While all Ontario Parks are pet-friendly, some offer more than others when it comes to camping with a canine traveling companion. Twelve Ontario Parks offer designated pet exercise areas and beaches. Seventeen more have one or the other. Below is a sample of pet-friendly parks in different parts of Ontario with designated pet-friendly beaches, exercise areas, or both. For a complete list of all parks with pet exercise areas and/ or beaches PLUS a dog owner’s list of do’s and don’ts, visit our Dogs and Pets in Ontario Parks post.
Group of Seven members liked it here. You and your dog will too. Bon Echo which is 1.5 hours north of Napanee, Ontario, has a rugged landscape including massive Mazinaw Rock which rises out of Mazinaw Lake. Four-legged campers love the 1.4 km off-leash exercise trail and the pet friendly beach and its sandy bottom. All are located on lower Mazinaw Lake. The closest park campground is Fairway.
Located on the north shore of Lake Erie, Rock Point is the closest provincial park to Niagara Falls (just under an hour’s drive) and is the perfect park for car campers and RV travelers. Three beaches in the park include a pet-friendly one with an exercise area and a beach that was once part of an ancient coral reef.
Lake Huron’s famous beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world. This provincial day-use park has a safe shoreline and fabulous sunsets. Several beaches make up the park. The eastern part of Beach #3 is currently dog-friendly. The sand is really nice and the water is shallow and warm. Picnic tables and shade are nearby and so are the public washrooms. The pet-friendly area was moved from its original beach due to nesting piping plovers, which are at risk, so be sure to check with the park before heading out as a permanent pet-friendly location is still in the works. Get there early; this dog beach is popular.
A little gem of a park on Eagle Lake off Highway 11 near South River, north of Huntsville. Young families love camping here. There are three beaches with shallow water for good swimming. The pet-designated beach, exercise area and obstacle course are really nice and not heavily used since this park remains a best kept secret.
If you truly want to leave the city and your mobile, etc. behind, try Restoule. This park is located southwest of North Bay near the town of Restoule about an hour off of Highway 11. The park has an excellent pet-friendly beach and exercise area and some great hiking trails. The 100 metre Stormy Lake Cliff and its fire tower are a favourite hiking destination. The park rents canoes for day or overnight excursions to paddle-in campsites, and it has a Natural Heritage Education program which young families enjoy. The closest campsites to the pet amenities are in the Bell Point Campground, numbers 151-160. Fall colours in the oak/maple/birch forest are amazing.
Halfway Lake Provincial Park Kevin Callan, aka “The Happy Camper”, and his Springer spaniel, Bailey, love Halfway Lake – “This park gets full marks for campsite design. Each site is spacious and there’s lots of room between sites … making them perfect for dogs and their owners. There are great hiking trails and a beach with a separate dog-walking area. And if you’re in need of an emergency visit to the vet, Sudbury is less than an hour away. You can even paddle to a series of smaller lakes for a quick overnight trip with your dog. If you want to see how Fido fares in the wilds, this is the best choice all around.”
Blue Lake Provincial Park is 107 km east of Kenora off of Highway 17 (Trans- Canada Highway) so if you’re on a road trip heading east or west, this is a good camping choice for you and your furry friend. There’s great swimming at the park’s long sandy beach, excellent hiking, a Natural Heritage Education program in summer and off- leash designated pet exercise and swimming area.