We have all been or know of Western Canada, Banff being the most popular mountain town in the area. Its many picturesque landscapes, mountains, lakes and forests to delve into, has proven to be a true paradise for adventurers. What about Eastern Canada? It is a little less popular amongst outdoor enthusiasts and this is exactly why you have to go. If Ontario and Quebec may not be the first destinations that come to mind when seeking an open air outing maybe you should think again! With countless National and Regional Parks to visit, here are 8 underrated gems that are definitely worth the detour in the Eastern part of the country.
First off on our list is the world-famous Algonquin Provincial Park located in Southeastern Ontario. Algonquin is the oldest and largest of all Provincial Parks in the Province and is also home to countless lakes, rivers and impressive wildlife diversity. With over 7.650 square kilometers to explore by foot, canoe and even horseback riding, it is time to gear up and go on an adventure!
Now moving on to Central Ontario is where you will find Killarney Provincial Park, a definite favourite among Ontarians. The untamed wilderness of this place will give you jungle feels as you hike through the park or canoe along the deep blue water of the countless lakes. Take a moment to admire the white quartzite ridges, a unique wonder of nature found all over the Park. Killarney is a go to destination for all outdoor enthusiasts looking for some peace and quiet right in the wild.
For those of you who are in desperate need of a tropical vibe and crystal clear water, Bruce Peninsula National Park is destined to fulfill all your wishes. Being one of the largest protected areas in Southern Ontario, this Park offers many possibilities including sunbathing and swimming, bird watching, canoeing and of course hiking. The endless trails in the Park vary in difficulty from easy to expert for every type of adventurers to enjoy.
If you are looking to explore nature in a different way, the Thousand Island National Park, formerly known as the St-Lawrence Islands National Park is your pick! This gem, mostly only accessible by boat, consists of 21 Islands and many more islets. You can plan countless backcountry canoe-camping trips around the thousands of islands or just choose one and grab your picnic basket and Pocket Cocktails for a memorable afternoon guaranteed. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, you may also enjoy the trail systems on the mainland along the Thousand Islands Parkway.
Here’s to all my fellow Quebecers and visitors who are planning a trip through La Belle Province. Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park is part of the UNESCO Charlevoix Biosphere reserve and is an absolute must-see. If you are looking for a challenge, take on the Montagne des Érables, which is the highest summit in the park (1,048 meters) and offers a breathtaking overview of the Charlevoix region. While you’re there, why not enjoy a well-deserved BarCountry Pocket Cocktails? I’ve heard it’s a great pairing with the best views of the day! Other activities available include riverboat cruises, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, cycling, hiking, bird watching, whitewater paddling and climbing.
For all bird lovers out there, the Ile-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park has to be on your bucket list. It is home to the migratory bird sanctuary found on Bonaventure Island where you can observe over 250 000 feathered creatures. Located at the edge of the Gaspé Peninsula in Gaspésie, the island offers many hiking trails and lots of kayaks and canoes are available for rent for those of you who wish to get up close and personal with the iconic Percé Rock just off the mainland.
The Gaspésie region is also where you will find the oldest National Park of the Province. Forillon National Park offers various activities by the sea, surrounded by cliffs, the forest and a never-ending pebble beach for you to enjoy during warm summer days. If you feel a little adventurous, snorkelling expeditions are available giving you the opportunity to explore the diversified underwater wildlife and ecosystems found in the area.
Finally, last but not least on our list is the Mingan Archipelago National Park. Located in the Eastern region of Quebec, this chain of approximately 1,000 islands and islets is characterized by its unique limestone rock formations, the largest grouping of such monoliths in the Country. Take time to explore some of the many islands and nature trails and stay on the lookout for whales greeting you as they pass by in the deep blue horizon.
These stunning parks, islands and waterways are just a few of the densely forested and fresh water heavy lands that make Eastern Canada an underestimated but most beautiful area in North America to adventure. Pack a bag and get out there this summer, there is so much to see and never enough time. Better explore today than regret tomorrow.
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