When you haven’t gone camping for a while, it’s sometimes not easy to get back into it. Spending two nights camping at Killbear Provincial Park, just northwest of Parry Sound, Ontario, is enough to fall in love with the outdoors, if you’re a city person like me.
We decided camping at Killbear Provincial Park because it wasn’t too far north from Toronto and yet far enough.
It was my first time camping at this provincial park – I didn’t know what to expect. Every provincial and national park in Ontario has its own unique landscape features: Killarney Provincial Park has the white quartzite La Cloche mountains; Algonquin Park has numerous lakes and Port Burwell Provincial Park has an amazing beach.
At Killbear Provincial Park, the campgrounds are lovely. They have deciduous trees, well-planned out camp areas and enough woods on either side of the campsite to give you privacy from your neighbours.
Our site was at the Lighthouse Point camp and we had a “premium” spot backing onto Georgian Bay. Well worth the extra cost! A little foot path led down to our very own, small private rock beach. The beach gives you a clear view of the starry sky in the evening and a beautiful sunrise over Parry Sound in the morning.
As we were camping at the end of the summer vacation season, we had the privilege of getting up-close and personal with the animals on our second night. Staying the night before Labour Day means that most campsites are deserted.
Tips for Camping at Killbear Provincial Park
A few things to consider when camping at this park in late August/early September:
- If the weather is cool and windy, pack extra warm clothes for the night. Socks are a must, unless you have a super-warm sleeping bag. My toes got a bit cold on our first night when the temperatures dipped down to about 7 C. Our campground also didn’t shelter us much from the wind as we were so close to the open-spaced waters of Parry Sound Bay – this affects the temperature and camp conditions during the day as well. Campsites further inland were probably more comfortable temperature-wise.
- For an interesting night, do one extra night of camping on Labour Day itself. The park is almost devoid of other campers, particularly those with kids (as they get ready to head back to school the next day), so you have peace and quiet during the day and a dark night (not so many flashlights or lanterns in use – just the occasional campfire in the distance). If there’s no overcast sky, the night sky is absolutely fantastic. You can see thousands of stars you normally don’t see in the city including the Milky Way. For amateur astronomers, you may want to bring a telescope with you. As well, because the campgrounds are practically deserted, the wildlife in and around that area is less afraid to explore the campsites in the dark. We had the pleasure of listening to coyotes fighting with raccoons in the middle of the night.
- Bring good hiking boots if you are heading out on the trails. The Lighthouse Point trail is short – only about 1.5 km, but it is rocky and you need good ankle support if you are visiting it after a rainfall. It’s easy to slip on the many rocks here and end up with a broken ankle.
Here are a few photo highlights from our two night’s camping at Killbear Provincial Park: