Ontario is a wonderful place to live and a beautiful place to explore with the family. Whether you are looking to book an overnight stay or planning a day trip, Ontario provincial parks offer some great options.
But where to start? There are 340 provincial parks in Ontario and they all have different things to offer. Finding the perfect park for you and your family could take some time. But don’t fret—we’ve done the heavy lifting for you by looking for parks that have the best activities and accommodations for all kinds of families.
Remember, you can book your accommodations at provincial parks in Ontario up to 5 months in advance. While 5 months might seem like a long time, camping spaces in these parks—especially those that are roofed—book up quickly. You should book as early as possible to avoid missing out on your preferred date.
Let’s take a look at 9 of the best provincial parks in Ontario that are perfect for families.
Located on Lake Huron, near Grand Bend, The Pinery is a gorgeous park on 10 kilometers of sandy beach. There is so much to see at The Pinery—the extremely rare and fragile Oak Savanna and Coastal Dune ecosystems are the home to over 800 vascular plants and 300 bird species. It was actually ranked by National Geographic as one of the ten best sunsets in the world! There are walking, biking, and cross country skiing trails as well as canoe, hydro bike, paddleboat, or kayak rentals to take out onto the Old Ausable Channel.
About 2 hours away from Toronto, Bon Echo Provincial Park offers a camping experience for every level of outdoorsy—RV, car camping, backcountry, and roofed accommodations are all available. There are many lakes in Bon Echo, but Mazinaw Lake is the most popular—it features the amazing Mazinaw Rock that has the largest collection of indigenous pictographs in Ontario. Bon Echo also has biking, hiking, canoeing, hiking, fishing, swimming, and even birding. Be sure not to miss the Bn Echo Lagoon—a calm bay where all the action happens!
Located in the heart of Muskoka, Arrowhead Provincial Park has so much to offer families. They have roofed accommodations as well as car camping and the roofed accommodations are available year-round. This is perfect since they have a wide range of winter and summer activities—swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing, snowshoeing, tubing, and cross-country skiing are all available. But the park’s most well-known attraction is their ice trail—a skating 1.3-kilometer skating trail that winds through the forest.
Bass Lake Provincial Park is located a 10-minute drive west of Orillia. There is RV, car camping, group camping, picnic shelters, and a day-use area. Sandy Beach is a great place to spend the day—enjoy swimming or rent a canoe, kayaks, or paddleboat. There’s also a great 2.8-kilometer hiking trail to explore.
If you’re looking for sandy beaches, mixed with forest and rock ridges, then Killbear Provincial Park, located on Georgian Bay, is what you’re after! Camping is available from mid-May to the end of October (exact dates change every year) and they have roofed accommodations as well as a variety of camping options. There is wonderful swimming, the chance to catch a Lake Trout or a walleye, and four different hiking loops to choose from.
Another provincial park located on the shores of Georgian Bay, Awenda Provincial Park boasts over 2,900 hectares of forested land. There are private and shaded campsites including sites for RVs, car camping, pet-free camping, and radio-free camping. With hiking trails ranging from 1 kilometer to 13 kilometers, there are a variety of loops that cater to all levels of experience. Some of these trails are open to biking, and you can also enjoy canoeing, fishing, and swimming in the park.
If you’ve never heard of Sandbanks before, get ready for a treat! Located just 2 hours east of Toronto, Sandbanks Provincial Park is the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation—because of this the park has some of the most beautiful beaches in Canada. Outlet Beach is our top choice for families because it has shallow waters and a gentle drop off. There are cottages available year-round, and car and group camping options available from late April to late October (exact dates change every year). There are great hiking trails to take advantage of, and the park is located in Prince Edward County which is a great place to explore with kids.
Located in the Kawartha region, Balsam Lake Provincial Park has camping as well as roofed accommodation options for camping. The park is great for fishing Walleye, Muskellunge, Large, and Small Mouth Bass. They also offer canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals. There are easy day-trip hiking trails to explore and the sandy beaches are perfect for swimming in the warm summer months.
A short drive east from Toronto in Brighton, you’ll find over 300 car camping sites as well as a cottage and yurts available to rent at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. This gorgeous park has 16 kilometers of trails and paths along shorelines and through woodlands—the boardwalk is particularly popular and great for families. There is also a 2.5-kilometer sandy beach to enjoy and the second oldest operating lighthouse in Ontario to explore.