Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada

Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada

Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles186 reviews
Excellent
105
Very good
46
Average
18
Poor
7
Terrible
10

John N
Owen Sound, Canada7 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Family
Restraint the big boaters to not run generators in the evening. Big 40 feet boats ran generators late into the evening killing the peaceful atmosphere. If you like camping go elsewhere. This park is primarily focused on serving the needs of the boating community.
Written 9 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin G
Tecumseh, Canada318 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
A beautiful park. We rented bicycles and were glad we did since we could see alot more of the island for the time we had. Cedar Springs was a very nice area. Next time we will go to the north side of the island, Definitely a nice place for a visit. It looks like a great place for camping as well.
Written 18 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HPol P
Toronto, Canada211 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Couples
Quick trip over to Chimney Bay on Daytripper, trails are well marked and easy to follow. Rugged Cambrian shield rock, nice walk. Boardwalks through the bush areas. Great views. 4 hours just enough time for a packed lunch and the return boat trip.
Written 22 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KajBoa
Toronto, Canada9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Friends
Go somewhere else...unless you like music blasting and non-stop screeching & swearing emanating from the 50 odd cruiser boats moored yards away - all day and night until 4AM. The many incidents of theft of food, gear and alcohol were the icing on the cake. Rangers only interested in showing their pet fox snake, shining lights on raccoons and charging high rates for green firewood & ice. Considering the cost to rent the site and the added $150 water taxi per family to the island, Beasoleil should be avoided at all costs.

This is not the Canadian park experience. Shame on you Parks Canada!
Written 17 August 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

blueberry819
Ottawa, Canada31 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2011 • Couples
My boyfriend and I stayed at Cedar Springs campground on Beausoliel Island for two nights. It was hot and sunny the whole time. We did some swimming, but the water is freezing. We also did some hiking but the trails are not very well indicated. This is an interesting place to camp, as you can only access it by boat. Parks Canada offers a shuttle for only $15 per person round trip. They also offer wood and ice on the island, which is great, especially since it's illegal to burn any trees or natural wood on the island. The best part about this remote camping spot is that there are showers, running water, and even a dishwashing station with huge sinks. The major downside of this camprground is that it is FULL of poison ivy. Make sure that you recognize the plants before hand, because they are hidden in and around almost every campsite.
Written 11 July 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

phanlana
Toronto, Canada2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2017 • Friends
We used the Georgian Bay Water Services and we will NEVER use them again and would not recommend them. We had called a week in advance to book our seats on the Day Tripper shuttle boat but it was full, so we booked with Georgian Bay Water Services (Chris) because they were listed on the website as an alternative.

Chris picked us up 2 hours after our scheduled time but we were very understanding and respectful on both ends. We asked him to pick us up at 6pm and he agreed. However the water taxi he sent to pick us up ended up late for that too.

We hiked to Wana Keta beach where we stopped to have lunch. It was a very sad little beach to be honest, over run by boaters, but we somehow managed to have fun.

We returned to Wana Keta beach after a hike for our pickup time and were ready to go by about 5:40pm. It had started raining by then. After 1.5 hours of waiting, even the boaters were concerned about us. They saw us freezing on the dock, asked us where we were going and offered us a jacket and food (so kind)!

I called Chris at 6pm and he said his water taxi was running behind schedule and should be there by 6:30pm. However by 7:15pm we were still waiting...

We were saved by kind locals who offered to bring us back to the Township at Honey Harbour. We cautiously accepted because we were so cold and tired by this time. I called to cancel with Georgian Bay Water Services before we accepted the locals' offer.

After the long weekend, I called to complain and my concerns were disregarded. I felt completely disrespected by the water taxi service and that's worse than the money I lost.

Solution: Parks Canada should regulate the water taxi services to ensure they don't over book, provide appropriate service and don't abuse their power because there are so few options to get to the island. I saw other complaints about water taxis to Georgian Bay Island National Park, so we weren't the only ones that had a bad experience. I think the charm of the island is not just its beauty but the kind people. The horrible customer service we encountered afterwards reflects very poorly on the rest of the area and that is unfortunate.

Things we did like:
- A kind stranger also tried to help us park by moving his car. Be aware parking is very limited near the Township docks in Honey Harbour.
- While we were on the island we were happy with the direction and service provided at the information centre. The park staff showed us the route to the beach and pointed out the better hiking trails on the north end of the island.
- We hiked to the lighthouse where we encountered a beautiful rock formation that dipped just under the water so that we could wade/slide over to a small island for a better view of the lighthouse. The sun came out too so we tanned and warmed up on the rocks afterwards.
- We were very grateful to the kind locals that offered to drive us back to the harbour and wished us Happy Canada Day. It really warmed our hearts :)
Written 4 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hamtime
Ontario1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2013 • Couples
We drove over two hours from the city to take the Daytripper ferry service and hike the North end of Beausoleil only to be informed upon arrival that we couldn't go to the North side. It was a small group on the ferry that morning and everyone wanted to go to the North end, but the boat operator said he wouldn't be stopping there with little explanation.


The South end is fine for campers, but for day trips the North side is much better as it has nicer scenery and shorter, looping trails. We made the journey to the park expressly to hike the North end so to arrive and find out we couldn't go was extremely disappointing. And not being given any warning that this was a possibility was upsetting.



Last time we came, the boat stopped at both ends of the island and everyone was given the option to go to either end, which is what you would expect from looking at the website. I didn't see anything on the park website that says that visitors can't access the North end depending on the boat operator or for some other reason. Why isn't it clearly stated that visitors may or may not have a choice? Neither we were warned when we made the boat reservations. It is unacceptable to mislead visitors this way, especially when many of them will be driving in from far away with specific plans for their day trip.



As I said, the boat operator wouldn't take anyone to the North dock. Instead we were told to rent bikes on the South end and cycle to the North, but we heard it's $10 an hour for rentals and the woman at the check in counter said it takes 40 minutes to reach the North side trails. Not only does that makes it a very expensive day trip, but you won't have much time to hike the trails before you have to cycle back and return the bike. To me this seemed like a ridiculous alternative to simply dropping people off where they wanted to go. So we were stuck on the South side, where it's busy with campers and the hikes are far less scenic. There aren't any nice, shorter loops like on the North end either, so we had to backtrack along the same trails in order to return to the dock. Really, if we had known that we would be forced to go to the South end, we wouldn't have bothered to do a day trip to this park at all.



The park website also states "Spend 4 hours on the island" which is rather misleading. Our ferry to the island was scheduled for 10:30 and the return for 2:30 so the 4 hours includes travel time. The time might also include waiting for any late passengers if the boat operator feels like it, loading them and their camping cargo onto the boat and unloading at the dock. By the time we actually set foot on a trail on the island, we only had about 3.5 hours. Furthermore, if you subtract the time you have to set aside to get back to the dock to leave, you actually have even less time to enjoy the island. We had to walk very quickly and for a long time to find a decent picnic area by the water that wasn't busy with people. We had a quick lunch, sat by the water for a little bit and then had to rush back. Hardly worth the trouble of getting to the park in my opinion.

In short, we felt mislead by the park information. We made a long drive and paid for a ferry trip but couldn't go where we wanted and were given no prior warning that there would be no choice, and the time left to spend on the island was shorter than expected and far too short for us to really enjoy. Unfortunately there is no economical alternative to using the park's ferry service as far as I know. Water taxis are expensive (it can be $60 one way), so we won't be returning. I think for day trips this park is a waste of time. It was a very disappointing experience.
Written 7 August 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dmitry G
20 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2011
We stayed at Cedar Spring campground at September 3-5 2011 .
When we came to Honey Harbour we walked and drove around almost 2 hours to find any information and way to get to the island. Finally we found water taxi and had to pay 200$ for taxi to the island and parking two cars. When we came to the island at 3-30 office was already closed(!), so we weren't able to buy fire wood or ice. Camping without fire- that's ridiculous. In the evening on one of the boat near campground music was playing very loud until morning. It was so loud that ground was vibrating.
Description of this campground said that privacy very good- that's lie, camp sites located so close to each other and they are so small that we can't talk about privacy at all.
Written 6 September 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

OntarioCambridge
Cambridge, Ontario75 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Couples
We decided to rent a canoe from Picnic Island Resort instead of taking the boat shuttle. At an extremely leisurely pace it took us an hour to paddle to Cedar beach, where we parked the canoe for the duration. The office staff offered to take our stuff by motorized cart to the cabins, while we biked there ($25 per person for 2 nights....cheaper deal due to distance to the cabins). We were so glad we had mountain bikes! And they were in great condition. The path is mostly hard packed dirt, but some rocks or sand at times. Takes about 15-20 mins to bike to the cabins.
The cabins are super cute and clean. If you can rent #3 or #4, you get waterfront with a fantastic view. #2 is the next best, #1 is last. We had #1, it was more shady than #2. But all the cabins are outfitted the same. Do not lug water here: they provide 2 extra large containers to use. We also got quite a bit of firewood. Each cabin has a medium sized chiminea type of fire container, but if you want an open bonfire, there is a shared fire pit at the beach. Each cabin also has its own propane grill and stove type burner to heat water, or for frying.
Don't bother bringing plates, cups, cutlery, pots, pans, etc. They outfit that plus a bbq set of tongs, flipper etc. But DO bring a dish towel to dry dishes. They provide the dish soap.
Our cabin has a medium sized fridge (top loading, looked like a freezer). It is solar powered. Keep your lights off to conserve for the fridge. So we didn't really need to bring ice, but we didn't know better...
Bring your own bedding. There is a vinyl/pleather wrapped mattress, very clean.
The lake is close to the cabins, and you can easily carry the provided 2 plastic muskoka chairs there to enjoy the beach/views, or sit at the fire pit.
The beach is limited but very scenic. Not great for swimming due to the rocky bottom. But some people did....
Sunsets are beautiful here, as the beach faces west.
And this is a nice quiet area: max 2 people per cabin eliminates the potential for parties, of which I have read there are a few of on the Cedar side of the island (from boats in the water...)
Also at the beach there is a large cabana in case it rains.
We biked south from the cabins along the beach to the southern tip: the path was very challenging, and only suite to experienced or young riders due to tree roots, rocks, uneven ground. But after you get past the southern tip and head north along the east side of the island (towards the office), the path is hard packed and easy.
We were told to try Fairy Lake in the north area, as the best area to visit.
Bugs; sure, there are some, but a quick spray got rid of that. Staff say no Mosquitos at night at Christian beach due to lake winds. We found that to be true. But definitely bring spray!
We saw one Hoghead snake, no rattlers, and no bears even though we were told we might see one. Would have been neat to see.
Every day at 10:30 the staff come back to the site to pick up luggage or replenish firewood or water.
You can buy mosquito spray at the office. They also sell some pops and water bottles. But not much else...bring your own snacks!
Overall it was a great experience, and you can pack a lot into one or two nights!!!
Written 30 July 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks @OntarioCambridge, glad you had a great stay in our Christian Beach cabins! We appreciate you sharing all the details about your experience and hope to see you again in the park. FYI, the Christian Beach cabins are particularly awesome during the autumn season!
Written 3 August 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Risa D
Montreal, Canada4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Friends
I camped at Beausoleil Island this summer, and it was so beautiful and I was so excited and because of the party boats that would park and blast music echoing around the bay all night, the trip was deeply disappointing and sad. .

I drove over 7hrs to get there from Montreal because I wanted to see where the Group of Seven made their iconic images and be on an island without cars, and fall asleep to the sound of loons.

But this dream seems no longer possible. A row of boats showed up each night within feet of the shore, blasting music, yelling, being generally drunk teens (I hope they were teens.) We figured no big deal, the police or the park ranger would come and have them quiet down after 11pm - this is standard practice at other campgrounds and in the city as well - but nope. No one came, according to the people we asked who were all deeply frustrated by the situation, the ranger apparently doesn't have jurisdiction if they are in the water. And perhaps the local police don't mess with residents who have enough money to be yelling about their $50 000 boats at 3am? I don't know the answer but honestly, the experience was disgusting. The boat partiers were literally yelling racial slurs at the diverse group of campers who were trying to get them to turn it down, the children in the tents around us were waking up crying, it was the opposite of everything we'd hoped for. If this is what this region is all about why would anyone want to go there?

Just like everywhere else, the local police need to issue warnings and then fines for citizens who disturb the peace. But for us and everyone else we spoke to the damage is done, we can't imagine ever going back to a place that can't preserve the beauty and serenity that draws us away from the city.
Written 3 October 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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GEORGIAN BAY ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK OF CANADA (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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