Craigleith Provincial Park in Collingwood is pretty small when it comes to campsites, but is a popular choice because (1) it’s right on Georgian Bay, literally steps to the water, and (2) it’s an easy drive from the GTA.
We booked last minute, so were unable to get one of the prime sites right at the water – our site (#27) was a few rows back. But still, we could see the water from our site too.
Craigleith has a long ‘beach’ made of shale rock, which are absolutely full of fossils. Almost every rock you turned over had some kind of fossil in it, and the park office had a good display about the fossils you can find in the area. If you’ve got kids, this is great because they get very excited about their ‘discoveries’ and can spend hours poking around on the beach.
What’s very convenient about Craigleith is that you’re so close to Collingwood town that you can easily pick up some supplies. There was a Circle K with an LCBO in it about a one minute drive from the campsite. And the park office had a small convenience store with firewood, supplies, and treats like ice cream. Collingwood is about a 10 minute drive away and there you can find supermarkets and a Canadian Tire if you happen to forget your sleeping bag. There are also a number of beaches nearby, within a few minutes’ drive.
The nights are long these days, with sun setting around 9:30pm, which means you have the whole evening to relax by the campfire. The sunsets from Craigleith were absolutely incredible, with a wide open sky painted orange, gold, blood red, and pink.
There are a few downsides to camping here though:
- The reviews are all accurate – the site is narrow and next to a main road which means you hear traffic all day, and at night while you’re sleeping. Ear plugs are ESSENTIAL
- There isn’t much shade at many of the sites, particularly in Area A where we stayed. We were glad to have the pop up gazebo to keep us cool during the hot midday sun. If the site description says “full sun”, they really mean it
- There isn’t much privacy either, due to the lack of trees. The neighbours were good though, in terms of keeping the noise down at night so people could sleep.
- This park is dog-friendly, so if you don’t like mutts (like me), be aware that LOTS of people take their dogs camping here.
If I were to go back to Craigleith, I would make sure to have a site RIGHT ON THE WATER so that you are further away from the road and traffic noise, and I’d get a site that has at least partial shade.