On a Sunday morning, my boy and I packed a picnic lunch and drove 2 hours from Toronto to the Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The park features hiking trails through hardwood forest and granite hills and clear waters and sandy beaches for swimming. The island where the park is located is the largest island and is named Beausoleil. Be sure to admire the beauty of the Canadian Shield.
This park is…you guessed it, on an island! Just getting there is an adventure! We booked a spot on the Daytripper, the boat that takes you to and from the island. The Daytripper makes 3 trips to the island daily and costs $15 per person. Choose from 11am, 12pm or 1pm. The boat will drop you off for 4 hours on the island, and then pick you up from the same spot. The boat ride was a lot of fun! It’s a tiny zippy boat, and it was enjoyable to speed through the waters and take in the pretty cottages.
You can choose to be dropped off at the near the visitors center, or at the more secluded and rocky part of the island. Once you get to there, take your time to relax and explore. You can swim in the clear water, visit the visitor center, go on a guided walk or rent bikes!
We decided to rent mountain bikes and take them out onto a trail. A bike rental costs $10 per hour or $25 for the day. We explored the “easy” Huron trail. We are both beginner bikers, so it was hard for us! The earth was very sandy and we kept sinking into the sand. Once we made it out of that part, it was a fun, but hot, ride. The bikes were brand new and amazing. The shocks were perfect and the brakes were really responsive. The bike just zipped over ginormous rocks and sticks that littered the trail.
After that we were pretty knackered, so we went to visit the Visitor’s Center. We said hello to Pineapple the snake (the best name) and ate our picnic lunch. We also walked some of the trails. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the mainland. Georgian Bay Islands National park offers camping on the island and you can also canoe or kayak in, instead of taking the Daytripper. The park is beautiful and it’s the perfect place to spend a Sunday in the summer or fall. For more information, please visit the park website.
Note: July 21, 2012 is Free Park Day! All National Parks will have free admission, and some will have special activities!