This Thanksgiving, why not take the work out of your Thanksgiving dinner and head to your favourite park for a weekend away and a BBQ turkey with all the fixings? After all, you can recycle just about everything you need to cook a turkey dinner on the BBQ so cleanup is a breeze! (Cue collective “Yes!” from mothers everywhere).
Move over Martha Stewart, this is Thanksgiving Canadian style!
Imagine how delicious a BBQ turkey would taste, seasoned with fresh herbs and hot off the grill; dotted with cranberry sauce, prepared gravy, fresh fall vegetables and a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert! Add a nice hot cup of coffee, maybe a S’more or two and you’re ready for a relaxing campfire under the stars.
Ontario Parks has a variety of roofed accommodations available this Thanksgiving with everything you need to get away from the hustle and bustle for one night or two. And because fewer visitors camp in the fall, you’ll feel like you have the park all to yourself. Aside from enjoying a beautiful turkey dinner in the great outdoors, you can also hit your favourite hiking trail, paddle across your favourite lake, bask in the sunshine one last time before winter or simply sit and listen to….nothing.
Where to stay
Some of the brand new Camp Cabins at Arrowhead, Bon Echo, Murphys Point and The Pinery are heated and come with a microwave, bar fridge, coffee maker, toaster, outdoor BBQ and screened in porch. Some even have that new cabin smell of fresh pine to add to the allure. These cabins sleep five and are absolutely perfect for those who want to enjoy nature without sleeping outside. Comfort stations are nearby too for freshening up before dinner or taking a morning shower. Children will feel safe and secure inside these cabins, which are also perfect for romantic getaways – maybe even a fall proposal?
Other types of roofed accommodations available for Thanksgiving
- Cottages – Cottages are available at Awenda, Balsam Lake, Finlayson Point, Sandbanks and Sleeping Giant
- Lodges – Killbear and Sleeping Giant have larger facilities available for rent for larger groups or retreats
- Rustic Cabins – There are rustic cabins similar to camp cabins available at Bon Echo, Bonnechere, Charleston Lake and Sturgeon Bay
- Soft sided shelters – Ontario Parks is testing a new type of roofed accommodation to provide more options for park visitors. You can find these at Arrowhead, Murphys Point and Pinery
- Yurts – Yurts are a round, tent-like structure that provide shelter without taking away from the organic, more rustic camping experience many of us crave. You can find the complete list of parks with yurts here.
Things to pack for an easy BBQ turkey dinner
- Recyclable tin roasting pans or stand-up turkey roaster for making “beer can turkey” (non-alcoholic beer works just as well)
- Microwave-proof glass bowl for heating up stuffing, vegetables
- BBQ tools, carving implement
- Container for leftovers
- Paper plates, plastic cutlery and cups
- Turkey (roast, breasts, frozen pre-stuffed rolls)
- Fresh or dried herbs, salt and pepper
- Packaged stuffing and mashed potatoes
- Canned cranberry sauce
- Canned gravy
- Bread or rolls
- Pumpkin pie, whipped cream or dessert of choice
- Beverages of choice
- Dishwashing liquid if necessary
- Tea towels
- Paper towels
So get out your smart phone and start planning your Thanksgiving weekend to-do list. One last piece of advice to get the most out of the experience…once your to-do list is done and you head out of town, put your smart phone away.
If a cell phone rings in the forest, does anybody really want to hear it?
More tips on cooking a Thanksgiving turkey at Ontario Parks.