Gaining experience with the Learn to Camp program

Today’s post comes from the family at — a family of four living in the GTA, looking for adventure whenever possible!

Our first learning experience on how to car camp was with the Ontario Parks Learn to Camp program a few years ago.

After this, we invested in camping equipment and have gone on many camping adventures at different Ontario Parks.

Camping has become an activity we love doing as a family.

Staying local

Fitting in a camping trip with teenagers and everyone’s busy summer schedule is only feasible for us because some of the parks are close to home!

This summer, we stayed for two nights at Earl Rowe Provincial Park, as it is only about an hour and a half from the Greater Toronto Area!

earl rowe
Earl Rowe Provincial Park

We loved that it didn’t take too long to get to the park and the atmosphere of the park surrounded by trees and lakes was fabulous — it was a much-needed getaway and a chance for all of us to rejuvenate.

Booking a Park Ambassador

Earl Rowe is one of the 15 provincial parks that offer the Learn to Camp Program.

During our camping experience, we registered for a free 30 minute one-on-one workshop with a Park Ambassador.

stuffed animals with brochure

This one-on-one workshop is available for anyone that has a car camping reservation at participating parks.

As a part of this program, they also have group workshops limited to visitors with a valid car camping reservation or day use permit on the day of the program at any of the participating parks.

If you want to learn more about visiting Ontario Parks, they also offer free online workshops open to everyone.

To book a Park Ambassador, click here, then select the Learn to Camp location you have chosen to camp at.

Choose an available time slot, register with your information and selection of a one-on-one course topic.

The workshops are a good opportunity to learn:

  • about Ontario Parks
  • about the kinds of animals that live in parks
  • how to cook while camping
  • how to build the perfect campfire
  • how to set up your campsite

We chose the session about learning how to cook while camping.

The same food you would prepare at home somehow tastes better when it is cooked outdoors!

Learning to cook outdoors

This session taught us about:

  • the tools we need
  • cooking methods
  • recipes to try
  • how to pack and store equipment
  • how to set up and use the cooking area
  • how to keep the cooking area clean and safe

Our ambassador, Megan, had a lot of knowledge, reminders, and tips to share.

baked potatoes on grill

She was very friendly and was able to answer all of our curious questions about cooking over the campfire and stove.

These workshops are not only useful to new campers, but also to anyone looking for a refresher.

Getting back to basics

It’s important that everyone camping and visiting Ontario Parks follows their best practices so all visitors can all have a safe and fun experience.

Knowing simple things such as how to clean your dishes, how to get rid of dirty water in the vault toilet, and throwing away garbage in the designated area to not attract animals is very important.

Park etiquette such as keeping noise levels down, keeping the sites clean, and putting out a campfire correctly may sound simple, but it is important that it is done correctly so we can all do our part to keep the campsites clean and safe for everyone.

We believe camping allows us to connect with nature, which is great for our physical and mental health.

Camping is a good way to create long-lasting memories, so make the time to experience this adventure with your loved-ones!