Darlington Provincial Park-Bowmanville

Toronto is one of the largest cities in the world with many high-rise buildings, which makes finding those natural areas wild and untouched difficult. The beaches of Toronto are crowded every summer day, although water conditions are less than perfect. Fortunately, Darlington Provincial Park, just outside the city just on Lake Ontario shores, is a hidden treasure less than an hour away.

This recently discovered park is hiding from view and hidden from the city’s daily hustle and bustle, but for those looking for an escape from the daily grind, instead of driving several hours north of the city near Bowmanville. Darlington is the perfect nature getaway from Toronto because of its long stretches of sand and its hiking trails galore. At the park, you’ll find many things to do, but here are a few that you won’t want to miss:

Hiking the park’s waterfront trail

Located in the park, four hiking trails range from easy to moderate – suitable for young children and anyone of any fitness level. There are nine different hikes to choose from, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, each featuring birds, animals, flora and fauna (the McLaughlin Bay Trail includes a marshy area). Would you like to keep going? There is 350 km of trails along Lake Ontario, and the Waterfront Trail is part of just a portion of them. This means the hike doesn’t have to end just outside the park’s borders.

Canoeing in McLaughlin Bay

Lake Ontario is a rough, choppy sea on the surface, but Darlington Provincial Park is blessed with a protected bay known as McLaughlin Bay, which is ideal for a peaceful canoe ride in the open water. The reservoir is the perfect place to relax with a paddleboat while you watch the lights of the city shine through the trees. If you want to take it a step farther, you can try your hand at fishing and try to catch smallmouth bass or lake trout.

Thanks to the Ontario Power Generation-sponsored Tackle Share program, you can borrow fishing rods and tackle from the park store free of charge – so don’t worry if you don’t catch anything.

Camping out

In Bowmanville, Darlington Provincial Park makes for a wonderful day trip – but you don’t have to look further for an enjoyable weekend camping trip. Take a weekend to watch birds, swim, and learn about the local ecosystem before going back to your tent – or your car if you aren’t into camping! – each night.

You can find three different car camping areas in Darlington, along with over 300 campgrounds with traditional camping, fireplaces, picnic tables, and many with electricity. For your meals, there is a fireplace on each campsite as well as a picnic table. How long are you going to wait? Get out there and have fun this weekend – you don’t need to spend it in the city!