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Monday, May 22, 2017

Camping options when Ontario Parks fill up quickly, including B&Bs nearby



   One-Tank Trip for May 20-17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   If you find a “no vacancy” sign posted for your favourite Ontario Provincial Park, don’t despair, there are other options.
   Heading toward the Victoria Day long weekend and the traditional opening for many parks after the winter hibernation, it was not unusual to find things super busy.

Drop me a line. Heading out to fish at Bass Lake Provincial Park. (Jim Fox photo)
   This is especially true at the five most popular parks – Algonquin, Bon Echo, Killbear, Pinery and Sandbanks.
   Parks’ bloggers have suggestions “we’re sure you’ll love” for alternate getaway locations.
   Another option is to skip roughing it in the wilds and stay at a cozy bed-and-breakfast and use it as a home base for exploring the parks.

   Switch it up
   When Pinery’s full, try Inverhuron Provincial Park near Tiverton, south of Owen Sound.
   Inverhuron is “prized for its sandy beach, dunes and sunsets” and has outstanding swimming and well-treed campsites.
This perfect campsite, just steps from the lake, will soon be taken for the season at Ontario Provincial Parks. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Facilities include a laundromat and store while camping permits can be used for day visits to other parks such as MacGregor Point, Point Farms and Sauble Falls.
   If Bon Echo is full, switch to Murphys Point south of Perth with excellent facilities, services and activities including a visitor centre and children’s programs.
   Campers can tour the restored Silver Queen mica mine, two pioneer homesteads and the ruins of an early sawmill and will find boat-in and backcountry sites.
   When the mighty Algonquin park is full, move to Samuel de Champlain or Arrowhead.
   Samuel de Champlain, near Mattawa, is a “family-oriented” park featuring its fur trade era past with a museum and Voyageur canoes.
Enjoying a game of volleyball in Lake Simcoe at McRae Point Provincial Park near Orillia. (Jim Fox photo)
    Arrowhead is north of Huntsville with electrical sites, cabins and a trail network for cycling and hiking, and water activities on Little and Big East rivers.
   When Sandbanks is full, there’s Presqu’ile park, near Brighton, with a sandy beach stretching 2.5-kilometres.
   Car campers will find a variety of sites from shoreline to forest and there are 16 kilometres of trails and summer interpretive programs.
   This is a birding hotspot for spring and fall migrations, with nature and visitor centres and the second oldest working lighthouse on Lake Ontario.
   Camping permits can be used to visit nearby North Beach Provincial Park.
   When Killbear is full, there’s Grundy Lake park, north of Parry Sound, with comfortable, family camping at lakefront sites.
   There is canoeing with the park lakes providing access to famous Voyageur routes along the French and Pickerel rivers.
   During the summer, the Natural Heritage Education Program is popular with children.

  B&B and park combos
   Explore Ontario’s vibrant natural landscapes from the comfort of a B&B.
Sleepy Hollow B&B in a 1905 Victorian mansion in Gananoque is near Charleston Lake park.
   Parks’ bloggers “uncovered nine of the best B&B/provincial park combos aided by the Federation of Ontario Bed & Breakfast Accommodation.
   - Sleepy Hollow B&B, in a 1905 Victorian mansion in Gananoque, is 30 minutes from Charleston Lake park.
   - Nap-n-Nosh B&B, known for gourmet breakfasts and landscaped grounds, in Bloomfield is 15 minutes from Sandbanks park, 30 minutes to North Beach and 45 to Presqu’ile.
   - Muskoka Dream Catcher B&B, near all the amenities in Huntsville, is 10 minutes from Arrowhead and 40 to Algonquin.
   - Montrose Inn Boutique B&B and Tea Room in Belleville is 30 minutes away from Presqu’ile and 45 to Ferris, North Beach and Sandbanks.
   Exploring the scenic Sleeping Giant Provincial Park east of Thunder Bay. (Ontario Parks)

 - Eldorado Beach on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay is 30 minutes to Quimet Canyon, 40 to Sleeping Giant and one hour to Kakabeka Falls.

  - Between the Maples B&B, Owen Sound, is an hour to MacGregor Point while Stone Edge Estate B&B in Georgetown is 20 minutes to Forks of the Credit, 45 minutes from Mono Cliffs and an hour to Earl Rowe.
   - Check into Casa Wasaga or Wasaga Beach B&B only 10 minutes to the beach town’s park, 30 minutes from Springwater and an hour to Awenda park.
   For more information: ontarioparks.com; fobba.com

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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