National Parks to Visit in Ontario

National Parks are free to visit for Canadians this year. Get your Discovery Pass at CAA Travel Stores today!

by Mary Wimmer

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year, and what better way to celebrate than with a visit to some of our beautiful National Parks? Just for the occasion, Parks Canada is giving Canadians the gift of free admission to National Parks across Canada, as well as to National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites, all year long.

Pick up your Discovery Pass to access these sites for free at your nearest CAA Travel Store and discover why we have so much to celebrate. Many parks and conservation areas are just a short drive away; so, check out these wide-open spaces right here in Ontario.

Thousand Islands National Park of Canada

Only a few hours from Ottawa, these picturesque granite islands are home to a multitude of rare species not found anywhere else in the country.

Distance from Ottawa: 136 km; 1 hour, 30 minutes

Rouge National Urban Park

Located in the Rouge River watershed, this is Canada’s first national urban park and home to a unique combination of natural, cultural and agricultural features.

Distance from Ottawa: 365 km; 4 hours, 7 minutes

Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada

The islands blend the exposed rocks and pines of the Canadian Shield with the hardwood forests found further south and provides habitat for 33 species of reptiles and amphibians, including the endangered Massasauga Rattlesnake. Some of the more isolated islands provide nesting areas for colonies of gulls and terns.

Distance from Ottawa: 453 km; 5 hours, 30 minutes

Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada

Located on a part of the Niagara Escarpment, the park is one of the largest protected areas in southern Ontario, forming the core of UNESCO's Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.

Distance from Ottawa: 723 km; 8 hours and 10 minutes

Point Pelee National Park of Canada

The most southern point of mainland Canada, Point Pelee is a peninsula of marsh and woodland that tapers to a dramatic sharp point extending into Lake Erie.

Distance from Ottawa: 748 km; 8 hours

Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada

This National Marine Conservation Area in the Georgian Bay part of Lake Huron seeks to protect and display shipwrecks and lighthouses, and conserve freshwater ecosystems.

Distance from Ottawa: 729 km; 8 hours and 10 minutes

Pukaskwa National Park of Canada

Canadian Shield’s ancient landscape on Superior’s North Shore, the park is located south of Marathon, Ontario and is known for its vistas of Lake Superior and boreal forests.

Distance from Ottawa: 1,197 km; 13 hours

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada

The farthest flung marine conservation area in Ontario showcases part of the largest freshwater lake in the world, which includes fish, birds, shipwrecks, geology, plants, and human history. The conservation area extends 140 km east from Thunder Bay, from Thunder Cape in the west at the tip of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, to Bottle Point in the east, and stretches southward to the Canada-US border.

Distance from Ottawa: 1,345 km; 14 hours, 30 minutes

(Note: all drive times are approximate and depend on traffic and weather)

Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and see everything our beautiful country has to offer. Your nearest CAA Travel Store can set you up with all the travel gear you might need for your road trip, such as luggage, iPad holders, emergency roadside kits, and maps; as well as your Discovery Pass to access National Parks for FREE.

Don’t forget that your CAA Membership card is also your key to savings at restaurants, hotels and attractions along the way. Plus, fill up your gas tank at Petro Canada to EARN 20% more PETRO-POINTS, as well as one CAA Dollar® for every 1,000 PETRO-POINTS. PETRO-POINTS can be earned through gas, as well as convenience store purchases and car washes.

Make a CAA Travel Store the first stop on the road to your next great Canadian adventure this year. Our CAA Travel Professionals are always on hand to help you plan your journey, every step of the way.