My Trip Starting From Toronto

On a Sunday morning just landed at Toronto Pearson Airport from New Jersey, the plan was to rent a car and embark a road trip north to Honey Harbor from where I will catch the park’s Day Tripper boat to Beausoleil island one of the 63 islands in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Beausoleil is the park’s largest island, with facilities that include docks, 130 campsites, and 8 rustic cabins. There are 11 well-marked trails ranging from wheelchair accessible walking path to more difficult ones.

 

It was dark at 5:30 am and very cold below 0º C. The distance between Toronto and Honey Harbour is about 93 miles ( 150 km) and considering the smooth ride on highway 400 north, I took my time to enjoy the ride and stopped at a rest area for an early morning coffee, how can I miss Tim Horton when I am in Canada. Moreover, the first boat to the island was not available until 10:30 am.

Early Morning coffee stop at Route 400 North Rest area.

Quick Stop at Martyrs Shrine

Arrived in Midland, Ontario at 8:30 am, enough time to explore, just wanted to proper use of the extra time I gained by speeding (just kidding). A quick stop by at Martyrs’ Shrine a Roman Catholic church in Midland, Ontario was exciting. This place is consecrated to the memory of the Canadian Martyrs from the mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. Sunday early morning but that place was already crowded. Spent an hour or so exploring the place and then continue my journey. 

Martyrs’ Shrine, Canada
First Stop at Martyrs’ Shrine a Roman Catholic church in Midland, Ontario

Finally arrived at the Day Tripper starting point in Honey Harbor, parked my car at the free parking lot, still enough time on hand to wander around in Honey Harbor before I catch the DayTripper to begin my adventure.

DayTripper boat in Honey Harbor
The first DayTripper boat is not until 10:30 am so wondering around Honey Harbor by Georgian Bay

Even though I did not have a reservation, but luckily was able to squeeze in, being a solo traveler paid off. You may not get lucky like me so, It’s always a good idea to make reservations ahead of time for the DayTripper. As there are a limited amount of spaces on the boat and they can quickly sell out. The scenic boat ride was about 15 minutes to Beausoleil Island’s Cedar Spring campground.

Honey Harbor!
Parked my car and heading towards the counter was able to secure a seat – I guess being solo traveler finally paid off!

Best Time to Visit 

During summer, Georgian Bay gets busy with speed boats and so is the National parks. The trails are usually heavily traveled. I visited early October and in my opinion, late September to early October is the best time to see the stunning fall foliage for which southwestern Ontario is so well known. Also, cooler temperatures are perfect for hiking, biking or lounging on the cabin porch. I was able to capture a few nice fall colors. 

Honey Harbor by Georgian Bay on a Sunday Morning !
Honey Harbor at Georgian Bay on a Sunday Morning!

Things to Do In Beausoleil Island 

Once you get off the boat you have the option to follow the Northern or Southern trails. 

Southern Trails like Georgian and Huron are the longest ranging from 2.2 to 4.4 miles (3.8 to 7.1 km) where bicycles permitted

In early October the trees started to change color and the trails becomes less crowded!
In early October the trees started to change color and the trails become less crowded!

Northern Trails like Rockview, Fairy, Cambrian, and Dossyonshing are ranging from 1 to 2 miles (1.5 t0 2.5 km) pass through a rich mosaic of forest communities.  

Trails
Lookouts and resting area available along the trails

There are Perfect Places for Camping in Beausoleil Island

The park has over a hundred campsites at 9 different campgrounds. Able to enjoy spectacular views of Georgian Bay only steps away from the water’s edge.  

Camps Grounds That is Equipped 

Cedar Spring campground is equipped with a tent, dinner shelter, sleeping pads, camping chairs and propane stove.  

Rustic Waterfront Cabins

For comfort stay there are cabins on Cedar Spring and Christian Beach, the cabins offer more than the essentials: sleeping bunks, dining table, and chairs, barbecue, coffee maker plus scenic views. 

Beautiful weekend gateway!
Beautiful weekend gateway!

Wildlife Watch

Georgian Bay Islands National Park is home to fascinating wildlife and plant species.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is a species at risk and is shy and non-aggressive by nature and is rarely seen in the wild due to its cryptic coloration and ability to camouflage. When feeling threatened the Massassauga will rattle its tail as the warning.

Black Bears

Black bears visit the islands during the warmer months searching for food. Generally, they prefer to avoid humans, although food left unsecured can attract them. 

Raccoons

Raccoons are opportunistic creatures when it comes to looking for and obtaining food. They are often referred to as the “masked bandits” of the campground. 

Poison Ivy

This plant can be found throughout the park, usually along trails and in disturbed areas like campgrounds and day use areas.  

My Opinion and Tips

  • Plan your trip during the week if you’re looking for a quieter getaway with fewer people.
  • Regardless when you are planning a trip don’t forget to take plenty of water and snacks with you
  • Definitely, a camera is handy.
  • A bicycle can be rented from the Kiosk at the arrival area. 
  • If you are looking for a hotel around the area click here for good Hotel deals. 

Have you been to Beausoleil Island, Georgian Bay? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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