8 Great Waterfront Campsites in Ontario

Man sitting on a rock next to a tent with a view of Provoking Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park
Over 1,200 miles of canoe routes connect thousands of lakes at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Gary Cook / robertharding / Getty Images

For camping enthusiasts, Ontario has a wide variety of beautiful waterfront places to pitch a tent. This classic summer activity—often shared across generations—will get you out into Canada’s vast wilderness and closer to its stunning natural sights. From an easy car camping experience to a rugged backcountry trek, Ontario has a campground that is just right.

Here are eight great waterfront campsites in Ontario.

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Killarney Provincial Park

View of a pristine lake surrounded by green trees against a blue sky on a sunny day at Killarney Provincial Park

Matthew Clemente / 500px / Getty Images

Set along the Georgian Bay, Killarney Provincial Park encompasses nearly 250 square miles of wilderness.  Backcountry campers can explore the numerous lakes by canoe or visit trails on foot. Killarney offers car camping and yurt accommodations year-round.

Located just over four hours north of Toronto, Killarney Provincial Park was the first park in Ontario to be designated a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Views of the night sky can be seen from the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory at the park’s George Lake Campground.

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Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Silver Islet at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, with trees and rocks on the shoreline and Lake Superior in the background under a blue sky

Sharon Mollerus / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Located across from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, the name "Sleeping Giant" comes from the shape of the Sibley Peninsula when seen from a distance. The park has high cliffs and spectacular views of the lake along over 60 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Sleeping Giant has plenty of car camping sites as well as opportunities for backcountry camping and cabin rental. Boating, canoeing, and kayaking are popular activities at the park's Marie Louise Lake.

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Algonquin Provincial Park

Rocks at the edge of water with trees in the distance at Algonquin Provincial Park

Ian McCormick / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Algonquin is Ontario’s largest and most famous provincial park. It is located three hours northeast of Toronto and three hours west of Ottawa, making it a popular destination for many urban-dwellers. Because of the sheer size of the park, which covers nearly 3,000 square miles, and the single highway that runs through Algonquin, it’s easy to find a piece of wilderness.

It is convenient to navigate through the park with a canoe to reach a campsite. Although there are also campgrounds along Highway 60. On Thursday nights in the summer, the park features a public wolf howl. A logging museum on site brings the park’s incredible history to life.

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Cyprus Lake Campground

A view of Indian Head Cove, a rocky area covered with trees above the turquoise water of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron

Treehugger / Katherine Martinko

Cyprus Lake is located within the Bruce Peninsula National Park. This spot is at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, where the land partially separates the rest of Lake Huron from Georgian Bay. It's also the access point for the famous Grotto—which has an underwater tunnel connecting a cave with the outside world. Another highlight is the exquisite Indian Head Cove, which looks like something out of the Caribbean. The limestone bottom gives the crystal clear water a turquoise tinge.

All of Cyprus Lake's 200+ campsites are located close to the lake. For those without their own camping gear, Cyprus Lake Campground also has 10 yurts.

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Killbear Provincial Park

Large shale rocks above the waterline surrounded on two sides by water with a large stand of green trees in the distance under a blue sky at Killbear Provincial Park

Florin Chelaru / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Close to Parry Sound, Killbear Provincial Park is located on the eastern side of Georgian Bay. A three hour drive from Toronto, the area is known for its incredible views of lone windswept white pines atop granite hills.

The landscape is rocky and rugged, interspersed with small beaches, campgrounds, and a nearly four mile biking and hiking trail. With water on three sides, Killbear is excellent for sailing and windsurfing.

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Manitoulin Island

Strawberry Island Lighthouse under a blue sky surrounded by tall green trees and water on Manitoulin Island

Sam MacCutchan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world. The island sits between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It's a six hour car trip from Toronto, or a two-hour ferry ride from Tobermory. The campgrounds on Manitoulin Island, which offer tent and RV camping, are privately owned.

Sights on the island include Bridal Veil Falls, the Cup and Saucer Trail, the Assiginack Museum, and several historic lighthouses.

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Craigleith Provincial Park

Rugged shale rock waterfront at Craigleith Provincial Park with lush green trees and blue water in the background under a sunny sky

Elijah-Lovkoff / Getty Images

The provincial park campground at Craigleith, a small town just west of Collingwood, is located along Georgian Bay. Though not a wilderness camping experience, the shale rock shoreline provides a great setting for swimming, boating, windsurfing, and fishing. The park offers both RV and tent camping on over 170 campsites.

Craigleith is situated at the base of Blue Mountain, with views of the water and the mountains from the campgrounds.

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MacGregor Point Provincial Park

An early springtime view of the MacGregor coastline covered with large rocks, a stand of trees in the distance, and a blue sky

Treehugger / Katherine Martinko

Located near Port Elgin, this campground provides access to the white-sand, blue-water beaches of the Lake Huron coast. It features biking and hiking trails through the forest and along the coast. Trails also pass through wetland areas, where hundreds of bird species, including migrating birds, have been spotted. The park is also home to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival.

MacGregor is open year-round. In addition to campsites, the park has yurts available to rent.