1. Gold Rush Campground
Open from mid-May to mid-September, this campground is in the centre of Dawson City (a.k.a. the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush). It contains plenty of amenities, such as shower and laundry facilities, as well as running water and free wireless Internet in case the thought of roughing it without your iPhone makes you squeamish. While you’re in town, check out the mining tours, the Gold Panning Championships in July, and even a few music festivals—including the Dawson City Music Festival—also held in July. Pets are welcome but must remain leashed. Open May to September. $29 per family, per site, per night.
1207 Fifth Ave, Dawson City. 867-993-5247
2. Fred Henne Territorial Park
A short drive from Yellowknife’s city center, this campground has 62 powered sites, 39 non-powered sites for those who want an off-the-grid experience, and 12 tent pads (areas that are levelled and free of rocks and tree roots) to choose from. There are great amenities, such as kitchen shelters, showers, firewood and a playground. You can also hang out on the beach at Long Lake where there’s tubing, canoeing and water skiing available; take a hike along the Prospector’s Trail; or check in at the gatehouse and catch a guided tour of the area’s wilderness and wildlife. Open mid May to end of September. Visit the website to book a campsite online. Prices vary by reservation date and site.
Highway 3, Yellowknife. 867-920-2472
3. Blackstone Territorial Park
This campground is a must-see for families who are into canoeing and kayaking, running along sparkling rivers surrounded by wildlife and the majestic Nahanni mountain range. The Laird, South Nahanni and Blackstone rivers run through the park, which has 19 non-powered campsites. Be sure to hit the gorgeous lookout area to ogle the rivers and mountains, the forested trails and kids’ jungle gym. Camping season runs from mid-May to mid-September. Contact the park for information on fees and reservations, as they fluctuate based on timing and location.
Highway 7, Laird River.
4. Alice Lake Provincial Park
There’s plenty for families to do at this campground north of Squamish, which features 96 sites. The grounds include powered and non-powered sites; shower and washroom buildings; picnic areas; Alice, Stump, Fawn and Edith Lakes; lush forests and meadows and awesome views of the Tantalus Mountains. Activities include mountain biking, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and hiking. There’s a playground for wee ones, and four-legged friends are welcome as long as they’re leashed. Open from March to October. Drive-in rates start at $35 per car, per night.
Alice Lake Rd., Squamish. 604-986-9371
5. Kettle River
History buffs will get a kick out of this area—the campground at Kettle Valley includes an abandoned section of the Canadian Pacific Railway. You can even walk or cycle along the super-scenic Kettle Valley Railway route and cross the still-intact original 1900s bridge that runs over the river. Kettle River is ideal for canoeing, kayaking, tubing and swimming. There’s a big playground for kids on-site, too. Enjoying a campfire is a must—you can even shower off the smoke smell at the “sani-station.” Open from May to September. Fees start at $30 per vehicle, per night.
2250 Highway 33, Rock Creek. 250-584-9025
6. Kinbrook Island Provincial Park
You’ll find pretty much everything you need for a successful family camping trip at this site. Facilities include showers, firepits, cooking shelters, laundry stations, flushable toilets, pay phones, a boat launch and even a fish-cleaning station for dinners you catch in the lake. There are lots of water sports to enjoy (windsurfing, water skiing and swimming), as well as land activities like volleyball, playing horseshoes, hiking and birding (watch for great blue herons and white pelicans). Reservations open from May to September. Fees start at $26 per vehicle, per night.
7. Crawling Valley Campground
Located on Crawling Valley Reservoir, this site is the perfect place to pitch your tent and cast your fishing line. The area is known for its trout, northern pike and walleye, which can be cleaned in the recently constructed fish-cleaning building. When kids are done building castles on the new beach, they can head for the playground. Open from May to September. Fees start at $25 per night, per vehicle.
8. Moose Mountain Provincial Park
This campground isn’t typical of the prairie landscape Saskatchewan is known for: It’s surrounded by forests of towering trees. There’s a ton to do, including tennis, swimming in Kenosee Lake, ATV trails, mountain biking, boating and horseback riding. Bring your rollerblades and skateboards for a family skate on the paved path from the campground to the beach. Go to the visitor centre to find plenty of games, books, puppets and other fun rainy-day things for kids to do. Open mid-May to September. Call for reservations and rates.
Kenosee Lake. 306-577-2600
9. Murray Point Campground
In the land of loons and blue herons north of Prince Albert, you’ll find scenic parklands and forests, beaches and lakes (there are two gorgeous bodies of water in the vicinity—Emma and Anglin Lakes), and endless spots to set-up camp. In this pocket of Great Blue Heron Provincial Park, you can take a hike, go for a swim, do a little sport fishing, have a picnic, check out the three playgrounds and try a round of minigolf (a short drive away). Depending on when you visit, you might luck out and be there for one of the campground’s special events, like Saskatchewan Day celebrations on August 4. Open June to September. Call for rates and reservations.
Emma Lake. 306-982-6250
10. Debonair Campground
A short drive south of Winnipeg will take you to Debonair, where you’ll find campsites for vehicles and for tents. There’s a private sandy beach with a floating slide to keep the kids entertained, areas for volleyball, and firepits at each site. If you’re staying longer than a couple of nights, bring loonies—showers are $1 for eight minutes. Open April to October. Fees start at $22 per night, per vehicle.
St. Malo. 204-347-5336
11. Birds Hill Provincial Park
Tall oaks and wildflowers surround the campgrounds, which include a slew of awesome facilities. There are picnic areas, walking and rollerblading trails, a riding stable, a concession on the beach, and a convenience store and a restaurant on site. There are washrooms, showers and dumping stations for garbage, too. If you visit in July, check out the Winnipeg Folk Festival hosted at the park. Open May to October. Check with the park for fee information.
Highway 59, Oakbank. 204-945-6784
12. Bon Echo Family Campground
Just a stone’s throw from Bon Echo Provincial Park, this campground is the perfect place to get a little peace and quiet and explore nature. Explore nearby trails on foot or on a rentable ATV (there are guided adventure tours), and check out the caves and sandy beach. The beachfront has a long, shallow walkout, making it ideal for tots. There are pedal boat rentals, a playground and an on-site store that serves ice cream. There’s also a bird zoo and petting farm just down the road, as well as two golf courses and free outdoor tennis courts. Open May 12 to October 1. Rates per family start at $35 per night.
1178 Head Rd., Cloyne. 888-850-4761
13. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
Pop-up tents, trailers and RVs of every size are welcome at Jellystone, but if you’re not a seasoned camper and want an outdoorsy experience, their Yogi Bear Cottages and Boo Boo Cabins have bedrooms (complete with linens), washrooms, a full kitchen and even air conditioning! Amenities include a laundry station, playground, inflatable trampoline, restaurant, and an outdoor pool and a wading pool for the little ones. If your clan is looking for more activities, there are wagon rides, an outdoor movie theatre, shuffleboard, basketball and bocce courts on site. There’s even a shuttle bus from the campground to Niagara Falls! Open May to October. Per-night stays start at $50 per car (with two adults and two kids).
8676 Oakwood Dr., Niagara Falls. 905-354-1432
14. Camping Lac des Plaines
Camping Lac des Plaines is set in the breathtaking Lower Laurentians, just 30 minutes from Montreal. The 200-plus campsites are great for families—there are showers, washrooms, a convenience store and restaurant, an arcade and a bingo hall. Depending on when you visit, you could enter the family softball tournament, go to a Western festival, or even celebrate Halloween (complete with a costume party and trick-or-treating!) in August. Open 1st May to 10th October. Rates start at $39 per night (for two kids and two adults).
2 Chemin du Lac des Plaines, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines. 450-478-4122
15. Hidden Hilltop Family Campground
This campsite certainly caters to families—it’s “the place where kids want to take their parents.” Whether your brood is into petting zoos or live-music jams and karaoke, there’s something for everyone. Mom and Dad, perfect your mini-golf game or get up and take a stab at the Friday night horseshoe tourney. There’s a theme every weekend (think country, Christmas, etc.), and dances are part of the nightly entertainment. For kids who celebrate summertime birthdays, Hidden Hilltop has awesome party packages available. Open May to October. Fees start at $31 per day (for two adults and up to four kids).
2600 Highway 4, Glenholme. 902-662-3391
16. Mount Carleton Provincial Park
This park, at the foot of Mount Carleton, has four different campgrounds and more than 88 sites for trailers and tents, as well as a dozen charming lakeside cabins. There’s an on-site playground, a shower area, a kitchen shelter and a great beach at Nictau Lake. Pets are welcome. Open from May to 10th October. Fees start at $28 per car, per night.
7612 Route 385, Saint-Quentin.1-800-561-0123
Prince Edward Island
17. Cymbria Campground
Near Charlottetown and Cavendish, Cymbria is known for being a quiet, private sprawling area in the midst of these touristy towns. Each of the 94 sites comes equipped with a firepit and a picnic table. Head out on one of the nature trails, take a dip in the heated pool; play mini-golf, tetherball and badminton; or do crafts in the rec room when the weather isn’t co-operating. You can even give clam-digging a go at the nearby private beach. Showers are free and there’s a laundry station on site. Open from May 26 to September 10. Fees start at $32 for a family of four; additional campers are $5.
729 Grand Pere Point Rd., Route 242. 902-963-2458
18. Terra Nova National Park
Terra Nova is the country’s most easterly national park; Newman Sound Campground runs along the Atlantic Ocean and backs onto marshland and meadows. If you’re near or on the water, don’t be surprised if you see flocks of feathered friends (it’s the seabird capital of North America), and keep an eye out for whales! Walk or bike along one of 11 hiking trails, paddle along the coast, and be sure to check out the visitor centre where kids can safely poke lobster and cod in the saltwater touch tank. Some parts of the park are open year-round. Contact the site for rates and reservations.
Heads up! You can fish for trout at Terra Nova Park, but only if you have a park entry permit and a national park fishing permit.