It’s no secret that camping is one of Canada’s most beloved pastimes. From early spring to late fall, people head to their favourite parks to escape the busy suburban life. Parks Canada caters to the glamping experience by providing oTENTiks, a mix between a rustic cabin and a tent so you can enjoy all of the amazing perks of camping (campfires and exploring the great outdoors) without the less favourable parts (uncomfortable sleeping arrangements and mosquitos) You can experience this and more while visiting the Thousand Islands,

Before making our way to our oTENTik at the Thousand Islands National Park (TINP), my friends and I stopped in Rockport for a sightseeing cruise. Rockport is in the heart of the 1000 Islands and is a popular destination in the summer for travellers.  As we strolled around the village of Rockport, I was amazed by all the charming rich history found throughout. We picked the popular 2 hour Palaces and Palisades Cruise with Rockport Boat Line.

I was eager to go on a cruise and had heard lots of great things about Rockport Boat Line. This breathtaking cruise takes you through the St. Lawrence River, underneath the 1000 Islands International Bridge, and shows you panoramic views of the infamous Boldt Castle. We saw the monstrous cottages found along Millionaires’ Row that had us wanting our own island paradise. The Palaces and Palisades Cruise showcased some of the best views of Canada’s second-longest river.

After the cruise, we made our way to Thousand Islands National Park located in Mallorytown. There are several National Parks throughout Canada that offer the oTENTik experience and TINP has 10 throughout three different campsites.  We stayed at the campground site at Mallorytown Landing but if you’re feeling adventurous, book your stay on an island which is only accessible by boat.

Each oTENTik has enough room for up to 6 people. The oTENTiks offer electricity and heat but are not equipped with running water or bathrooms, but there is a spacious outhouse and a water station nearby. The showers are located at the Visitor Centre which is only a short walk away. TINP provided all of the necessities to make the camping experience even more comfortable. Outside we had a fire pit, picnic table, Muskoka chairs, a food locker, and a charcoal grilling station. Inside, there were two queen-sized beds and one double-sized bed.

While staying in TINP, take the opportunity to go to their Visitor Centre where you can see and touch frogs, turtles, and even snakes!

TINP is much more than just a spot to camp out at with your friends, the park exists to promote sustainable development within the region and to educate the public about this and more.  

The park was established in 1904 as a way to protect some of the islands for public use. The 1000 Islands area was becoming a popular hotspot for the wealthy to purchase their summer homes. Residents petitioned the government to protect some of the islands for public use. To this day the park protects more than 25 islands in the 1000 islands region.

We learned that the TINP is a core protected area in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, a region recognized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations) for its biodiversity and species at risk. Over the last 10 years, there has been effort to restore and rehabilitate a natural shoreline to ensure the continued success of the ecosystem and the environment as a whole. Because of these efforts, TINP has created a protective habitat for many species of plants and animals.

In the late afternoon, we headed to Jones Creek which is part of Thousand Islands National Park. We hiked through picturesque trails through century-old white pine and red oak trees with some serious scenic lookouts. Once we found a pair of Parks Canada’s iconic red Muskoka chairs with a glorious view of our hike that was it. We sat back and took in the vibrant views. I can only imagine how beautiful Jones Creek is in the Fall. 

If you want to explore the St Lawrence River’s crystal clear water, you can do so with paddling and swimming. There’s also a 40km paved bike path that offers some stunning river views!

Once we returned back to our campsite, we got to our grilling station to prepare a glorious feast while admiring the gorgeous views of the St Lawrence River. We decided to have our dinner at the beautiful stone gazebo over by the waterfront. Along the pathway at TINP, you can find several educational outdoor exhibits. At night, we gathered around the crackling fire, sharing stories beneath the thousands of stars while in the Thousand Islands.

One of the best parts of camping is the morning after. It’s almost as if something happens to you overnight where in the morning you feel rejuvenated. The peacefulness of waking up to the sounds of birds chirping truly helps me get back into my zone. Whatever it is, grab your friends, grab your snacks and cozy blankets and head out to TINP for an oTENTik experience.

For more information and to reserve your spot, click here.

We hope you enjoyed our Experience Blog! Our mission and the ultimate goal is to inspire you, the reader, to want to jump out of your seat and walk, drive, fly, (any means necessary) to your next adventure in South Eastern Ontario.

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