Discover crystal-clear waters and superb camping options on Georgian Bay.
Georgian Bay, part of Lake Huron in Ontario, offers crystal-clear water, rugged shorelines, and various outdoor activities. The incredible rock formations are part of the Canadian Shield and are included in the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, where rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, and birdwatching are phenomenal. Additionally, several provincial parks are situated along Georgian Bay or within a very short drive of it, adding additional options for outdoor fun and camping. This is cottage country and most towns come equipped to serve those who love being active outdoors—you’ll find outdoor gear outfitters, craft breweries, independent coffee shops, cafes with take-out picnic options, and tour guides.
Often described as Northern Ontario’s best-kept secret, Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world—so large that it’s home to over 100 lakes itself! Visitors can check out several lighthouses, including the famous Split Rock Light, while photographers love the stunning lookouts on the island’s many hikes. Put the Cup and Saucer Trail on your list for incredible views. Additionally, the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation is an excellent place to learn about Indigenous culture.
This town is a great base camp for those exploring the great outdoors. It’s home to an excellent selection of shops and services—from downtown, you can even catch a scenic boat tour of Georgian Bay or call an outfitter to arrange fishing, hiking, and ATV tours. A 10-minute drive away, Oastler Lake Provincial Park is a nice spot for family-friendly activities.
Wasaga Beach has a reputation as one of the region’s best spots for outdoor enthusiasts to base themselves—and to party, if that’s your scene. Although once known as a bar-hopping destination, today the vibe is much more family-friendly and focused on nature. The town is home to the world’s longest freshwater beach and offers panoramic views of the nearby Niagara Escarpment. You can rent gear to try stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. There is also excellent hiking, most notably on the Nottawasaga Bluffs Trail.
This park’s landscape is different from what you might expect. It’s home to iconic pink granite rock formations, something both hikers and photographers love. No wonder Canada’s Group of Seven painters (including A.Y. Jackson, Franklin Carmichael, and A.J. Casson) found inspiration here! There are ample opportunities for backwoods canoeing, hiking, and camping, as well as more accessible car camping sites and soft shelters such as yurts.
Set along the French River, Canada’s first designated Heritage River, this Provincial Park offers a 65-mile canoe route of interconnected lakes, gorges, and rapids from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. All camping here takes place in the backcountry with no advanced reservations.