In the tradition of the African safari camp, the Mongolian desert yurt, Indigenous teepees or the gold prospector’s tent, today’s growing trend of glamping invites you to experience the starry skies, crackling campfires and splendid nature of a camping trip without compromising on comfort or style.
Here are 11 amazing places to glamp in Ontario, each paired with a local libation (because your standard cooler fare just won’t cut it here).
Elements Luxury Tented Camps and Nature Spa, Renfrew
Formally a theme park, this wilderness oasis in the Ottawa Valley is now a glamping resort with ideal natural spaces for yoga, hiking, massage and mediation. Relax in spacious canvas tents with mini-heaters and eco-toilets stocked with all-natural products. Your accommodation even comes with a ‘wilderness butler’ who is at your service 24-7.
Drink Pairing: Celebrate the energy and spirit of Ottawa River’s white water rapids with a couple award-winning craft beers from Whitewater Brewing Co. in nearby Cobden.
Outpost Co. Luxury Camping, Lake Obabika
Indulge your inner pioneer! Tucked away in the heart of Temagami (‘deep water’ in Ojibway) on Lake Obabika, and surrounded by ancient white pine forests and big skies, this exclusive camp is only accessible by float plane. The totally private, wall-to-wall carpeted safari-style tents are built on raised platforms and offer spectacular views, not to mention everything you’ll need for ultimate chill, including a private chef. Outpost Co. prides itself in offering the ultimate unplugged experience, open to just 48 guests per year.
Drink Pairing: Granted not local, the wine menu on site features an excellent selection of international vintages, including Niagara’s Union Wines and Cave Springs.
Harmony Outdoor Inn, Parry Sound
This waterfront B&B on the Seguin River offers a host of activities to connect you with nature, from sunrise yoga to hiking, paddling or biking. There are also shaded hammocks by the water if that’s your interpretation of zen. The accommodations include rustic-chic tents in the woodland with hypo-allergenic pillows and cedar lined outdoor showers.
Drink Pairing: Share a toast around the campfire and make your sundowner a cocktail inspired by this amazing place – a Georgian Bay Vodka or Gin Smash from Georgian Bay Spirit Co.
Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, Grafton
Embrace Ontario’s wilderness in a terrycloth robe while enjoying boutique-quality comforts in the rolling hills of Northumberland County. The tented digs are designed with a nod to Canada’s prospecting past and scattered throughout the property, each with private views of the spring-fed ponds and forest. You’ll love the ensuite washrooms with soaker tubs, mood lighting, luxurious linens and towels, and Muskoka chairs on the deck.
Drink Pairing: Pop over to Hinterland in nearby Prince Edward County for some Ancestral Rosé sparkling wine – fruity, neon-pink, bliss in a glass.
Nature’s Harmony, Mattawa
Located where the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers meet, Mattawa actually means ‘Meeting of the Waters’ in Algonquin. Set in the forest overlooking the Laurentian Mountains, you’ll sleep well in a warm and cozy traditional Yurt, hand-made in Mongolia and assembled at the camp.
Drink Pairing: Given the total seclusion of this place, it seems fitting to go with the Clothing Optional IPA from New Ontario Brewing in North Bay.
Texas Longhorn Guest Ranch, Strathroy
Channel the spirit of the west! Cowboys and cowgirls are invited to a slice of Texas ranch life in Southwestern Ontario’s Middlesex County, just west of London. Saddle up for a horseback trail ride or simple chill by the pool. What makes this experience unique is where you’ll sleep – your own private covered wagon, tastefully decorated with soft linens on a queen bed. And you’ll recount your day on the ranch roasting marshmallows on a personal fire pit outside.
Drink Pairing: Fresh country air deserves an equally clean and salt-of-the-earth beer. Visit nano-brewery Curley Brewing Company in London for some totally natural, completely flavourful, vegan ales.
Long Point Eco Adventures, St. Williams
Amazing things are happening in Norfolk County, and Long Point Eco Adventures is one of them. Overlooking Long Point Bay and neighbouring Long Point Biosphere, this property serves up excitement from zip lining and canopy touring to kayaking, mountain biking and stargazing. Inspired by their adventures in Africa, the owners created fifteen Wilderness Suites, each fitted with an indoor washroom, outdoor shower, hardwood floors and a private deck. You’ll also be treated to a hot buffet breakfast and an activities concierge.
Drink Pairing: A bottle of Kiln Hanger, the flagship red at Burning Kiln Winery, located a short walk up the road from Long Point Eco Adventures. Described as a ‘powerhouse that is equal to bold cheeses, rib eye steaks, dark chocolate and cigars’, this wine is a fitting companion to your Hemingway-esque adventure.
Fronterra Farm Camp and Brewery, Consecon
Combine deluxe comfort with simple, self-sufficient, bucolic farm life at Fronterra Farm Camp and Brewery in Ontario’s darling Prince Edward County. Pick your own fresh vegetables and dine under the stars before retiring to one of ten enchanting Canadiana log-framed prospector tents with ensuite bathrooms, heated outdoor showers, big cozy beds and rustic wood floors.
Drink Pairing: Heirloom hops-and-malt barley beer brewed onsite, likely served in a mason jar. Can’t get more local.
Spirit Island Adventures, Manitoulin Island
Explore the rich culture and natural beauty of Manitoulin Island. This is the traditional home of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi Indigenous Peoples whose story goes back centuries. A tour with Great Spirit Circle Trail to learn more about the history and culture of the island is a must. Complete your stay in authentic teepees furnished with king-sized beds, buffalo hides and furs.
Drink Pairing: A Bridal Veil Pale Ale, from Manitoulin Brewing Co, best enjoyed after hiking the Bridal Veil Falls Trail.
WildExodus Adventures, Timmins
Let WildExodus guide you down ancient canoe routes on Kenogamissi Lake into the 60 million year old Canadian Boreal forest. And then enjoy pampered accommodations deep in the wilderness. Stay in a luxury prospector’s tent complete with white linen dining by candle light.
Drink Pairing:Full Beard Brewing is putting Timmins on the craft beer map, and their Bearded Prospector cream ale is a fitting accompaniment to your digs.
Moonlight Glamping, Elora
The beauty of this experience is that luxury is brought to you. Just book a camp site in one of Grand River’s eight parks and these glamping curators will set up your suite. Choose a fully furnished canvas bell tent or a cozy tipi tent. Add-ons include a moonlight yoga session.
Drink Pairing: Flexibility is key to this experience, so here are a few beverage options: try the Cherry Bomb Moonshine bottled in a mason jar from Murphy’s Law in Elmira or head to Grand Spirits Distillery for prohibition-style Grand Valley Gold Single Malt or Exotic Botanical Gin. And if craft beer is more your thing, Elora Brewing Co. invites you to the heart of downtown Elora to sample all they have on tap.
Photo Credit: Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat