Georgian Bay is located on the northeastern side of Lake Huron in Ontario. It features 32 historic lighthouses and 30,000+ islands. This quiet and peaceful region is one of a kind destination for anglers, boaters, kayakers, and hikers. During summer, the towing pine forest, magnificent cliffs, blue water, and dotted beaches create an atmosphere for nature lovers. Beausoleil Island part of Georgian Bay National Park is one of the famous islands for camping, picnicking, and hiking among weekend day trippers.
Road Trip From Toronto to Beausoleil Island
On a Sunday morning just landed at Toronto Pearson Airport from New Jersey, the plan was to rent a car and embark on a road trip north to Honey Harbor, from where I will catch the park’s Day Tripper boats 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 eight rustic cabins. In addition, there are 11 trails ranging from wheelchair-accessible walking paths 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’s when I am in Canada? Moreover, the first boat to the island is at 10:30 am, so there is enough time to relax and enjoy.
A Quick Stop at Martyrs Shrine
I arrived in Midland, Ontario, at 8:30 am, enough time to explore. I just wanted to make proper use of the extra time I gained by speeding (just kidding). A quick stop by Martyrs’ Shrine, a Roman Catholic church in Midland, Ontario, was exciting. This place honors the memory of the Canadian Martyrs from the mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. Even on a Sunday morning, there was already a crowd gathered at that location. I spent an hour or so exploring the area and continued my journey.
Finally arrived at the Day Tripper starting point in Honey Harbor and 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.
Even though I did not have a reservation, luckily was able to squeeze in, and being a solo traveler paid off. However, you may not get lucky like me, so, It’s always a good idea to make reservations ahead of time for the DayTripper. There are limited 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.
Best Time To Visit
During summer, Georgian Bay gets busy with speed boats, as are the National parks. The trails are usually heavily traveled. I visited in 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.
Things to Do In Beausoleil Island
Once you get off the boat, you can follow the Northern or Southern trails. The Southern Trails, including Georgian and Huron, are the longest, spanning from 2.2 to 4.4 miles (3.8 to 7.1 km), and allow for bicycle use. Northern Trails like Rockview, Fairy, Cambrian, and Dossyonshing range from 1 to 2 miles (1.5 to 2.5 km) and pass through a rich mosaic of forest communities.
There are Perfect Places for Camping in Beausoleil Island
There are Perfect Places for Camping on Beausoleil Island
The park has over a hundred campsites at nine different campgrounds. Able to enjoy spectacular views of Georgian Bay only steps away from the water’s edge.
Cedar Spring campground offers amenities such as a tent, dinner shelter, sleeping pads, camping chairs, and a 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.
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. However, when feeling threatened, the Massasauga will rattle its tail as a warning.
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 are opportunistic creatures when it comes to looking for and obtaining food. Due to their behavior, people often call them the “masked bandits” of the campground.
This plant can be found throughout the park, usually along trails and in disturbed areas like campgrounds and day-use areas.
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