Car Camping 101

Not all of us are cut out for backcountry camping. For families with young kids and outdoor enthusiasts who are short on time, it’s hard to beat the convenience of loading up the car and heading to a drive-in campsite. This summer, instead of spending loads of time and energy getting off-the-beaten track, take it easy. Finding a close-by campsite in Hamilton Halton Brant means more time for making s’mores!

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Use our car camping compass to find just the right campsite for your next outdoor escape.

I’d love to try camping, but have no gear and no idea where to begin.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s Learn to Camp program hosts new campers on an overnight trip at the Oakville park to teach fundamentals like how to set-up camp, build a campfire and much more. Be sure to reserve early for this popular program.

I want a campsite that has a beach within easy walking distance.

Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area’s nine-hectare lake has a sandy beach for campers to enjoy, as well as eight kilometres of nature trails. The park, which is in Ayr, has 230 campsites. Valens Lake Conservation Area, in Flamborough, also offers 125 campsites with easy access to a sand beach.

We have a large group of family and friends that all want to join us when we camp.

Group camping sites at Conservation Halton’s Rattlesnake Point and Kelso Conservation Area, both in Milton, make it easy to accommodate a large crew. There are 10 sites that can accommodate groups of up to 12 and three sites that can accommodate up to 18.

I’d like to go camping, but want someone else to take care of all the details.

Grand Experiences in Paris offers a two-day, one-night fully outfitted guided canoe camping trip exploring two very historic sections of the Grand River. On the first day you’ll paddle the Cayuga Run, wrapping up your day’s paddle at a riverside campsite in Brant Conservation Area. Your campsite will be fully equipped with all the gear you need for a relaxing camping experience.

On day two your guide will meet you at your campsite to embark on a scenic paddle down river on the historic Mohawk Run. Opt-in for the available meal plan and the only thing you’ll have to pack is your sleeping bag!

I’d like to go camping, but hate the thought of sleeping on the ground.

Emerald Lake Trailer Resort and Waterpark in Puslinch has 11 cabin rental options. Their five basic cabins sleep four and offer a queen bed and a bunk bed, bar fridge, heating and air conditioning, an outside water tap, fire pit, charcoal BBQ and picnic table. The five deluxe cabins sleep four as well, but there is a separate bunk bed area. They also come equipped with a full four-piece bath, dining table and chairs, kitchenette with a small fridge, microwave, coffee machine, dishes and cutlery, and a sink with running hot and cold water. Larger groups may want to rent the upgraded cabin, which will sleep eight and offers two sleeping rooms, a three-piece bath and a kitchen that can serve eight with a full-size fridge. Kids will love the on-site waterpark, which features a waterslide, splash pad, water toys, picnic areas and high and low diving boards.

The Toronto West KOA in Campbellville offers a great selection of cabins with and without attached washrooms. Take advantage of their Summer Cabin Special, which runs through August 31st, and you’ll save $50 a night when you book two nights in a row. The campground offers plenty of activities to keep your campers busy including a Bounce House, a mining adventure, an outdoor movie amphitheatre and theme weekends.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville has three yurts available for rent. The yurts are equipped with two sets of bunk beds, a table and chairs and sleep up to six people. The yurts also have a propane barbecue, picnic table and fire pit. Each yurt has electric heating, lights and electricity.

We’d love to bring our mountain bikes along for some riding.

Camp in Milton at one of Kelso Conservation Area’s 19 sites and you’ll be a few short pedals away from 16 km of wide open double track and fast flowing single track trails. There’s also a Mountain Bike Skills Zone with wooden bridges, rollers, rocks, and logs to help riders learn how to properly tackle technical features in a controlled environment.

I’d like to get some fishing in while I’m camping.

Head to Fifty Point Conservation Area’s 70 fully serviced sites in Stoney Creek. Fish for salmon in Lake Ontario or catch rainbow trout and largemouth bass in the stocked pond. Salmon charters are also available.

I’d like to be able to rent a boat and get out on the water while I’m camping.

In Brantford, Brant Conservation Area’s 400 campsites are a popular destination for Grand River paddlers. There are several locations to put your canoe into the water above and below Wilkes Dam and a marked portage is available to pass around the dam. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent.

You can also rent kayaks and canoes when camping at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area and Valens Lake Conservation Area.

We are borrowing a friend’s trailer to try camping for a few days, but aren’t sure where to take it.

Flamborough’s Pine Valley Park has been voted one of the top three family campgrounds in Ontario and offers nightly rentals. Willow Lake RV Resort in Scotland has a great Canadian Camping Week offer on September 8th and 9th where you can get a site for 2 nights for just $50. The park features a 13-acre spring-fed lake, horseshoe pits and lots of fun summer programming. Milton Heights Campground and Olympia Village Campground are other great options.

Show us how you car camp in Hamilton Halton Brant. Share your tips and pictures using #NatureUnexpected.

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