Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park

This was our first time staying at Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park and even though it rained 2/4 of the days we camped there, we still had an amazing time and it’s now in my top 5 Ontario Parks.

There’s a few things about this park that really stood out to us and that we loved;

The HikingSamuel De Champlain has great hiking trails and the one we chose to explore had a beautiful lookout over looking the Mattawa River.  I don’t love hiking in the summer (bugs + heat), but I can imagine these trails would be absolutely beautiful to take on in the fall or winter.

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The Visitor Center – When you go camping, you don’t expect to want to spend time indoors but since it was pouring rain, we spent a lot of time at the visitor center.  Our daughter LOVED it.  The staff were very friendly and we had a hard time getting Lux to leave.

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The Lazy River – While I’d like to say canoeing is the number 1 attraction for this park, I started doubting that when the number of floaties and tubes in the back of people’s vehicles out numbered the canoes.  A section of the river has a set of class I rapids that runs right through the campground, right past our campsite.  We didn’t get to float the river but it’s definitely on my to do list for the next time we camp there.

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The Wildlife – Like any of the other Ontario Parks, I always love to see what wild life we spot while camping.  Birds were our most popular sightings on this trip and we managed to photograph a Blue Heron on our way to the visitor centre in the pouring rain.

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The Canoeing – We brought our own canoe but we also went on a Kids Voyageur Tour that was very unique and informative.  We got to dress up like voyageurs and paddle like it was 1796 in a 30ft canot du nord.  We learned a lot about the fur trade as we paddled through heavy rain.

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The canoeing possibilities in this park are endless and since we were only there for a few days we weren’t able to explore everything we wanted but what we did explore, we loved.  We canoed the entire length of Long Lake one morning with our 16 month old daughter, Lux.  We were the only ones out on the water and it was extremely peaceful.

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That afternoon we paddled the Mattawa River over to a waterfall that flowed out into a sandbar.  It was really neat because the water coming off the waterfall was freezing but then when you stepped a few feet away from the Spring water you’d feel the warm water from the Mattawa River.  The cliffs make paddling this river very scenic, I only wish that we had more time to explore this beautiful river.

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Even though Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park is a bit of a drive for us, it’s a park I’d consider going back to every year.  There’s so much to explore and it’s extremely kid friendly with it’s beaches, swing sets, and educational programs.

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