Ontario parks questions: Lake Superior and Algonquin - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-30-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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Ontario parks questions: Lake Superior and Algonquin

We're starting to scheme about the summer break photo expedition in June after our spring term wraps up, and I'm feeling northwoodsy. Moose, beaver, loons, bring 'em on.

I was reading about Algonquin Provincial Park and it looks pretty appealing, and is allegedly one of the best places for moose viewing in eastern north america. I'm thinking the downside might be that it could be very busy in June, being relatively close to Toronto, etc.

We also had Lake Superior Provincial Park recommended by another wildlife photographer. It's more wildernessy, also very appealing. A half day's drive further from Philadelphia than Algonquin, but the payoff is sandhill cranes, the gorgeous lake, and maybe something a little quieter.

I would welcome feedback about these two places. Here are my main priorities:
Stuffed with wildlife

Not stuffed with other humans - I work with people all day and live in the middle of a big city and enjoy a diversion from that.

Campsites with at least electricity - we don't have a solar setup yet apart from the small trickle charger. And no bathroom in the 13' Burro, so a decent campground bathroom is nice. Laundry facilities are a bonus since we do a lot of slithering around in mud (my vacations are so glamorous).

Extra bonus would be some kind of restaurant(s) vaguely nearby, no need for fancy - with all the photo related activity which is a lot of work, sometimes it's nice to not have to cook supper in the evenings. I get the feeling this might be harder to come by near the Lake Superior park, but if the tradeoff is a better quietude ratio, I'm entirely happy to give up my dinner out.

Thanks all!
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:26 PM   #2
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I used to go to Algonquin often (used to rent a UHaul camper to go there). I grew to love the Achray campground on the far east side, as I found the camping along the main highway 60 a bit crowded. Unfortunately (for you) Achray does not have many services like electricity, laundry or restaurants. It does make a great base camp for day long canoeing forays on the interconnected lakes.

You might find the highway 60 campgrounds more to your liking. In any case, it is a wonderful park.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:16 PM   #3
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Jen, you will love Algonquin. If you can rent a kayak or canoe and if possible take a small tent and over night out. You will not be disappointed.

The public schools in Ontario will not close for the summer until June 26 -28th this year. Univ. & some private schools will get out earlier but the majority are stuck inside until the end of June. Montreal English public schools are closing June 24th. So if you go the first few weeks in June you shouldnt have to much of an over crowded issue.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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You will find Algonquin opens around May (as most Ontario parks) and books up very quickly. Most of the campgrounds are along the main Hwy.
Parks up around Lake Superoor are great and not so crowded always. You are much more closed to wilderness up there and the parks are great. A lot of these parks are used for travelers as Algonquin is a stay along time park. More lible to see wildlife near Supwerior than Alq.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:14 PM   #5
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Jen, my wife & I have been going to Algonquin Park for over 35 yrs. We have real love for it. People worldwide come to enjoy the park & it,s wildelife. If you,ve never been there, it is well worth the trip. Years ago it was first come first serve as far as a campsite was concerned. Nowadays we need to reserve 5-6 mths ahead to get a site we want. There are still a few first come first serve sites but not many. If you do plan to go, I recommend reserving a site so you know that you,ll have a place when you get there. As was mentioned the highway 60 corridor will have the comforts you are looking for. We normally stay at Lake of two rivers campground where there is a store & restaurant & bike rental. Nearest large town is Huntsville an hours drive away. It has a Walmart and a hospital too. A small village Whitney, is a 20 minute drive in the opposite direction. It has 2 nice restaurants. Good Luck !
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:48 PM   #6
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Sounds like the Algonquin CGs are indeed 'stuffed with other humans'. Or am I reading too much into the previous comments?
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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Mike its pretty well the same as it is with any of the better know major parks in the US - July and August BUSY. But June shouldnt be to bad but as mentioned the park does get a pretty steady stream of visitors from around the world. Flying into Canada and renting a motorhome is big biz. But its a pretty big park so still lots of uncrowded places to explore. Here in Canada having electrical is a luxury thats not found at many of our Provincial or National Parks. Algonquin does offer them at some campgrounds but they are as far as I recall all off the Highway 60 which results in that be a busy end of the park. If you are willing to go without that luxury you will find it a bit less busy outside of the peak months at the other camping locations.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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A couple of good reviews of Alqonquin giving the plus and minus to times of years can be found at TripAdviser.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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Come to the Big Lake.. won't be near the crowds but definitely cooler weather.. then a couple of hours further to Puckaskwa National Park!
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:27 PM   #10
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Since it is on my way from Calgary to Manitoulin island, I have enjoyed the north shore of Lake Superior. It is not very crowded, and has some nice camp grounds. I quite enjoyed Sleeping Giant park. It is kinda far from Alqonquin though.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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Thanks everybody! You've given me plenty to think about. I am starting to lean towards Lake Superior but it sounds like Algonquin would be equally awesome.

Carol, I can totally see myself going without electricity in a more out of the way campground for a week just fine, but I have a european husband who is still confused about why the rocky mountains aren't full of trails connecting a lot of nice inns with fireplaces and good beer lists. So sharing a plug-in campground with other folks but having plenty of forest to escape the hollering families is how we navigate camping travel.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:33 AM   #12
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Jen,

OntarioParks.com is a terrific website with total info. on all of them, including campground maps and photos of individual campsites.

D & D
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jen b View Post
Thanks everybody! You've given me plenty to think about. I am starting to lean towards Lake Superior but it sounds like Algonquin would be equally awesome.

Carol, I can totally see myself going without electricity in a more out of the way campground for a week just fine, but I have a european husband who is still confused about why the rocky mountains aren't full of trails connecting a lot of nice inns with fireplaces and good beer lists. So sharing a plug-in campground with other folks but having plenty of forest to escape the hollering families is how we navigate camping travel.

Jen, I think it would be a big mistake to go up there and not stop at Alqonquin! From a photographers perspective you will not be disappointed. But as some of the reviews mentioned - spring is indeed BUG season but it will be at Lake Superior as well. The closer you are to the date of lake thaw the better - fewer bugs. If bugs are an issue for you then fall is the better time to visit - thats pretty well the case for all of Ontario and Manitoba - they have man eating bugs - you've got to go to the coasts for a relatively bug free spring/summer.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:44 AM   #14
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depending from which point to which Point in either park the distance is approximately 500 miles on relatively slow roads.. long half day.
There aren't many restaurants near Lake Superior park.. any?? Wawa is just north of the park but the park itself is about 50 miles long..
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