The night stars illuminates a tent, placed on a bolder in a forest.

Quetico Provincial Park | Destination Ontario

Learn to camp workshops and guided camping trips in Ontario

The night stars illuminates a tent, placed on a bolder in a forest.

Quetico Provincial Park | Destination Ontario

A range of programs, workshops and guided trips are available from the very basics for first-timers campers to those looking to develop more outdoor and wilderness skills. 

Once you learn the skills and understand the equipment needed for a camping trip, camping in Ontario might just become your favourite thing to do.

Tent camping experiences

There are two main types of tent camping trips: frontcountry and backcountry.

Each type requires certain skills, knowledge and equipment for fun, safe and stress-free vacations.

Frontcountry camping

Once you've learned the basic skills, frontcountry camping—often called car camping—is the easiest option for beginners who want to camp on their own.

Campsites are located in well-established full-service campgrounds that offer washroom facilities, showers and more. You can drive to your campsite, so you'll be able to store your food and gear in your vehicle. Your campsite will have a cleared area where you can set up your tent, a firepit and a picnic table. Other campsites and campground staff will be nearby.

Backcountry camping

Backcountry camping requires more skill and experience.

Backcountry campsites are accessible by backpacking, canoeing or kayaking, which means you'll need to transport all your food and gear with you.

You'll also need the additional skills of route planning, paddling and portaging, meal planning and cooking, map reading, packing, equipment set-up, wilderness first aid and more.

Leave no trace

No matter what type of camping you do, you will have an impact on the natural area you're visiting. Lessen your impact by practicing the seven principles of Leave No Trace. These are:

  • plan and prepare
  • travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • dispose of waste properly
  • leave what you find
  • minimize campfire impacts
  • respect wildlife
  • follow camping etiquette

Learn to camp programs

Ontario Parks

Ontario Parks offers a free, 30-minute Learn to Camp Workshop through the Park Ambassador Program.

Sign up for an online webinar, book a session at your campsite at participating parks or join a drop-in workshop during your camping or day visit at a participating park.

Learn important camping skills such as:

  • how to cook while camping
  • how to build a campfire (unless there is a fire ban)
  • how to set up a campsite
  • what to know about visiting a provincial park
  • how to discourage animals from visiting your campsite

In addition, Ontario Parks offers instruction, advice and tips on some of the basic camping essentials online. This information is a great way to start your journey of learning to camp in Ontario.

Parks Canada

Parks Canada also offers great Learn to Camp programs designed for beginner campers to learn basic camping skills.

Overnight experiences invite participants to learn camping skills like how to set up a tent, light a campfire and cook outdoors from Parks Canada staff at fun and safe locations.

Daytime workshops and activities include pop-up campsites at municipal parks, beaches and libraries in Toronto and Ottawa where you can learn the basics of camping without the need to stay overnight.

Finally, watch how-to videos on setting up a tent, stringing up a tarp, starting a campfire and packing a cooler.

Paddle Canada

Paddle Canada offers Canada’s only national camping skills program that teaches paddlers how to safely and efficiently plan, organize and execute camping trips in both front and backcountry settings. 

The eight-hour Camping Basics Program is the best place for beginners to start. Continue improving your camping and paddling skills with a variety of programs and courses from basic to advanced that are offered in paddling centres and communities throughout Ontario.

Guided camping trips

You can also learn the ropes of camping in Ontario on a fully guided and outfitted camping excursion with an experienced local guide.

From easy overnight camping to more challenging back-country trips, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and experience in paddling, map-reading, weather-watching, portaging and more backcountry camping skills. Plus, you’ll enjoy hassle-free planning.

Consider a guided camping excursion with:

Lake Fever Wilderness

Based out of Toronto, Lake Fever Wilderness offers full-service, group camping excursions for beginners that include everything from gear and transportation to meals, park fees, guided hikes and activities.

Algonquin Adventure Tours

Algonquin Adventure Tours guides two to five-day canoeing and camping trips in Algonquin Park with varying levels of comfort and difficulty.

Algonquin Outfitters

Join the skilled and knowledgeable guides on a multi-day canoe and camping adventure in Algonquin. Customize your experience to your skill level and add Greenhorn Service to review the basics in terms of paddling, gear and campsite setup in advance of your trip.

Black Feather

Based in Seguin, Ontario, Black Feather operates guided hiking, paddling and backcountry adventures across Canada. Closer to home, canoe and camping excursions are offered on Georgian Bay, as well as on the French River, Spanish River and Petawawa River.

They also cater trip specifically for families and women only.

Algonquin Bound

Two to five-day guided trips with Algonquin bound can be customized to include everything you need, from food and meal prep to education on the history, ecology and wildlife of the park.

Check out the Introductory Course in canoeing and interior camping before you set you.

Grand Experiences

Get your first taste of camping adventure on the Grand River, a Canadian Heritage waterway. Grand Experiences offer fully outfitted one or two-day paddling excursions with a Paddle Canada certified guide. Other overnight guided trips include hiking and cycling.

MHO Adventures

In addition to all-inclusive backcountry canoe trips throughout Ontario, MHO offers beginner canoe trips and training programs. Based in Huntsville, they’ll also custom plan trips for groups of six or more.

Naturally Superior Adventures

The sea kayak weekend getaways on Lake Superior are designed for entry-level paddlers and campers looking to develop their wilderness skills.

Wilderness Adventures

Wilderness Adventures’ Ontario-based overnight canoe and kayak trips include three and five-day kayak excursions in the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay as well as three and six-day canoe and camping trips in Algonquin Park.

Wild Women Expeditions

Providing opportunities for outdoor adventure for women around the world, the Women-Only Guided Kayak and Yoga Trip is a five-day, fully guided experience in Georgian Bay.

First aid courses and programs 

Whether you're going front or backcountry camping, it’s important to have some basic first aid knowledge. The farther you travel into the wilderness, the more important these skills become as help may be hours or days away.

As you advance your camping skills and experience, an outdoor-based first aid course is a great addition to your learning journey. These courses are based on the principles of wilderness care and first aid with a practical, hands-on approach to training.

Remote and wilderness first aid courses are offered by:

Last updated: February 28, 2024

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