Parks and conservation areas
Ontario’s parks and conservation areas vary in operational season, classification, facilities and activities offered but overall, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and wilderness photographers will never run out of wilderness to roam.
Ontario Parks is a government body responsible for the preservation and maintenance of over 330 natural and culturally significant parks across the province.
In addition, Ontario is home to six of Canada’s national parks, including one urban national park and two stunning national marine conservation areas. Parks Canada operates these protected natural zones treasured for their land, marine, and heritage significance.
Finally, close to 300 different protected spaces are owned and operated by 36 conservation authorities across the province, the only agency of its kind in Canada.
Quick guide to provincial parks in Ontario
Ontario Parks: Use Ontario Parks Park Locator to find the park experience right for you and book in advance to avoid disappointment. Reservations can be made online or over the phone.
Note: New in 2023, Ontario Parks is reducing the maximum length of stay at select parks during peak seasons to help connect more campers with campground sites and experiences.
Parks Canada: Use Parks Canada's online and phone Reservation Service to guarantee your spot at national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas.
Conservation Areas: Find out what bookable programs are offered at a conservation area near you.
When to visit
Naturally summer is the busiest season and most parks in Ontario open in late May and close in October. Autumn in Ontario is nothing short of spectacular. The Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report provides a status of foliage colour change and interactive map so you can find the best places to enjoy nature’s vibrant show.
Over 25 parks remain open throughout the winter with ice-skating, cross-country, snowshoeing and fat biking trails, winter camping opportunities and even ice fishing rentals in select parks. Keep up on the trail conditions with the Ontario Ski Report.
Learning programs for beginners
Exploring Ontario’s great outdoors may be overwhelming for urbanites, young families or anyone unfamiliar to outdoor pursuits. Several park programs are offered to show you the ropes. These include the summer Learn to Camp and Learn to Fish programs. Discovery Programs for all ages are offered in over 70 parks. Fun and informative activities will open your eyes to the wonders of nature and foster a lifelong pledge of conservation.
Save with seasonal or annual permits
Seasonal or Annual Day-Use Vehicle Permits are the best deals for regular visitors. You’ll save money with unlimited entry to your favourite park or as you explore other operating parks across the province.
Valid for a full year from the date of purchase, the National Parks Discovery Pass gives you unlimited admission to historic, natural and adventure parks and sites from coast to coast, including over a dozen in Ontario.
Planning your park or conservation adventure in Ontario? Get started with these helpful articles.
Ready to explore more? Get started.
Know before you go
Visiting Indigenous heritage sites
Several sacred Indigenous sites are located within Ontario’s parks. Appropriate respect and appreciation are essential as you visit spiritual and culturally significant places.
Accommodations, amenities and equipment rentals
In many parks, amenities are available for overnight stays, from backcountry to car camping, as well as roofed accommodations, like cabins and yurts. And special events, equipment rentals, learning programs and visitor centres are geared to introduce you to Ontario’s magnificent wildlife and nature. Check ahead to confirm what rentals and services are available at the park you’d like to visit.
Don’t bring your own firewood
Wood can contain insects or disease that potentially could risk local plants and animals. In Ontario campers are encouraged to purchase firewood onsite at the park or campground to avoid spreading harmful pests.
Last updated: March 20, 2023