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The Ultimate 10 Day Ontario Road Trip Itinerary for Outdoor Adventure

Note: This is a guest post by Mikaela Ferguson of Voyageur Tripper

Most travelers to Ontario focus on three destinations: Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara Falls.

While there’s nothing wrong with them, I don’t feel they showcase the incredible and beautiful wilderness this province has to offer. So instead, in this itinerary, I will take you to three of my favorite national / provincial parks on this 10 day Ontario road trip.

At Georgian Bay Islands National Park, you will watch the most spectacular sunrises. In Killarney Provincial Park, you will hike The Crack for phenomenal views of the La Cloche Mountain Range. In Algonquin Provincial Park, you will canoe by day and sleep under the stars by night.

If you like an active vacation and lots of incredible scenery, this is the perfect Ontario road trip itinerary for you.

Your Perfect 10 Days in Ontario: Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – 3: Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Georgian Bay Islands National Park is one of my favorite places in the world. I spent 13 summers at an overnight camp located within the national park.

The park is known for its incredible sunsets, windswept pines, and rocky geography. The park protects 63 islands and the largest, Beausoleil Island, is home to several activities for visitors.

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How to Get Here

On Day 1 drive from Toronto Pearson Airport to Georgian Bay Islands National Park. First, you will need to get to Honey Harbour Boat Clubs Marina, which is located about 2 hours north of Toronto. From the marina, it is a 20-minute boat ride to Beausoleil Island.

If you are staying in roofed accommodations on the island (see next section) you can take the Parks Canada DayTripper boat shuttle. If you are camping on the island, you will need to arrange a boat taxi to the island.

Where to Stay

There are four options for accommodation in the national park: Cedar Spring campground, primitive camping, oTentiks, and cabins.

  • Cedar Spring Campground – The campground has 45 sites for tent camping that are close to flush toilets, showers, and other facilities.
  • Primitive Camping – There are eight campsites on the island for tent camping that are more secluded and don’t offer any facilities. I like Honeymoon and Tonch North the most. The campsites at Honeymoon and Tonches can be reserved online in advance, however the other campsites are first-come-first-serve.
  • oTENTik – The park has a few semi-permanent tent structures that you can rent for a minimum of two nights. They sleep up to four people. You’ll have a proper bed (bring a sleeping bag) and roof over your head, with flush toilets nearby.
  • Cabins – There are also two sets cabins that can be rented for a minimum of two nights: one set at Cedar Spring (each sleeps 6 people) and one set at Christian Beach (each sleeps 4 people). The cabins offer beds, a picnic table, cookware and other gear.

In all of the above, you should reserve online in advance.

How Long to Stay  

I think three nights is the perfect amount of time to spend in Georgian Bay Islands National Park.

That will give you two full days to enjoy the park. From my experience, the park can see thunderstorms / overcast skies persistent for an entire day, but usually not multiple days in a row.

Having the extra night means you decrease the probability of missing out on an awesome sunset due to weather.

What to Do

Hiking: Beausoleil Island has numerous trails for hiking. The trails on the south side of the island are flat and wide, with sugar maples above and pine needles under your feet.

The trails on the north side of the island are rocky and less defined. I find these trails a lot more beautiful, but be sure to watch for the trail markers as it’s easy to get lost here.

My personal favorite hike is Fairy Trail. This is a loop trail around Fairy Lake, a lake in the top-center of the island. I also love the hike to the lighthouse, which is a stop along the Georgian Trail on the west side of the island. 

Biking: Bikes can be rented at the visitor center. Many of the trails on the southern part of the island are flat and wide enough for biking.

Swimming: There are some awesome swimming spots throughout the islands. Beausoleil Point (the most southern point of the island) is probably my favorite place.

A sandy beach stretches out from the shoreline underneath a foot of water, which makes playing frisbee or other games really fun. Honeymoon also has a decent beach, but it would be one of the busier places to swim in the park.

Sunset Gazing: Georgian Bay offers some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The sunsets are best on the north coast of the island, in my opinion.

Additional Resource

I have a comprehensive guide to visiting the Georgian Bay Islands that can help you with planning your time in the park.

Day 4 – 6: Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Provincial Park is perhaps the most beautiful park in Ontario. The water ranges from jet black to Gatorade blue; the rocks range from pink granite to shimmering white quartz.

Located on the northern shore of Georgian Bay and stretching across the La Cloche Mountain Range, Killarney protects a truly special pocket of Ontario wilderness, making it an essential stop on your Ontario road trip.

How to Get Here

On Day 4 drive from Honey Harbour Boat Clubs Marina to Killarney Provincial Park. The drive is just under 3 hours, but I think the incredible beauty of Killarney will make up for the drive time.

Optional Detour: Along the highway to Killarney, you will pass a turn for Killbear Provincial Park. This stop would only require an extra ~20 minutes of driving each way.

The park is small and there isn’t much to do that couldn’t be done in Killarney or Georgian Bay Islands, which is why I don’t dedicate more time to it in this Ontario itinerary. That said, the Lookout Trail (1.5 hours return) is excellent and worthy of a quick detour.

Where to Stay

There are four options for accommodation in the provincial park.

  • George Lake Campground – The campground has numerous sites for car camping and has washroom and shower facilities.
  • Backcountry Campsite – If you are comfortable hiking or paddling to a campsite, Killarney offers excellent backcountry campsites. There is only one campsite per lake in the park, which means reservations need to be made well in advance (4-5 months in advance) if you are to get one of the nicest campsites.
  • Yurts / Cabins – At George Lake Campground, there are two cabins and six yurts available for reservation. The cabins sleep five people and the yurts sleep six people.
  • Killarney Mountain Lodge – This lodge is located just outside the park and offers many cabins of different sizes. I stayed here when visiting Killarney with my parents and really enjoyed it. The lodge is located right on the shore, there is a great restaurant and a huge common room with comfy leather chairs and a stone fireplace. Perfect after a long day in the park!

In all of the above, you should reserve online in advance.

How Long to Stay  

Since you will likely arrive in Killarney Provincial Park in the afternoon after three hours of driving, I recommend staying for three nights.

This will allow you to have two full days in the park: one for canoeing and one for hiking.

What to Do

Hike The Crack: The Crack is the most popular hike in Killarney. It’s a little over 6 km return, yet it requires 4 hours of hiking because it is so strenuous.

There is a lot of steep hiking to do. The view from the top is incredible, but you’ll be wiped afterward.

Hike Silver Peak: Silver Peak is the highest point in Killarney and offers stunning views of the many lakes below. Beyond the lakes, you can see all the way to Georgian Bay.

The trailhead is a little tricky to access as you’ll need to rent a canoe and paddle to it. Definitely get a map with your canoe rental! The hike itself requires 5-6 hours, so this is a full day activity and you’ll want to get started early.

Canoe from George Lake to Killarney Lake: Rent a canoe from George Lake and go for a paddle. Two quick portages will bring you to Killarney Lake, which is the perfect place to have a picnic lunch.

There is some stunning geography in this area of the park. There are several cliffs of varying colors – white, black, brown, and pink. George Lake can get windy, especially in the afternoon, so ensure you wear your life jacket and stay by the shore if the wind starts picking up.

Additional Resource

I’ve written a blog post with everything you need to know about visiting Killarney, which should help you plan this part of the trip.

Days 7 – 9: Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is Canada’s oldest provincial park. Covering nearly 8,000 sq km, this park is bigger than some European countries!

There are over 2,000 km worth of canoe routes. Needless to say, canoe camping and Algonquin go hand-in-hand!

How to Get Here

On Day 7 drive from Killarney to Algonquin Provincial Park. The drive is 3.5 hours, but the area around Algonquin gets busier if you’re driving on a weekend. I recommend getting started on this drive early in the morning.

Optional Detour: The drive will take you through the town of Huntsville, which is a very popular town for cottagers in the summer. There are some cute cafes, thrift shops, and camping gear stores in the downtown area. If you have time to stop for a quick lunch here, I recommend it!

Where to Stay

Backcountry Camping: For Algonquin, I highly recommend doing a canoe camping trip and staying at backcountry campsites. If you are new to canoe camping, Algonquin has excellent outfitters you can rent you with all the gear you need.

I’ve worked with the company ‘Algonquin Outfitters’ before and they are excellent. You can even hire a canoe guide to take you, which I highly recommend for beginner canoeists.

Your outfitter will be able to help you choose a canoe route that is well suited for your abilities. In addition, they can help plan out meals and ensure you’re well prepared for an amazing adventure.

Lodges: If backcountry camping is not your preference, there are also three lodges in the park. I haven’t stayed at any of these lodges myself, but I’ve heard great things about Killarney Lodge (not to be confused with Killarney Mountain Lodge in Killarney Provincial Park).

Additional Options: There are also options for car camping, yurts, and other types of accommodation. The Algonquin Park camping webpage has details on all of the options. 

Though, again, I recommend canoe camping in Algonquin. It’s an essential part of the Canadian summer.

How Long to Stay  

In this Ontario road trip itinerary, I’ve budgeted three nights in Algonquin Provincial Park.

If you’d like a taste of canoe camping, you could reduce this to two nights. Whereas if you’re feeling ambitious or already love backcountry camping, you could adjust to four nights.

What to Do

Canoe Camping: Spend your days paddling under the sun and your nights staring up at the stars. Collect firewood and cook your meals over a fire. Take breaks to swim in the lake or lay out on the warm rocks. You may even be lucky enough to see a moose.

Backpacking: If you decide you’d like to backcountry camp, but aren’t interested in canoeing, there is a 2-night backpacking trail that is really nice. The Highland Trail is a 36 km loop with nice campsites along the way. 

Canoeing: Even if you don’t go out for a multi-day canoe trip, you can still rent a canoe for a day and explore some of the lakes. The lodges typically have free canoe rentals. Otherwise, you can rent a canoe from one of the park’s outfitters. 

Hiking: There are a few awesome hiking trails in Algonquin. Barron Canyon is a popular short (2 km) hike with a great view. Centennial Ridges is less busy and longer (10 km) but also offers excellent views.

Photography: Algonquin is a super popular destination for landscape and wildlife photographers. There are some locals who run photography tours in the area, which will take you to lesser-known areas of the park.

Additional Resource

The best resource for anything Algonquin-related is the Friends of Algonquin website.

Day 10: Back to Toronto

On the final day, you’ll leave Algonquin Provincial Park and drive back to Toronto.

Depending on what you have next on your trip (a flight departure, perhaps) you may have time to stop in Gravenhurst for lunch on the drive back. The town was nearby the camp I used to work at, so I spent many days off here. The Oar Restaurant is really good and has an outdoor patio!

Additional Information for Planning an Ontario Road Trip

Weather: This itinerary is only suitable for travel in the summer or early autumn. Generally, by early June the weather has warmed up for the season (20 C) and will peak at 30-35 C in late July.

Bugs: Mosquitoes and Black Flies are often an issue early in the season, and will be the worst in Algonquin Park in June and early July.

Best Time to Go: For the reasons above, I think the best time to travel in Ontario is early August. The weather is still very warm, but the bugs are almost non-existent by then. However, if you’re comfortable with a couple of bugs in the early evenings and cooling temperatures, any time between mid-July and late-August would be suitable.

Packing: As you’ll be doing a lot of outdoor adventuring, it’s important to have decent outdoor clothing (especially if you will be canoe camping in Algonquin). I have a canoe camping packing guide in this post that you can use for planning.


About the Author

Mikaela is the voice behind Voyageur Tripper, a blog dedicated to outdoor adventure travel. Mikaela spent several seasons working as a hiking and canoeing guide throughout Canada. She now balances weekend adventuring with a full-time job, and writes stories, resources, and travel guides for her blog. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook to follow her travels.

Pin this 10 Days in Ontario Road Trip Itinerary for Later!

Want to plan the perfect Canada road trip? Travel Ontario! This Ontario road trip itinerary covers 10 days in Ontario, hitting the following best places to visit in Ontario: Georgian Bay Islands, Killarney Provincial Park, and Algonquin Provincial Park. Tons of Ontario nature, landscapes, hiking await!

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