Ontario parks questions: Lake Superior and Algonquin - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-30-2013, 11:58 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, 01:26 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, 03:16 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, 04:12 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, 04:14 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, 06:48 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, 07:37 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, 07:47 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, 08:33 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, 10:27 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, 09:40 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, 11:33 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, 12:34 PM   #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, 12:44 PM   #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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Old 01-31-2013, 02:57 PM   #15
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Jen: I have been camping in Algonquin since I was a little girl and that's a very long time ago. Mew Lake is a smaller campground, more private, open all year, right next to Lake of Two Rivers and has hydro. There are lots of hiking trails, or rent a canoe from Opeongo store. We are booked the end of April to beat the bugs and the crowds. We usually get moose, bear, fishers, foxes, otters and mink come right through the campground. The moose come out to the road puddles for the winter road salt. Fishing is also excellent.
However, our favourite is in the North East corner of Algonquin. Kiosk is a drop off point for interior campers and has 20 some odd campgrounds. No Hydro but the most peaceful, prettiest place in Ontario and the road in is paved, unlike Akray. You are also within 35 minutes of a couple of towns up on highway 17. We spend a couple of weeks there every fall and come home so refreshed!! Ontario Parks website will give you all the info you need.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:56 PM   #16
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Hmmm, you guys might have me swinging back to algonquin - both are so appealing! But maybe we go for the shorter drive when we've only got a little over a week for this trip.

Thanks again for all the great info!
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:23 PM   #17
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OH! and here's another question about internets - maybe a question for americans who travel in Canada. If the mister give his students take-home finals and we're able to get away during finals week, he'd need some wifi access in order to collect exam submissions. And in my job I'll be still in the middle of launching a huge project so I'll want some more or less regular ability to check in.

I'm assuming it will cost me an arm and a leg to use my iphone's wifi hotspot function with my american phone account for things like downloading a boatload of word documents - how do folks handle that kind of thing? I am hip to all the arguments about disconnecting for vacation, but the nature of our work means we need to stay plugged in.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:55 PM   #18
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I can tell you how I do it when I visit the US or travel internationally. Turn off all location services. Under Settings turn on Wi-fi. Set your phone under General settings "Network" - Turn the Data Roaming to "Off" turn the Cellular Data to "Off".
That way you can download all your mail and anything else you want using a free wi-fi spot and not be charged by your carrier.


With those settings above your phone will still ring and you still will get text messages - if you want to stop those you need to turn the phone right off. You should call your phone carrier to see if they have a North America travel add on package - often they do and it brings the costs of texts down to a more reasonable cost. But if you only do a few text messages while your away the cost of the travel plan may not be worth it. But be warned they can charge anywhere from 20 to 30 cents a text without a plan.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:57 PM   #19
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hmmm so lets see,,,you want to be in the wilderness with not many other people around with electricity and plumbing?lol
seriously i donp;t know how much time you have,, but consider circumnavigating lake superior, cruise all around it and camp where you can.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:41 PM   #20
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use your wifi only.. go to Fast food restaurants to find free wifi.. oh and stay away from Lake Superior Park.. you'd be lucky to get much cell coverage let alone wifi hot spots
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