Best Campsites within Kitchener-Waterloo
As spring and summer draw near, the allure of the great outdoors looms ever larger in the imaginations of winter-weary Kitchener-Waterluvians. As the winds of winter blow, it’s only natural to think about fun outdoor activities like camping. Camping, for some, involves a tent, for others it involves a trailer, and for some it involves a cabin (log or otherwise). But in every case, it means getting to live closer to nature (with all the thrills that entails) and foregoing some of the comforts of urban/suburban life. Many individuals, couples, groups, and families look forward to travelling out into the woods every summer to their favourite campsites, where they’ll enjoy crackling fires, rippling waters, and tall trees. It’s usually worth the drive!
Kitchener-Waterloo, the bustling, urban twin city (twin cities?) is famous for its universities, tech companies, and more. The vast Townships that stretch out all around Kitchener-Waterloo offer a quiet reprieve to the fast-paced, energetic lifestyle within the urban core, and naturally, they are a must-visit for Kitchener-Waterloo residents and visitors alike. Indeed, the Townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich (and each of their constituent communities) provide plenty of scenic sights to enjoy. But would you be shocked if I told you that you need not leave the city limits of Kitchener or Waterloo to reconvene with nature? It’s true: you need not leave the city limits of Kitchener or Waterloo to reconvene with nature! So without further ado, let’s unveil the top four campsites in Kitchener-Waterloo (in no particular order)!
Bingemans Camping Resort
Bingemans Camping Resort is located right alongside the Grand River in northeast Kitchener. It has quite a few attractions (including a water park and an indoor playland – these aren’t always included in the price of admission, though), a variety of amenities available, and overall quite beautiful grounds. In a commendable effort to make camping accessible to even inexperienced visitors, Bingemans created a handy ‘First Time Camper Checklist,’ which enumerates the things you probably won’t want to do without in a handy, printable format (check it out here).
There are quite a few prices and packages available, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re going to be tenting or bringing a trailer, prices range from $45 to $60 per night (depending on time of week, and what you need access to [e.g. electric/water]); check-in time is 2 p.m. and check-out time is 12 p.m., and you are allowed two tents or one trailer per campsite. If you’re looking to rent a cabin, there are two options available. Firstly, there is everyone’s rustic favourite: the log cabin, nestled in a wooded area. The log cabins are 12’ x 12’, and include a double bed, a single bunk bed, electricity, lighting, a covered deck, a fire pit, and a picnic table. The prices for these range from $70 to $95 per night. The second option is a little more unique: the Container Cabin. These cabins are, indeed, repurposed shipping containers, painted brightly and with large windows. They measure 8’ x 16’ (making them a bit more spacious than the log cabins) and include two bunk beds (one with a lower Double bed), electricity, a fridge, A/C, a table and chairs, a fire pit, and a picnic table. Prices for these are $105 per night ($115 per night between July 1st and September 3rd). In all cases, there is a $10 reservation fee. You can check out pictures of the campsite, as well as the nifty Container Cabins, here. To book online, simply click here.
Laurel Creek Park in Waterloo
Laurel Creek Park (and the Laurel Creek Conservation Area) is run by the Grand River Conservation Authority. Located in northwest Waterloo, it’s a huge, beautiful area, with seemingly endless trails, a sandy beach, and many distinct areas to enjoy. You can find a well-labelled map (as well as details about the park itself, and activities available there) on the Grand River Conservation Authority website (click here). Camping here opens up many opportunities: you can canoe within the large Laurel Creek Reservoir (or swim, or windsurf, etc.), you can hike the trails, or you can just enjoy a nice picnic. There are 122 campsites available, with some in densely wooded areas, and others in clearer plains. Some even offer beautiful views of the Reservoir – it really feels like you’re in the heart of cottage country. If you’re interested in making a reservation, you can do so by phone or online starting on March 1st. After that date, just click here and follow the instructions (online booking is available 24 hours a day). To book by phone, you can call toll-free 1-877-558-4722 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call early – it’s a popular place!
Green Acre Park in Waterloo
Green Acre Park is located in northwest Waterloo, quite close to the Laurel Creek Conservation Area. It features over 100 campsites, pools, and many amenities. You can get a look at the park on this handy, interactive map here. If you’re interested in making a reservation, simply click here. You can select date ranges [or flexible dates], type of site, equipment details, and any amenities you’ll be needing, and then you can pick from the available site locations. Once that’s done, you’ll get a description of the site, and an estimated price. Alternatively, you can simply contact them at (519) 885-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org (there’s an $8.50 charge for booking online, or a $10 charge for booking by phone).
Pioneer Sportsman Club in Kitchener
The Pioneer Sportsmen Club has a long history in Kitchener-Waterloo; it opened way back in 1929, when it was known as the ‘Waterloo County Fish and Game Protective Association.’ This club offers a wide range of activities, including archery, shooting, camping, hiking, and conservation, and it offers both indoor and outdoor facilities (depending on the activity). It’s located by the eastern side of the Grand River, in southeast Kitchener, and it has large, beautiful grounds. What better way to enjoy the terrain than by camping within it? Access to camping sites involves an annual membership, the rate for which ranges from $60 up, with additional fees for camping. The Pioneer Sportsman Club is a great option if you live in the area, and plan to spend a fair amount of time participating in the aforementioned activities (camping, fishing, canoeing the Grand River, etc.). Pricing information can be found here.
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So, there you have it! Just because Kitchener-Waterloo is a tech hub doesn’t mean you have to go very far to immerse yourself in the great outdoors! Whether you’re looking for something fun to do in the summer, or you’re in the midst of a snowy winter with nothing but a dream of spring, check out these great campsites (and their affiliated websites) and see which one floats your boat.
Written by Will Kummer