Come Wander

The car is all packed, the canoe strapped to the roof, and you’re ready to hit the road for a camping trip in Algonquin Park. If you’re coming from south or east of the park on the roads that carve through rolling hills alongside picturesque lakes, you’re soon to find that the natural beauty extends beyond the park’s gates well into Ontario’s Highlands. Make the journey as memorable as the destination by slowing it down and stopping along the way at one of the many delicious eateries, quirky shops, or natural attractions that show off the alluring geographical diversity of the region. Or if you’re experiencing less than ideal weather on your camping trip, these stops double as rainy-day road trip destinations during your park stay!

Highway 60

If your starting point is the Ottawa area, you’ll find yourself coasting through the Ottawa Valley along Highway 60. Schedule in a few breaks spaced out along the route for a bite to eat, shopping breaks, and fun attractions to get you out of the car and enjoying some fresh air.

Eat: When you’ve reached that point where you get a hankering for caffeine, Fifth Chute Coffee in Eganville is a trendy spot to indulge in specialty drinks and heavenly pastries. Speaking of pastries, another half hour down the road is Killaloe, the town where the iconic BeaverTails got their start – and yes, they still dish out those nostalgic goodies today. Peckish for lunch? Bring your appetite to one of the chip trucks in Barry’s Bay. Polka Spudz puts a Polish twist on food truck favourites, like perogie poutine and Polish sausages, while Charlie D’s offers hungry motorists over 16 types of poutine.

Shop: Doubling as a both a restaurant and shop, The Cottage Cup is truly a one-stop shop where you can browse houseware, clothing, and souvenirs while you wait for your meal from the take-out window. In Barry’s Bay, shop unique hand-made goods at Grumblin’ Granny’s, or pick up last-minute items for your trip at Mad Outdoors.

See: A slight detour off Highway 60 to Bonnechere Caves provides an unforgettable pit stop where you can stretch your legs during a guided tour through underground caves. In Wilno, visit the open-air Polish Kashub Heritage Museum to learn about the first Polish Kashub settlers who made their home in the Ottawa Valley.

Highway 62/127

Travellers originating from Kingston or Belleville have a fairly straight route directly north on Highways 62 and 127 through Hastings County, a route loaded with countless options for scheduled or spontaneous stops.

Eat: Early in your trip you will pass through the quaint town of Madoc, where the smell wafting from Hidden Goldmine Bakery will beckon you to pull over for a snack. Continuing on through Bancroft you’ll find endless options for lunch – like the chip trucks aplenty just beyond town or homey sit-down restaurants. Just before you reach the park, Honey Doo’s Café in Lake St. Peter provides a last chance option for a home cooked meal. Bonus: In Bancroft you can load up your cooler with beer from Bancroft Brewing Co. for later!

Shop: In Bancroft, the Old Tin Shed bills itself as an intriguing mix of now and then, a spot where you can shop antiques and other unique items for home. Foxfire Gallery, Gifts, & Antiques, further north in Maynooth has got you covered for the things you may have forgotten (plenty of pajamas!) as well as new trinkets.

See: L’Amable Dam on a quiet little lake south of Bancroft is a kid-friendly public beach to pull over and have a little walk around. While in Bancroft, take a stroll to Millennium Park on the York River where you can spend a few minutes perusing the symbolic padlocks on the Love Lock Bridge, and even add your own memento.

Highway 35

The approach from the western side of the park is connected to Peterborough and the eastern GTA by Highway 35, which winds around the picturesque lakes of Haliburton County and right through the town of Minden.

Eat: You can choose from the many restaurants in Minden within minutes of Highway 35, but some might find the Minden 50s Diner exceptionally appropriate for a road trip stop. Dessert in the form of a double scoop is served just a bit up the road at Kawartha Dairy. Boshkung Brewing Co.’s locations in Minden and Carnarvon provide a spot to pick up brews for the campsite while a dozen of Pizza on Earth’s woodfired bagels in Dorset will set you up for the next day’s breakfast.

Shop: Up River Trading Co. in Minden has a solid supply of clever gifts, and giant animal floaties in case you realize how much you need one to truly make your trip memorable. Algonquin Outfitters has shops in Minden, just outside the park in Oxtongue, or a short detour off Highway 35 into Haliburton, for last minute gear.

See: Stretch your legs by taking a short hike to Hawk Lake Log Chute, a log chute dating back to 1861 which is now the only of its kind in Ontario. Or in Dorset, you can feel the burn while you climb the 132 metre high Dorset Lookout Tower for the best views of the Algonquin Highlands – a true indicator of the beauty that lies outside the park’s gates.

Stories

Buffalo Thrills

Discover good food and great memories at the Ontario Water Buffalo Company.

Summer Music Festivals

From rock to folk, these Ontario’s Highlands summer music festivals will keep you coming back year after year.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

Unique Festivals & Events

Embrace the incredible spirit and wonderfully ‘different’ themes at events across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

An Escape into Nature

Find your connection with nature and each other during a cabin getaway at Deacon Escarpment in Renfrew County.

Pause for Pi Day

Celebrate PI Day with the best pie at these bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands.

A Winter’s Break

Sometimes what we need is a little technology detox to spend a little less time with the screens in our lives and a little more time with the people who matter most.

Valentine’s Day Treats

Treat that special someone this Valentine’s Day to a gift of sweets at one of these top places.

New Year, New You

Winter events across Ontario’s Highlands that will help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions.

Hit the Slopes This Winter

Discover the ski and snowboard hills in Ontario’s Highlands that both beginners and pros will appreciate.

Winter? Bring it!

Discover your love for the season with a classic Ottawa Valley winter.

The Best Baked Goods

Discover some of the best bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands and their tasty treats.

Where Am I?

Visit Winterdance in Ontario’s Highlands and discover a love of winter from some of its biggest fans.

Where Am I?

Discover Calabogie Peaks Resort, a well-known gem, through new eyes.

Alight in the Night

Discover the best Christmas lights and celebrations across Ontario’s Highlands that make this season the most wonderful.

Concerts with a Community

In September each year, the spirit of community comes alive all across Ontario’s Highlands when the Festival of Small Halls rolls in.

Where Am I?

Stand tall and marvel at the views from the top of historical attraction, the Dorset Lookout Tower.

Autumn Jubilee

Celebrate fall with these can’t-miss festivals and events in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Step back into nature at the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve to celebrate sustainability in this unique place.

The Memory Maker

I’m a Memory Maker. I wander to celebrate traditions with loved ones and create lasting memories. I enjoy visiting the same place, annual festival, or seasonal tradition year after year.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Where Am I?

Mazinaw Rock, a hidden gem in Ontario that’s ironically, hard to miss.

Parks Worth the Admission

Visit these 8 Ontario Parks’ campgrounds in Ontario’s Highlands and discover why they are worth the admission.

Where Am I?

Make memories as you discover one of the Province’s most intimate hidden gems, The Haliburton Forest Festival.

Finding Imperfect Moments

Sometimes it is the imperfect moments that matter the most. Become inspired to roam without the burden of worrying about everything going according to plan.

A Different Kind of Detour

Take the road less traveled through Ontario’s Highlands to these unique festivals that are sure to leave a lasting impression.