5 dream dog destinations at Ontario Parks

In today’s post, the Chairdog of the Ontario Barks committee shows us his favourite parks to take a W-A-L-K! 

Nothing gets my tail wagging faster than seeing my humans pack their bags for a park adventure!

I know that’s true for you too, my furry friends.

But with 340 provincial parks, how do we let our humans know which one deserves an outstanding round-of-a-paws from the Ontario Barks committee?

With this top five list, of course. Show this to your human to make your next W-A-L-K extra special!

#1: Ferris Provincial Park 

Yep, it’s fur real. We can officially add Ferris Provincial Park to the list of parks with dog-designated areas at Ontario Parks!

With a new fenced-in, off-leash pet exercise area in Campbellford, humans have more opportunities to enjoy this provincial park with their beloved pets.

dog inside fenced off dog area

Humans can also use Ferris as a basecamp to explore the Northumberland County! In normal summer months, Campbellford hosts several festivals including the Incredible Edibles Festival or the Campbellford Seymour Fair.

What a treat!

In celebration of this new doggo locale, don’t furrget to pick up a limited-edition dog bandana!

Dogs wearing blue bandanas
Looking good, fellow doggos!

A limited quantity are available for purchase from our online store and at Ferris Provincial Park.

#2: Restoule Provincial Park

Do your humans love to paddle, bike, and hike? Tell them to take you to Restoule Provincial Park!

This park offers a little bit of everything – from scenic hiking and mountain biking trails to tranquil paddling routes (and yes, backcountry canoeing with pups is totally doable here).

My humans love the countless options for adventure at Restoule!

Stormy Lake Lookout at Restoule Provincial Park

Me? I like to kick my paws back at the dog beach. Located at the Bell’s Point Boat Launch, this area provides a nice small beach where I can enjoy the cool waters of Restoule Lake.

Oh, there’s also a pet exercise area here if the pretty views leave you in awe and give you the zoomies (it happens to the best of us). *Drools*.

Dog at Restoule Provincial Park

Sometimes I get dragged on a hike.

I can’t complain, the views at this park are magnificent, and my humans say I am their “greatest hiking companion to ever grace their paws on this planet.”

It’s not hard to earn that title, my furry friends. All you must do is stay on your leash (unless in a leash-free area). If you stay on a leash, that means:

  • your human will know where you decide to leave them a pile of presents (I don’t know why they keep calling it smelly poop)
  • you can’t go barking up the wrong tree (our curiosity and prey drive can get the best of us sometimes… I already tried blaming the squirrels for this one)
  • you will reduce the risk of wandering into a protected or sensitive area (let’s not trample, disturb soil, or dig up trees and other plants)

Please remember to practice your best pet-iquette, and you too can earn your way up the Ontario Barks ranks.

#3: Pancake Bay Provincial Park

When my humans are having a ruff day, they take me to bask on Lake Superior’s longest beach.

Of course, we’re talking about Pancake Bay Provincial Park.

A person with a dog walking towards the lake at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

A paws up for my four-legged friends, there’s no pancakes being served at this park. But there is 3.5 km of fine, almost-white sand beach rimming the bay.

At the west end, there is a dog beach. On a sunny day, the turquoise waters make it look almost like a tropical dog beach! Nothing beats cooling down in the lake with a doggy paddle on a hot summer’s day.

Dog playing with a ball in the lake at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Ruffing it at Ontario Parks is easy-breezy when the lake is right there!

Also, my humans said that Lake Superior Magazine’s “readers’ poll” has repeatedly named Pancake Bay as one of the best beaches on both sides of the US-Canada border!

Do you think it’s voted the best beach because everyone has seen me frolicking in the designated leash-free pet exercise area?

I’ve probably given it su-paw-star status. I can see it now: “Handsome, local doggo graces Pancake Bay Provincial Park’s pet exercise area.” Yeah, I’m paw-sitive that’s why it’s voted the best.

Anywoof, you should definitely add Pancake Bay Provincial Park to your bucket list – it’s a favourite in the Ontario Barks committee.

#4: Selkirk Provincial Park

Have you seen the views at Selkirk Provincial Park? Truly wonder-fur.

Nothing beats enjoying a Selkirk sunset with your human. I can’t see all the sunset colours, but I can see the smile on my human’s face!

Purple and orange sunset over lake at Selkirk Provincial Park

Besides the paw-fect photo opportunities, there’s a pet exercise area and dog beach at this provincial park too!

Dog in the water at Selkirk Provincial Park

If your human is one of those “bird-nerds,” tell them Selkirk offers birding opportunities along the Wheeler’s Walk Trail. This means you will get to smell everything and anything on the trail, see wildlife from a distance, and shake off some energy while your human searches for those feathery things. 

Don’t forget to wipe your paws after the hike! We are especially susceptible to contributing to the spread of invasive species. Insects or seeds of invasive plants can easily attach to our fur or paws, and ultimately spread to new areas.

#5: Rainbow Falls Provincial Park

Looking for a great park to indulge in the joys of hiking? Add Rainbow Falls Provincial Park to the list!

Tackle the Rainbow Falls Trail, which will take you through a series of stairs and platforms to a sturdy bridge over the cascades.

Person walking dog on a leash through Rainbow Falls Trail at Rainbow Falls Provincial Park

Oh, and there’s trees – everywhere!

But please remember, there is never a reason to decorate these beautiful trees with poop from my fellow pups. The dangling bags are litter (not presents), regardless of your human’s intentions. Don’t leave it hanging or else I will be not only be embarrassed, but extremely furr-ious!

And no, you can’t leave it on the ground and “let nature deal with it” either. I know the raccoons, coyotes, and moose get away with it, but not all scat is the same. Please be a responsible pet owner and stoop and scoop.

Person with dog on leash staring at a wispy-cloud sunset

If your human is not up for a hike, tell them to bring a chair to relax, catch some sun, and read a good book along the water’s edge.

With a pet exercise area and dog beach, there’s so much for us to do here while your humans unwind!

Well, you’ve got the inside scoop

Now get out there and tell your human you’re in need of a serious W-A-L-K at one of these ulti-mutt destinations!

Dog on-leash at the beach

Don’t forget to pack your beach bag with extra snacks, water, and toys.

Fur-well for now,

Chairdog of the Ontario Barks committee