National & Provincial Parks in Ontario

Ontario is home to 5 National Parks, 2 National Marine Conservation Areas and 330 Provincial Parks. Below some of the more visited/destination parks are highlighted, but don’t miss out on nearby parks that can be explored for the day or a mini-getaway.

Quick Links:
Ontario’s 5 National ParksNational Marine Conservation AreasOntario Provincial ParksOntario Provincial Park CategoriesOntario Provincial Parks Operating Dates

Ontario’s 5 National Parks

Tobermorey / Bruce County
Visitor Centre – Shoreline Caves – Bouldering – Hiking – Camping – Canoeing/Kayaking –Swimming – Snowshoeing – Cross Country Skiing – Snowmobiling
> Located in the town of Tobermory, this dynamic visitor centre is the hub for Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park. This Visitor Centre a great place to start your adventure and plan your visit. Whether you’re exploring the park or travelling to other destinations in the region, the Visitor Centre staff can help provide timely and important information.
> The Grotto, near Tobermory, is a shoreline cave with beautiful blue waters. This unique natural wonder is a memorable place to experience, but it is also a very popular and busy location, especially during the peak season of July and August and on long weekends. At those times, the parking lot will fill up and you may not be able to access the Grotto. Good trip planning and being prepared is required to have the best visit possible.
> Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations. The shoreline boulders at Halfway Log Dump are the designated bouldering area in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Located on the scenic Georgian Bay shoreline, this is a unique bouldering experience in a beautiful and remote setting.
website / visitor centre google maps

Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada
Point Pelee National Park of Canada
Pukaskwa National Park of Canada
Thousand Islands National Park of Canada

Ontario’s 2 National Marine Conservation Areas

Fathom Five National Marine Park
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

Ontario Provincial Parks

The Ontario Parks system’s history begins in 1893 with the creation of Algonquin Park. Since then, it has expanded to 330 parks, that cover over 78,000 square kilometers (30,460 sq mi) of the province and about 10 percent of the surface area.

Ontario Provincial Park Categories

The Ontario Parks system divides the provincial parks into 6 categories to help you choose the best park for your trip:

. Recreational Class Park “typically have good beaches, many campgrounds and lots of outdoor recreation opportunities. Most recreation parks provide services that may include toilets and showers, laundromats, interpretive programmes, playgrounds, boat launch facilities, hiking trails and picnic tables.”(65 recreational class parks)

. Cultural Heritage Class Park “emphasize the protection of historical and cultural resources, in an outdoor setting.” (6 cultural heritage class parks)

. Natural Environment Class Park “protect the landscapes and special features of the natural region in which they are located, while providing ample opportunities for activities such as swimming and camping.” (80 natural environment class parks)

. Nature Reserve Class Park “are established to represent and protect the distinctive natural habitats and landforms of the province. These areas are protected for educational and research purposes. Due to the fragility of many of these natural features, only a few nature reserves are accessible to the public.” (109 nature reserve class parks)

. Waterway Class Park “are river corridors that provide canoeists with high-quality recreation and historical river travel.” (62 waterway class parks)

. Wilderness Class Park “are large areas left to nature where visitors may travel on foot or by canoe. Offering little if any facilities for visitors, these areas provide the solitude of an undisturbed, natural setting.” (8 wilderness class parks)

Ontario Provincial Parks Operating Dates

Ontario Parks posts an annual schedule of operating dates on their site. This schedules also includes what kind of access is available: Day Use, Winter Day Use, Camping / Overnight Use, Winter Overnight Use, Backcountry Camping. Click here for 2017 Operating Dates.

For more detailed park information, visit Parks Canada and Ontario Parks