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705-857-2038 or email hartleybay@xplornet.com  -  2870 Hartley Bay Rd., French River, Ontario P0M1A0 View on map  -  Open 7AM-9PM 7days a week - 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.

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.

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.

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