Gone Outdoors

KOA Camping in Ontario

by Adam Heskett

From the breathtaking power of Niagara Falls to the serenity of Thunder Bay to the hustle of downtown Toronto, KOA has many campgrounds near every major city in Ontario. The province has several KOA locations to choose from.

Barrie KOA

Barrie KOA Campground has a relaxing family atmosphere that's nestled amid 60 acres of green space. This multiple award-winning campground (including 2009 President's Award and 2001's Kampground of the Year) delivers access to heated pools, a playground, Wi-Fi, pancake breakfasts and stone-baked pizzas. Most weekends during the open season (May 1 to Oct. 15) run with a certain theme such as Halloweekend and Zoo Tek Wildly Exciting Animal Show. The Barrie KOA also provides an off-leash playground for any dogs. Nearby, you'll find beaches along the Barrie waterfront on Lake Simcoe and Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world. Casino Rama and Georgian Downs are nearby for those who like to gamble.

Brighton/401 KOA

Explore Apple Country around Brighton.

About 30 minutes east of Toronto off busy Highway 401, the Brighton KOA has fantastic views of Lake Ontario. Enjoy the campground's quiet setting and nature trails or relax in the hot tub and pool (open all summer). A children's playground, volleyball court, Wi-Fi and satellite TV are available for any visitor. Nearby, you'll find attractions such as the Brighton Farmer's Market, Brighton Speedway, Cricklewood Farms (and Corn Maze) and two beautiful beaches (Presquile Park Beach and Sandbanks). The Brighton KOA is also a fine jumping off point to tour apple country of rural Ontario. It's open from April 23 to October 24.

Toronto North/Cookstown KOA

Experience all that Toronto has to offer while still feeling like your outside the city.

This award-winning campground (2007 Campground of the Year, 2009 President's Award and 2009 Founders Award) just north of Toronto is near Toronto attractions such as Canada's Wonderland, an 18-hole gulf course, Wasaga Beach and all that downtown Toronto has to offer. The campground has a theme every weekend such as Christmas in July, Wild Water Weekend or KOA Beach Party. Activities abound in the Toronto North KOA where you can relax by the pool, take in a round of mini-golf, go for a wagon ride, shoot hoops at the basketball court or test your strategy on the giant chess/checker board. The campground is open from May 1 to Oct. 15.

Niagara Falls KOA

Niagara Falls is merely a campground away.

Only 3 miles from world renowned Niagara Falls, the Niagara Falls KOA is the gateway to many popular tourist attractions, including Marineland, Casino Niagara, the Maid of the Mist boat ride, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Niagara Butterfly Conservatory and fireworks over the falls every Friday and Sunday night. Those wanting to stay on site will be free to enjoy activities such as outdoor movie night, hay wagon rides, Kamp K-9 (a dog playground), outdoor pool, playground, bike rentals and basketball courts. On rainy days, there's still plenty to do. The campground also has an indoor pool, arcade, karaoke, tours and free Wi-Fi. It is open April 1 to Oct. 31.

Thunder Bay KOA

Dig up some amethyst at the Amethyst Mine Panorama.

A 130-foot falls (Kakabeka Falls), a canyon (Ouimet Canyon), a historic trading post (Fort Williams Historical Park) and open-pit amethyst mines are a few of the attractions close to the Thunder Bay KOA. Near Lake Superior, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, and situated on 90 acres of spruce and birch trees, the campground is a mecca for naturalists. Explore Thunder Bay's beautiful Marina Park, or visit the Terry Fox Monument. On-site, campers have access to a pool, mini-golf, fishing, bike rental, Wi-Fi and a driving range. The campground is open from April 15 to Oct. 15.

About the Author

Adam Heskett has been a freelance professional writer for over 10 years. A cross-section of his publishing credits include bestcover.com (travel), goalden.com (sports), coyotewildmag.com (fiction), and a short story in Stories of Strength (an anthology to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina). Heskett holds an honours bachelor's degree in theatre with an English minor.

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