We finally made it back to Canada. We had been planning trips each year since 2020 only to be canceled due to various events (including the border closing). This time we made it! We camped at Charleston Lake Provincial Park. We enjoyed hiking at the park and visiting the nearby Thousand Islands National Park. We were close enough to Ottawa to take a day trip to Canada’s capital city. The lakes are beautiful and abundant. Parliament Hill is picturesque beyond words. We consider this trip an introduction and plan to return soon.
Charleston Lake Provincial Park
We stayed in the Meadowlands campground of Charleston Lake Provincial Park. The park is known for its water activities – swimming, boating, and fishing but it also has many hiking trails to enjoy. We hiked two trails during our stay.
The 2 km loop of Shoreline Centennial Trail was very scenic along the lake. The mosquitoes were in full force so we hiked quickly!
The 10 km Tallow Rock Bay Trail was very diverse with wetlands, meadows, rocks, and plenty of views. The flowers along the boardwalk were lovely. We hiked 6.7 kilometers of the trail before returning to camp.
Charleston Lake provided us with a good base camp location to visit the surrounding areas.
Thousand Islands National Park
Twenty-five minutes south of Charleston Lake, we visited one of the mainland sections of the Thousands Island National Park at Landon Bay. The park is largely made up of the 18 islands in the St. Lawrence River. We noticed all the islands as we crossed the border into Canada earlier. We wished we had more time to explore the islands – maybe on the next trip. Instead, we hiked the Sentier Bay mainland trail around Landon Bay.
We took a day trip to Ottawa to explore a little bit of Parliament Hill. We had seen many pictures of Canada’s capital and wanted to see all the historic buildings in person. OH MY! It is better in person.
We started the day with coffee from the Happy Goat Coffee Co. Parking was a little tricky, due to construction in the area, but we figured it out. The cortado was delicious!
Next, we headed to Parliament Hill. Our first stop was Confederation Square to view the National War Memorial. We were impressed by how still the sentries stood by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
We strolled up and down Wellington Street to absorb all the incredible historic statues and monuments. We passed by East Block then strolled in front of Peace Tower before crossing the street to see the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council.
Our bucket list now includes inside tours of the buildings that are open to the public. Currently, the Senate Building, the House of Commons at West Block, East Block, and the main Parliament Building are open for tours. We want to go back and do all four.
After touring Wellington Street, we headed to the Canadian Museum of Nature to catch up with our travel companions on this trip – the Hugs. We were only able to visit a fraction of the exhibits given the short time frame. Nonetheless, we were impressed. The museum exhibits include very realistic taxidermic animals.
Ottawa was unseasonally warm the day we visited so we especially enjoyed the ice sculptures.
We ended the day at the Kichesippi Beer Co. The comfortable atmosphere, friendly service, and tasty hard cider refreshed us for the trip back to camp.
While we were out getting groceries one day, we stumbled upon this little gem. Haskin’s Point Park at Seely’s Bay – just gorgeous!
We had a great time exploring Ontario for a week. We will return.