When Bingemans Camping and Resort first opened in 1938 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Dr. Bingeman, a veterinarian, envisioned a pastoral retreat and hobby farm where city folk could unwind.
Three generations later, the multi-use amusement park and conference facility boasting a campground, waterpark and bowling alley is one of the biggest summer attractions in the city and run by the third generation of Bingemans.
The best part?
The campground (but not cabins or yurts) is dog-friendly. If you’re with the dog, your option is tents on a campsite, some as large as 30 to 40 feet and designated one per group of up to six (four adults) and one vehicle.
“We’ve had no dog issues,” Mark Bingeman, President of Bingemans Camping Resort, says. “But we don’t get many weekenders camping with dogs. Mostly it’s people travelling for days or weeks and stopping here for a longer stay who will have dogs with them.”
The usual rules apply: dogs must be on a leash and you must pick up after your dog. “There are no leash-free zones at the campground,” Bingeman says, “but our 170 acre complex borders the Grand River and conservation areas which have many kilometres of hiking trails, in addition to the trails on our property.”
For the most part, Bingeman emphasized common sense should prevail. “Be respectful of others, with or without a dog. People come here to rest, relax and unwind so be courteous to those around you.”
Has there been an increase in campers travelling with dogs recently?
“Not really,” he says. It’s still a small part of the Bingemans clientele. “But what I have seen increase is the number of dog events. For the first time this year, a group booked the convention building for a dog festival, there’s been dog shows and group dog walks on the property.”
Also, the Kitchener Waterloo Human Society hosts an annual fundraiser at Bingemans that allows dogs to play in the waterpark after it closes on Labour Day. “Of course, then we clean and sanitize it at the end of the season,” he adds.
5 camping suggestions from Bingemans Camping Resort for all would-be campers (with or without dogs):
Pack for the season. Evenings are chilly, especially early summer. Pack a warm sweater, pants, jacket and appropriate footwear, and maybe a sweater for Fido too. A warm sleeping bag is an asset, as are pyjamas. Also, pack sunscreen, shorts and flip-flops, a hat — and don’t forget the bug spray. Check out Head of the Herd all-in-one pet spray.
Plan your meals. Bacon and eggs is a great camping breakfast, but so is a bowl of cereal. Bring some peanut butter, hot dogs, burgers, or veggie versions too. Canned vegetables and potatoes are easy but don’t forget the can opener.
For the dog, here’s where all those small sample packs of dried dog food come in handy: bring one or two for each day you’re away and equal number of wet food one portion tubs such as Zoe’s Tempting Trios – pull the lid and doggie dinner is served.
Bring utensils. Food is great, but you need something to eat it with. Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives are essential, but often overlooked. Scissors are handy, and pots and pans are a necessity. (Check out what I forgot on a houseboat adventure).
Chill out. Perishable food needs to stay chilled. Invest in a good cooler with ample space. Pack it with heavier, rigid items on the bottom – delicate food, like eggs, near the top. Leave space for the ice, and pour it over everything. Good thing about individual portion dog food: no need to cool before opening.
Start a fire. Camping isn’t camping without a campfire, but starting one can be frustrating. First, make yourself a starter. Bring from home a paper towel tube stuffed with dryer lint (very flammable). Next, get your wood. Use smaller pieces as kindling to help get the fire started, and then build a pyramid around the flame with the bigger pieces. Remember to extinguish the flames before your call it a night. Keep the dog away from blowing cinders.
Light it up. Night is dark, very dark. Bring a flashlight and extra batteries. Mark a path to your tent with glow sticks, or use them to alert passersby to tent stakes and strings that may be a tripping hazard.
Camping in the U.S.? Check out Bring Fido’s Ruff Guide: 365 of the Best Places to Stay and Play with Your Dog here on Amazon.