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Ditch the Tent: 6 Simplified Beach Camping Trips in Ontario’s Southwest

This post is part of the and Ontario’s Southwest Build Your Best Beach Vacation, #YMCBestBeaches sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

Ditch the Tent: 6 Simplified Beach Camping Trips in Ontario's Southwest

My childhood summers were filled with camping trips, day hikes and trips to the beach all across Ontario.  Living just outside the GTA in the Niagara region, we are pretty close to some of the best destinations in Southern Ontario, and I’ve been to a long list of them!

Some of my favourite destinations are located in Ontario’s Southwest, home to 13 of Ontario’s best beaches, with many of them less than 2.5 hours from Toronto. This means you can be sitting on the beach instead of wasting hours of your time in your car.

When it comes to camping, I am experienced with tents, pop-up trailers, yurts, and cabins.  I really love that “glamping” and cabin rentals have become a huge thing in recent years as it makes the camping experience much more accessible.

Tent-free camping is a simpler and more comfortable option for those who “don’t do” tent camping.  Your reasoning may be that you don’t want to invest in camping gear or perhaps you just don’t like the general discomfort of camping.  Ditching the tent is a great way to enjoy nature but in a more comfortable and convenient manner. 

So ditch the gear and check out some of the awesome options available for your next extended beach stay in Ontario’s Southwest.



6 Simplified Beach Camping Trips in Ontario’s Southwest

Pinery Provincial Park:

Pinery is a favourite spot with my family, and throughout my childhood, I camped there many times with my family.  This area features a rare, lush Oak Savanna ecosystem filled with plenty of creatures, great and small.  The park also sits on the shore of Lake Huron and the Pinery Beach is one of the best beaches I have seen, with crystal clear, warm water and 10 km of brilliant white sand and coastal dunes.  There is plenty for families to do such as hiking, fishing and canoeing as well as a really great children’s program to help your kids learn more about Pinery’s ecosystem.


© Queen’s Printer for Ontario

Your family can enjoy all the wonders and fun Pinery has to offer while camping in the comfort of one of 12 Yurt furnished campsites.  If you have yet to stay in a yurt, they are tent-like structures but are heated, furnished and available all year long.  Each yurt is furnished with two bunk beds to accommodate 6 people, a table and four chairs, electric lighting as well as a heater for the cooler months.  There is also a handy gas barbecue outside for cooking, a firepit and a picnic table. 

These yurts are great because you’ll get to enjoy an experience similar to tent camping but no pitching a tent, no sleeping on the ground, or having to invest in gear.


Long Point:

Long Point Provincial Park is home to a 2 km beach featuring soft sand, sand dunes, and warm shallow water with plenty of sand bars These points make it very popular with families.  It’s really quite perfect for wading out with toddlers as you can get out quite far before the water gets deep enough to swim.  Long Point has been a family day trip destination of mine since I was a kid, and my mom often made the same trip with her own family growing up. 

If you want to make more than a day of it, just a short drive from Long Point, near Turkey Point, is Long Point Eco-Adventures.  Rent one of their Wilderness Suites for a little bit of luxury glamping in the middle of the wilderness with a view of Long Point Bay.  During your stay, take advantage of the many activities available, from zip lining among the treetops to kayaking and everything in between. 


Erieau Beach boasts some of the warmest water on Lake Erie. The beach features a 1km stretch of sandy beach, boardwalks, and activities for all ages.  Surrounded by natural dunes and a cottonwood savanna, the area is quite pretty and worthy of an extended stay. 

Ditch the Tent: 6 Simplified Beach Camping Trips in Ontario's Southwest: Eireau

If you want to plan an extended stay, consider Molly and OJ’s where you can stay in one of eleven full-service cabins and enjoy a private beach.  Each of the cabins are different and offer a variety of amenities from the basic to all the comforts of home.  Bayview Bliss cabins and cottages are another great option and are located right on the shores of Lake Erie. 

Point Pelee:

Point Pelee Beach in Point Pelee National Park offers 20 km of smooth sand on the southernmost peninsula of Ontario.  You might be surprised to find that it is actually located on the same latitude as Northern California.  It is a day use park, so to enjoy an extended stay you can find comfortable lodging at Camper’s Cove

Ditch the Tent: 6 Simplified Beach Camping Trips in Ontario's Southwest: Point Pelee

The 6 rental wood cabins offer double and bunk beds with many comforts including air conditioning and charcoal barbecues.  Each cabin is also furnished with a picnic table and fire pit so you can enjoy the great outdoors in a way that even non-campers enjoy.

Rock Point:

Rock Point Beach features 1 km of sand and pebble beach but what makes this beach really special is the exposed fossils in a coral reef embedded in a limestone shelf along the beach. This feature dates back to over 350 million years.



© Oakwood Escape

You may want to consider glamping at Oakwood Escape during your visit to the beach and area.  Oakwood Escape sits on 50 acres of mostly untouched Carolinian forest and offers spacious and furnished canvas prospector style tents.  Each tent features a queen-size bed, rugs, side tables, coat stand, a dresser and more.  Talk about luxury and scenic views!

Port Burwell:

Find 2.5 km of beautiful sandy beach at Port Burwell on Lake Erie’s north shore.  Port Burwell Provincial Park also features hiking trails, a submarine, a marine museum, a historic lighthouse, two marinas, and a wind interpretive centre. 



© Otter River Farms

Skip pitching a tent while visiting Port Burwell and stay at Otter River Farms and enjoy the Carolinian forest in comfort.  Rental options include a five bedroom guest house, and, for those wanting more of a rustic experience, there are 5 furnished cabins available in the woods.


Do you have a favourite Beach in Ontario’s Southwest?


This summer, instead of getting steamed up in cottage country traffic, chill out on some of the province’s best beaches in Ontario’s Southwest.

Don’t miss out on the “Best Beach Adventure” contest. One lucky family will enjoy a four-day beach adventure for four on Lake Erie, featuring amazing outdoor adventures—a prize valued at $2,500!

Check out more great stories and information about beaches in Ontario’s Southwest:









Saturday 23rd of January 2016

Fun reading about some new places, thanks for sharing !

kathy downey

Wednesday 11th of November 2015

I enjoy camping when i was younger and stronger ,i would love to gone to any of these places.


Friday 4th of September 2015

This is such a great idea! Something different to consider. :)


Saturday 29th of August 2015

Thanks for introducing me to some great spots! Beautiful places!

Susan T

Wednesday 26th of August 2015

Cool idea. Will have to look more into it