5 places for a campout

Posted on May 19, 2021 | Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments

All Points East Campground, Souris, P.E.I.

You may not have a cabin or RV,
but there are some great spots around these parts to have a go at “the outdoors thing” with friends and family this summer. You might take a bike or hit the road for nearby sightseeing around your home province, if the experience of nature and tranquility is just too much. Maybe you’re already a regular camper. So tell us: are any of these on your list of favourites?

All Points East Campground – Souris, P.E.I.

Heading into its fourth season, All Points East is a small but mighty operation found at the Northeastern tip of the Island. Found off North Lake Harbour Road, the campground is on the namesake lake and just a stone’s throw from the ocean. Washroom facilities, hot showers, potable water and WIFI are available, as well as the ability to charge your gadgets, but owner Tanya Calver would join in encouraging you to disconnect for a bit if you can. The pool can break up a particularly hot day. If roasted weiners aren’t doing it for you, restaurants like the North Lake Boathouse Harbour Eatery are not too far. The private campground is taking a leap and opening a small ice cream shop on site for the first time this summer. Preference for bookings this year is by email, just to get you any COVID-related cautions as needed.

North Head Campground & Park, Grand Manan, N.B.

North Head Campground & Park – Grand Manan, N.B.

If you’re looking for a more exotic locale to pitch a tent between now and the end of September (with COVID restrictions considered), and don’t happen to live on Grand Manan, this campground might be the perfect fit with a little planning. North Head offers all the amenities – washrooms, showers, water and WIFI – but also private camping lots. The property itself, with Bay of Fundy views, has been with the Small family for a couple of centuries. Owner Kaye Small lives on site and aims to connect travelers to the experiences of the whole island. The Swallowtail Lighthouse and fisherman’s wharf at North Head and Pettes Cove Arts are not far, as a start. At the campground, dogs are expected to be on leash and things get quiet after 10:30 p.m., but with enough lobster in your belly and a warm fire, sleep might be a given. Holiday long weekends are booked up, but at last check there was availability for other days through the season.

Jonathan’s Pond Campground, Gander, N.L.

Jonathan’s Pond Campground – Gander, N.L.

Jonathan’s Park is a popular spot for camping with recreational vehicles, but also has camp sites available for anyone interested in just setting up their tent within the 250-acre location and getting to the s’mores. There is a manager on site, washrooms, shower, laundry and other amenities. The real attraction though is the natural environment, trails, freshwater swimming and canoe rentals. They’re booked up for the May 24th long weekend, but spaces are still available for later in the summer. The campground normally offers a children’s activity program, but it will be on pause for the foreseeable future out of COVID-related caution. If the rain comes, take a swing into the Town of Gander (a 15-minute drive) for a quick look at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum.

Hideaway Campground, South Harbour, N.S.

Hideaway Campground and Oyster Market – South Harbour, N.S.

Opening for the season May 21 and running through to mid-October, the Hideaway Campground offers access to hiking trails, horseshoe pits, a playground and even a “recreation hall” for a break from the outdoors with a game of pool or darts. But the real treat is the location, found about halfway along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, is owned by Alex and Susan Dunphy. The family, including their four sons, has been involved in the oyster industry since 1985. Campers can ask for a taste and have some of their “Aspy Bay Oysters,” shucked and served at an oyster bar in the camp office (or takeaway to site). Learn to shuck oysters or handle other shellfish in season, at a site operating under the slogan: “Come as strangers, leave as friends.” It’s worth noting that, for 2021, the business is only accepting bookings from people in the region who have not traveled outside Atlantic Canada within 14 days of their reservation.

Murphy’s Camping, Murphy Cove, N.S.

Murphy’s Camping–Murphy Cove, N.S.

Well known to Nova Scotians, Murphy’s is opting to remain closed through May, out of COVID-related caution. But owner Ryan Murphy gets full credit for the company’s up-to-date COVID-related updates online, complete with all the information you’ll need for dreaming about (and booking for) a getaway later in the year. The business celebrated 60 years of operation in 2020 with a successful season despite a delayed start last year. The site is a little over an hour from Halifax, but a mussel boil, Murphy’s boat tour or an even more adventurous exploration of one of the more than 100 “wild islands” off the coast (Murphy’s will offer transit to and from) will have you feeling well off the grid.

About our “5 Places” series
It’s been a difficult period for small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality. While it’s not deep investigation, we wanted to encourage the sector by taking a moment each week to shine a spotlight on some of these small businesses in Atlantic Canada, “5 Places,” with the hope of encouraging people to make some staycation plans and get out to support local (albeit with COVID and related restrictions in mind). We’re featuring spots in no particular order, but with representation from all provinces. The series will continue at least until fall 2021, looking at some hidden gems or popular stops for ice cream, kayaks, comics and more. Any tips on BIPOC-owned businesses, ideas for future themes or general feedback are welcome: [email protected].

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