I learn something new everyday about my homeland. This time I learned (and it literally blew my mind) that there are 250,000 lakes in Ontario! Seriously! I was literally floored by this incredible statistic and started counting in my head how many I believe I have seen in my lifetime. Ontario indeed has much to offer its citizens and visitors. And there is no better time than this year to seek adventure throughout this lush and naturally blessed Canadian province. One place in particular that should be on your radar is one of my favourite places on earth – Algonquin Park.

Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park

Quirky Facts About this Park:

  • Algonquin is the oldest park in Ontario! It was established in 1893.
  • It is one of the largest parks at approximately 2950 square miles
  • It is home to many wildlife including fox, skunks, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, various birds, wolves, and black bears!
  • Out of the 250,000 Ontario lakes, 2400 are within Algonquin Park!
  • This beautiful park was named an official  National Historic Site in 1992
  • There are 1200 campsites spanning eight campgrounds for campers to enjoy the great outdoors and Canadian wilderness
  • There are routes for all the activities you could want including canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, bird-watching, and swimming.
Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park

Being the largest park in Ontario it serves as an extensive base for research and conservation efforts. Millions flock to this park yearly to seek adventure and a little piece of wilderness. With Ontario’s weather experiencing varied temperatures, it is no wonder so many visit for a taste of a natural ecosystem. It is especially momentous to visit in the autumn months to witness the incredible colour transition! End of September through to mid October, head to the park for unmatched colours of orange and gold throughout the trees! It is truly phenomenal.

Algonquin Tall trees
Algonquin Tall trees

 

Algonquin
Algonquin

Prolific Wildlife

Algonquin Park is home to a large variety of plants, animals, birds, and insects! There are approximately 85 animals, 270+ birds, 50+ fish, over 7000 types of insects, 1000+ plants, and 1000+ fungi. Now that is a lot of insects…

The Blue Jay
The Blue Jay

 

Chipmunk
Chipmunk

 

One of the over 1000 fungi species
One of the over 1000 fungi species

Plan Your Visit

Being the largest park in Ontario, there are many activities to choose from to accommodate a flurry of visitor interests.

If you enjoy camping, this is definitely the place! Why not plan a romantic getaway under a dome of stars while toasting marshmallows, listening to the babbling brooks nearby, and taking in the sweet smells of a roaring campfire. Ensure you plan ahead and make reservations as soon as possible as sites, lodges and other accommodations fill up super quick, especially this year with Canada 150 festivities taking place.

Yurts

Why not have a truly unique camping experience and rent a yurt? These cultural huts sleep six and give a truly authentic experience with nature.  Most yurts come fully equipped with outlets, bunk beds, fluorescent lights, propane barbecues, and facilities for cooking. Keep in mind that there are no bathroom facilities within the units and you should except a completely natural experience. Bring along some toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toilet seat covers and soap.

Traditional Yurt
Traditional Yurt
Credit: Ontario Parks

Pesky Insects

Just like any wilderness area, there are many insects that live within the forests. As mentioned, 7000 species to be exact! Within this large number of bugs, there are a select few that are not human-friendly. These species have specific times of of the summer where they thrive and monopolize the environment making it a truly unpleasant experience. See our guide below ensuring you travel outside their peak times.

Black Flies

These tiny pests are nasty little things and Canada is home to over 160 different species. They literally are the size of a full-stop dot and swarm your head and body for a nibble. Many who travel to the park during their peak time are forced to dawn netting around their heads and bodies to keep from getting bitten alive.

Algonquin Park is home to over 40 of the 160 different species of black flies, with four of these biting humans. In early summer these human-biting species are prolific and will make your camping holiday somewhat challenging. Black flies grow and mature in water with females requiring blood to feed and create eggs. You will know if you have been bitten as they break the skin and and soak up blood. Some of the side effects include itchiness, scab, swelling in certain areas, and continuous swatting in an attempt to shoo them away. The only way to prevent bites is netting and covering yourself in black clothing from head to toe. Spray yourself thoroughly with insect repellent as well to detract these little nightmares. Time to Avoid: Mid-May to Late June

Mosquitoes

So these annoying bugs are common all over the world. Sadly, no time is better than another as these pesky insects are around all the time. There are 80 different species of mosquito in Canada with Algonquin being home to most of them.

Mosquito Close Up
Mosquito Close Up

They are around all the time, but are most abundant in the month of June. They are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide as well as colourful clothing. The female species are the guilty parties, who, using their stingers, capture enough blood to produce eggs.  Time to Avoid for most mosquitoes: Mid-June

Deer and Horse Flies

Deer flies and horse flies are more pesky bugs to make your camping vacation challenging! They are very similar to house flies only bigger and irritating to humans with strong large bites. These mean insects literally bite a bit of skin out of your body and leave a bump as a result. They are easily identifiable as they swarm above your head preparing to land for a hearty meal and have a rainbow reflective body. Horse flies are the same size, but are of a dark body. They are mostly prevalent in the summer months. They love wet surfaces and moving targets. To prevent painful bites, wait for them to land and then give a good swat. Covering your head, arms, and legs will help prevent these itchy bites. Time to avoid: Mid-June/July

Deer Fly
Deer Fly

Great Canadian Moose-Watching

Another fascinating activity to enjoy within this beautiful fauna of lush gardens and wildlife is moose-watching! Have you dreamed of seeing these majestic creature up close and personal?

Spring is the best time of year to see this incredible animal in a natural state. They are quite prevalent requiring very little effort to spot one! Their favourite spot is usually on the roadside within the water-filled ditches.

Moose
Moose

Although it is an absolute thrill to see a moose up close, do keep in mind that they are dangerous, especially if you confront one while driving. They are larger than many think and will charge a car without warning if it feels threatened. Sadly moose and humans are killed by motor vehicle accidents yearly. The main cause is distraction or underestimating the weight and power of these creatures. The best tip to reduce the instances of these tragic accidents is to reduce your speed through the park and stay alert. Remain alert, keep a close eye while driving at night if low lighting or visibility, and reduce your speed on the roads.

 

Skunks

These stinky little fur balls are quite common at night throughout the parks. Be mindful of their presence and keep your tents closed and refrain from leaving food in reachable places. Should you corner a skunk, leave! You do not want to upset one and get a fragrant reminder of your confrontation. If it feels threatened, it will lift its tail and spray you with a quite potent stink. The preventative measures are even more important with your pets! Keep your dogs and cats away from skunks and avoid chasing them.

The only remedy to rid your skin of this smelly defense is to bathe in an entire bathtub of tomato juice. Although many find this to be an old wives’ tale, it really does work!

Stinky Skunk
Stinky Skunk

Ontario’s largest park certainly has so much to offer visitors. Everything from camping, to marvelling at incredible wildlife, this region of the province truly lives up to its reputation. Head here this year for a truly Canadian experience as the nation celebrates its 150th birthday. If you are unable to visit in the summer and take advantage of the vast and fun-filled activities, do head there in the fall for at least a gander at the changing of the leaves. It truly is magical.

Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park

 

One of the over 200 lakes within the park
One of the over 2000 lakes within the park!

 

Why You Need to Visit Algonquin Park Ontario this year
Why You Need to Visit Algonquin Park Ontario this year

 

Why You Need to Visit Algonquin Park Ontario this year
Why You Need to Visit Algonquin Park Ontario this year

 

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