2017 marks the birthday of the place we all call home: Canada is officially 150 years young! Here’s to affordable healthcare, legalized gay marriage for over a decade, and living in a country that hosts some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in the world. In honour of this extra special year for all Canadians, Parks Canada is providing free passes to gain entry into all of our national parks for the entire 2017 season. Referred to as the 2017 Discovery Pass, it is available to all on the Parks Canada website here.
And to get you started on all your camping and trip planning needs, is a list of 5 wonderful parks to visit that are within driving range of Brampton. All these locations boast the classic park activities, with opportunities to view amazing wildlife, engage in Canada’s rich cultural and natural landscapes, and immerse yourself in a variety of unique and wonderful environments.
Rouge National Urban Park — Markham, ON
1 hour, 15 min. drive
Located a short one-hour drive away, Rouge Urban is going to be the first national urban park of Canada. This one is nicely situated close to home. There’s lots to do here: skating (weather permitting), visit a museum/gallery, hiking, camping, swimming, geocaching, photography, picnics, fishing, canoeing, hit the beach, and more! The park will eventually branch out and maintain lands in Toronto, Pickering, and Uxbridge, in addition to Markham.
Georgian Bay National Park — Honey Harbour, ON
2 hour drive
Georgian Bay is a beautiful location with lots to do, and is particularly great for overnight trips. The location hosts waterfront cabins perfect for a family trip or romantic getaway. In the fall, Beausoleil Isand is an especially stunning location for a hike. Other activities include camping, biking, boating, canoe or kayaking, fishing, geocaching, picnics, photography, swimming, and more. Cedar Spring Campground is a great family camping spot with running water, toilets, picnic tables, hibachis (fire boxes with a fold-down grill) and shower facilities. For a more rugged and authentic camping experience, Primitive Campground is the aptly-named place to go.
Bruce Peninsula National Park — Tobermory, ON
3 hour, 15 min. drive
This park is notable for the amazing cliffs that overlook the water. A particularly breathtaking location, Bruce Peninsula is a highlight of the parks in this list. An experience to take advantage of are the ten yurts located along Cyprus Lake; a camping experience that you can brag about. Also absolutely worth checking out is The Grotto, an underwater cave you can swim and hang out in. Alongside all the usual activities, in the winter the location is prime for skiing, snowshoeing, and winter camping at Tamarack. The park is a short drive from the town of Tobermory itself, where there is an abundance of local shops, cuisine, and sights to see.
Point Pelee National Park — Leamington, ON
3 hour, 40 min. drive
The many activities available at Point Pelee go beyond the traditional fare (geocaching, picnicking, swimming, etc). You can paddle on the Point Pelee Marsh on a Freighter Canoe excursion, where you’ll see beavers, herons, and lots of other wildlife. In the spring, bird migration occurs, where you can experience the Festival of Birds at the “Warbler Capital of Canada.” At the Botham Tree Trail, visitors can explore and learn about the 70 species of trees found here.
Thousand Island National Park — Leeds and the Thousand Islands, ON
3 hour, 40 min. drive
This park lives up to its name: upon visiting Thousand Islands, visitors will be able to see a plethora of islands located along and on the water. A particularly interesting camping experience is staying at an oTENTik, roofed camping locations perfect for overnight stays. You can bike along the St. Lawrence, or picnic, geocache, scavenger hunt, and hike at the Mallorytown Landing visitor centre. Visitors can go paddling, tour in a powerboat, and camp at various islands. Other notable activities include kitesurfing, scuba diving, and lots of wonderful events throughout the year.
For more information on the Discovery Pass as well as all of Canada’s other national parks, visit the Parks Canada website here.