Naked Camping in Eastern Ontario
Most of Canada in the summer is breathtakingly beautiful, and Eastern Ontario is no exception. The naturist camping locations in Ontario were originally chosen for their seclusion and unspoiled surroundings, and their owners have all been great stewards of the land. Well entrenched, all four naturist camping locations have been established over a decade.
People regularly ask us about being nudists and we often hear “do you really camp naked?” The answer is that we try to live nude most of the summer weekends excluding the two weeks of black fly season, or when the temperature dips below 16 degrees Celsius (60F). We often bicker about who has to get dressed to do a pizza and ice cream run into the nearby town of Calabogie as summer in the woods in various stages of undress is paradise and nobody is too keen to throw on the laundry. And the only things that keep it from being absolute Shangri-La are the occasional cool evening and the need for insect repellent from mid May to Mid June.
Pristine hardwood forests surrounding deep water lakes carved out of the Canadian Shield describes the three nude camping locations of Sunward, Lakesun and Jewel Lake, all situated within 3 hours drive west or southwest of Ottawa in Eastern Ontario. Combined with East Haven, a one hour drive east of Ottawa (or 1.5 hours drive west of Montreal) you have your choice of authentic naturist spots to stay close to major Canadian tourist attractions and cosmopolitan areas.
Sunward (Calabogie, ON)
Sunward advertises as family naturism, and kids and well behaved pets are welcome. It boasts fishing, paddle boating, canoeing and the best lake on the planet in which to swim.
With a gas motor ban and water clean enough to drink, Sunward is home to a deep, walleye-filled private lake. With a sunning area, and a raft to swim to, the lake fits all summer needs and is a major part of the quintessential Canadian cottage experience. Curious loons send out their cry if you get too close while their babies ride on their backs. With deer, wild turkey and the occasional bear or silver lone wolf seen in the fields surrounding Sunward’s sugar-maple forest, you can get back to nature a mere hour from Canada’s fourth largest urban area. Ottawa, the national capital also serves as a great day-trip or sight-seeing destination.
Located in the Madawaska Highlands, Sunward is a great mix of long time summer residents and weekend or day campers. The mood is friendly where everyone is welcome and deck parties break out as matter of course. Join in, the beverages are cold and the hospitality is warm. We often comment that nude volleyball is the best part of summer days. There are 25 or so permanent trailers on different elevations of the granite outcroppings another five camping platforms on which to pitch tents. For those that wish to wander, there is 500 acres of private wooded area to hike including a few marked trails. With two lakes, loads of activities including group games days, dances, scotch tasting and social potlucks, everyone is welcome and included. The best thing about Sunward is the laugh-out-loud fun. Community activities in 2010 included a harvest celebration, a 70’s dance (imagine nudists in Mr. T jewellery, afro’s and nothing else), and a Canada Day (July 1st) firework display and accompanying pig roast.
For someone new to clothing optional recreation, Sunward is a safe place to drop the laundry for the first time. Accepting, out-going and with a great sense of humour would be the way we would describe the Sunward welcome.
The downside, if there is one, is that Sunward doesn’t run on electricity. All the energy required to operate trailers is provided by a mixture of solar, propane or occasional generators. On the green side however, Sunward has little to no environmental footprint from the 100 plus people that can use the facilities on a long weekend.
Jewel Lake (North Bay, ON)
Like Sunward, the Jewel Lake naturist resort is rustic, beautiful and friendly. It is located further north, (three hours north of Ottawa and outside the medium sized city of North Bay, Ontario). With more wildlife present as you venture from the urban areas, you are likely to spot deer, porcupine or the occasional moose. The youngest facility of the four, Jewel Lake is coming into its own with a clubhouse, euchre and dart tournaments, new decks, and horse shoe pits.
Jewel Lake is blessed with another one of Ontario’s crystal clear lakes. With a new raft and diving area completed in 2010, the swimming at Jewel Lake has never been better. Diving off the rock ledge at the old sauna is a favourite for the young and is a safe place for kids and dogs alike. A new diving sensation has been the Gibraltar rock ledges. Young and old have been descending 20 feet into the spring fed water – and we are told it is quite the sensation. Jewel Lake is a great place to go if you are a canoeist or kayaker.
Jewel Lake is still a naturist facility and not clothing optional. They adhere to “the old time philosophy of nude in the sunshine”. It is a little more abrupt a transition for the “tween” kids and newbies, but the setting is welcoming and magical.
East Haven (Casselman, ON)
East Haven is much more of a traditional camping spot with power outlets, a pool, a hot tub and a recreation centre. Located less than an hour east of Ottawa and being based in the heart of Franco Ontario country, it is charmingly bilingual. Yogi, the long time owner is a big believer in privacy and security. This is an adult-only club with many long-time members. The campground boasts the luxury of having a fully equipped shower building and fully equipped cabin rentals. They have tent camping along with a small number of RV hook ups. The nudist philosophy is truly embraced at East Haven. They celebrate the “freedom of sensations of air, sun and water all over your body”, and are “dedicated to just being yourself without any artificial barriers of clothing.”
Lakesun (Kingston, ON)
Lakesun is one of the oldest clubs in the area and has a ”dyed in the wool” philosophy of “respecting nature, the ecosystem and the many inhabitants who were there long before the club was”. “We all enjoy every one of them and do our part to make sure their home is as undisturbed as possible. It one of those things you have to see to understand.” As such they frown on unleashed pets, rambunctious children, and anything beyond “catch and release”. They believe that life is hectic and demanding enough without making a naturist retreat equally as hectic. So quiet and relaxed are the operative words in describing Lake Sun. The lake is bigger, and equally as private and beautiful, but it is the serene atmosphere that is the centre of focus. They have a bocci pit, club house with movie nights, and they play volleyball.
Lakesun is also located reasonably close to the City of Kingston, which boasts many summer time attractions.
The Canadian camping season runs from the May long weekend to our Thanksgiving (second Monday in October). The costs associated with camping are very low, and the opportunities to sight see or just soak up the sun are plentiful. Canadians love to visit their American neighbours during our cold winters, but equally love to host them during the long days of summer. Close your eyes and try to hear the call of the loon or the howl of the wolf. We hear them all summer….. See you next season.