Campground Review: Wide Open Wilderness Family Campground

13 August 2018

This past weekend, my family and I had our first camping trip without our awesome camper friends! We rolled up solo to Wide Open Wilderness Campground in Urbania, Nova Scotia.


Honestly, I had no idea there was a place called Urbania in Nova Scotia, but there is! It is just one exit past Shubenacadie if you are travelling from Halifax. We drove about 20 kms from the highway, and we must have passed 5 different signs for tidal bore rafting companies. The Shubenacadie River is known for its tides, and tidal bore rafting is a big tourist attraction in this part of Nova Scotia. I would have loved to try it, but the kids are a bit too young yet. There was also a place to go skydiving (NO THANK YOU) and we were pretty close to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. There is also a nice golf course nearby called Penn Hills.


We decided not to get groceries this time before heading to WOW because we have always been spoiled with grocery stores being close to the campground. Well...we weren’t as spoiled this time. There was no grocery store close, however, there was a general store in Maitland. It is actually the oldest general store in Canada!!

oldest general store

They had all of the camping necessities that we needed for sure, they are probably stocked for campers. There is also a little liquor store in there as well, so we were able to find what we needed! There wasn’t a huge variety, so if you need specific things, make sure you grab them before you hit the highway! There were great views of the river from their parking lot though, so it was pretty cool to see the tide rush in from there. The kids weren’t impressed, but Josh and I were! 


Check in was easy and quick - the little store there was nicely stocked, clean and most importantly, had a nice variety of ice cream flavours. We were given a map of the grounds and were easily able to find our spot. When we saw where we needed to back into, we were a bit nervous. We didn’t have help this time, it was just us, so we were trying to work out the best angle to back in! As we were chatting, our neighbour across the street, who is seasonal, came right over to help Josh back in! Another neighbour brought me over a drink, a Red Rooster she called it, and welcomed us to the neighbourhood! Right then and there, we knew this would be a great weekend. Our site, site 115, was big, had just enough trees to grab shade if you needed it and our driveway was very level. I would request this site again, we liked it a lot.

site collage One thing about this site that we found odd was that the hookup was on the opposite side. We normally run our hose and electrical cord down the right side of the trailer and the hookup is usually on that side, but instead we had to run the hose under the trailer so it would reach. We were thankful for our outdoor mat because it covered the cords for us. It wasn’t a big deal, just not what we experienced at any other campground. 

Once we unhooked, we headed to the pool. My kids are pool kids so having a nice big pool makes our weekend great. This weekend was exceptionally hot, so the pool was packed the whole weekend, but it was fine. The kids in the pool were respectful, mine had enough room to swim around and there was a slide too. There was a shallow end then gradually got deeper to roughly 5 feet. Also, we had big news from the pool this weekend - Charlotte, my 4 year old,  learned how to swim without a  floatie!!! She was so excited to zoom along by herself, quite proud! 


There were whiteboards posted around the campsite with activities for kids each day. They had chocolate bar and chip bingo for kids 13 and under, movies and crafts. At 3pm each day, they did a wagon ride around the campground; and this is when I realized how big this campground is! Also, there are a lot of seasonal campers and many of them have their properties set up really nice. It felt like we were driving through a little community. It had a really comfortable “home” feel, very different from other places we have visited. The wagon ride took us to the look off where people can watch the tides. It was beautiful up there. It was surrounded by trees and there was a large area for dry camping. If you had a large group that wanted to tent, it is really separated from the rest of the campground up there so you could have privacy for sure.

The size of the campground is a bit big for me to feel comfortable letting my kids just go explore; my 4 year old especially. For older kids, this is a non-issue. I do love having big open campgrounds so I can see the kids, and WOW had sites that were more private (which is a great thing for most people)! I will prefer places like this when my kids are a bit older, I’m sure. The playground was close to our site and it was great! The kids loved it and went often. 


We had a heatwave this weekend, so because of that, our days consisted mostly of the pool, the playground, bike rides, then back to the pool. Repeat. In the evenings, we had our fire with s’mores and then were invited over each night to have drinks with our neighbours. The first night we sat out, we were able to see many shooting stars in the sky! It was amazing!! We don’t see them as well in the city because of the light pollution, but at WOW, the sky is very lit up with stars! It was so relaxing and a perfect way to end every night!


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One thing that we added to the camper this weekend was a clothes line we purchased at IKEA. It opens up to look like an octopus and is perfect for hanging bathing suits up to dry! We need to figure out a better way to hang our towels. We have rope packed for our next camping trip, so we will try to figure something out that works better.

The wifi here wasn’t great. There were many times that I could not get service at all! We were out in the country, so I didn’t expect to have great service and I got what I expected. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though; however, I was trying to do an Instagram takeover for Stone's and it was difficult to post! 

I would have to say, for our first experience camping without friends, we had a great time at WOW. We definitely prefer having friends with us, we are social people!! That being said, the people here are very friendly, helpful and welcoming. I didn’t see too many people around that worked at the campground, but things ran smoothly so there didn’t seem to be a need for that! We will come back here, for sure! 

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Our next camping adventure starts next weekend! We are hopping on the ferry and heading to Twin Shores on P.E.I. for a week! We have heard so many fantastic things about Twin Shores, and are really excited to check it out! Until next time, happy camping!

LACEY75Lacey Cyr is a wife, mom of 2, math teacher and first-time camper from Halifax, NS reviewing her family's campground experiences for Stone's RV as they travel this summer 


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