Travel

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

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It was one of those weeks, the kind that makes you question everything, including your sanity. Missed workouts, constant school requests, a looming strike at my husband’s job, and that was just by Wednesday. It was time to get away from it all before I lost it all.

My perfect escape would need to be tranquil, luxurious and not require a lengthy flight (no added stress). After doing my research, I ended up with an unlikely destination: Algonquin Park. Now I’m no camper – I could survive maybe two hours in an outdoor tent – but Algonquin has so much more to offer than simple camping trips.

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

Situated about two hours west of the Canadian capital, Ottawa, Algonquin Park is a natural wonder with luxury resorts, a lively art gallery and dozens of year-round activities. While it’s a four-season destination, after talking to the locals I realized that you can get a lot more out of an off-peak visit – peak season is late May until mid-October. If the weather cooperates, mid-October really is the best time to visit the park because the fall foliage is unlike anything else you’ll experience, with red, yellow and orange colors covering the lush scenery like a Tom Thomson painting.

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

A Tom Thomson (Group of Seven) painting that perfectly depicts Algonquin Park in the late fall

But if you want to maximize your outdoor time and do some swimming at the resort, you’ll have to brave the crowds and go in the summer. I was told that winter is still a fairly busy time with all the outdoor activities (dog sledding, cross-country skiing) but all I wanted was to cozy up to a fireplace in a luxury resort and take in the scenery – meaning I could really go any time of year!

Once you’ve decided when to go, the next step is to choose where to stay. If you’re a camper, you can revel in the many camping and cabin options that will fully immerse you the natural beauty of the park. For those less adventurous who require luxury bedding (and a hot shower!) there are several cabin resorts to accommodate your tastes.

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

It’s common to see wildlife in Algonquin Park

For a romantic escape, choose Arrowhon Pines. Their lavish log cabins in the middle of the wilderness feature wood burning fireplaces – instead of a television – providing the perfect tranquil background to rediscover your love. If culinary creations are one of those loves, you’ll be surprised to find local and seasonal menu items served from breakfast, through afternoon tea and dinner. You can even bring the foodie experience home, with a recipe list of their most popular menu items. I am currently mastering the Caramelized Apple Tart – yum!

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

A cozy and luxurious room at Arrowhon Pines

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

Open-air cuisine with a view at Arowhon Pines

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

If you’re looking for something more rustic but still with all the necessary amenities (uhm, bathrooms!) then try Killarney Lodge. The cabins are decorated with a country theme and feature extra treats like personal canoes outside each lodge and actual treats like homemade cookies and fresh fruit.

But the real draw of the accommodations is the scenery, in the heart of Algonquin, surrounded by the serene Lake of Two Rivers. Killarney Lodge also boasts its own mini art gallery – the Tin Moose Gallery – displaying local and Canadian photographs, paintings and sculptors that are also for sale (now that would be quite the souvenir!).

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

The view from the cabins at Killarney Lodge

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

Inside a cabin at Killarney Lodge

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

The restaurant at Killarney Lodge

Once you’ve settled into the vast wilderness, even the most weary (and lazy!) will want to take part in one of the many activities. From hiking, to wildlife watching (including moose and many species of birds), and seasonal activities like swimming and skiing – you have to leave at least a couple of days in your escape for exploration.

In addition to what your resort or campground might offer, remember to check out the Algonquin Art Centre. With three wings of indoor gallery space dedicated to nature themed artwork, and an outdoor gallery, it’s a must-stop with a pay-what-you-can admission fee.

Into the Wild: Escaping to the Algonquin

Discover the wildlife in Algonquin Park, Canada

Algonquin Park is designed to recharge and renew visitors within a breathtaking natural setting. Customize your escape with a few luxurious extras or the outdoor activities to bring out your inner explorer, to create the perfect break from the everyday grind.

After obtaining her Honors B.A. and postgraduate journalism degree, Pegah has written and researched for a variety of magazines and newspapers, with celebrities, fashion and travel being her topics of choice. Now settled in Toronto, she has lived in many corners of the world, including the U.S., Switzerland, and Japan. In her spare time, she divides her love unevenly between her poodle, chocolates and shopping.

12 Comments

  1. Jessica Carlson

    Oh WOW!! I am salivating and it’s not even food!! I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this place before! It looks absolutely beautiful. The pictures looks very enticing. I don’t think a week would be enough to explore and enjoy the place. I will surely book for this place come May-October! And it’s practically just in the neighborhood, Canada! Thanks for sharing. Another entry in my Travel Bucket List.

  2. Hazel Collins

    A good read article! Your article is very well written and packed with good info. about Algonquin. A perfect place to de-stress, breathe and clear a person’s head. Going to Algonquin will surely improve a person’s energy and mood level. We can do great things both physically and mentally when we’re one with the nature. If i will go here, i will bring my earphones and plug it on my mobile phone and listen to classical music while watching the sunset.

  3. Ashley Moore

    oh my.. what a beautiful place and nice shots by the way, after reading your article i instantly fell in love with Algonquin.Thanks for recommending! I listed Algonquin as one of my dream destination.(checks at may wallet) maybe i will start saving up now. i would love to go there and savor the experience, wander and appreciate it. Someday, i will wake up in one of those cabin and look at that scenery(hehe).

  4. Mmmm… Tom Thomson painting… I guess Algonquin is an amazing place to have a great view of the fall colors.

  5. Wow – love the photos. This looks like the perfect escape for my family! One thing: which resort should we stay at? They both look fabulous!

    • I recommend Arrowhon Pines, it has more amenities for the family. Enjoy!

  6. Sabrina Hehle

    I’ve been hearing Algonquin Park from a friend. She says it’s her favorite summer getaway and she’s been visiting for 5 years. Now, after reading your article, I’m more attracted to experience the place for myself. It feels like the place is so peaceful, serene and can really allow me to get away from all the stress.

  7. Gabrielle Williams

    Wonderfully written article! I’ve got a feeling that Algonquin Park is a beautiful escape! I would love to try Killarney Lodge and personally experience its rustic, country theme feel 🙂

  8. Very well written article!

    When I was searching for tranquility and “off” from terribly busy months, I came and visit Algonquin. I find this place magnificent and I really appreciate the relaxation it gave me. Stunning walking trails, lakes, viewing spots, just perfect scenery!

  9. Courtney Watson

    Nice article! Algonquin is really one of those places that will hook you and bring you back to nature 🙂

  10. I’ve been to Algonquin Park and it provides interior camping at its finest! Very good water trails, easy to get to and offers varied activities 🙂

  11. WOW! I would love to visit Algonquin Park very soon! You described the place perfectly!

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