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  • Writer's pictureKress

Spending a Weekend on Manitoulin Island

Manitoulin Island is a magical place to explore. We went there for the weekend for my 24th birthday in June and let me tell you, it was amazing. Manitoulin is the largest freshwater island in the world, and it's home to some of Ontario's most iconic views. The island is the ancestral home to the six Anishinaabe First Nations: including the Wiikwemkoong, there are the M’Chigeeng, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Aundeck Omni Kaning, and Zhiibaahaasing First Nations. So, if you decide to visit - walk gently on the land and be respectful of the community here.

There's lots to see and do there, so let's get into it! Here's my itinerary for a weekend on Manitoulin Island!

Friday night:

Arrive at your campsite, set up, and get some shut-eye for your Saturday of exploring!

We stayed at Batman's Campground, and the staff were really nice! The sites are quite small, and it's really geared more towards RV camping for the long term rather than tent camping. There were some really friendly raccoons who kept trying to get in our tents as well. If I were to do a weekend trip to Manitoulin again, I would stay at nearby Chutes Provincial Park instead!

Day 1: Lookouts, Parks, and Waterfalls! Oh My!

This day is JAM PACKED so buckle up!

After waking up with the sun, it's time to pack your day bag for a full day of exploring.

Your first stop is Misery Bay, Provincial Park.

This is one of my absolute favourite parks I've had the chance to visit. The park offers stunning views of Lake Huron's coastline and has 15 km of trails to choose from! There is paid parking there, and the lot is small!

After meandering the trails and dipping your toes in Lake Huron, make sure you stop at the visitors' center to learn about the unique flora and fauna on the island!

Next on your list for today is one of Ontario's most iconic trails: Cup and Saucer.

This trail offers some pretty stunning views and a couple different ways to get to the top. We decided to go up to the lookout and come back down which was around 5km. If you choose to, you can extend your visit and do the whole 12km loop - It's stunning and well worth it.

We also chose to do the adventure trail which adds an extra 500 meters to your hike, but it was so fun! There are ladders to scale, and caves to crawl through and it was a welcome challenge.

This is a busy spot, and it was HOT when we went. The reason we chose to do this in the afternoon was because Misery Bay was on the other side of the island, so we wanted to get that done first and then have more time there.

After taking in the views at Cup and Saucer, cool off at Bridal Veil Falls!

This is a popular spot, and it will definitely be busy. You could choose to do this one in the morning of your second day to avoid crowds, but all we wanted to do after our hike was cool off so we decided to brave the crowds.

The rocks are sharp, and there are crayfish here that will pinch at you, so wear water shoes to avoid that! The parking lot here is free but also extremely small, so be prepared to wait for a spot.

End your evening back at your campsite with some s'mores and catch a sunset at one of the beaches at Batman's!

Day 2:

Sunday is the day you head home! Pack up in the morning and grab a McMuffin from McDonald's in Espanola.

If you aren't going too far and have the option, here are some places you should check out before you leave the area!

  • See Gore Bay

  • Hike at Chutes Provincial Park

  • Visit Sheguianday Archaeological Site

  • book a tour with Wikwemikong Tourism to experience the island through an Indigenous lens.

Manitoulin was an incredible experience, and I've done a few day trips to the area since my weekend trip there. It's beautiful in all seasons and I can't wait to visit again!

Happy exploring!

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