Ten locations to go tenting inside an hour of Hamilton

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Do you feel the pull of the great outdoors?

Pack the s’mores, Hamilton is the hub of many great overnight adventures – all just an hour’s drive from downtown.

Here are 10 places near the city to camp:

Lake Valens (1691 Regional 97 Rd., Cambridge)

The lake in the Valens nature reserve.The Hamilton Spectator

Located just 30 minutes from downtown, Valens Lake Campground has 225 sites and is managed by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. Electricity and water connections are available. Camping is available all year round – by reservation from April to October and subject to availability from November to March.

Fifty point (1479 Baseline Rd, Stoney Creek)

Charlene Nicholson fishes at the trout farm in the Fifty Point Conservation Area.The Hamilton Spectator

On the south shore of Lake Ontario and less than half an hour from downtown. It is the ideal spot for swimming, family camping or a picnic for groups of all sizes. Fifty Point has 70 fully serviced berths, is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority and has excellent marina facilities. Docking and camping packages are available, with camping open April through Thanksgiving.

  • The comfort station is equipped with individual and barrier-free showers, washrooms and laundry facilities. conservationhamilton.ca

Byng Nature Reserve (4969 County Road 20, Dunnville)

It is 50 minutes from downtown Hamilton. Byng Island has 380 campsites in four main campgrounds and is situated along the Grand River towards Lake Erie. The large conservation area also includes Caroline forests, wetlands and streams, and Canada’s largest outdoor swimming pool. There is a premium rate for some unserviced riverfront locations. grandriver.approx

Chiefswood campsite (1037 Landstrasse 54, Ohsweken)

On the edge of the Grand River on the Six Nations Reservation, Chiefswood Park offers tent, glamping or cabin camping for families. You can be there within 30 minutes.

Birley Gates campsite (142 West River Road, Paris)

Along the banks of the Grand River and less than an hour away. Birley Gates is primarily a tent campground in a park-like setting, offering families an oasis away from the city. Locations include a picnic table, fire pit, and hydro and water options.

  • Fishing, tubing and swimming – all with a view of the Three Sisters Bridge Piers. Trailer rental is available. www.birleygatescamping.com

Bronte Creek Provincial Park (3201 Upper Middle Road W, Oakville)

Hidden from view, it is half an hour from Hamilton. In fact, this provincial park is so close to home you could commute. At the north end of the park are four family campgrounds ranging from tents to large RVs. Note that the Burloak entrance is for daytime use only.

rattlesnake point (7200 Appleby Line, Milton)

Camping with 10 or more? With only 17 campsites, this Conservation Halton Park is perfect for large groups and is only 45 minutes’ drive away. Sitting on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, it undoubtedly offers some of the most inspiring views in the area, as well as a range of hiking opportunities. Climbing is offered. Camping is possible all year round, but washrooms and showers are closed in winter.

  • Rates range from $119 to $220 per night depending on site size, in addition to gate fees per person and a $10 registration fee. Reservations can be made by contacting [email protected] or 905-878-5011 ext. 1273.

Kelso (5234 Kelso Road, Milton)

Sleep under the stars and in the shade of the Escarpment. There are 22 sites in this Conservation Halton Park that offers family fun and adventure with access to hiking, boating, swimming, fishing and mountain biking. Open from April to the end of October for groups of 10 or more people.

  • As at Rattlesnake Point, camping is for groups of 10 or more and prices range from $119 to $220 per night, plus gate fees and registration. Contact [email protected] or 905-878-5011 ext. 1273 for reservations.

Cedars campsite (1039 5th Concession Street W., Hamilton)

Cedars is a proud LGBTQ camping community located 30 minutes from downtown on 130 pristine, partially forested acres on the Niagara bluff.

  • Self-service tent sites are $23 per person per night and include a fire pit and picnic table. cedarscampground.com

bingemans (425 Bingemans Center Dr., Kitchener)

If you’ve never camped before, Bingemans is for those looking to unwind while staying close to the action. It’s just under an hour from Hamilton and there’s something for everyone including a massive water park, miniature golf, beach volleyball, indoor playland, Grand River adventures and more. You can even order Camping Meal Boxes if you don’t want to cook.

  • Tent camping starts at $50 per night on weekdays and packages are available. bingemans.com

Camping Tips:

  • Do not bring wood to a campsite from other areas. Most sell firewood on site. This will help stop the bug infestation from spreading.
  • Don’t forget matches or a lighter. Newspaper is also a great campfire starter.
  • Put a tarp under your tent.
  • Bring insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • Think of a first aid kit, tape, rope and extra batteries for your flashlight.

  • Can’t find what you’re looking for in this list? Camping in Ontario, also known as the Ontario Private Campground Association (OPCA), is a handy resource. campinginontario.ca