Love kayaking and canoeing and want to explore the natural beauty this province has to offer, but not sleep on the ground? Then a glamping (glamour + camping) holiday is the perfect trip for you! Here are some of our favourite pampered experiences for paddlers.
Outpost Co. Luxury Camping – KILLARNEY
Outpost Co. takes glamping to another level. Imagine how the ultra-rich might have camped a century ago and that’s what this luxury encampment looks like. With its handcrafted, natural cotton canvas tents lined with wall-to-wall jute carpeting, you’ll feel pampered like a forest king or queen. There’s even a teepee that functions as a wilderness library and lounge. Gourmet meals are prepared over open flames by a private chef, then served with fine wines and spirits. Pull yourself away from this incredible luxury to experience the cultural traditions of Wikwemikong First Nation and explore the timeless waters of the Georgian Bay coastline near Killarney. Towering white pines and ancient quartize mountains scour the sky, great blue herons soar overhead, and your cedar-canvas canoe slices silently through sparkling waters. Note: Outpost Co. is moving to Killarney from Temagami for 2019.
Escape to Harmony Outdoor Inn, a unique glamping waterfront resort, with complimentary kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Home to the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, you can take a Paddle Canada sea kayaking course, enjoy early morning yoga classes on the waterfront deck, sunset paddleboarding, or full-day kayak tours on stunning Georgian Bay, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Yurt Camping – Bruce Peninsula National Park
Dramatic limestone cliffs rising from Georgian Bay’s turquoise waters, hidden grottoes, and idyllic swimming coves put Bruce Peninsula National Park at the top of many experienced paddlers’ bucket lists. Instead of sleeping on the ground after your coastal adventures, the national park campground offers 10 comfortable yurts along the shore of Cyprus Lake.
As you drift off to sleep in your cozy bed, gaze through the yurt’s dome skylight at the infinite stars visible in this designated Dark Sky Preserve. Keen for more paddling? Cyprus Lake is lovely at dawn, when great blue herons and kingfishers are frequently spotted along the stream that leads through to neighbouring Cameron Lake.
WildExodus Travel – Timmins
Snooze under the stars and bask in the boreal forest in style. WildExodus offers RV camping and cabins, but the resort’s standout attractions are the beautifully furnished prospector tents complete with room service and gourmet meals.
Plan a restorative stay here after a longer paddling trip on the wild and scenic rivers of the Mattagami watershed, or just make this your indulgent base camp. Day trip along the ancient canoe routes of Kenogamissi Lake, and explore the waterfalls and wildlife of the Grassy River.
Spirit Island Adventures – Manitoulin Island
Glamp in luxury teepees nestled between pine and spruce trees at M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island—known to the indigenous Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi people as M’nidoo M’niss, or Spirit Island. Explore the cultural and natural wonders of the island through drumming circles, traditional skills workshops, and canoe tours accompanied by an Anishnabek host and storyteller. Paddlers are spoiled for choice: the First Nation is situated on the island-studded North Channel and central to nearby lakes Kagawong, Mindemoya, and Manitou. At the end of an invigorating and edifying day, return to the comforts of your teepee: elegant furniture, cozy duvets, animal hides, traditional artwork, and the aroma of sweetgrass.
Bartlett Lodge – Algonquin Provincial Park
Enjoy a luxury camping “tent and breakfast” experience in the heart of Algonquin Park. After a cedar-canvas boat shuttle across Cache Lake to water-access only Bartlett Lodge, settle into your platform tent. These canvas tents recall the 1920s style of accommodation at the park, complete with seating area, private deck, and king-size bed with cozy wool blankets. A gourmet breakfast is served in the lodge dining room every morning. Get ready to paddle, a lot. Algonquin Park has more than 2,000 km of established canoe routes to explore.
Nature’s Harmony Ecolodge – Mattawa
With a variety of glamping accommodations, at Nature’s Harmony Ecolodge you can stay in a chalet, traditional Mongolian yurt, log cabin, or canvas prospector tent. Whichever you choose, the ecolodge is located in a peacefully remote setting near the Ottawa River just north of Mattawa. Enjoy private views of the Laurentian Mountains, trails for hiking and biking, and canoeing or swimming along the sandy shores of Bang’s Bay, a tranquil arm of the Ottawa River.
Black River Wilderness Park – WASHAGO
This recently reopened and revitalized campground straddles the island-studded channels of the scenic Black River near the village of Washago. Black River Wilderness Park is operated by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, and now features teepees and luxurious glamping yurts overlooking the river. Long a favourite of area whitewater paddlers, the Black River’s playful class I-II rapids begin at the camping area and are best run spring through early summer. Easy road access at the takeout means paddlers can complete the run (and the five-minute shuttle) before a hot BBQ lunch on the deck of their yurt. Not interested in whitewater? Paddle upstream for lovely flatwater sightseeing all season long, or stroll the wilderness park’s riverside hiking trails and charming footbridges, watching for resident otters and beavers.
UNIQUE OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK WILDERNESS LODGES
Okay, so these are technically Northern Ontario lodge and cabin stays rather than true glamping, but their remote, no-road access locations and their superb pristine wilderness paddling makes them worthy of the list.
Cabin Falls Ecolodge & Cabins – Temagami
Nestled in a pristine setting, surrounded by 250-year old-growth pine forests and perched over a 10-metre waterfall on the Lady Evelyn River (now the Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park), Cabin Falls Ecolodge is one of the most unique backcountry lodges in Canada. Guests arrive and depart by floatplane for an all-inclusive wilderness adventure with owners Hap and Andrea Wilson, well-known Canadian adventurers and authors of paddling guide-books and novels.
Errington's Wilderness Island Resort – Chapleau Game Preserve
Errington’s Wilderness Island Resort, on a remote lake inside Chapleau’s sprawling wildlife sanctuary, is accessible by train or float plane only. Wilderness Island on Lake Wabatongushi offers fully-appointed, waterfront log cabins and home-cooked meals, as well as use of the resort’s canoes, kayaks, and wooden fishing boats. The lake’s many islands and bays provide plenty of options for sheltered paddling along its 34-km length. Anglers will enjoy superb fishing for northern pike and walleye. And since Wilderness Island is inside a wildlife sanctuary, chances are excellent that you’ll spot bald eagles, loons, moose, and maybe even a black bear on your adventures.
PICK YOUR PAMPERED PADDLING ADVENTURE
Maybe it's time to pamper yourself a little this year. Enjoy some of Ontario's best paddling, then stay in comfort in a cozy glamping tent or cabin.