If you're looking for an Ontario hidden gem to visit, say no more. French River Provincial Park is an interconnected waterway of gorges, lakes and rapids waiting for you to paddle through. You can navigate the water to get to your campsite on this historic river used in the earliest years of Canadian history. 

According to Ontario Parks, it is Canada's first designated Heritage River.

Located in Alban, Ontario, it is a watercourse that Indigenous people, French explorers and fur traders once used. 


You can paddle through the 105-kilometre canoe route that spans from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. 

There is also Georgian Bay coastal kayaking available through the French River Delta. 

Before visiting, they have a few COVID-19 restrictions in place.

The Visitor Centre and public facilities such as bathrooms and picnic tables are currently closed.

However, camping in the backcountry is still allowed as long as you sign up. Visitors are asked to register online two weeks before their trip. 

You will be emailed a backcountry and vehicle permit after doing so, which you need to bring with you in printed form to put on your dash. 

Campsites are exclusively backcountry and are only accessible by waterway, so get ready to canoe

The terrain on this changeable route is scenic with fast-moving water.

There are 250 campsites to choose from, but some of them have been closed due to 2018 forest fires.

The calm waters and lush trees are a sight you can explore all summer. They will be closing the area to visitors on October 25. 

In fact, the French River canoe route spans a length that takes a few days to complete. 

So get ready to head out on a Canadian backcountry adventure in the fresh waters of Ontario. 

If you're looking to do some paddling a little closer to the 6ix, there are also a variety of rivers near Toronto where you can bring your canoe. 

French River Provincial Park

Price: $4.50 per person

Address: Alban, ON

Why You Need To Go: Immerse yourself in these old historic waterways used by Indigenous peoples and French explorers.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.


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