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Ontario winter camping ideas that outdoor lovers should know about

Choose your own adventure, with every kind of accommodation you could imagine.

For many of us, hibernating until Spring just won’t cut it.

We long to be outdoors, continuing to honour our adventurous streaks—even if it is in the dead of winter.

If you’re curious about winter camping, check out what these Ontario parks have to offer. There’s a surprising range of accommodations available and one of these may be just what you were looking for.

Spend your days outside skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, tubing or dogsledding. After, cozy up under blankets and count the stars in the night sky.

Fourteen Ontario Provincial Parks offer overnight stays throughout the winter and they cater to every possible style—from heated, roofed accommodations to trailer and tent camping. You’ll be happy to know that most parks that offer overnight stays during the winter also have winterized comfort stations, which are heated and include running hot water, flush toilets and showers.

Heated accommodations with a roof

Secluded Yurt in Killarney

You might be surprised to learn how many accommodation options scattered throughout provincial parks are available that include the comfort, convenience—and let’s be real, the necessity—of heating.

You can do some winter camping in a yurt, a soft-sided, tent-like structure whose design is based on the portable homes used by nomadic peoples in Central Asia. These are heated, have bunk beds that sleep five or six (you’ll want to check the specifics with your chosen park in advance), a table with chairs, an outdoor wooden deck with a barbecue for cooking, a campfire pit for outdoor gatherings, and a picnic table. They also have ceiling lighting and hydro, so you can plug in batteries and phones.

What they don’t have is running water or a washroom inside, though facilities are often available close by. Some are on plowed park roads, and you can drive to them even in the winter, while others are “trail side”. That means that the park will provide you with a toboggan and you will have to pull your gear to the yurt.

The benefit? You’ll have cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails right at your door.

Yurts can be rented for overnight stays at Algonquin, Killarney, MacGregor Point, Pinery, Silent Lake and Windy Lake.

Some rustic cabins are available in Quetico and Sleeping Giant, and there are two cottages available for winter rentals at Sandbanks. Those hoping to stay in a camp cabin can find rental options at Arrowhead, Killarney, Pinery, Silent Lake and Windy Lake.

Rustic winter cabin in Quetico

Camp cabins, however, are often small, one-room cabins. They tend to feature one queen bed and bunk beds that can sleep five or six. There’s also a table and chairs, as well as a small kitchenette that includes a counter, microwave and mini fridge. They are heated, have lights and power, and are generally accessible by road. They have a small, screened front porch that leads out onto a large deck that has seating and a barbecue. Like yurts, they do not have running water or a washroom inside.

Winter tent or trailer car camping


If you’re a fan of RV camping, you can still enjoy it in the winter. A couple of provincial parks, such as Algonquin Park - Mew Lake and MacGregor Point, really cater to winter campers. The camp sites are plowed, access is maintained for picnic tables, and, as mentioned above, there are heated comfort stations with hot showers available.

Car camping grounds are open for winter tent camping in the following parks: Killarney, Algonquin – Mew Lake, MacGregor Point and Pinery.

Winter interior or backcountry tent camping

Winter campsite in Quetico

It should go without saying that winter backcountry camping is more challenging and carries much more risk than it does in the summer months. You are advised to hold off unless you are a more experienced camper; it is also highly recommended that you take a course to learn some winter camping skills first.

The really adventurous among us will enjoy interior camping in Quetico, Algonquin, Frontenac, Kawartha Highlands, Killarney, Wabakimi and Woodland Caribou. 

Please note that you need reservations to stay in any roofed accommodations.

Revel in the utter quiet and stillness of the winter forest, the crisp air and the freshly fallen snow. You can stay active, keep exploring and make the most of this magnificent season.