Balsam Lake Provincial Park

Balsam Lake Provincial Park in Ontario has a long sandy beach with sweet island views

Balsam Lake Provincial Park is a peaceful escape that's ideal for a late-summer getaway, with forested hiking trails, a serene swimming area, and sandy shores with views of an island.

Located in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes in cottage country, this park is under a 2 hour drive from Toronto, making it perfect for a day trip or overnight stay.

The park sprawls across nearly 168 hectares along the shores of Balsam Lake, and is stacked with a variety of recreational activities for its visitors.

With the lake being its main draw, many come to the park for water-based sports. Swimmers can take a dip off at the beach's designated swimming area, or go kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding.

From the swimming area, you can see right across the water to Grand Island. Water sport equipment can be rented directly in the park, and all rentals include personal floatation devices.

Hikers can set out on a number of hiking trails, which lead through the area's mixed forests and wetlands. For a hike with a view, take the Lookout Trail, extending 2.1 km before reaching a panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes.

The longer Woodland Trail or Balsam Lake Loop stretches for 4.2 km, taking you on an easy trek through forests and past pioneer landmarks. You can also connect from here to the Short Loop Trail and visit the aquatic critters that reside in the park's wetlands.

If you'd like to extend your stay overnight, camping at Balsam Lake is a great option. Campers can choose from both electrical and non-electrical sites, or opt for a backcountry campsite if you crave a more rugged experience.

For those who prefer some added comforts, there's also a fully-furnished cottage you can rent at Balsam Lake, with the capacity to sleep 8 people. You can book both your campsites and reserve the cottage directly on the Ontario Parks website.

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