Top 10 spots for a family picnic

It’s the perfect time to pack a picnic and spend a relaxing afternoon at Ontario Parks. Without the summer crowds, it’s a snap to find a quiet picnic shelter, table or spot for your blanket and basket.

Here are ten parks with gorgeous picnic areas that are easy drives from Ontario urban centres.

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September salmon fishing on Lake Superior

Did you know there are parks along Lake Superior’s eastern shore with great salmon fishing? Park staff who fish Superior’s north shore recommend two in particular: Pancake Bay and Lake Superior Provincial Parks. These parks are just forty minutes apart on the northeastern shore between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa off Highway 17 (aka the Trans Canada Highway).
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Fall hiking: more than just red leaves

Every year, more than a million people visit Ontario Parks to witness the splendor of the fall colours. After all, there are 8.2 million ha of provincial parks that set the horizon on fire, with their ever-turning reds, greens, oranges and yellows.

But is there anything else to see other than the leaves? Absolutely! With 1800 km of trails across the province, you just have to know where to look and what to look for.

Fall hiking is one of the best ways to appreciate the splendors of autumn that continue long after the leaves have fallen.

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Halloween is back at Ontario Parks (2014)

Witches in the woods, skeletons in closets and shivers on the shale. Camper Halloween is back at twelve Ontario Parks this October. Park staff and the Friends of Ontario Parks are putting the final touches on their spooky night hikes, owl prowls, wolf howls, and more. Many activities are cleverly linked to park and species ecology.  Halloween events have become so popular that campers are encouraged to book their campsites now, if they plan to participate. Below is a sample of this year’s events. You’ll find more on Ontario Parks’ Calendar of Events. Food plays a major role on any camping trip. This Park blog post highlights classic campsite recipes, new family favourites for fall and links to a post on how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey outdoors: BBQ turkey for thanksgiving? Why Not?

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RV camping in late fall

RV travellers love fall at Ontario Parks even after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October). Some even camp in winter. Park staff affectionately call these campers ‘winter warriors’ since staying warm and maintaining the water systems in your RV in Ontario winter temperatures is a challenge.  These four Ontario Parks are your best bet for late fall camping in an RV. Know that trailer fill stations for water are normally closed later in the season, based on weather.  However, three parks have campgrounds offering electrical service, and comfort stations with hot showers that are open year round. The fourth, Killarney Provincial Park, does not have electrical service.  The park also closes its comfort stations and turns off its water systems following the Canadian Thanksgiving, but the bathrooms outside of the main office remain open along with a tap so campers can access water to fill large jugs. Don’t forget that you need a park permit to camp in any season at Ontario Parks. More detailed RV information is on the Ontario Parks web site.

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Frontenac challenge: challenge accepted

Guest Blogger: Evan Holt, Traversing

I heard about the Frontenac Challenge a few years ago… which is to hike the provincial park’s 11 loops and 160km of trails between September 1 and October 31.  With the park’s All-Season Camping Challenge (camp at least one night in each month of the year for 12 consecutive months) and the Junior Hiking Challenge (Youth up to 12 years of age can take part in a mini Frontenac Challenge where they only need to complete six of the main loops in the park), Frontenac offers some great incentives to take in the sights and smells of the outdoors.

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10 ways to enjoy fall at Ontario Parks

1.    Book a Prince Edward County adventure

Maple Rest Heritage House  is a four-bedroom Victorian farmhouse. Jacques Cottage  has a beautiful view of Lake Ontario. You can book either for a fall getaway to Prince Edward County this fall through Sandbanks Provincial Park.

 2.    Find a quiet corner of Algonquin

Check out these tips from staff on how to explore a less busy side of Algonquin in the fall.

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Fall paddling

Are you dreaming of being surrounded by orange, yellow and red hues, endless landscapes and water as smooth as glass?  This means you are ready to plan your fall paddling trip!

Fall is a great time to get out in Ontario Parks; fall colours are amazing, blackfly season has subsided and the water is high this year.

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The many colours of fall

The countdown to fall has begun; children are returning to school, sweaters and long pants are reappearing and birds and butterflies are beginning their migratory journeys.  Some of us experience a kind of grieving at this time of year; we mourn for the long hot days of summer.  But others celebrate fall – a time of glorious colour, quiet parks and few bugs.

Only a few regions of the world offer the kind of spectacular, showy fall colours that Ontario is famous for. The climate and deciduous trees of Northeastern North America provide the perfect storm for transforming our lush green foliage into the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges.

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