French River Provincial Park Camping and Cottages

705-857-2038 or email -  2870 Hartley Bay Rd., French River, Ontario P0M1A0 View on map 
 Open / Season May 1 – Oct 31. 

Things to do in Hartley Bay

Portage Free Camping

Portage Free CampingWhen you're looking for a lazy summer experience with some paddling on the side, portage free camping is the perfect option. Portage free camping on the French River is perfect, because you will be able to follow in the footsteps of the voyageurs. By day, you can paddle the beautiful river, enjoying the majestic views and taking in the peace and tranquility it has to offer. At the end of the day, paddle straight into a backcountry campsite in the French River Provincial Park - you don't even have to reserve your spot!

Hartley Bay offers kayak and canoe rentals (must be booked in advance) for your convenience, and you can obtain a camping permit on arrival or on the Ontario Parks website.

Why Portage Free Camping?

Unless you are a hardcore fitness buff with strong arms and back, you may not be keen on carrying your heavy canoe across long distances to reach your campsite - after a day of paddling. That's alright!

Hartley Bay Marina makes it easy for the whole family or groups of all ages to join Canada's canoe culture, without breaking too much of a sweat. Simply paddle into our marina and set up camp.

Portage Free Camping at Hartley Bay Marina

The French River Provincial Park has become a tourist destination for paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a place that is still relatively untouched by modern society. For this reason, the French River was designated as Canada’s first Heritage River in 1986 and has many established French River canoeing routes.

The resort offers a range of campsites and fisherman's cottages for the ultimate portage free camping experience.

Northern Ontario Camping

Northern Ontario Camping: The Perfect Getaway for the Whole Family

Northern Ontario CampingLooking for a no-frills, low-cost getaway? Try Northern Ontario Camping. Camping in Northeastern Ontario is one of the most cost-effective ways to get out of town and immerse yourself in nature's beauty without breaking the bank. There is no better way to experience its enthralling beauty than to pitch a tent or park an RV and answer the call of the wild. Northern Ontario's provincial parks are just waiting for you to explore them.

Good Reasons to Enjoy Northern Ontario Camping 

The most obvious benefit of camping is that it allows you to reconnect with nature and forget about the stresses of everyday life. The time you spend camping allows you to re-establish your priorities, reconnect with nature, and forget about the stresses of daily life. 

Time outdoors gives families wonderful opportunities to bond while having fun in the great outdoors, giving kids the chance to learn through exploration. Hiking, kayaking, and fishing are all great ways to connect with nature and with yourself, while the sun has amazing mood-boosting effects. 

Even if you’re new to Northern Ontario camping, a few pointers, tips, and guidelines under your belt, you'll be out enjoying a classic Canadian experience in no time. A camping trip demonstrates the old adage that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. 

Camping... The simple, beautiful experience of being outside in nature, listening to the sounds of birds, frogs, and insects without being distracted by the engines, electronics, and other noises that pervade today's urban world. We are fortunate to have a wealth of natural resources and camping spots in Northern Ontario.

1.  Plenty camping options 

Ontario has a vast network of provincial parks that reflect the province's diverse and spectacular geography. This region has plenty to offer, whether you want to rough it on a pitched-tent camping trip or enjoy some fine dining off the trails.  Whether you are a seasoned camper, a weekend warrior, or a newbie, Northeastern Ontario is the ideal setting for your next adventure away from home. 

Northern Ontario has plenty of wild (and not-so-wild) camping spots, such as French River Provincial Park, where children will quickly put their electronic devices away at the opportunity to engage with the natural world and their families. 

2. Wide range of outdoor activities for the whole family

Canada has a wealth of land, lakes, rivers, and wilderness that is virtually unrivalled in the rest of the world. Ontario, Canada's second-largest province, offers numerous safe and affordable campgrounds situated among some of Canada's most pristine natural landscapes. Canoeing, fishing, kayaking, and swimming are just a few of the outdoor activities available to everyone. Northeastern Ontario is the ideal setting for your next adventure away from home, whatever it may be.

3. More than 400+ camps to choose from 

Parks Canada also manages a number of national parks with overnight camping options—many of them situated near a lodge. Private campgrounds are another option, with even more options. With more than 400 Ontario campgrounds at your disposal, you are sure to find a few that work perfectly for your needs. Northern Ontario parks provide a variety of amenities, including tent and RV camping, hiking, swimming, and much more. Some camps are solely dedicated to camping but for the most part, they are located on the same property as a lodge or resort. 

Many Northern Ontario camping grounds have an online reservation system that allows visitors to view, select, and book campsites. Northern parks provide a variety of amenities, including tent and RV camping, hiking, swimming, and much more.

4. Peace and tranquillity

The absence of city sounds is the first thing you'll notice when you wake up in the campground. Your time in northern Ontario will allow you to fall asleep to the sounds of frogs in a nearby marsh, wake up to singing birds, or simply reflect while listening to a fast-flowing river.

You'll find some of the best views in the province, from vast boreal forests to the rugged Canadian shield and the coast of Georgian Bay.

Camping Excursions on a Budget

The French River Provincial Park is only two hours from major cities, but it is a slice of heaven with a variety of camping options for groups of friends or family. Camping is inexpensive because a campsite can accommodate more people for less money than a hotel room making it an affordable camping excursion.  And who needs expensive restaurant meals when a hearty campfire meal or a quick barbecue can be prepared at the campsite?

Hartley Bay Marina welcomes summer and fall campers with a variety of low-cost camping excursions.

The French River Provincial Park is only two hours from major cities, but it is a slice of heaven with a variety of camping options for groups of friends or family. Camping is inexpensive because a campsite can accommodate more people for less money than a hotel room. And who needs expensive restaurant meals when a hearty campfire meal or a quick barbecue can be prepared at the campsite. 

Looking for a low-cost Northern Ontario camping option? There is no denying that Ontario provides an excellent opportunity for inexpensive camping excursions, particularly in the summer. Get in touch with Hartley Bay Marina to book your spot today. 

Image c/o Lacy Lasby/Facebook

Things To Do

Named as Canada’s first heritage waterway in 1986, the French River has played host to many a travellers. As we Celebrate 400 years since discovery, by French Explorer, Samuel de Champlain, its shorelines and waterways continue to tell tales of the Voyageurs, who travelled along in their birch bark canoes, as the French River was a vital link to the West during the Fur trade era, and of Copenanning, now known as one of Ontario’s Ghost towns, a village that was created when the Lumber industry inhabited these waters. Overtime the scenic vistas of the French River and the Georgian Bay have remained relatively unspoiled and mostly unchanged and, for the last century, fishing and tourism are what now draw visitors to the area. But the many ruins, relics and artifacts that can still be found along the shorelines, beneath the surface of the waterways and along its famed portage routes, remind us of the incredible history these banks have seen.

Affordable Camping Excursions

Looking for an affordable camping solution? We have ideas…

affordable camping excursionsSome people love to travel and stay in five star lodgings, while others love to experience the outdoors in the company of family and good friends. There's no disputing that Ontario offers a fantastic opportunity for affordable camping excursions, especially in the French River Provincial Park - a piece of paradise that can be reached within a short two-hour drive from major centres.

When you need a break to just take the load off and spend some precious time together as a family, nothing beats affordable camping excursions to Hartley Bay Marina in the French River Provincial Park.

Camping is an inexpensive way to travel, as you don't have to book expensive accommodation, and you can fit more people into a camping spot than into a hotel room. Likewise, you don't have to buy expensive meals when a barbecue or campfire meal would do.

Picture to the right c/o Tracy Lynn Ansley “Because who doesn't deep fry chicken wings and fries at remote water access only waterfall locations? Sturgeon Chutes”

Tips for Even More Affordable Camping Excursions

Camping is without a doubt the most affordable way to enjoy a weekend away or a vacation. Here are ways to make it even more affordable:

Camping Gear

·         Granted, buying all new camping gear can be expensive. But you don't have to do that. You can either rent it, borrow it (until you're sure you love camping as much as we do) or buy second-hand gear.

·         Make sure your tent can cater to two more people as that will provide more space, if you don't like tight quarters.

·         Buy 3-season sleeping bags, or - if you prefer camping in summer - bring normal blankets and sheets instead.

Meal Prep

You can save plenty of time, effort and cooler space by preparing your meals before you head to Hartley Bay Marina. Wrap some potatoes in tin foil, mix up some pancake batter, and marinate your meat ahead of time. You can even chop your vegetables ahead of time and put them onto skewers ready for the fire.

All you need to bring along to eat like a king, is a roll of tinfoil, a pair of tongs, eating utensils, a skillet, and a pot. Using a camp stove can help prevent your pots from being charred in the fire. Or just cook on the heated rocks that line most campsite fire areas.

Camping Entertainment

In a world where our children are obsessed with being plugged in all the time, a camping trip offers the perfect opportunity to unplug and unwind. Bring along a good book, board games, cards and walking shoes and you will not be bored.

Affordable camping excursions offer a great reprieve from expensive vacations and a wonderful opportunity for families to reconnect.

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