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Canada’s province of Ontario is home to more than 250,000 lakes, offering a beautiful destination for families who want to enjoy a vacation full of aquatic fun. It’s easily accessible for American travelers and includes three international border crossings — the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Lewiston, N.Y. and Peace Bridge in Buffalo, N.Y.
Just a two- to three-hour drive north of the border, and you’ll be in the spectacular Georgian Bay region. Known as the sixth Great Lake, the bay is home to more than 30,000 islands and more than 1,200 miles of shoreline, featuring nearly endless picturesque beaches, dazzling clear blue waters and windswept pines. This unique destination offers a rich marine heritage, a coastline dotted with lighthouses and a multitude of outdoor adventures.
Whether you’re camping or staying in a mountain lodge, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options to suit your family’s needs. Consider the north shores of Georgian Bay for a true wilderness destination. The drive will be a little longer, about five hours from the Canadian border, but the gorgeous scenery and opportunities for adventure are unsurpassed.
Georgian Bay is also the home of Killarney Provincial Park, one of the province’s highly revered wilderness destinations defined by sapphire blue lakes, a coastline adorned with pink granite and towering mountains lined with quartzite ridges.
The park’s campground provides tent sites and yurts. Yurts are located in a private area away from other sites and include two sets of bunkbeds as well as lighting, electric heat and a power outlet.
Killarney Mountain Lodge sits right on the shores of the bay, outside the village of Killarney, and offers a cozy family retreat. Both cabins and lodge rooms are available. Cabins feature picture windows, lake views and plenty of room to spread out and unwind. Visit the lodge dining room famous for luxury Canadian cuisine — each meal is made from scratch using fresh ingredients.
Camp in the park and enjoy all of the lodge amenities or take your family to the water for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, sailing, and cruises. Without a boat? The Georgian Bay Marina offers 17-foot aluminum, 15 and 20 HP motor boat rentals at fairly reasonable rates.
Numerous hiking trails also wind through the park for beginner and advanced hikers. Take on the challenge of trekking to the highest point in the La Cloche mountain range, Silver Peak, to soak in awe-inspiring views and experience the alpine spirit of Killarney Provincial Park.
Travelers come to Georgian Bay for the boating. Remember, a boating license is required, but it’s fairly easy to obtain. A three-hour boat safety and licensing course is available online. Also, keep in mind traveling during a particular season can determine the type of vacation you have. Spring is a favorite season for many travelers because it’s an off-season that has frequent mild days. Temperatures at night often dip below freezing during mid-May. Summer is the warmest and most popular time to visit. Autumn, particularly mid-September through mid-October, draws fewer visitors, yet boasts moderate temperatures and breathtaking fall hues that color the bay and wilderness.