Even if you were never a big camper, that will change when you have kids. You will feel ultimately obligated to give your kids camping memories like the ones you have from your childhood. You’ll have a tent you have in storage somewhere that was on sale at Canadian Tire or Walmart and feel guilty that you haven’t used yet. You may dread it, but you will do it.
There aren’t really camping options in Toronto itself, unless you count those sleepovers that the Science Centre hosts, but a quick post on FB will tell you where you’re friends have been – some of our moms also tell us that fairly close to Toronto you'll find that Sandbanks, the Pinery, Killbear, Bon Echo and Bronte Creek are good.
As non-campers ourselves for the most part, here's some of the good advice we've been given:
Car-camping does NOT mean you sleep in your car. Though one can see how it would be interpreted that way. It means that you can drive your car right to your campsite, no hiking or walking involved to get to the campsite. With little kids and lots of gear, this is probably what you want. If a site doesn’t reference car-camping, you may want to double check how you access the campsites.
Roofed Accommodations: “What the heck is a Yurt??”
Yes. Such a thing exists as roofed camping. If you’ve heard anyone talking about a yurt and didn’t know what they were talking about, it’s a non-campers dream. A yurt is a tent-like structure on a wooden platform that has beds and can have other amenities. A number of Ontario parks and campgrounds offer yurts and other cabin-type roofed accommodation, so check it out.
Amenities Check – Don’t Assume
Read through the campground amenities – depending on the “conveniences” you may be looking for, like electricity or close swimming access, you’ll want to choose parks/campgrounds accordingly. Don’t make any assumptions that something will be there if you don’t see it listed and when in doubt ask.
Also don’t forget to bring extension cords if you plan to use electricity and don’t want to sit off to the side of your site plugged into your power post.
Do a tent test run & make a packing list so you don’t forget anything you’ll be upset not to have
To save your sanity, and possibly your marriage, don’t take a tent camping without having figured it out at home first. Especially with the likelihood of having excited, cranky or hungry children underfoot while you’re trying to set up. Ditto going to the car and expecting to find something that isn’t there 🙂
Please share any other planning tips for an urbanite family’s first camping adventure!