Camping at Pinery and Killbear Provincial Park

Going through a few winters in Canada we finally understood why people told us the all they wanted to do during summer was to get out of the house, be outdoors. While winters are not our favorite season because they are obviously cold and we are not into winter sports, summers in Canada are just fantastic. It feels like the sun is always shining and the sky is always blue, which really invites you to go outside… and going outside for us also means camping!

Sign to the entrance to Pinery Provincial Park
Sign to the entrance to Pinery Provincial Park

For our first camping experience in Canada we picked Pinery Provincial Park. It is situated about 3 hours West of Toronto on the shores of Lake Huron. The place is just beautiful and while the infrastructure of the park is amazing, you are at the same time out in the wild.

Our tent
Our tent
to the beach
Beautiful way to get to the beach at Lake Huron

The experience of camping with our daughter was great. She really saw that as an adventure and wanted to help with everything, even though she was scared of every bug she saw around our campsite. I can tell you it was a very relaxing experience for the whole family, from setting up the tent, to walking on the beach, to wrapping up the day at the park’s general store for ice cream. My daughter talked about our camping trip for months and to this day she says that was her favorite camping trip ever. 🙂

The beautiful view of the beach
The beautiful view of the beach

For the second camping experience we wanted to go to a different park and Killbear Provincial Park was highly recommended by everyone, so we booked it. It is about 3 hours of Toronto, at the beautiful Georgian Bay.

The sign to Killbear Provincial Park
The sign to Killbear Provincial Park

Getting closer to the big day, I decided to do some more research on the park’s infrastructure and general info to make sure we were prepared. Then I read about the bears. BEARS! Just think that being Brazilians, we never saw a bear other than in cartoons, TV or the zoo, so I thought to myself “it’s going to be ok, people having been camping there for years”… then I saw the park’s page and it was scary.

"Active bear in campground" - scary!
“Active bear in campground” – scary!

After having a breezy, hassle free days at Pinery, going to Killbear meant less relaxation because you have to BEAR PROOF YOUR CAMPSITE whenever you’re there or not there. To add to my stress (and my daughter’s), on our first night there we went to the amphitheatre for a session about how to handle bear encounters… I must say it was not a good idea to bring my little one along, even though it was a kid friendly session. She was terrified after that and she only felt safe inside the tent or inside the water – yeah, I know!

This is our good old tent and our campsite
This is our good old tent and our campsite
Fantastic, beautiful
Fantastic, beautiful
Mother nature is amazing
Mother nature is amazing

We tried to calm her down and EVERY time we came back from the beach to our campsite she was always saying she was afraid a bear would show up. One of the times, there were quite a few campers staring quietly and amazed at our tent and then we understood why: it wasn’t a bear, it was a family of white tail deers looking for food around our campsite. Thanks to the cute Littlest Pet Shop toys, my daughter forgot her fear of bears and focused on seeing the real white tail deers right in front of her (the white tail deer is her favorite Littlest Pet Shop and she always wanted to see one live).

One of our deer visitors!
One of our deer visitors!

The 3 days we were there were a mix of stress (because of the potential bear encounter) and relax (because the place is just beautiful beyond words) and I would recommend to anyone who wants to have this closer experience to mother nature.

If you want to have the great experience of camping in Ontario, I would highly recommend it and would tell you to book early (around March) so that you can enjoy your outdoor experience in the summer.

Go to the Ontario Parks Reservation website (very user friendly) and guarantee your spot! It is a great way to bond as a family, reconnect with mother nature and recharge your energy.

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