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Ontario Provincial Camp Grounds

Old 12-25-17, 09:43 AM
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Morriep
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Ontario Provincial Camp Grounds

I will be touring this coming summer from Toronto to Montreal along the Water Front Trail system. I noticed that the Ontario camp grounds are $40 per night. Yikes. Does anyone know if you hav to make reservations ad if there is price break for bicycle tourists? What alternatives are there along this route?

Thanks
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Old 12-25-17, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Morriep View Post
I will be touring this coming summer from Toronto to Montreal along the Water Front Trail system. I noticed that the Ontario camp grounds are $40 per night. Yikes. Does anyone know if you hav to make reservations ad if there is price break for bicycle tourists? What alternatives are there along this route?

Thanks
You definitely need to. They are usually full before the spring. Go to Ontario Park site and book the dates that you want as soon as they are open for booking. FYI, some parks are harder to book than motels nearby.

$40 isn't bad. The last time I was at a fully serviced site, it was around $50.
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Old 12-25-17, 12:51 PM
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I notice they have a reservation fee in addition to the camp ground fees. This could make it $65/night or so. Depending on how the reservation fee is applied. Plus when doing bike touring for more then a weekend it is hard to know exactly you will be as you may get delayed or decide to visit something interesting in the way.
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Old 12-25-17, 06:00 PM
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My experience is that often campers will share a campsite with bicycle tourists. Offer to split the cost of the site and explain that you will camp away from them (if pitching a tent or hanging a hammock off designated pads is allowed). Folks in RVs sometimes enjoy the company for the evening. I personally would not worry about reserving sites in advance if you are bicycling solo or with one other. If there will be three or more, then maybe reservations are wise.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
My experience is that often campers will share a campsite with bicycle tourists. Offer to split the cost of the site and explain that you will camp away from them (if pitching a tent or hanging a hammock off designated pads is allowed). Folks in RVs sometimes enjoy the company for the evening. I personally would not worry about reserving sites in advance if you are bicycling solo or with one other. If there will be three or more, then maybe reservations are wise.
Thanks for the advice.
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Old 12-26-17, 08:26 AM
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I'd look into Toronto Montreal trip journals to get a better idea of optional camping areas. I know that some parks have cheaper biker fees here in Quebec, but look into it for your route.
Hope you find some good info.
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Old 12-27-17, 02:52 AM
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HS!. It's been a few decades since I camped at provincial parks, but I remember $8 a night. What happened? Do they offer room service now? For that price you can get an Air BnB room
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Old 12-27-17, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
HS!. It's been a few decades since I camped at provincial parks, but I remember $8 a night. What happened? Do they offer room service now? For that price you can get an Air BnB room
It must have been a long time ago, at places like sandbanks, even 20 years ago, it seems to me a tent only site was at least 25 ca. As we were regularly going there back then.
I do find the costs now rather high... been like that for quite a while.
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Old 12-27-17, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
HS!. It's been a few decades since I camped at provincial parks, but I remember $8 a night. What happened? Do they offer room service now? For that price you can get an Air BnB room
Let me know when you find a room in Killarney.
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Old 12-31-17, 03:37 PM
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The provincial parks in Ontario are mostly funded by camping fees so that's part of the reason they are pricey. Some private campgrounds are pretty decent for camping but I've stayed at one or two that was really just designed for RV type camping and the tent sites were just open field. For the short trip between TO and MTL I'd just stay at hotels so I could travel light.
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Old 12-31-17, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
The provincial parks in Ontario are mostly funded by camping fees so that's part of the reason they are pricey. Some private campgrounds are pretty decent for camping but I've stayed at one or two that was really just designed for RV type camping and the tent sites were just open field. For the short trip between TO and MTL I'd just stay at hotels so I could travel light.
600km , short, well, i guess it all depends, and 5 or 6 nights in hotels will cost you, camping is always going to be a lot less money spent, enough saved to buy a nice tent, or panniers, or whatever.

but then of course, folks buy Bentleys cuz they can too, so it's all relative isnt it?
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Old 01-01-18, 08:38 AM
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I've done this route several times, though always in early spring and usually camped in closed campgrounds. I found most private sites to be from ordinary to really bad. Check out https://www.stlawrenceparks.com for an alternative. They're almost as expensive though. The one private site I like is Grenville park, just east of the Canada-USA bridge near Prescott. It's 10-12$ and you need loonies for showers. They have a very basic store and a chip wagon across the road.

Make sure you ride on the Thousand Island parkway. They have nice campgrounds.
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Old 01-02-18, 08:58 AM
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Don't skip Prince Edward County. It's a small detour compared to going straight past Trenton but that's the best stretch of cycling on the north shore. Skip the fees, camp in the bush.
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Old 01-06-18, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Morriep View Post
I will be touring this coming summer from Toronto to Montreal along the Water Front Trail system. I noticed that the Ontario camp grounds are $40 per night. Yikes. Does anyone know if you hav to make reservations ad if there is price break for bicycle tourists? What alternatives are there along this route?

Thanks
I've found that it's only necessary to make a reservation at Ontario Provincial Parks if you're there on the weekend. When I did thus trip in 2009, Grenville Park had a special rate for cyclists.
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Old 01-07-18, 06:51 PM
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Thanks for all this great information.
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Old 01-08-18, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
HS!. It's been a few decades since I camped at provincial parks, but I remember $8 a night. What happened? Do they offer room service now? For that price you can get an Air BnB room
Probably the same thing that is happening in Michigan: people expect full hookups for oversized RVs, and campgrounds are catering to them. Not a lot of money in catering to cyclists for a couple bucks a night. Heck, even "primitive" sites here in State Parks are something like $22 a night after booking fees, and that gets you a pit toilet and a hand pump well.

Originally Posted by djb View Post
600km , short, well, i guess it all depends, and 5 or 6 nights in hotels will cost you, camping is always going to be a lot less money spent
True, but if you are already looking at $65 a night to camp, the incremental (if even that) cost of a cheap hotel room may well be worth it.
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Old 01-08-18, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
True, but if you are already looking at $65 a night to camp, the incremental (if even that) cost of a cheap hotel room may well be worth it.
One thing is if the person is alone or can share costs. I know what you mean though, even though I suspect they can find cheaper campsites than $65, I think that number is realistically too high.

one example of motels vs camping. I rode from Montreal to Boston one summer, and took camping stuff, but in the end, the combination of route (camping options, as well as where camping was available) and the fact that there was a heat wave going on, days of up to 100f, combined with being able to find usually cheap motels in the 60-80 range, meant that sharing the motel cost wasn't that terrible, but having a/c was really really nice, I can't deny it.

all that said, if the person is up to finding cheap campsites, or even camping in out of the way places, it still comes out to saving enough money to be able to buy a nice light one person tent that could be used on other trips in the future.

always comes down to evaluating budget and deciding where one wants to spend , or not spend, their money.

I'd like to do the Montreal to Toronto ride one day, its apparently fairly nice, and I know folks who have done it and its not too bad riding into and out of T.O apparently, if you follow the lakeside trail or whatever it is near Toronto. Its still a big city though, but going along the lake and St Lawrence river would be nice.
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Old 01-08-18, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
all that said, if the person is up to finding cheap campsites, or even camping in out of the way places, it still comes out to saving enough money to be able to buy a nice light one person tent that could be used on other trips in the future.
Absolutely, my comments were reserved for if one were really facing $65 campsites. All depends on the situation.

That said, I'm a big advocate for incorporating a camping setup like Europe has for tent campers: just a big grassy area that you can set up anywhere in, with some shared picnic tables and firepits. You could charge less, and you could fit more in especially during busy times. Never made much sense to me to have one tent on a 50x50 foot plot.
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Old 01-08-18, 11:20 AM
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Motels will cost at least 80$. 100$+ is more likely. It's a nice ride but not exactly wild country. I rode from Windsor to Montreal and did Cobourg or Belleville-Montreal several times. The only part that really sucked was around Oshawa. I gave up trying to follow the Waterfront Trail and rode the 4 lane boulevard without shoulders instead, which was the WFT at times. There are a few typical bike path stupidity, like a complicated detour just to make us ride on a 10 foot long path. From Newcastle and east is the best part IMO. Getting through Kingston kinda sucks too. Instead of following the WFT, I just keep going on highway 2.

If you find yourself camping east of South Lancaster (just before Quebec), go to the Glengary park, not the Lancaster Resort.
I mentioned the Thousand Island parkway... I meant the Long Sault parkway. It's one the nicest stretch and they have nice campgrounds.
Presqu'île park has a large marsh with a boardwalk through it. Sandbanks is essentially a beach. I prefer Presqu'île.

A few years ago, the Ontario transportation ministry asked for feedback from cyclists. The email is cycling@ontario.ca. I told them about camping cost, that shoulders solves nearly all bike-car problems, to put maps outside tourist info because they're always closed, putting signage on the same poles as car signs. The WFT signs are all over the place. Having one roofed shelter instead of dozens of picnic tables in the open makes a world of difference in bad weather. I mentioned the Thousand Islands Parkway bike path, which is wavy (up and down) and that sucks the energy out of cyclists. Paved shoulders on the parkway itself would've been much better. Another thing is the WFT often brings you through some boring suburbia to avoid town centres. You can find yourself on the other side of town without having seen a store so you have to ride back for supplies. It's silly since they do this to attract touri$t$.

Last edited by Erick L; 01-08-18 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 01-08-18, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
True, but if you are already looking at $65 a night to camp, the incremental (if even that) cost of a cheap hotel room may well be worth it.
Heh. This weekend I got mailed a brochure for a campground I stayed in 2 years ago during my tour from Vermont to Philly. It's located in NW Connecticut on ACA's Atlantic Coast route. It's a camping "resort," with two pools, a hot tub and even a bar. The prices are outrageous. A non-hook up site in low season is something like $46, and it only goes up from there. I only scanned the brochure briefly, but I think the same site will cost you over $70/night on a holiday/holiday weekend.


But here is the cool thing...The place charges cyclists only $20 or $25/night (can't remember which), but they don't advertise that fact. I only found out because I called them before my trip to ask about availability after their website seemed to be malfunctioning. That hasn't always been the case as I stayed there in '99 while riding home after crossing the country. I remember paying about $29 back then. I was shocked. Spent lots of time in the hot tub for that kind of money.


Another bad value for non-residents are most Montana state parks, at least if you want a reservation. Base camping rate is $18. $10 more for non-residents. $10 booking fee if you make a reservation. And you are going to need about $3 for a shower. There are a few, however, that have new hiker/biker spots that are really nice (they even have charging stations) and only $12 for non-residents.
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Old 01-10-18, 02:47 PM
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