Camping with the dog – seems like a logical fit. Who else in the family minds less sleeping on the ground, wandering stinky forest trails and peeing outside than your pup?
My dog Victor and I are giving it try in a few weeks – stay tuned for the results. That’s right, after years of travelling together we’ve never been tent camping. (Well, he has but with someone else).
Why are we tent camping? Because at Ontario Provincial Parks, dogs can’t stay in roofed accommodations like cottages and yurts (check out our adventures at Arrowhead Provincial Park).
However … that’s not true at many Canadian National Parks.
Parks Canada recently adjusted some regulations concerning dogs stays in oTENTiks, no doubt in response to demand. What’s an oTENTiks? Picture the love child of a tent and an A-framed cabin. Leave the gear at home – oTENTiks are complete with furniture, beds, dishes, cleaning stuff a and raised floor. Bring your own bedding.
Yes, you can stay at a National Park with your dog! To celebrate, we’re offering a contest.
First, where can you camp with my dog in Canada? Here’s where you and your pup can experience some Great White North outdoor adventure:
1. Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
If you dream of exploring prairie grasslands where bison once roamed in droves and don’t want to pitch a tent, you’re in luck. Located near the Montana border, Grasslands National Park is one of the largest protected prairie regions along the 49th parallel. It’s divided into two blocks – West Frenchman Valley Campground and East Rock Creek Campground – and there’s now one pet-friendly unit in each.
2. Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario
Finally, two of the five oTENTiks at the mainland Mallorytown Landing (units 3B and 3E) at Thousand Islands National Park are pet-friendly. That’s new since I toured the islands with my pup and stayed on houseboat – one of my favourite dog-friendly trips yet. Victor loved the islands. However, you’ll need a boat to get to any of the 24 islands designated as national parks, and there’s still no dog-friendly oTENTiks on any of them.
3. Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
Arguably, the most pet-friendly on the list, Kejimkujik National Park – or Keji to locals – has many accommodations for you and your pup. Three oTENTiks are designated ‘pet friendly,’ plus dogs are welcome in any of four rustic cabins and one specific yurt. Many accommodations have wood stoves. This park also has the greatest diversity of reptiles and amphibians in Atlantic Canada and is home to ancient petroglyphs and Mi’kmaq culture. Trails in the back country are open to dogs too.
4. Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick
Love bogs, lagoons, salt marshes and 25 km of white sand dunes? Then Kouchibourguac National Park might be the experience for you – and your dog. Two oTENTiks are dog-friendly (ask for #75 or #82) and located at the South Kouchibouguac Campground close to the beaches and 60 km of the park trails.
5. Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland
Good news. There are five oTENTiks at Terra Nova National Park available for dogs, four in Newman Sound and one at Malady Head. But your visit will be impacted by the fact Fido isn’t allowed on either the beach or boardwalk at Sandy Pond, near the visitor’s centre.
6. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
If I ever get to Newfoundland and Labrador with my crazy terrier, I’m staying here. And not only because Gros Morne National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage site with one of the world’s best examples of continental drift creating the province’s second tallest mountain and freshwater fjord. But because there’s a new dog park as part of the upgrades to the Berry Hill Campground.
The park might be necessary, however, because dogs are not permitted on Gros Morne Mountain (even on a leash). Apparently, they stress wildlife. On the flip side, the new Berry Hill rustic cabins (no running water) with furniture and wooden covered porches all allow pets.
7. Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta
Brace for something different: you and your pup can camp like a trapper – without the trapping, of course – at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site (rather than National Park). According to Parks Canada, you can immerse yourself in the trapper lifestyle. Camping fee includes a Fur Trade Camp Kit: bison hide, period cooking kit and utensils, blow tube and flint/steel fire-starting kit, bannock mix, trapper’s tea, spices, oil and soap. The tipis, trappers’ tents and even the trap-line cabins are all pet friendly.
Interested in more information about Canadian National Parks? Checkout these useful guides:
- National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada (affiliate link)
- National Geographic Guide to the National Historic Sites of Canada (affiliate link)
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria.
[…] my pup this fall is in the plans, but I’m not yet certain where. I do know it will be in a dog-friendly oTENTik because that’s what made the Kejmkujik experience for me. The oTENTik and the beauty of […]
Great article our dogs love camping. The Ontario
Provincial park at Mikisew has an awesome dog beach to boot.
Good to know – I’d love to check it out.
A new take on camping, glamping. Maybe we will try this one on a weekend getaway.
thanks for the information
[…] are in the day-use zone. Otherwise, Chutes park has 130 campsites, two with RV pull-throughs, no roofed accommodations (not dog-friendly at provincial parks anyway), a comfort station with five showers and two […]
I hope you and Victor love camping! We’ve taken Nelly a few times in the Adirondacks and she enjoyed herself. We haven’t gone with all 3 dogs though because Sophie and Theo both bark a lot when they are on alert. It wouldn’t be fair to the other campers or wildlife.
I honestly can’t remember what we did with our dogs when we went on vacations when I was a child. If I had a dog now, I’d love to go places where I could take him.
Oh, I cannot wait to hear how your camping trip went! I have never gone camping in a tent…have in an RV and enjoyed that, so I’m thinking glamping would be for me! You have some great places listed to go visit!
I love your country. Such gorgeous locations and I really need to visit (and get a dog to come with me!!!) A lovely post, you would have me rushing to camp if i was closer!
This looks like so much fun! We have never been camping with the pups, and we’re also in Ontario but would also travel. I must admit, I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to ‘traditional’ camping- I’m afraid of coming face-to-face with a bear!
Oooooh, exciting!!! We’re not far from you, in Ontario, and we haven’t been camping with our pups!
Thank you for sharing all these resources; we will definitely look them over. I admit to being a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to camping – only because of the possibility of bears!!!
That certainly takes camping with dogs to the next level 🙂
I’m not one much for camping since I’m not a fan of outdoor activities. The mosquitoes like me too much! I don’t have a dog however these are great options for dog owners who like camping, or in this case glamping. It’s a great idea to try and bring your pet along.
I’m so not an outdoorsy person. Usually when I think of camping I think of the old fashioned pitch tent however this glamping version sounds much better. It’s great you can include your dogs too. I wish I was a fan of the outdoors but i hate mosquitoes too much and bug repellent doesn’t work for me! LOL Thanks for sharing all these options for campers with dogs.
I think glamping might be the way I take at least one of my dogs camping. Those look like amazing spots – I’m jealous of Canadians anyways for so many other reasons so I’ll throw this onto the pile.
I’m starting to think glamping is the only way to camp.
I love exploring national parks but have not been camping for years. Those oTENTiks sound like an easier option than lugging and setting up. The Thousand Islands are gorgeous and the other places sound great and nice they seem to be getting slightly more dog friendly. Don’t think Kilo the Pug would enjoy camping or exploring much as he doesn’t even like going to the local park and likes to sleep in his own bed or hog ours.
A dog who loves exploring woods and stinky stuff like my dog would love it. Yurts are much better than lugging tents: however, provincial parks have no dog-friendly yurts and cottages – only national parks do. Odd.
I’m not sure we’ll ever make it to Canada, but we love camping! So far we’ve only done tent camping with the dogs, although I’m interested in glamping for the first time. I think it’d be so much fun to stay in a yurt!
I think in Canada camping at some point in your life is mandatory. (Provincial parks even give lessons to new Canadians).
Yurts and cabins and safari tents <3 Okay, now you have us wanting to check out ALL of these places with our pups. I love staying in unique, rustic lodging like the ones you reference here. When are we going??
Some parks are closer than others. Some are challenging to get to like those in Newfoundland.
I am so happy parks are finally opening up to dogs as it makes our lives so much easier. I have not been camping with Layla but with Baby I did and she used to sleep in the tent with no problem, actually for me it is the only way to camp – tents and roughing it.
Somehow I feel if I can learn to tent camp I can survive anything..
So glad to hear that some Canadian parks are increasing dog friendly camping options. I can understand why pups aren’t allowed on some trails due to wildlife, but it seems silly not to allow them in roofed structures. Can’t wait to hear how you like the oTENTiks.
The National Parks seem to be more dog-friendly. None of the provincial parks (in Ontario) have dog-friendly yurts or cottages.
I just went fishing in Ontario! Beautiful country there. I was curious about bringing my dog in the future, as I saw some dogs out on the other fishing boats.
oTENTiks sound really neat, I would be willing to try one sometime with my dog.
In the past, when I had 3 dogs, we would go camping at the Wellsboro Grand Canyon in Pennsylvania.. lots of trails to enjoy, camping, and canoeing.
I’m reasonable close to Pennsylvania … that’s likely where I’m headed next this summer.
Awesome post! We’re looking to do some more Canadian travel and being able to take the pup with us would seriously make our trips even better!
Because my little guy is older and needs medication and attention, it’s likely I will have to take him with me from now on.
no i have never camped with my dogs. i have been to dog shows and stayed on the floor of an rv for the week, which to me is like camping. not sure my 2 gals would like camping. they are indoor girls and very pampered. however, they do like to run and chase animals with me on the leash. i think if i did not have them tied to me, they would take off. i have always wanted to go to Canada, it is such a beautiful county.
We’ve taken Mr. N camping in Oregon twice. Washington is next on our list!
We have not camped yet but would love too, ours would have alot of distractions to get used too
Great post! We love Thousand Islands National Park! In the eight years that our dogs have been in the family, we have only ever camped in the backyard. Our blind girl doesnt do well in tents 😉 We’re taking them to the Adirondacks in July. Wish us luck!