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Algonquin Inspiration

Algonquin Park. It’s an icon of the Ontario wilderness.  It’s a place to escape urban life and reconnect with all that nature has to offer.

An abandoned train trestle. Slowly being reclaimed by Algonquin Park, only a small piece of the area’s history is left for us to see while hiking the Old Railway Trail from Pog Lake to Whitefish Lake.
What does the name Algonquin inspire in your imagination? Howling wolves and moose grazing along the shores of misty lakes? Do you smell the fresh, earthy odour of the forest? Do you hear the loons? Can you feel the chill of the lake on your skin on a hot summer day?

The “dog beach” at the Canisbay Lake campground. It’s way better than the people-only, no dogs allowed beach.  Don’t let the hill you need to hike down (and back up again) scare you – it’s totally worth the trek on a path that looks scarier than it really its.

Algonquin is more than a park. It’s an experience.

It’s a place to paddle….

To search for some geocache treasure….

To play….

To savour a taste of true Ontario goodness – Kawartha Dairy ice cream….

Mmmmm…ice cream! Our fave places to get some of this awesome Ontario sweetness in Alognquin Park is the Lake of Two Rivers Campground Store, Algonquin Outfitters and the The Portage Store. Yes, we actually did savour the ice cream at all of these places. Can you blame us?
To participate and give back to the environment….

A great way to get involved is through an organized beach clean-up through the Children’s Park Helper Program.  Pick up garbage, get a free button and an entry into a contest for cool prizes!

 To soothe your soul.

Canisbay Lake
You Should Go! Here’s What You Need To Know:
Before you go, do a bit more research than reading my blog!  There are two essential websites you must check out. The Friends of Algonquin Park and Ontario Parks sites are your absolute go-to guides to help you plan your trip.  

Algonquin Park is only a few hours away from our province’s most populated areas.  This means it can be really busy – especially on long weekends.   

Here’s a really big tip if you’re planning on going to Algonquin:  book your campsite in advance. If you don’t, there’s a very good chance you’re going to drive a few hours and end up being disappointed.

Since Algonquin is a provincial park, it is run by Ontario Parks.  Check out their website here: http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/reservations.html to make a campground reservation.

If you’re into car camping you’ll probably have neighbours on the campground. And there is a really good chance that you’ll hear other people’s radios, dogs, kids and possibly even their conversations.  Yes, Algonquin is a park known for it’s wilderness. But it also has numerous campgrounds specifically for car camping and RV’s that line the Hwy 60 corridor running through the park.  These campgrounds have flush toilets, laundry facilities and showers.  Sure, you are still have to think about things like bears and raccoons getting into your food in these campgrounds but they definitely aren’t the backcountry experience.

If you’re looking for the close to nature, peace and quiet, car camping experience, consider booking a site in a radio-free campground.  There are also areas that are radio AND dog free.  

Sorry, so far kids are allowed everywhere. So if hearing the sounds of other people’s kids isn’t your thing, you’ll just have to take your chances.

Algonquin Park has so much to offer for hiking, biking and canoeing for all experience levels.  There are several outfitters located right inside the park, including Algonquin Outfitters and the The Portage Store.  These outfitters will set you up with everything you need to enjoy the park, including canoe and equipment rentals by the hour or by the day(s).

I strongly recommend a stop at the Visitor Centre and at the Logging Museum. Both are interesting, well presented and give a great overview of the park’s natural and social history.

As a side note, there is a cafeteria-style restaurant at the Visitor Centre that serves awesome burgers and onion rings! You can also grab something to eat at the restaurant in The Portage Store – the fries and ice cream are really, really good.

Be prepared to use your vehicle.  Algonquin Park is huge. Trailheads are spread throughout the park, as are the Visitor Centre and Logging Museum.  If you want to experience Algonquin beyond your campground you’ll probably need to drive to the various events, venues and trailheads.

Have a great experience at Algonquin Park.  Take a lot of pictures. And when you get home come on back to this post and share your stories and tips!

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  • Gayle Labuz

    Thanks, Jessica! Car camping is when you park a vehicle right at your campsite. So, you still sleep in a tent or trailer (or wherever you lay your sleeping bag), but you have your car with you on the site all the time. It's a convenient way to camp, because you can store stuff (like your food in coolers) in your car. Car camping campsites are located in organized campgrounds and can include electrical hook ups and fresh, potable water access right on the site or a short walk away. The campgrounds also have a comfort station that includes flush toilets and showers.
    The other way to camp is backcountry camping. When you go backcountry you either hike or canoe/kayak to your campsite. All you can take with you is what you can carry on your back or in your canoe.
    Backcountry is true "wilderness" camping. No flush toilets. No running water. No amenities of any kind. The campsites aren't in "organized" campgrounds, although here in Ontario, you almost always have to book a site in advance and register at the park when you arrive.
    I wonder if "car camping" is an Ontario saying? You would never call a campground and say "I'd like to book a car camping site". Basically, it's assumed that is the type of campsite you are reserving.
    But when we're talking about Algonquin and a few other parks in the province there are a lot of people who think mostly of the backcountry method. That's why I made the distinction in my post.
    Hope this helps!

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