The skyscrapers, fast paced lifestyle, and jam-packed social calendars can be overwhelming for Torontonians. Lucky for them (or you), TO is surrounded by lush, diverse, and tranquil natural wonderlands. Treat your colleagues, bachelor(ette) party, or student group to a well-deserved wilderness retreat. Rent a minibus, mini coach bus, coach bus, or school bus and head out on the Trans Canada Highway to the campsite of your dreams. Below you’ll find tips for renting Toronto camping charter buses, as well as of our favorite spots to pitch a tent.
If you are camping with a small group, it may not make financial sense to rent an entire bus. Instead, you could consider renting out a sprinter van for you and your guests. With a sprinter van, you have the option of hiring a chauffeur or driving the van yourself. Bus.com offers sprinter van rentals in Toronto.
Tips for camping by charter bus
Know where to park your bus rental
Check with a park official to find out where you should park and load your bus. You may need to hike to your destination from a drop off point, but that trek can be part of the fun. It’s just important that you know ahead of time so that you can schedule accordingly. Most of the parks below are managed by Ontario Parks. Park officials can provide detailed instructions for charter bus parking.
Pack to hike
Hiking to camp may seem like a hurdle, but if you’re prepared you’ll feel pretty accomplished when you finally get to crack a beer, roast a smore, and relax. Make sure you pack for travel by foot. Get a good backpack and a solid pair of boots. Leave the flip flops in the bag. And while you’re on the bus take time to stretch so you’re nimble and ready to trek.
Rent a bus with luggage space
Minibus, mini coach bus, coach bus, school bus—there are multiple bus types available to rent in Ontario. Whichever you choose, make sure you have enough space for camping gear. The coach bus has a large undercarriage that’s perfect for tents. Remember, it’s illegal and dangerous to store luggage and equipment in the aisles of a charter bus.
Book airport pickup
If you’re flying to Pearson or Billy Bishop for your Ontario nature adventure, charter a bus to meet your group at the airport and drive you straight to the campground. Drivers are used to this kind of trip and Bus.com booking specialists can help you fit airport pickup into your travel itinerary.
Best Group Campsites near Toronto
Close to Barrie and two hours from Toronto, Bass Lake is accessible by charter bus from multiple departure points. The lake is best known for bass fishing and sandy beaches. Campgrounds are comfortable, with full washrooms and showers close by. Up to 60 people can use their group sites and benefit from kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats.
There’s a reason why Sandbanks is the most popular camping destination in Ontario. Its white sand dunes along Lake Ontario stand out as an almost tropical oasis in the middle of Canada. Two and a half hours from Toronto, the campsites are bit on the rustic side, but all the comforts of home are close by. While you’re there, visit Picton, a town in Prince Edward County famous for its bougie spas, vineyards, ice wine, and goats cheese. 30-50 people can use these grounds.
Known for its bird watching and children’s activities, Bronte Creek is great for family reunions and school trips. Bronte campsites can accommodate up to 25 people, and supply a quiet, radio-free space that’s perfect for bonding. Just one hour from Toronto, visit Bronte for a weekend or a quick picnic.
For small groups of 15 to 20 people who don’t want to travel more than an hour from Toronto, Sibbald Point offers a simple, quiet, rustic camping experience and sandy beach on Lake Simcoe. It’s also home to the graveyard where Canadian literary giants like Stephen Butler Leacock and Mazo de la Roche lie in rest. Take in the settlers’ cabins and Eildon Hall Museum while you’re there. But watch out for wild turkeys! They roam freely.
From rustic to fully-equipped, Christie Lake offers a wide range of group campgrounds for different levels of campers. It’s close to Hamilton and only an hour from Toronto. Big groups of 75 to 150 people can take advantage of the grounds. In the same trip, enjoy a visit to Niagara Falls and the Christies Antique and Vintage Show.
The campsites at Awenda are placed further apart than any other Ontario Provincial Park, so you know you’re in for privacy when you head 2.5 hours towards the Georgian Bay. Awenda is very close to Kettle Lake which is motorboat free and perfect for canoes. Campgrounds come with a firepit and can accommodate 20-40 people.
The descriptions of Grundy Lake all include the words “backcountry,” so you can imagine the kinds of conditions campers should expect. 3.5 hours from Toronto, Grundy is remote and perfect for folks looking for a true escape from the city. Hop into a canoe and tour the lake’s network of beaver dams or quietly watch the loons in their natural habitat. Groups of 15 to 60 people can benefit from Grundy Lake group campsites.
We’ve saved the best for last on this list. Rock Point has it all: sand dunes, willow trees, beaches, Monarch butterflies, a coral reef fossil that’s 350 million years old, and, best of all, flush toilets! Charter a coach bus in Toronto and head 2.5 hours towards Lake Erie for a dynamic but comfortable retreat. Group campsites at Rock Point can accommodate up to 40 people and are perfect for company team-building trips.
While you’re in the area…
If you’re coming to the Toronto area from away or you’re looking to get to know your Ontario better, camping is a great way to get in touch with your surroundings. While you’re exploring, why not add another stop to your itinerary? We recommend crowd-pleaser Toronto destinations like the Ontario Science Centre, the Toronto Zoo, and the Rogers Centre.