, Pincer Bay and Granite Ridge are partially powered. During winter, ploughed car campsites come on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are additional campgrounds that have a few wheelchair-accessible yurts and camp cabins available. The cabins sleep up to five people and have additional facilities like a porch, kitchenette, and inside dining area available. The yurts sleep up to eight people and have similar amenities except for outside cooking facilities.

Image by Kathryn Dickson, KathyrnAnywhere

Windy Lake Provincial Park

Windy Lake Provincial Park is just west of Sudbury on Highway 144. It has beautiful sandy beaches, which provide hours of fun regardless of the season. It is a winter wonderland come snowfall (between January and March) with many wonderful winter sports activities.

Boating and canoeing are popular water pastimes in the area. Ice fishing is another great activity when it becomes too cold to be on the waters. You can rent all of the ice-fishing equipment you’ll need from the park with staff helping you transport and set up everything. Other winter activities also include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

This park is great for winter yurt camping in Ontario, which you can only access via the ski trails. These four spacious yurts are heated and sleep about six people. It has a spacious deck, picnic area, fire pits and propane barbeques. 

On the west side of the park, there are also two rustic cabins. These come equipped with a kitchenette, dining area and propane fireplace. There is space for only two vehicles nearby, so it’s best to pack light.

There are also a few car camping sites with selected campsites that come with electricity. These campsites are secluded and have all the needed amenities like bathrooms, laundry facilities and running water nearby. There is also a nearby playground. There are two group camping sites nearby that can accommodate both tents and trailers.

camping southern ontario
Image by Ontario Parks NE on Facebook

Ontario Camping

Ontario’s snow-covered landscape is incredibly beautiful. Another plus is the fun winter activities like skiing, ice fishing and ice skating on the beautiful lakes in the parks. The lack of crowds also means you’ll enjoy a more tranquil experience in nature and maybe even see a few animals come to say hi. 

The best way to experience the tranquillity of nature is by camping in winter in Ontario. While winter camping in a tent is not for the faint of heart (especially in freezing temps), there are a few alternative accommodation options.

winter yurt camping ontario
Image by Tim Foster

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