Spring is here, which means summer is just around the corner. We’ve been loving the taste of sunshine and warmer temperatures that this fresh new season has brought with it, and now we can’t wait to begin the most relaxing, adventure-filled summer of all time. If we’ve learned anything from the last year, it’s that no matter what you want to do, your best bet is to book in advance. This is especially true when it comes to camping. Beat the summer crowds this year and book your family camping getaway today!
Where to camp
Perhaps you’re a seasoned camping veteran and you have your favourite spots to pitch your tent, or perhaps you’re brand new to the camping experience. Whatever the case, here are some great spots around York, Durham and Headwaters to begin your camping adventure. Of note: by no means are these the only facilities in our region—they’re just a few suggestions to get you started. So, feel free to spend time on the Internet searching for your perfect campground in YDH.
Sibbald Point Provincial Park – Drive-up camping in 10 different campgrounds is available in this popular campground in Georgina, which has both electrical and non-electrical sites, as well as six group sites.
Cedar Beach Resort – Your ideal seasonal resort is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Toronto, in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Situated on the sandy shore of Musselman’s Lake, young and old alike can enjoy a host of recreational facilities.
Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park – Free your body, free your mind. Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in Sharon is a year-round naturist park where the entire family can experience traditional naturist values in a modern setting. Bare Oaks offers day-use memberships and seasonal campsites, but also welcomes visitors and travellers.
Darlington Provincial Park – Drive-up camping is offered in this Bowmanville park, and has three different campgrounds with electrical and non-electrical sites available. There are sites to accommodate all types of camping equipment, from tents to large RVs and trailers. Barrier-free camping is also available.
Cedar Park Resort and Waterpark – This fun family destination and waterpark is located just north of the town of Bowmanville, and offers camping, field trips, school trips and general day use.
Albion Hills Conservation Park – Enjoy mountain biking, bird watching and more as you spend time on one of 234 serviced and unserviced sites in this Caledon campground. Amenities include a campground store, washrooms, showers, fire pits, children’s play areas, and wireless internet in the chalet.
Primrose Park Family Camping – Facilities at this Shelburne family camping park include beautifully treed lots, a heated pool, volleyball net, basketball net, horseshoe pits, an open field for organized games, children’s playground, hot showers and laundry facilities. Campsites are both serviced and unserviced, depending on your preference.
Where to glamp
If the idea of roughing it with traditional camping seems a little daunting, we suggest you try glamping. Yes, glamourized camping is a thing—an extremely popular thing here in YDH, as it happens. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but aren’t quite ready to give up the comforts of your modern amenities, then glamping is for you. Here is where you can glamp in our region:
Jecara Farms – This working farm in Schomberg, which won the 2007 Environmental Giants award for water conservation, offers three rustic cabins and a studio apartment. This active, 86-acre operation complete with an authentic barn and paddocks is also a working thoroughbred horse farm.
Harmony Resorts – This location in Grand Valley is passionate about creating unique stays where people can connect with nature and experience the diverse beauty of Ontario. Enjoy a wonderful stay for two in a lovely canvas bell tent, equipped with a high-quality queen-size mattress, nightstands, lounge furniture, and a camp stove.
Heartwood Farm and Cidery – This Erin-based location is a 42-acre regenerative farm which raises cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and bees, and grow apples, maple trees, and other fruit and nut trees. Glamping is in the works, so be sure to check the website for when this fantastic farm experience is open to the public.
Alabaster Acres – Camp in style and luxury at this retreat on a working farm in Caledon Village. A 150-year-old heritage house and a stable full of adorable animals make this agricultural retreat something truly special. Guests can select from one of two luxury tents, each of which can host up to four people with king-size beds and lounge spaces. For chilly nights, there are wood stoves and several duvets to make things cozy. Cook on a private barbecue with your own food and beverages, and enjoy your elegantly rustic front porch, private hammock and fire pit. Additional amenities include an upscale outhouse, an open-air shower, and a private outdoor clawfoot bathtub.
And for something different…
Enjoy wide-open spaces, fresh are, blue skies… and a good day’s work of herding cattle on horseback. At Rawhide Adventures in Mulmur, you can be a rancher for a few days. For a taste of the ranch life, try the Range Riders Night experience. Stay overnight at Peace Valley Ranch and camp out amongst the stars after spending four blissful hours on horseback. After a hearty cowboy’s breakfast the next morning, finish your adventure with another two-hour ride back to the ranch.
If you really want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, take the Days in the Life Of challenge. Get involved in the life of a ranch wrangler for a few days, or even a week or two, and learn everything about working the land including fence checking, rotational grazing and, depending on when you come, even calf sorting.
Story by Katherine Ryalen