Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

We all have friends or family members who are curious about camping, and maybe even eager to go on a trip, but who have little or no camping experience. What do you do if they choose? you as your camp guide?

Since camping with the people you love is the worst, we’ve got you covered. If you follow these six tips, even your closest friends will tell you “NEVER AGAIN” to camp before the first day is over.

1. Exploring a trail will allow you to return home in no time

The best way to shake down a new caravan? Take them on a hike.

The large number of trees, plants and animals they see will bore them to death and they will miss the high definition and surround sound of their televisions at home.

Two people on a trail surrounded by lush green flora, overlooking a body of waterCouple hiking the Oh-Saya-Wucka Trail, Kettle Lakes Provincial Park. Pretty boring

Besides, who wants to hear a woodpecker pecking at a tree or see a deer leaping in the woods? And let’s not talk about those murmuring streams or those moving sunsets. Park on a trail and they’ll be backing home in no time.

2. A cannonball to sink everything

Check the weather and plan a trip when the sun is forecast (this is important: sunny summer days are like being in the fiery depths of Mordor). Make sure your new campmates have a swimsuit, sunscreen, and a towel (or two).

Bringing beach toys and outdoor games would be the icing on the cake of camping misery, so be sure to do so. Next, challenge the group to a cannonball contest.

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5 people jumping from a dock into the water (shot from behind)Jumping off the dock at Finlayson Point Provincial Park. This doesn’t look like fun at all

Your new camping friends will reluctantly jump off the dock into the cool, calm, sparkling, refreshing water. They’ll probably need to do this a few times to be sure, but we can almost guarantee that there will be no smiles, laughter, or applause throughout the entire process.

Little girl, with a float around her waist, splashing in the lake and having funSwimming at the beach at Wheatley Provincial Park. Too flashy

This cannonball set will be a camping wrecking ball. And if you want a finishing move, start a splashing contest or a game of Marco Polo. This will surely be his downfall.

3. Listen to the rain

If the weather turns out to be wetter than expected, so much the better. Encourage sleeping in and lazily listening to the sound of rain hitting the roof while reading a book; This can really drive people crazy.

Four children in a tent, looking through the open doorJust some kids pretending this store is a fort in Sibbald Point Provincial Park. A total nuisance

Or you can try to bore them with the many activities you can do from inside the tent or under a tarp. What’s happening:

  • Playing See fish
  • They call an art contest to see who draws the silliest self-portrait
  • Make a castle out of a sleeping bag and embark on a quest to save the frog prince

10 campers in rain gear posing for the camera with big smilesThese guys are having a hell of a time at Grundy Lake Provincial Park

The best thing about rainy days is that you don’t need much more than a pencil and paper, a deck of cards, and a great imagination to have a miserable time.

And hey, if your campers seem to be having too much fun, why not venture out into the rain and challenge them to a puddle jumping contest… BORING!

4. Give them marshmallows and they will never want more

Picture this: Gooey, warm, fluffy marshmallows nestled next to a thick slice of chocolate and slowly melting… all sandwiched between two crunchy graham crackers.

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Sheet!

Give these sugary, dirty delights to any new camper and it will be enough to deter them from camping for life.

Woman eating a s'more at a campsiteIt disgusts me. S’mores at Sibbald Point Provincial Park

If you really want to make your new campers unhappy, you’ll want to try sophisticated s’mores. Replace regular chocolate with your favorite chocolate bar (Reese’s, Cookies and Cream, Mr. Big…). Disgusting, right? They’ll be saying “no more cupcakes” in no time.

5. Leave them wishing on a star to never camp again.

Most Ontario parks are unfortunate enough to have unobstructed views of the vast night skies. Follow these steps to make sure your friends really hate you:

  • Lie down on the ground on a clear night.
  • Look at the sky
  • See thousands of bright, twinkling stars
  • Marvel at the universe

DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for any candid, meaning-of-life conversations that may arise.

Black sky with stars and a white pine silhouetteStarry sky at Killbear Provincial Park (if you like this kind of thing)

6. When in doubt, delegate it

Not up to the challenge of discouraging new campers from camping? Delegate the task to us and we will help you.

Ontario Parks runs a Learn to Camp program that is geared toward new campers and (you guessed it!) introducing them to the world of camping. With a 94% program satisfaction rate, your friends are in good hands and, through the program, they will learn to camp on their own (they won’t need you!).

Kids fooling around at a campsiteLearn to Camp Program at Darlington Provincial Park

The program provides all camping equipment to participants for their stay. (Unpacked? Unprepared? WHAT? It’s not fun, we know.)

8 campers giving a thumbs up with a smile at their campsiteLearn to Camp Program at Sibbald Point Provincial Park

The knowledgeable, friendly, and smiling staff walks participants through the basics of camping, from setting up a tent to identifying the plants and animals they can see and the sounds they can hear at night.

An Ontario Parks staff member demonstrates how to cook on a camp stoveLearn how to camp staff at Darlington Provincial Park

We even play and offer the groups a tasty treat for the campfire – how nerveless! Rumor has it that participants are routinely found crying (at our funny jokes), frowning (aka smiling), and running away (from our teaching camp to set up their equipment, now that they’re pros).

Camping is the best. Find out more about our Learn to Camp program today! Summer registration has begun!