July 29, 2022

Our Camping Adventure at Earl Rowe Provincial Park

earl rowe provincial park
One thing we love doing in the summer is camping at Ontario Parks. After a couple of years of pausing all travel plans due to the pandemic, we were super-excited to get back into some of our favourite things to do. With both our children being teenagers now and having their own schedule of activities to do, timing adventures become difficult. Planning a quick camping trip less than a couple of hours from home was fun and exciting for all of us. Thankfully, a camping trip has a lot of engaging and exciting activities for everyone in our family. We believe camping is a good way to connect with nature, which is great for our physical and mental health - and most importantly great for creating family memories!
Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Ontario Parks. Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2022. Please Ask First
earl rowe provincial park
We stayed for two nights at Earl Rowe Provincial Park as it is close to home - about an hour and half from the Greater Toronto Area. 
earl rowe provincial park camping
Prior to going on any trip, especially camping, we create a to-do list and plan ahead most of the activities to make it smooth as possible. However, with any trip there will always be unexpected changes, from the weather changing to forgetting something we might need - this is all a part of the adventure!
camping in the rain
Family themed activities for down-time
In case it rains or everyone feels like they need some down-time after hiking, we bring board games that can be enjoyed inside the tent or in the campsite. One of our favourite games to take is Rummikub. 
camping board game rummikub
We also download a movie that we can watch together, and always bring a good book.
camping pre planned food chicken
Pre-planned food
We have kept a box of equipment that are handy and compact just for camping - it helps to not forget essential items. Over the years, we found that it is important to be strategic when planning a camping trip, even if it may be only for a day or two. With a family of four, things add up quite quickly and packing everything into the vehicle can become a challenge – especially with a tent, tarps, a dining shelter, foldable chairs, sleeping bags, mats, a cooler with food and drinks, a cooking stove, about three empty buckets, hiking gear, flashlights, bug sprays, clothes and personal belongings. Even if the weather is predicted to be warm, remember to take a rain jacket or long-sleeve clothing as mornings can be a little cooler, even on hot summer days.
s'mores
Some simple meals we planned for our two-night camping trip:
  • We leave home after breakfast with a packed lunch as the check-in time is usually 2 p.m. Since we need to get the campsite ready with the tent and shelter, it is best to have lunch plans ready. A pre-cooked meal helps.
  • For dinner – hotdogs and s'mores.
  • Next day breakfast – bread, butter, eggs, fruits and veggies. Healthy and filling for a day of hiking.
  • Lunch – pre-marinated chicken, flatbread, and veggies like sweet potatoes and corn. It is best to pre-make things so you don't have to spend too much time preparing one meal.
  • Dinner – burgers and s'mores.
  • Last day breakfast – bread, eggs, and sausages.
In our family we love drinking coffee or tea at least thrice a day, so we bring everything we need for this. We also pack our cooler with lots of juice and pop.
camping preparing food
It is super important to clean up well after meals and store food securely inside the car in a cooler to make sure animals don't smell the food, and to make sure there is no food or leftovers anywhere in the campsite. Take garbage bags to make things easy during clean up. We always wipe off the equipment and utensils well, then wash it with the least amount of water. This makes it easy to get rid of grey water in the vault toilets. When we come home we can thoroughly wash everything for the next time we go camping.
earl rowe park store
The good thing is, if we forget to bring something there is no need to panic; usually the Park Store is well-stocked with essentials. Earl Rowe is also close to stores, so it is easy to drive into town and get whatever we forget to bring.
earl rowe provincial park lookout trail
Hiking trails and beach at Earl Rowe Park
There are different types of trails at Earl Rowe. The Rainbow Run is the longest trail that connects to other trails. We went from our campsite on the Rainbow Run trail to get to the Lookout Trail. The Lookout Trail goes through different paths and is well worth the hike to see a different scene from the top. Pictures and videos don’t do justice to this scenery, so we totally recommend going on this hike to see the surrounding area. 
earl rowe fish
Walking from the East Beach to the West Beach, then to Fletcher’s Millpond area to see the fish ladder are other fun hikes to do. It was interesting to find out that Rainbow Trout leap up the fish ladder to spawn in the Boyne River in the spring - we plan on visiting the park then to see this :)
earl rowe provincial park fish ladder
There is a lot of space to play sports, including volleyball nets. The spacious beach area is perfect to enjoy the sunset or to go for a swim. There are plenty of spaced out picnic benches throughout the park.
volleyball
We can rent a canoe or a paddleboat and enjoy the scenic view from the lake. We took out a four-person paddleboat and had fun paddling while enjoying the breeze. 
paddle boat earl rowe
After our adventures, we enjoyed some delicious ice cream from the Park Store.
earl rowe park store kawartha ice cream
Learning experiences with Ontario Parks
Our first learning experience on how to car camp was with the Ontario Parks Learn to Camp program years ago. After this, we invested in camping equipment and have gone on many camping adventures.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to camping or have camped before, it is important that everyone using the parks follow best practices while camping and visiting Ontario Parks, so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time. Knowing basics such as how to clean your dishes, how to get rid of dirty water in the vault toilet, and throwing away garbage in the designated area to not attract animals are very important. Keeping the campsites clean and putting out the campfire correctly may sound simple, but it is important that it is done correctly, so we can all do our part to keep campsites clean and safe for everyone to use.
cooking over the campfire camping
During our camping experience, we booked a one-on-one 30-minute free workshop at our campsite with a Park Ambassador. This is a part of the Learn to Camp program. We chose to have a session on how to cook while camping. The same food you would prepare at home somehow tastes better when it is cooked outdoors! 

Our ambassador, Megan, had a lot of knowledge and tips to share. She was friendly and was able to answer all our curious questions about cooking over the campfire and camp stove. This session taught us about the tools we need, recipes to try, how to pack and store equipment, how to set up and use the cooking area, and how to keep the cooking area clean and safe.
ontario learn to camp park ambassador
Here are a few tips we learned, that we plan on trying out more the next time we go camping.
  • Pre-cooked Mac and Cheese in small aluminum trays that can be heated up over the grill when we have a campfire.
  • Getting a cast iron camp grill to try different recipes.
  • When cooking meat and vegetables wrapped in aluminum foil, making sure to grease the inside with oil, so the food doesn’t stick to the foil.
  • Building our fire closer to the back grill so heat goes up and food can cook slowly over the grill.
  • We got introduced to some must-have cooking equipment for camping such as different stove options, nesting pans that can be used over the campfire grill, and dinnerware that is durable and easy to clean.
Megan also shared tips on many more cooking methods, tools, and other handy camping reminders.
building campfire
Booking the Park Ambassador option is only available at one of the fifteen Learn to Camp locations. When you plan your camping trip, you can also book a session to learn about...
  • How to build the perfect campfire
  • How to set up your campsite
  • About wildlife at Ontario Parks
  • Things to know about Ontario Parks
animals in the park park ambassador
If you are new to camping and want to learn, the Learn to Camp program is fabulous! Read about our experiences from previous years - Learn to Camp at Emily Provincial Park and the graduate program at Sibbald Point Provincial Park.
earl rowe provincial park
How to book a Park Ambassador
It is easy to book a Park Ambassador experience. After booking the campsite at one of the Learn to Camp locations, visit 
https://www.ontarioparks.com/learntocamp/bookanambassador then select the Learn to Camp location you have chosen to camp at. Choose an available desired time slot, then register with your information and select a one-on-one course topic.
As a part of this program, they also have group workshops limited to visitors with a valid car camping reservation or day-use permit on the day of the program at any of the participating parks. If you want to learn more about visiting Ontario Parks, they also have free online workshops open to everyone.
earl rowe provincial park
Hope our trip and tips inspire you to book a camping adventure. Camping is a fun way to be mindful, relieve yourself of stress, take a break from everyday routine, make memories with loved-ones, and connect with nature!

If you want to check out video clips and more pictures of our trip, check out our Instagram page @torviewtor