Beausoleil Island: Wild and Inspiring Beauty
I’m going to begin with the moral of this story… Always say yes to new adventures! We all know this to be a good motto to live by but sometimes we need to be reminded. This summer has been a whirlwind of adventures throughout my own backyard. And I’m living proof that you can still travel, have plenty of adventures and still work full-time. While I do get four weeks paid vacation a year, I also make the most of my weekends.
A few days before the September Labour Day long weekend I was contacted by my fellow travel blogger babes, Lindsay from I’ve Been Bit and Lauren from Justin Plus Lauren. Would I like to go to Beausoleil Island? And with barely a hesitation I said yes! We were all jazzed to be heading out hiking and exploring a new Ontario gem.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Beausoleil Island is the largest island in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The park is within the world’s largest freshwater archipelago and covers 63 islands in Eastern Georgian Bay. Beausoleil Island is home to a wide array of ecosystems, from deciduous forests to marshland. It is a haven for wildlife. You’ll find everything from black bears to the endangered Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake. There’s even a trail named after the Massasauga on the island. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is Ontario’s only venomous snake. But don’t let this scare you away. They usually steer clear of people and of course will warn you with their rattle if you’re too close. Simply give it distance and respect and it will do the same.
Did you know? Georgian Bay Islands National Park was Canada’s 3rd National Park, established in 1929.
We arrive to Honey Harbour around noon and grabbed our Daytripper tickets. Honey Harbour is a charming little cottage town. And it’s here where the boat that transports you to Beausoleil Island departs from. We decided to fuel up for our hike with some lunch before the boat’s scheduled departure time. Lauren grabbed some vegan ice cream from The Hive, which is a shop selling everything from clothes to food supplies. Lindsay and I each grabbed a divine buffalo chicken burger with fries on it, from the food truck out front of The Hive. We all pulled up a Muskoka chair on The Hive’s back deck. This was a prime spot to dine as it looks out over Honey Harbour.
Full and satisfied we headed to the dock to catch the Daytripper boat over to Beausoleil Island. Donning our flaming orange life vests and cameras in hand we cruised past charming cottages on their own private islands, boaters enjoying the last of summer days and towards our destination.
Be sure to reserve your tickets for the Daytripper at least a few days ahead of time. There are limited spots and only one boat ride a day to the northern portion of the island.
I beamed as we approached our dock on the island. There rising up from the water’s edge was the glorious Canadian Shield. This is where southern Ontario meet north. The rock had a delicate pink hue to it and seemed to dominate the northern part of the island. Our plan was to hike the two main loop trails of the northern portion of Beausoleil, with a stop for a rest and dip at Honeymoon Bay. We first set off on the Cambrian Trail that took us up over the massive Canadian Shield, by Little Dog Channel and through an enchanted forest. Then we met up with Fairy Trail which is the island’s most noteworthy and picturesque trail.
The island’s landscape was unlike anything I’d seen in Ontario. Massive rock rising up, tall wind swept pines and brilliant dark blue water all contributed to the striking wild beauty. It’s no wonder the Group of Seven were inspired to paint here, with some of their most famous pieces capturing a slice of this beautiful island. Beausoleil Island’s northern end is home to trails, lakes and bays with the most enchanting names. There’s a Fairy trail and Fairy Lake, Honeymoon Bay and Goblin Lake. Even the mushrooms and chipmunks were like something out of the pages of a fairytale.
I was completely enamoured by the island, its stunning landscape, and awesome hiking trails. Not only is Beausoleil Island an Ontario gem but I’d dare to say a must visit for Canadians and international travellers alike.
Again, always say yes to adventures! You never know what amazing places you’ll see and the magnificent memories you’ll take away.
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