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Visiting Ontario on Your Next Road Trip
Much like its provincial neighbor to the east, Ontario is filled with both urban capitals of culture and wild lands rarely explored. Consider it the best of both worlds. The barrenness of the Hudson Bay shoreline dominates the northern landscape southward until becoming a crowded collection of Canadian cities that mark the shoreline of four of the five Great Lakes. But fear not, the most populated of Canadian provinces has more than its fair share of outdoor escapes for its visitors and locals alike.
Set along the vast shores of Lake Erie, in the area called Ontario’s "South Coast," travelers will be charmed by this seaside stretch. Enjoy strolling along white, sandy beaches, and exploring quaint fishing villages and lighthouses. Climb aboard the Port Stanley Terminal Railway for a scenic journey throughout the valley. Nearby Long Point Provincial Park encompasses about 25 miles of beaches, marshes, wetlands and sand dunes – making it a habitat for thousands of migrating birds, fish, reptiles and plant species. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking paths of the peninsula, and be sure to visit Long Point Bird Observatory, the oldest, privately funded, avian observation area in North America.
In the middle of the widest part of the St. Lawrence River lies the series of connected islands known as Iles de la Madeleine.
In Ontario's easternmost reaches, across the St. Lawrence River from New York State, lie the Thousand Islands, a cluster of numerous (probably not a thousand, but lots) tiny islands. First and foremost, it’s a boater's playground, but anyone who likes to do anything on the water will be pleased with the choice of venues. The waterways attract visitors from Canada and America in huge numbers.
From the Thousand Islands, take Highway 401 south, past Toronto. There, wedged in-between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, you'll find one of the world's most impressive sights: Niagara Falls. Formed about 12,000 years ago as glaciers retreated across the region, today the Falls is of course a major tourist attraction. Yet, the grandeur and immensity of this sight can’t be denied, no matter how crowded the area can get during peak season. To get up close, visit Table Rock, where the promenade actually hangs over part of the falls. Otherwise, grab some rain gear and hop aboard one of the boat tours that ventures right up into the falls. Climb aboard the Maid of the Mist tour boat and head upriver for a close-up view of the spectacular Horseshoe Falls, as well as the Rock of Ages, Cave of the Winds and American Falls. Consider visiting Canadian Horseshoe Falls, for one of the most incredible views of raging, rushing, and thundering waters.
Like any big city, the people of Toronto have their favorite weekend getaway spots. Some of the most popular destinations lie three hours north in places such as Stony Lake, Georgian Bay and Saint-Marie among the Hurons. Stony Lake, less than an hour’s drive from Peterborough, is home to Canada's largest concentration of ancient stone carvings, some dating back as much as 1,000 years. The Georgian Bay, due north of Toronto, is a terrifically scenic area that was often the subject matter of Canada's celebrated Group of Seven painters from the early twentieth century. Here also lies the Georgian Bay Islands National Park, a series of more than 60 islands, dotting the bay's impressive shoreline. Some of the area's larger islands greet guests with miles of terrific hiking trails and opportunities to glimpse some of the region's native animals.
Ontario's Bruce Peninsula is a 50-mile stretch that separates the Georgian Bay from Lake Huron to the west. Two-hundred-foot limestone cliffs are in abundance along the peninsula's shoreline. The Bruce Peninsula National Park is also the starting point for Canada's longest hiking trail, a 400-mile trek for those who bring their boots. The Fathom Five National Marine Park is also located on the peninsula and showcases the shore's limestone rock formations. The park is also quite popular with scuba divers who enjoy crystal clear waters and the water’s many shipwrecks.
East of the Bruce Peninsula lies the immense Algonquin Provincial Park. Consisting of nearly 3,000 square miles, the park is home to more than 250 animal species that find shelter among the dense forests. And there’s water too, lots of it. For canoeists, there's nothing quite like the Algonquin and its more than 2,500 lakes, many of which are connected with small natural waterways revealing even more possible adventures.
For those willing to test the barren and windswept reaches of northern Ontario, the shores of Lake Superior offer a number of exceptional national and provincial parks. The Lake Superior Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park all make for wonderful summer destinations when the weather is far more predictable.
Article Courtesy of Woodall's Campground Directory where you can find Ontario campgrounds and Ontario RV camping resorts at the turn of a page. Browse