We haven’t been to Awenda Provincial Park before so looking forward to it. It’s a long drive from the highway to get into the park. Located about 15 minutes from Penetanguishe and maybe 25 minutes from Midland. The Park is really and I’m going to throw a second really in here, nice. Out of the all the parks we have been to,( Ontario Provincial Parks that is), this is without doubt the nicest park in terms of layout, sanitation/garbage/recycle area, Park Ranger patrols, everything.
The sites are very well spaced and fairly private. I say fairly private because the trees here are so tall but there is not a lot of foliage. The sites are designed for backing up your trailer without any issues or problems. No overhanging trees, no tree stumps in the middle of the site, just a great park. A lot of canopy here also so you don’t get a lot of sun. There are 6 campgrounds with over 300 sites. Three of the campgrounds are Radio Free and maybe 105 hydro sites. I really liked our site and again no one behind us except for forest. This park is also spread out so you can’t really walk too many places, driving or biking would be preferred. We were in Hawk campground, site 94 with hydro.
The sanitation area is also the best laid out one I have seen in Ontario Parks. It’s a horseshoe shape just off the main park road. When you enter all the garbage/recycle is on your right and you keep going to the dump stations and fill stations and then right on out. But the best part is they have a third lane so if all the stations are being used and you are just dumping your garbage, you drive right out, no waiting. Very good set up.
There are 7 nice trails here and 3 of them you can hike or bike. There are four beaches and a very large pet beach. We walked to all the beaches, from the parking lot to beach #4 is probably a good 25 minute walk. Lots of people were pulling wagons and carts full of their “day at the beach” items. We like to watch the dogs at the Pet Beach, they are all so happy and cute. We walked the full length to see all the beaches but we ended up at Beach #1 to spend the afternoon. It’s the closest to the parking lot also. The staff here are great, and they patrol constantly and there was very little noise from people or dogs. They were right on top of things. Highly recommend this park.
There is quite a lot of tourist things to do in this area. Wye March Wildlife Centre in Midland; Huronia Museum and Huron-Ouendat Village in Midland; Discovery Harbour; Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons; Penetanguishene Centennial Museum; Boat Cruises out of Midland; Elmvale Zoo.
We spent a few hours at the Saint Maria Among the Hurons village, we had been here years ago but I enjoyed it. We played lacrosse and I got to make a little clay person at their craft table. The staff are all well-informed and friendly and can answer any questions. Recommended for a pleasant afternoon. We had a light lunch at their restaurant and an uninvited guest showed up. Pretty funny.
We had been to Discovery Harbour in the past, but it’s worth going to, very interesting and a nice way to spend the afternoon. We also went to the Zoo in Elmvale. Not a large zoo but still a nice walk. They sell you bananas to feed the giraffes, they love bananas. Not a great variety of animals but still a nice spot. There was the cutest little alpaca and here he is below, or she? I dunno…….But what an adorable little face.
Barrie is not too far from Awenda. Maybe an hour drive. We went there for the day because they had………….wait for it………….BREWERIES!
We went to the Flying Monkeys Brewery, right downtown Barrie. What a unique place. Food and beer can be procured here.. This is another spot that Trum went into with us. You know, Flying Monkeys and Trum is a monkey, so how could I not take him in? And yet again…………..no one seemed to notice or care that he sat on the table with the taster tray in front of him ! The beer is okay, not my favourite but the bar is certainly worth a drop in and look-see.
Off to Redline Brewery. We had never heard of this brewery but it was actually pretty good. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender and I wish I had gotten his name, really nice guy. A guy sat beside us at the bar ( he works at another brewery but had dropped in here for some downtime) and we got chattig to him. Hi Justin if you are reading this.
I liked their IPA but for me, it could have been a little hoppier. Hoppy makes me Happy. We shared a bruschetta and it was pretty good too. Nice bar.
Off to Barnstormer Brewery and it was super busy in there. We sat at the bar and the bartender there was a nice guy. He had not worked there very long so was still learning the ropes but he was friendly and attentive. There beer was good, we just shared a taster, or sampler, tray and left. Too many people !
We ended up Moose Winooskies a local restaurant I guess because we had never heard of this restaurant before. On the same level as Montana’s or Kelseys. That ended our day in Barrie, back to Awenda.
We did some biking in the park and walked the Robitaille Trail. So named because of a local family who lived and farmed there years ago. They also had a Christmas tree farm, very cool history.
We went one night to the Amphitheatre and listened to David Archibald. He is touring different parks this year for Ontario Parks 125th birthday. He is mostly a children’s entertainer but we enjoyed him. He is quite talented and very entertaining. He sang and involved the audience and told stories for a good 90 minutes. He told us he had produced Avril Lavigne’s first album.
I felt bad for downtown Penetanguishene, the downtown core is closed down for construction for the summer and I’m sure the local businesses felt some revenue loss. We drove by this beautiful church, very impressive from the outside. So we had to go inside but it looked more impressive from the outside and bigger. Not sure how that happens. We did walk around their marina area and it’s quite nice and lo and behold there was a little ferret running around, jumping in and out of the water.
We then walked around the Midland marina/dock area and ended up at the The Boathouse. Nice restaurant by the water with a huge deck, which is where we sat. Great food and our server was a sweetheart. Clint finished half his beer and a huge shadfly flew into it and she took his glass and brought back another glass of beer for him. That was really nice and thoughtful of her considering it wasn’t even their fault. I really enjoyed our time on their deck.
We had beautiful weather the whole time we were there except for one little rainy morning. I would come back to Awenda, a beautiful park. This set of holidays is over. Heading home for a week and then off again.