Pillar: Camping doesn’t necessarily mean grilled food

Well suited for a food columnist, the local camp kitchen features pizza delivery, homemade fudge, Kawartha Dairy ice cream, and milkshakes.

“Now I see the secret to making a better person, is to grow outdoors, eat, and sleep with the floor.” – Walt Whitman

The weather this past weekend was amazing to say the least.

One couldn’t ask for a better weekend to celebrate mothers and enjoy some sunshine. It was just a break our family needed. A chance to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, dust off your hiking boots and shake off the winter from the trailer for a new season of summer adventures.

My wife Kim and I have been counting our first camp out days of the year since we put our trailer away at the end of last season. Camping and camping have always been a big part of our lives. It was a great source of beautiful, funny memories and epic stories for us and our kids to share.

Our family’s camping adventure began with a borrowed pop-up tent trailer and weekend getaway. Now find us in our cozy cabin on wheels enjoying an extended week when schedules permit.

Those early trips were all about boxes, drapery, and fit-out work. Now ironed out for the trailer, service hitches, and callbacks to your favorite camper chair. We have come a long way!

Through our travels, we have been able to see and experience many wonderful parks around Ontario. We have been able to enjoy a peaceful and serene connection with Mother Nature and the natural beauty of our regional park system. It really is a treasure for our county. Each of our parks is unique and offers a variety of new camper experiences. Awenda, Pinery, and Bon Echo Gardens are just a few of our favorite parks.

And when we went looking for a fun, lively family-centric experience, there were many private campgrounds and RV parks all over our area. These parks offer many services and amenities that cannot be found in regional parks. From full service hookups, easy to check out locations and activities, and amenities aimed at making your experience as convenient as you want it to be. They cater to different type of camper.

We’ve always been able to enjoy both worlds, but lately we’ve found ourselves liking the kind of hospitality you’d find in a well-run private camp.

One brand synonymous with the highest quality camping and family vacation experience is KOA. Since 1962, KOA’s unmistakable bright black, red and yellow logo has been a sign that you are in a facility that offers friendly service and great amenities. There are currently 14 KOA-branded campsites here in Ontario, and we are fortunate enough to have one of the best campgrounds in our own backyard.

Barrie KOA is located just south of Craighurst on Penetanguishene Road. This campground has been in operation since 1986. Owned by Tony and Amy Raposo, Barrie KOA is a family business with the couple’s three children growing up and working alongside their parents.

The superior customer service skills of the employees are evident as over the years they have been able to keep pace with the camp’s changing needs and expectations. Constantly upgrading the camp and its amenities with attention to detail gives campers what they want and keeps them coming back season after season.

Kim and I love this camp. For us, it’s an easy run, only 30 minutes from the driveway to the site. Just far enough but still close enough. It’s a great place for us to set up, arrange, and start or end our camping season.

When the kids were younger, they loved daily activities, crafts or games, and of course the daily wagon ride. Now that they are teenagers, they are more discerning in choosing an activity. Things that never fail to please are the swimming pool, good wifi connection and freshly baked pizza available for delivery straight to your location.

Barrie KOA’s kitchen is just right for me, featuring pizza delivery, homemade dessert, Kawartha Dairy ice cream, milkshakes, and more. The kitchen is located on the campground in the newly renovated main building. In addition to the kitchen, they have a fully stocked shop and gift shop with almost everything you could need, including butter that I forgot to pack…

This past weekend was a great start to our camping season. We spent some time relaxing, eating, and enjoying the great outdoors, and my mum even enjoyed a mimosa brunch on Mother’s Day!

Thank you, Barrie KOA, for helping us make some great and priceless memories.

If you are interested in seeing more about what KOA has to offer, click here.

Daniel Clements is Technical Chef at Georgian College of Hospitality and Tourism.

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