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Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

Birmingham, United...
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Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

We will be in Toronto in August and wish to go to the National Parks in Ontario - Is it worth going to Algonquin Park as well as Bruce Peninsula Park or would it be better to concentrate on just one park? We will probably have around 9 days in Canada in total, before going on to New York.

Any advice would be appreciated, including activities to do in the parks.

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Toronto
Toronto
Ontario, Canada
Canada
Canada
North America
Toronto
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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1. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

The two landscapes are quite different. Algonquin Provincal Park is a vast wilderness area within the Canadian Shield region, characterized by rolling granite bedrock and endless webs of lakes and streams. It has inspired classic Canadian landscape art and is home to emblematic Canadian wildlife like moose, loons and beavers. You could paddle/portage for days through the wilderness if you have backcountry camping capabilities, but there are also lots of day hiking trails and interpretive activities along the Highway 60 corridor.

The Bruce Peninsula National Park area is most notable for the dolostone cliffs and rock formations along Georgian Bay that form the northern reaches of the Niagara Escarpment. You can hike the Bruce Trail along these cliffs, swim in the waters (most popularly at a partly submerged cavern called The Grotto), take a boat tour to Flowerpot Island to explore its sea stacks and view shipwrecks, and enjoy locally caught fish n chips in Tobermory.

I would say that Bruce Peninsula has the more overtly spectacular scenic views than Algonquin, but Algonquin gives more of a feeling of wilderness, with its many hidden lakes, its wildlife and its countless options for paddling or hiking. At BPNP in August you'll be among crowds and/or tour boats at all popular spots and it's hard to get far from the beaten path.

So, the two each offer something worthwhile, depending on what you're looking for and what outdoor activities interest you. It would be nice to do both, unfortunately it's not a short drive between them, Georgian Bay creating a rather large barrier. You could still do both in 9 days, but it depends on how much of that time you were hoping to spend in Toronto.

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Toronto
Toronto
Ontario, Canada
Toronto
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2. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

One thing you could do is circumnavigate Georgian Bay with a road trip like this http://goo.gl/maps/jR8lD or this http://goo.gl/maps/arWVJ (both of which involve the Chi Chimaun ferry). The first route includes both Bruce Peninsula and Algonquin. The second route skips Algonquin in favour of Killarney Provincial Park. Killarney is similar to Algonquin in that they're both popular wilderness canoeing/hiking areas, but Killarney is more visually impressive, with the white quartzite-capped hills of the La Cloche Range. Campsites in Killarney are notorious for getting booked solid so if you plan on camping there book your site ASAP.

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Killarney Lodge
Killarney Lodge
262 Reviews
Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada
Aurora, Canada
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3. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

For lots of Algonquin Park info, visit www.algonquinadventures.com

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Birmingham, United...
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4. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

Thanks - that is very helpful. As I have a 10 year old and 2 teenage boys with me, I think the activities of BPNP would suit them better - I don't think we have the experience to canoe into the interior of Algonquin park and if the distances between parks are large we would probably prefer exploring one area in more detail. How many days would you recommend in the Bruce area?

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Toronto
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5. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

I'd say 3 days is good, but a little longer than that is fine too.

By the way if you do end up re-considering Algonquin for whatever reason, the actual official website with info about all the park activities (it's not just interior canoeing, really) is http://algonquinpark.on.ca .

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Almaguin Highlands...
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6. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

Hi Farida494,

Algonquin Park is definitely NOT all about canoeing the interior. In fact the majority of visitors to the park are day-use visitors. There are a variety of trails to hike, with varying lengths and features (ie cliff-top vistas or wildlife viewing, etc.). There's also the visitor centre with interpretive displays (including real stuffed moose, bear, etc). If you wanted a taste of paddling, you can rent canoes or kayaks from a number of outfitters. They also rent bicycles for the bike trails in Algonquin Park.

In the towns and region outside of the park, you'll find much to keep you and your family busy. Treetop trekking, horseback riding, canoeing, swimming (in lakes, at beaches, in rivers, under waterfalls), scenic cruises, and more. Summer is festival season in the area so there could be a variety of cultural events going on as well.

One option is to divide your time between Algonquin Park and the east coast of Georgian Bay instead of the Bruce Peninsula. The 30,000 Islands near Parry Sound on Georgian Bay is a UNESCO world biosphere reserve. The Island Queen cruises are a great way to see it. Better yet, go for a scenic small-plane flight out of Parry Sound. Kilbear Park is near there and, while much much smaller than Algonquin, it has some hiking trails that will get you out into a different landscape.

Of course the whole Algonquin - Parry Sound area offers lots in the way of galleries, museums, art installations, dining, shopping, etc, but perhaps those won't be of much interest to teenage boys.

Happy planning!

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Parry Sound
Parry Sound
Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Toronto
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7. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

Hi there,

I would suggest choosing one for the visit since you will get ample time to spend and enjoy the place. I have no idea about Bruce Peninsula. But there are a lot to see in Algonquin Park. It is a vast areas and you should give enough time to go around it. You have chances to kayak and snorkel. There are lot more! Know more about Algonquin park from www.killarneylodge.com/algonquin-park/.

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8. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

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Toronto
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9. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

The link provided by roxiewhitelaw123 is the website of a privately-owned lodge within Algonquin Park. Frankly I'm suspicious of a brand new forum member using their first post to promote a business. The official website for information about Algonquin Park, run by the Friends of Algonquin Park in cooperation with Ontario Parks, is http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca .

The Bruce Peninsula is actually better sea kayaking and snorkeling/scuba diving (there are shipwrecks to dive over), and has some really beautiful hikes. Algonquin is better for canoeing and wildlife watching, and has interpretive/educational hikes of all lengths and difficulty levels, including some pretty scenic ones.

(In an earlier version of this post I made some irrelevant comments because I mixed this thread up with a different one. I've deleted that post. Apologies if you read it and were confused.)

Edited: 17 April 2013, 14:36
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10. Re: Bruce Peninsula and/or Algonquin Park?

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