Sometimes called the sixth Great Lake, the Georgian Bay Islands are part of the 30,000 island chain that is the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. Georgian Bay is home to the world’s largest island in a freshwater lake, Manitoulin, and the islands hold many species of reptiles and amphibians, including the threatened eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Colonies of gulls and terns can be seen on the islands less frequented by humans.
Traditionally part of the Algonquian-Huron trade route, the Islands of Georgian Bay are only accessible by boat. Parks Canada runs the Day Tripper shuttle out to Beausoleil, where camping and overnight docking are available, as well as hiking and biking trails. Beausoleil has recently started renting rustic cabins, complete with beds, table, chairs, lights and cooking gear, for $140-$160 a night, which includes boat fare on the shuttle.
If you want to stay on land, try the Georgian Bay Coastal Route, a favorite of motorcyclists. There are a few routes that take 2-3 days, but a trip around the entire bay is usually done in a week. These tours are designed to show off the best of Georgian Bay. Directions for the route are available from the Georgian Bay website. Most tours also take in Bruce Peninsula, another of Canada’s National Parks.
The only way to truly appreciate the beauty of Georgian Bay though is to hop aboard a 30,000 Island Boat Cruise. These cruises set sail from Midland & Penetanguishene and Parry Sound.
Cie McCullough Buschle | Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster. She is a lifelong traveler and enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and co-owns The Creative Chameleon, a place where kids and adults can create, paint, celebrate, and just have a lot of fun. Sometimes you can find her time traveling back to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.