Start Planning Your Summer 2018 Camping: Reviews of Ontario Provincial Parks

I spent last summer camping with an 18-foot trailer and a 90-pound German Shepherd Dog named Milo. Looking out at the mounds of snow in my backyard, I’m longing for some summer camping. And since you can reserve campsites in Ontario Provincial Parks five months in advance, it is time to start booking sites. I want to return to the best Ontario provincial parks for camping that I visited last summer.

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As I was scrolling through last summer’s blog posts, I realized that I was happy in every single place, even the ones that were less than perfect. I’m mostly just happy to be camping. But some places were nicer than others and so here are my reviews of the Ontario provincial park campgrounds that I stayed in last summer:

Aaron Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Balsam Lake Provincial Park: A good place for human contact (no ghosts)
Lots of sites (not all of them but lots of them) at Balsam Lake are just parking places in a big field. If you want to stay here, book early and look closely at the pictures of your potential campsite to make sure it is a place you really want to be.

Caliper Lake Provincial Park: Needs hobbits
Caliper Lake Provincial Park: Quick notes on the campground

Grundy Lake Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
I was leery when I arrived because my site was in a campground called “Trailer,” but it was gorgeous, so don’t be put off by the name.
Swan Lake Trail (at Grundy)

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park: Great for people, stinky for dogs

Killbear Provincial Park
Lookout Point Trail at Killbear Provincial Park
The off-leash dog beach is fabulous at Killbear

MacGregor Point Provincial Park: Beautiful sunsets over Lake Huron
MacGregor Point Provincial Park: Yurts and how to say “Hi” to Milo

Mississagi Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada: Here be dragons
When I was at Mississagi, it was wild and empty. 😀

The Beach at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Pancake Bay has a super dog beach.

Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada 

White Lake Provincial Park, Ontario: Home away from home

Happy Camping Friends!

Caliper Lake Provincial Park: Quick notes on the campground​

The campground at Caliper Lake Provincial Park was small and intimate, but better suited for tents than for RVs.

The electrical, pull through sites are smaller than most I’ve seen and don’t give a camper any sense of seclusion. For example, my breakfast view was dominated by my neighbour’s red Dodge Ram pickup. They’re good looking trucks.

If I come back, I’ll aim for sites 9, 17, 19, or 21. They have lots of shade, and given that my camper door opens on the passenger side of the vehicle, they offer pretty good privacy. The pads are a bit rough and not particularly level, but they’re manageable.

If you need a pull through site and can forego electricity, then try to get site 68 or 69. Those sites seem a bit bigger and are surrounded by trees.

And if you’re tenting, then you’re in car camping heaven. Seriously, there are some sites tucked right in beside the lake and you’ll be sleeping closer to your canoe than your car.

 

caliper lake tent campsite

It was hard to get a good picture in this odd light, but these tent sites are beautiful. Milo and I had a nice swim right here.

 

I enjoyed my time at Caliper Lake, but mostly because I liked the lake and the trails, and the other campers were quiet.

 

Caliper Lake Provincial Park: Needs hobbits

I lived in North Carolina for six years, and while I was there, I dated a forester. He was cute, and a kind man, but (not and) was a bottomless well of tree trivia. I guess that my back porch offered a view of about five kinds of oak trees, as well cedars, spruce, and pines and he was keen on teaching me all about these trees:

“Carla, what kind of tree is this one here? And this one? And that one?”

The trouble was that although my interest in the forester was high, my interest in the forest was low. To amuse myself, I developed my own tree taxonomy:

What kind of tree is this one?

Christmas tree.

What kind of tree is that one?

Not-Christmas tree.

Things didn’t work out with the forester.

 

As I was hiking along Caliper Lake Provincial Park‘s Nature Trail, I realised that I’d developed another binary taxonomic system, one didn’t involve passive aggressively needling a boyfriend. You see, I saw a spot and thought, “that spot there, would be a perfect place to have a second breakfast.” At that moment I realised that there were Elf forests and there were Hobbit forests and that I was in a Hobbit forest. What made it a Hobbit forest was the abundance of nooks and crannies ready-made for naps and picnics.

 

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Milo’s good at finding comfy spots.

 

This second breakfast spot was a cosy cubby, nestled beside a boulder and blanketed with thick, soft, dark green moss. The sun shone through the leaves of a Not-Christmas tree, creating a dappled shade that promised good napping after breakfast.

This forest has trails winding through a thick understory. If you explore the Nature Trail, you’ll clamber over slippery rocks and scramble up a couple of steep hills, so wear good shoes. And bring a breakfast or two.

 

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Although not a hobbit, Milo does enjoy a second breakfast.