October 27, 2020

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

Looking to go tent camping, but don't want to venture too far from the city? Check out Albion Hills Conservation Area - one hour north of Toronto in Caledon, Ontario.

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

Earlier this month, we had the genius (and last minute) idea to go for a fall tent camping trip. As a first for our new family of five (yes, Bear counts as a family member), we wanted to choose some place close to home in case it was an epic fail. After scouring the provincial parks within an 1.5 hour drive and discovering they were all booked up, I remembered there are also local conservation areas that offer camping. So, just an hour from home, Albion Hills Conservation Area it was.

Set in the hills of Caledon on the banks of the Humber River, Albion Hills campground offers dramatic scenery, exciting activities and excellent facilities, just an hour north of Toronto! 

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

We packed up the car Saturday morning, and hit the road. Check in was at 2pm, so we weren't in any rush to get there. 

When I booked on line earlier that week, the selection was limited. I picked a spot that seemed decent, but with no photos to look at, I didn't really know what we were getting. Turns out, there was a reason that spot (#22) was not booked - it was essentially on the side of the road, with no tree cover. Completely exposed, and that was not what we wanted for the impending rain storm. So, we went back to the main office to see if there were any other sites available. Turns out, it didn't hurt to ask - we got a new site just around the corner, with enough cover to put up a tarp and keep us dry. The spot we ended up taking (Humberside #79), was also along the Humber River, with path access, so the girls had fun walking around in their boots, looking for frogs. I will admit, the site didn't have a ton of privacy BUT, for one night of camping, that was ok by us. 

After the skies cleared and the sun came out, we went for a walk around the other campsites. While closed for whatever reason (assuming either covid or because the season was winding down, we didn't ask), Poplar Circle looked to be the best tent camping sites, and ones we will remember when and if we decide to go back next year. 

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

With plans to hike the next morning, we took is pretty easy that afternoon, sitting around the fire, reading books, playing with Bear, looking for frogs and eating our favourite camping meal - hot dogs and beans (with some cold Ontario brews for mom and dad, of course). 

After a few toasted marshmallows, it was off to bed... for all of us. I guess that's the thing when you're tent camping with little ones. When they go to bed, so do you. Or at least that was our case - making an exit from the tent is not so easy. 

Check this out >> Whether you're going camping or for a hike with the kids, check out our Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt. (Download for free and print at home for your next outdoor adventure.)

I won't lie, it was pretty chilly. While Bear was perfectly content (and probably slept the best out of all of us), I spent the majority of the night making sure Berks wasn't too cold. Her and I were sharing a sleeping bag, and on a good night at home, she is not a fan of covers. 

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

We woke up to a layer of frost, and after a quick and chilly breakfast, we decided to abandon our hiking plans, pack up and head home. An hours' drive from Toronto, we can always go back. 

A note about the fire pits - If you are used to camping at an Ontario Provincial Park, you will be used to a metal pit, often with a grate for cooking. At Albion Hills, that was not the case. Instead, it was essentially a large hole in the ground. The sides of the pit were fairly sloped, so I was worried to have the girls sit too close, for fear they would lean in their chairs and fall forward into the fire. A little disappointing, but also glad I brought our portable camp stove, pots and pans as backup because they came in handy for cooking dinner!

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

Albion Hills has 234 serviced and unserviced sites, with some pull-through sites for RVs.

Overnight rates are extremely reasonable at $37.50 + HST per night (unserviced) and $43.00 + HST per night (serviced - 30 AMP hydro service and water).  Booking fees do apply. More information can be found on the website, here. 

If you plan to go, here are some items you may want to bring:
  • Tent (This is similar to the one we have.)
  • Sleeping bags (Here is the sleeping bag our daughter uses.)
  • Air mattress (with battery-operated pump)
  • Ground sheet (for under tent)
  • Tarp with string (in case it rains)
  • Camp chairs (These are the chairs our kids use.)
  • Camping stove with fuel
  • Camping utensils (pots, pans, etc.)
  • Dishes and cutlery
  • Jug of drinking water
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Portable coffee maker
  • Reusable coffee mug
  • Cooler (This is the one we have.)
  • Lighter and newspaper (for fire - firewood available for purchase)
  • Rain boots
  • Rain jackets

Camping with a dog? Here is what we recommend you bring (on top of the usual essentials):

Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area

Not a camper? Not a problem - you can still visit for the day. Check out the website for the cost of a day pass, and activities available. 

Albion Hills Conservation Area is located in Caledon, Ontario at 16500 Regional Road 50, just 8km north of Bolton.

Do you go fall camping with your family? What's your favourite place to go? I would love to hear!

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Family Camping at Albion Hills Conservation Area
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