Just 40 minutes from Canada’s capital in the Ottawa Valley, Fitzroy Provincial Park may be one of the province’s best kept secrets.
Situated on the Ottawa River and bisected by the Carp River, campsites with river views are abundant.
Add to that two beaches, watercraft rentals, hiking trails, and a beautiful group picnic spot and this secret may not last much longer!
Here are five reasons we think you should plan a trip to Fitzroy Provincial Park:
1. Close to Ottawa and other charming small towns
Fitzroy Provincial Park is an ideal destination for day trips or camping trips for those in the Ottawa area.
And it’s beginner and experienced camper-friendly!
Not from Ottawa? The park makes for a great basecamp to daytrip into Ottawa and experience everything the capital has to offer.
It’s not only Ottawa that’s worth exploring! Nearby towns in the Ottawa Valley are favourites with tourists, too: Perth, Smith Falls, Pakenham, and Almonte, to name a few.
2. Perfect for families
Fitzroy is big enough to let kids roam, but small enough to give parents comfort.
Of course kids should always be supervised, especially around roadways and waterfronts.
Discovery staff are happy to lead kids on expeditions to spot little critters and learn more about the natural environment around them.
Visit the day use area with your kids and build sandcastles on the beach or climb the playground!
3. So much wildlife!
You’ll be amazed at all the wildlife you’ll spot in our park.
It’s not uncommon for visitors to see deer, racoons, skunks, and other mammals, plus over 120 documented species of birds!
Some of the staff favorites are Ospreys, Northern Cardinals, Barred Owls, and Wood Ducks. This park is a can’t-miss for any birder!
Fishing along the Ottawa River is a well worth your time, with about a dozen species for recreational fishing, including walleye, small mouth and Large-Mouth Bass, pike, and panfish.
Fitzroy has a convenient boat launch suitable for small fishing vessels, canoes, and kayaks to get you out on the river.
Please remember, adults need to have a fishing license and observe fishing seasons and are responsible for boating and water safety in the park. Fitzroy is one of 70 provincial parks that offers PFD lending free of charge.
4. Lovely beaches
There are two beaches at Fitzroy Provincial Park.
The larger Main Beach is located in the day use area. There you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the Ottawa River.
You can also play beach volleyball, watch your kids enjoy the playground and swings, or just take in a beautiful sunset.
The second, smaller Camper’s Beach is only for campers in Two Rivers Campground. This beach is also on the Ottawa River and provides a shallower swimming area suitable for younger children.
5. Beginner-friendly hiking
Fitzroy has two hiking trails that you need to check out!
The Carp Trail is a one-kilometer loop that follows the Carp River through a mature mixed forest. It features a boardwalk and a soft forest floor with ample birding opportunities.
The Terrace Trail is just a bit longer at two kilometers and takes you on a geological journey.
You’ll pass massive boulders strewn about by glaciers and shale pillars carved out by ancient waterways. In the spring and early summer months, you’ll also skirt the edge of a beautiful waterfall!
Planning a visit?
The park store is a popular spot, stocked full with ice cream, firewood, grocery items, Ontario Parks merchandise, and camping essentials.
With electrical sites available, Fitzroy Provincial Park is popular among RVers, especially since it’s open until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving!
Why not plan your next Turkey Dinner at the park and witness Fitzroy’s stunning fall colours?