PA to Ottawa, Ontario ... and further!
My girlfriend and I did 8,000 miles in 30 days last summer. Awesome trip, but this time around we're looking for a shorter, slower-paced trip.
We're outside of Philadelphia and have a business excuse to drive to Ottawa, Ontario. We're hoping to make a mini road trip of it and explore some places further north in Canda, perhaps Algonquin Provincial Park and/or the Hudson Bay. We have about 7 days of fun-- driving and exploring.
Any thoughts for must-sees and must-dos along the way? Any particular routes to use or avoid?
Things we like: small towns, national parks, wide open spaces, small group activities (ranger guided tours, paddling, etc).
Things we don't like: over-crowded, over-built summer shore/lake destinations (ala NJ/NY shores). Basically, anything mobbed with people taking summer vacations. We get enough of that back home.
Ottawa is a neat city, don't forget to visit the Parliament buildings. After Ottawa, cross over to Quebec and visit Parc de la Gatineau. If you're into canoe camping, Parc de La Verendrye is really a must (north west of Mont Laurier, Qc). You can easily spend from one to 30 days canoeing within the park and not see a soul! There are also many other parks further east like Papineau-Labelle, Rouge Matawin just to mention a few.
I never went to the James Bay area, but I heard it is very nice and especially great for people like you who enjoy wide open spaces. I believe you can go on guided excursions on the Bay with Natives of the area. You can also visit some of the biggest hydroelectricity installations in the world. Here is a very good road trip report on this particular area : http://www.theguysatwork.com/jamesbay/jamesbay.htm
Have a great trip!
From Ottawa, (lots to see & do here)
to Algonquin Provincial Park entering at the "East Gate" HWY #60. Now this is the perfect spot for hiking, canoe trips, wilderness camping type of enjoyment. It is a popular tourist area but in a "camping" way, fishing, etc. Not for fancy living by any means.
You could then come out the " West Gate" and head to NORTH BAY, then down to Burks Falls, Huntsville, Bracebridge, & areas following HWY #11 southbound. Nice rock cuts / forest / lakes / small villages / "Muskoka" cottage country.
Many small roads to branch off in " MUSKOKA " cottage country area. If you search Muskoka on google.ca, you'll find things to do, places to go, boat cruises to take, cottages to rent.
Then Orillia, Barrie, Toronto, Niagara Falls (Canadian side), & back into the States through Niagara/ Buffalo.
The only thing with this route (although scenic & quiet) is to plan it so you are not southbound HWY #11 from Bracebridge onwards to Toronto (Hwy #11 becomes / joins Hwy #400 at Barrie) ----- on a summer SUNDAY. You will be STUCK in cottage country traffic who are doing the return drive to Toronto. It will be STOP & go, the whole way.
Another entirely different option ----
Take HWY #7 through farmland & charming small country villages to PETERBOROUGH (see the lift locks) & Lindsay, & on to HWY #12 north to ORILLIA, & MIDLAND, PENETANGUISHENE (take a boat cruise here).
Then from Orillia - follow above details about going through Barrie & Toronto back to Niagara Falls & USA. TONS to see & do in Barrie & Toronto.
For ideas ----
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-16-2005 at 11:41 PM.
Reason: Remove broken link
Another option - before Ottawa or after -
Bay of Quinte / 1,000 Islands area
This is the Kingston, Belleville, Brockville area off Lake Ontario & up the Trent River. Very beautiful, very scenic, lots of history, sailing. Popular tourist area.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-16-2005 at 11:03 PM.
Reason: broken link