Who isn’t transported by the scent of cedar alongside a forest path or the decision of a loon greeting you as you open your tent’s flap at daybreak? Such tranquil campsite imagery is rapidly dispatched, nonetheless, if you happen to arrive at an excessively well-liked park and you find yourself spending hours ready in a lineup of automobiles to get previous the doorway gate.
The factor is you needn’t go to one among Ontario’s extra well-liked locations – people who make all of the best-of lists – to spend a rewarding weekend having fun with the nice open air. In spite of everything, there are 340 provincial parks to select from to your subsequent escape. Listed below are 5 lesser-known parks in Ontario.
Balsam Lake Provincial Park
Solely an hour’s drive north of Peterborough, Balsam Lake Provincial Park is a 450-hectare forested oasis related to the Trent-Severn Waterway. Guests can discover the Kawartha Lakes by canoe, kayak or paddle boat — all of which can be found to lease. There’s a big sandy seashore for swimming and loads of fish to lure anglers (together with bass, muskellunge and walleye). The park’s 2.6-kilometre Look Out Path winds its well past 10,000-year-old eskers (that are glacially shaped ridges), whereas the 4.2-kilometre Plantation Path is good for birdwatching (you might even see hawks and osprey). Tenting choices run the gamut from walk-in websites to RV spots. There may be additionally one totally furnished four-bedroom cottage close to the water’s edge that books up rapidly.
Find out how to get there: Comply with the Don Valley Parkway to Freeway 404. Flip east on Freeway 32 simply earlier than Keswick. From there, comply with Freeway 48 to the park.
Bass Lake Provincial Park
Bass Lake Provincial Park, as with the comparatively shut Mara Provincial Park and McRae Level Provincial Park, ought to be on the radar of novice campers as all three provide the Study to Camp program, which incorporates the choice of getting a one-on-one session with a tenting professional. This 65-hectare park on the western shore of Bass Lake is a straightforward 10-minute drive from Orillia. Actions embrace swimming (Bass Lake is evident and shallow), biking, canoeing, kayaking or paddleboarding (leases can be found on the park retailer), fishing and climbing. One possibility is to hike a 2.8-kilometre path to the stays of the historic Rowe Homestead, which dates to the 1830s. Tenting choices embrace automotive tenting, group websites and RVs.
Find out how to get there: Drive north on Freeway 400 and take the Freeway 11 exit simply previous Barrie. As soon as in Orillia take Freeway 12 earlier than exiting at Ridge Boulevard and merging onto Bass Lake Aspect Street.
Bonnechere Provincial Park
The 168-hectare park, situated on the southeast boundary of the much-busier Algonquin Provincial Park, affords guests a selection of 128 campsites – that are near the Bonnechere River – day use areas, laundry, bathe services and playgrounds. Anybody disinclined to mattress down in a tent or trailer can guide one among its 4 rustic pine cabins. Visitors can move summer time afternoons on the sandy seashore on the shores of Spherical Lake, hike McNaughton Path (marked with interpretive indicators) or go to the park’s historic log cabins. There’s a community of 10 trails known as “Walks of the Bonnechere River.” Birders have sighted as many as 297 species within the space. Canoe and kayak leases can be found. Every day shows on the park’s Davenport Centre have included “Awake within the World: Mindfulness and Environmental Connection” and “Archaeology Day.”
Find out how to get there: Drive from Toronto to Peterborough. As soon as there, comply with Freeway 28 earlier than switching to the Musclow Greenview Street close to Bronson. As soon as in Maple Leaf, drive east on Freeway 62 adopted by Previous Barry’s Bay Street after which Hopefield Street to Freeway 66. From there, flip east on Freeway 60 adopted by 67 to Spherical Lake Street and the park.
Marten River Provincial Park
The 400-hectare Marten River Provincial Park is taken into account the southern gateway to the Temagami area, one among our province’s prime wilderness areas. Campers (usually a mixture of canoeists, boaters, hikers and anglers) can select from 193 campsites, all of which have quick access to water faucets, consolation stations and laundry services. Plus, there are three seashores for swimming. Exploring by foot can lead you to 2 park highlights: the remnant of a stand of large pines, together with a 350-year-old white pine on the Transition Path; and a reconstructed Nineteenth-century logging camp that features a cookery, bunk home, barn and blacksmith’s store. The Exploration Centre at Chicot Seaside often hosts visitor audio system on subjects akin to birding, geology and aquatic wildlife.
Find out how to get there: Drive north on Freeway 400 adopted by Freeway 11 by way of North Bay. The park is simply earlier than the junction of highways 11 and 64.
Restoule Provincial Park
Restoule Provincial Park is an out-of-the-way nature space in Parry Sound District, between Restoule Lake and Stormy Lake. This closely treed park (together with numerous historical cedars) with a number of rocky bluffs (as excessive as 92 metres) extends alongside the Restoule River to its mouth on the French River. The two,800-acre park has greater than 10 kilometres of climbing trails, together with the Fireplace Tower Path which passes a 30-metre hearth tower (no, you’ll be able to’t climb it). Wildlife sightings have included coyotes, otters, moose and white-tailed deer. Birders have noticed falcons and herons, amongst different species. Select from varied tenting choices, together with backcountry websites on Stormy Lake and on the Restoule River, simply accessed by canoe or kayak, which might be rented.
Find out how to get there: Drive north on Freeway 400 and exit onto Freeway 11. At Trout Creek, head west on Freeway 522, adopted by the 524 and 534.
For the drive
Pamela and Tim Good chronicle their blended household’s campground pursuits on the “Tremendous Good Tenting” podcast. They cowl topics akin to learn how to cope with dangerous climate, tenting along with your canine, campground etiquette and selecting one of the best tent. The duo additionally dedicates episodes to particular Ontario Parks. It’s obtainable on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.