Family friendly parks in the near north

Summer is here, and now’s the perfect time for a last minute family road trip!

During the busy summer months, the solution to finding your serene camping trip is heading north.  Here are a few near north parks we suggest visiting with your little ones.

Windy Lake Provincial Park

Just outside of Sudbury, Windy Lake contains one of the longest sand beaches in the region. This park is a good central base to explore the area with your family.

The drive between Windy Lake and Sudbury follows the Onaping River, which is one of the most scenic routes in the region.

View of the water from the beach.

A favourite of Sudburians, it’s a great place for kids. has a great playground, and many spectacular spots for picnics.

Young child playing in the sand by the water.

On the list of must see things during your stay is Onaping Falls. Just south of the park on Hwy 144 at the AY Jackson Lookout, a trailhead leads you through the valley and up to the impressive waterfall.

A half hour north of Windy Lake lies Halfway Lake Provincial Park, which has an extensive trail system through the rugged southern edge of the Boreal Forest.

View at Echo Pond depicting tall trees, blue waters, and rugged shoreline.
The Echo Pond Trail at Halfway Lake

Looking to take in more of local attractions? Windy Lake is just 45 minutes outside of Sudbury, home of Science North, an innovative science centre perfect for families, and Dynamic Earth which explores the earth, its rocks, and descend into a hard rock mine for a tour.

Finlayson Point Provincial Park

On a small peninsula surrounded by the waters of Lake Temagami, Finlayson Point is another great basecamp for family exploration.

Lake Temagami fills the view from Finlayson Point
Lake Temagami fills the view from Finlayson Point

Lake Temagami is huge – 40 kilometres from north to south! It’s home to more than 1200 islands and is the centre of world-class canoeing.  The park’s boat basin and docks make it easy to explore. Boating, fishing, and paddling are top activities on the big lake.

A canoe beached upon a rocky outcrop on Temagami lake.

Experience Canadian canoe culture at the Temagami Canoe Festival and check out the canoe displays, demos, and workshops along with live music.  Make sure you book your campsite early for this event!

If you can’t make it to this event there is still lots to explore in the area, including the Temagami Fire Tower just west of the park. Travel north and you will discover the historic town of Cobalt, which was once the richest silver mining region in the world.

Visitors exploring one of the many logging camp buildings at Marten River
One of the historic buildings for you to explore at Marten River

You can also travel south to Marten River Provincial Park and explore a reconstructed early 1900’s logging camp.

Mikisew Provincial Park

Mikisew means “eagle” in Anishinaabe, and the park lies on the shores of scenic Eagle Lake. A popular fishing destination for people and birds alike, Mikisew has a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy!

View of Eagle Lake at Mikisew.

Mikisew is nestled into the Almaguin Highlands, a rugged forested region west of Algonquin. the park’s two campgrounds each have a different character.

The Pines Campground is set among a towering pine forest, with large sites and a short bike ride from the beach.

View of the tall pines in the pine campground.
Pine Campground

Hardwoods Campground has secluded sites with plenty of vegetation between sites and lots of privacy.  Hardwoods is great for campers with small children, as it’s within walking distance of the beach.

Dog at off leash exercise area

The day-use beach is also home to the park’s leash-free dog exercise area and beach. The large, fenced area has picnic tables and a small sand beach.  Park visitors can picnic, toss a ball, or swim with their off-leash pet in this area.

A visitor trying their hand at disc golf at Mikisew.

Something new is an 18-hole disc golf course. Disc golf is a lot like regular golf, but it’s played with Frisbee-like discs and the holes are a bit like basketball hoops.

Mikisew is open until Thanksgiving. If you are a family that loves to camp in the fall, Mikisew and its fall colours will be the spot for you!

Six Mile Lake Provincial Park

Not looking to travel too far from the city? Six Mile Lake has a scenic northern landscape of pine forest, pink bedrock, and sparkling blue lakes right at the edge of southern Ontario.

Staff member and visitor look out onto Six Mile's beautiful landscape from a boardwalk.

The park has three sand beaches, all within walking distance of the campground, and one for four-legged friends. The bay on Six Mile Lake is protected from motorboats, making it a great place for canoes, kayaks, pedal-boats, and stand-up paddleboards.

Boat launch and rental location at Six Mile.

Six Mile has several hiking trails that loop together, letting you explore the many types of landscapes and habitats the park contains. The Living Edge Trail has been designated as an “Amazing Place”, one of 20 in the UNESCO Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

A glacial erratic, a massive boulder left behind thousands of years ago by glacial ice, lies on the shore of Hardy Lake

For keen hikers, Hardy Lake Provincial Park lies a half hour east of Six Mile and contains an 8 km loop that circles the scenic lake. Several smaller loops can be added to extend your hike.

Other local attractions include the Big Chute Marine Railway. As part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, it carries boat over land. It’s the only one of its kind in North America.

We also suggest visiting our friends at Ste-Marie among the Hurons, which is a reconstructed French mission originally built in the 1630’s in the country of the Wendat Nation. It has costumed interpreters, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

Wait, there’s more!

In addition to everything else, each park offers our Discovery Drop-in Program. Families with kids can join park staff for a Discovery Drop-in during the months of July and August.

Discovery Guide staff member exploring the findings of a visitor during the incredible insects program.

Discovery Guides help you to explore the park, observe plants and animals, and discover the wonders of nature. For more information keep an eye out for weekly calendar of events posted throughout the park.

So what are you waiting for?

Book your adventure to the near north today!