An Algonquin Provincial Park Family Camping Adventure

Gorgeous scenery, spectacular paddling and interesting (and surprising) vegetation make this huge provincial park an adventure for all ages.

Camping for me is as stereotypically Canadian as beavers and thick-sliced bacon. As an avid camper of more than 40 years, I’ve done my fair share of wilderness tenting, camping in pop-up trailers, travel trailers and even 5th-wheel RVs. It's in my blood and a pursuit I would never dream of giving up. Besides the fact, Ontario boasts some of the best camping around.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of camping in every province of Canada, in every conceivable type of campground. I’ve concluded that provincial parks are the way to go, and I’ve camped in perhaps the most beautiful provincial parks our country has to offer. My favourite camping trip to a provincial park was a 3-day family trip to Algonquin Park. What a glorious trip it was from start to finish!

On the Road to Algonquin Park

It was a glorious sunny June morning as we pulled out from my home in the Nation’s Capital, heading up the Ottawa Valley towards Highway 60, which brings you to Algonquin Park. We entered Whitney on the Park’s east side, approximately 3 hours later, with Rock Lake Campground located another 20 minutes inside the park entrance.

A white truck towing a large white RV camper, parked in a residential driveway. It is surrounded in lush summer greenery under a blue sky.
Never happier than when I'm getting ready for a camping trip—preparing to head out to Algonquin Provincial Park.

Algonquin Provincial Park

With over 7500 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, Algonquin is synonymous with wilderness getaways and camping adventures. With a dozen established campgrounds within the park itself and thousands of other wilderness tenting opportunities, Algonquin is a true camping mecca. For this trip, I went with the Park’s popular Rock Lake Campground, since I was using my 26-foot Forest River travel trailer and wanted an electric hookup. I booked the trip in February, 4 months earlier though the Ontario Parks Website at approximately $50/night which, I felt, was a bargain considering many private campgrounds are $100+/night. My wife and two daughters would join us on this family camping adventure.

Algonquin RV-Specific Services

Many folks prefer the comforts of camping in an RV and will find plenty of opportunities at Algonquin Park. Several more developed campgrounds are suitable for RVs; however, some campsites may be too small to accommodate larger trailers. When reserving your spot at one of these developed campsites, be sure to indicate the use of RV and trailer size: (e.g. van/camper, up to 5.4 metres [18 feet], up to 9.7 metres [32 feet], over 9.7 metres [32 feet]). Electrical outlets are required by most RVs and larger trailers. Campsites with electricity and water are available at several drive-to campgrounds within Algonquin Park: Canisbay Lake Campground, Lake of Two Rivers Campground, Mew Lake Campground, Pog Lake Campground and Rock Lake Campground all offer camping services for larger RVs. For more information on RV camping visit the Algonquin Park website.

a camper set up at Rock Lake campground; a tidy, densly forested campground with a dirt base
Rock Lake Campground is just one of 11 campgrounds in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Rock Lake Campground

Rock Lake is an absolutely beautiful campground with a nice mix of tent and RV sites positioned on, or very close to, the glistening waters of Rock Lake. Our site offered 30 A electrical hookup, was wooded and just a short walk to the lake. Rock Lake is well-named for its abundance of exposed bedrock and limestone, offering a beautifully rugged glimpse into this unique corner of Algonquin Park.

A map of Rock Lake Campground and area a map of Rock Lake Campsite at Algonquin Provincial Park

Activities at Algonquin Provincial Park

a pitcher plant; a low-growing, bright green plant with a star-like bouquet of overlapping cup-shaped leaves. a sundew plant; short, delicate stems of green and red growing among moss.
The incredible (and carnivorous!) Pitcher Plant and Sundew can be found in bogs in Algonquin Provincial Park.

During our stay in Algonquin Park, we visited the popular Park sights including the famous Fire Tower trail located just outside Whitney, offering spectacular views across Sunday Valley. We also walked other nearby nature trails along Highway 60 in search of rare marsh and bog flora and fauna. In one particular bog, we discovered two rare carnivorous plant species: the Pitcher Plant and the Sundew. I also kept one eye out for lingering Canada moose, a popular park visitor, but none would appear on this trip. I had seen moose often in the past along the highway and feeding in the marshes.

Algonquin Logging Museum

Perhaps the highlight of my camping experience at Algonquin Park was our tour of the Algonquin Logging Museum. Our museum tour demonstrated the importance of the Park’s logging history, from the early square timber days to modern practices. It began with a video presentation followed by an informative 1.5 km trail walk, a ‘camboose’ camp and a steam-powered amphibious tug called an "alligator" were all on display. It was a beautiful family stroll through the past!

Canoeing on Rock Lake

Rock Lake; a smooth brown rocky lake shore covered in green pine trees and an expanse of very blue lake water under a bright blue sky.
The beauty of Algonquin Park is best celebrated with a canoe ride.

One must-do activity while camping anywhere in Algonquin Park is canoeing. Perhaps the most common spring-to-fall recreational activity you can do; canoeing is also one of my favourite pastimes. Splitting up in two of my trusty 14’ Sportspal canoes, my wife and I had one daughter in each canoe. Sportspals are awesome canoes for camping adventures in Algonquin. They are rugged, light and extremely stable with foam ‘stabilizing’ sponsons running along each gunnel. Rock Lake is a beautiful lake for canoeing with spectacular scenery, and with a surface area of 5 sq km, it’s the perfect size for smaller watercraft.

Booth's Rock Trail

Another enjoyable tour we did while camping at Rock Lake was the 5 km Booth’s Rock Trail. This fun and slightly challenging nature trail begins one kilometre south of the Rock Lake Campground. The trail meanders around two other small lakes, climbs to the top of a large cliff called Booth's Rock, drops down the far side of the lookout and then curls back to where we started. Booth's Rock Trail offered amazing views of Rock and Whitefish Lakes, as well as the surrounding landscape.

Algonquin Park Final Word

Packing up the trailer and heading for home on our final day was bittersweet. My family and I had a wonderful time exploring Algonquin Provincial Park and its surroundings. With 11 more campgrounds yet to explore within the Park’s borders, we will surely return. For more information on camping at Algonquin Provincial Park visit the Ontario Parks website or the Official Website of The Friends of Algonguin Park.

About Jeff Morrison

Jeff Morrison is an award-winning outdoor writer, book author, and nationally-syndicated newspaper and magazine columnist.

Recommended Articles

The Complete 2024 List of RV Shows in Ontario

Add these RV events to your calendar.

Marten River Provincial Park Bucket List Trip!

The sights, the sites, the water and hikes — this park isn't one to be missed.

Why I'm Glad I Went RVing at Killarney Provincial Park

Whether the rugged Ontario landscape inspires you to paint, hike, paddle or just enjoy, this park is a must-visit.

RV Sites in Ontario: The Ultimate Guide

A comprehensive list of where to book an RV site across the province!

A Father-Son Historical Bonding Trip to Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

From RVers to Voyageurs at this park that offers more.

Why Everyone Will be Boondocking in Ontario This Summer

Camping off-grid in your RV is a great way to beat the crowds.

KOA Campgrounds in Northern Ontario

So You Want to Buy an RV?

One lifelong RV owner breaks down the tips and tricks for finding the best vehicle to suit your needs.

An RV adventure in Algoma Country

An epic RV road trip along the north shore of Lake Superior

The 10 Best RV Itineraries in Ontario

Bucket list trips to destinations all across the province.

RVing in Pukaskwa National Park

Hiking, a suspension bridge, beach views, and more!

7-Day RV Road Trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park

Experienced RVer Jacob Sandler tells us his ideal itinerary for a 7-day trip from London to Lake Superior.

5 Tips on How to Go Full Time Remote Work With Your RV

From Starlink to bullet journals and making friends along the way—find your inspiration here!

Go RVing Canada: Your one-stop shop for RV info

A complete guide to recreational vehicles

The Complete List of RV Dealers in Ontario

Looking to buy an RV in Ontario? Start here!

Got Wanderlust?

Book your summer 2023 vacation early with this Airbnb for RV rentals.

Chutes Provincial Park Aces the Family RV Test

Great parks make great camping memories.

Looking to enjoy the RV life and get paid to do it?

Check out our guide to work camping. Job perks include fishing, campfires and gorgeous sunsets.

Betcha Can't Go Just Once

The irresistible lure of Muskoka's Arrowhead Provincial Park

RV Tour of Algoma Country

Enjoy the majesty of the north on this loop