Camping is such a wonderful escape from the city. It is a time to unwind and reconnect with nature. Reserving campsites, however, can be a bit challenging when you aren’t prepared. To help make your process a bit easier, we have put together some tips and tricks to help you make this year the year that you snag your perfect campsite.
Before we give you all the answers, you need to know how to book the campsite you want. The best way to do this is via the Parks Canada website, the Ontario Parks website, or calling the the park or conservation area directly.
Without further ado, here are our top tips:
1Make bookings in advance
Camping spots fill up fast, especially at the more sought after parks. This makes it crucial to reserve your campsites in advance. You can start booking campsites up to five months prior to your trip, either online or over the phone.
2Do your research
To make sure you have the best experience, make sure you do your research on what campgrounds and campsite types are the right fit for you. This includes whether you prefer roughing it backcountry style or if you’d rather have showers and electricity.
3Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
We know it can be easy to fall in love with one specific location and not have a backup plan. But with camping being in high demand, you want to make sure you have more than one option picked. If your first choice isn’t available, you can still feel comfortable knowing there is another park nearby that you will still love.
4Check for cancellations
If you don’t have time to make an advanced booking or end up planning a last minute camping trip, don’t worry, many campers end up making cancellations and new openings do happen. All you have to do is call in every now and then and ask if there have been any cancellations at your desired campground.
5Make your reservation the right way
When deciding whether you would like to make a reservation over the phone or online there are some factors you should consider. Booking online can be a much faster process, especially when you know which campsite you want or if you are booking an in-demand site. If you are a visual person, it might be helpful to see the map.
Booking over the phone is perfect for people who aren’t super picky about where they camp. Not to mention, the person on the other end of the line can be a great resource for making bookings. They can make recommendations on the best camping options for your needs, and may offer up some insider tips.
6Try booking the lesser known campsites
There are many campgrounds that aren’t as well known, but are just as beautiful and can provide an equally great experience, if not better. These campgrounds will be more quiet and tranquil, since they won’t be as crowded with campers. There’s a good chance that these smaller sites give you more private access to the campground’s activities and amenities.
7Choose the right time to go
When you book campsites on weekend or long weekends, they are going to be very busy. Everyone is trying to unwind and get away from it all, all at once! If you are able to book your campsite during the week, there is a much higher chance that you will get the best lot in the park, and it won’t be as busy. Spring and fall months also tend to be less busy (and still warm).
If you familiarize yourself with the reservation system, making your booking when the time comes will be a breeze and can increase your chances of booking your favourite campsite. Make sure you have all your information handy when the time comes to make your booking so you don’t feel stressed over last minute details.
9 Find those last-minutes deals
We can all appreciate a spontaneous camping trip. It’s Friday and you and your friends decide to go on a weekend getaway. The wonderful thing about Ontario campsites is that most of them have non-reservable spots available. This means that the sites are available on a first come, first served basis.
If you want to go on a spontaneous trip, or if you tried booking at your favourite park, but all of the reservable sites are taken, don’t give up hope! Go early in the morning to your number one campsite and ask if they have any sites available. If your first choice is taken, head to the next nearest park.
If all else fails, just head to the nearest beach and enjoy a beach day! A day outside in the Great Lakes region is always a day well-spent.
Want more camping tips? Check out our list of camping resources.