Conservation Area Camping in Southern Ontario

Camping is one of the most popular weekend or vacation activities in Southern Ontario. Campers grab any opportunity to get out of the city and back to nature. For many this means a trip to one of Ontario’s fantastic Provincial Parks, but wise campers don’t stop their search for a great outdoor experience there.

I don’t know about you but spending hours traveling on overcrowded highways, dodging kamikaze truck drivers, and playing referee to bored kids in the back seat just isn’t my idea of a relaxing start and finish to a weekend getaway. 


Did you know that many of Southern Ontario’s best camping facilities can be found within a short drive of our major urban centers? Did you know that you can enjoy a true back-to-nature experience just outside, or sometimes even within, the boundaries of a major city?


Many of our major conservation authorities, like the Grand River Conservation Authority, Upper Thames Conservation Authority and Hamilton Conservation Authority manage campgrounds throughout their regions. Services include everything you would expect to find at any premiere public campground.


I still remember one of my first experiences with a conservation campground. It took place at Elora Gorge, a campground managed by the Grand River Conservation Authority. I chose that location because it was to be a father / son weekend and I wanted to spend time at the campground and not on the road. Being only a half hour drive from home it would also allow me to make a hasty retreat if the weather decided not to cooperate with my plans. But we had always camped at Provincial campgrounds and I just wasn’t sure what to expect from this new camping experience. 


I was blown away by the quality of the campsites, the size and cleanliness of the washroom facilities, and the professionalism of the park staff. The park also provided a unique outdoor experience that rivaled anything I had experienced in the past, with the added advantage of being only a short hike, or a five minute drive, to the town of Elora.


So when you’re planning your Southern Ontario camping getaways don’t overlook our abundant and often underutilized Conservation Area Campgrounds. You can find more information about Southern Ontario’s conservation areas at

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