Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

Algonquin Park is designed to recharge the weary traveler with its unique scenery and rustic luxury.


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.

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

My perfect escape would need to be tranquil, luxurious, and somewhere I could get lost in nature. 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. 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.

When to go

While it’s a four-season destination in the Canadian wilderness, after talking to the locals I realized that you can get a lot out of an off-peak visit (peak season is late May until mid-October). May and June are great times to visit because the weather is pretty much perfect and kids are still in school (in Canada, the regular school year spans September 1 to June 30). If the weather cooperates, mid-October really is a great 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.

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 I am equally happy doing water sports as cozying up to a fireplace in a luxury resort and taking in the scenery – meaning I could really go any time of year!

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

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

Where to stay

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: Escape 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: Escape to the Algonquin

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

A cozy and luxurious room at Arrowhon Pines

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

Open-air cuisine with a view at Arowhon Pines

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

If you’re looking for something more rustic but still with all the necessary amenities (uhm, bathrooms!) then try Killarney Lodge, where you can get your own personal one or two bedroom cabin, right on the water. The lakeside cabins are decorated with a country theme and feature extra treats like personal canoes outside each lodge and yummy treats like homemade cookies and fresh fruit. Their upscale cabin theme is charming and we loved their mini art gallery – the Tin Moose Gallery – which sells local and Canadian photographs, paintings and sculptures.

But the real draw of the accommodations is the scenery, in the heart of Algonquin, surrounded by the serene Lake of Two Rivers.

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

The view from the cabins at Killarney Lodge

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

Inside a cabin at Killarney Lodge

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

The restaurant at Killarney Lodge

What to do

The wildlife in Algonquin is a main attraction. There are single and multi-day tours where you can canoe through the waterways and take in the natural wildlife. Seeing moose, deer, and brown bears in their habitats, up close and personal, is a rare treat. The tours are guided so you learn as you go and make friends (furry and otherwise) along the way.

Once you’ve settled into the vast wilderness, even the most weary (and lazy!) will want to take part in several of the many activities available to you. 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. Take a canoe out on a lake and have a romantic water picnic. Hike the Barron Canyon or Track & Tower trails. Go whitewater rafting or horseback riding. Or relax and read (or write!) a book.

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: Escape to the Algonquin

Discover the wildlife in Algonquin Park, Canada

Into the Wild: Escape to the Algonquin

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.

Avatar of Pegah Aarabi

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.

Reader Discussion: 164 Comments

  1. Avatar of Kara Mccormick

    Kara Mccormick

    They said that it is common to see a wildlife creature. Woah. Insane. ?

  2. Avatar of Amanda Long

    Amanda Long

    The food taste great! I’m from NY, and the food I’m eating is unhealthy. The time I went there is the time I ate a real food.

    • Avatar of Angela Sharp

      Angela Sharp

      How’s the price? If the price is just right, well I think I will give it a shot to visit that place.

  3. Avatar of Crystal Oliver

    Crystal Oliver

    This type of vacation is fun, I guess. It’s safe because if you don’t harm animals, they don’t give a sh*t to you. Just be careful of course, but everything’s fine.

  4. Avatar of Laurie Ryan

    Laurie Ryan

    This is one of my dreams. Living in the middle of the wood in a cabin. I wish that there’s no serial killer looking for me. Haha!

  5. Avatar of Melody Phelps

    Melody Phelps

    Well, Canada is just a long drive. you don’t need a plane ticket to visit that place. All you need is the strong ass for the long drive. ?

    • Avatar of Shirley Schneider

      Shirley Schneider

      I’ll bring my other friends so we can switch in driving. Not bad, right?

  6. Avatar of Maddi Johnstone

    A good way to escape from the cruel world. Thank you for posting this!!! I will consider this one.

  7. Avatar of Elle Edwards

    Is it only me? This place is creepy. Imagine you are there all alone in the middle of the night, there’s someone with a mask following you? Lol. #OverthinkingSucks.

  8. Avatar of Patricia


    Is there any vegan food in that place? I wish they have because I don’t eat meat.

    • Avatar of Kyrah Edwards

      I think they have because not all their visitors eat meat. You can ask the hotel for inquiries.

  9. Avatar of Marty Cummings

    Marty Cummings

    I will tell my girlfriend about this and ask her if she wanted to visit this park. She loves nature, and I think this will be a great gift for her birthday.

  10. Avatar of Dawn Katz

    Dawn Katz

    All I can say is this place is awesome! I will definitely go back there maybe this year, or next year, but it won’t take too long!

Load 10 more comments

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Urbanette moderates and edits comments for grammar and to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Please use your full name. Moderators can only approve comments written in English.

All content is strictly copyright. Contact us for permission.