Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Miller Lake - Bruce Peninsula

First up, I am not at all sure how to spell Peninsula.  Spell check seems to think it does but I am sceptical, I think there are more ns in there.  I'll go along with spell check, for now, but I reserve the right to hedge my bets with different spellings throughout the post.

A nice end to a hike in Bruce Peninsula National Park
Second up, I love the Bruce Penninsula.  You know how some places just speak to you, make you feel at home and all that?  Well, the Bruce Peninnsula does that for me.  So, we have camped up there and rented cottages several times over the years and I love it every time and find new things to do and see every time too.
The water is really very clear and beautiful along the Bruce.
Having said that, there aren't actually a lot of Provincial or National parks up that way.  In fact once you get past Wiarton (home of Wiarton Willie!) at the base of the Penninnsula there is only one - Bruce Peninsula National Park up near the North end.  There are several private camp grounds though, including one at Miller Lake called Summer House Park which is where we stayed for a weekend.

Chillin' on the beach at Miller Lake
The camp ground is great, the sites are bigger than some private campgrounds which is nice and the park is on a nice, calm lake (guess what it is called!) that has a roped off swimming area.  You can also rent canoes, kayaks and fishing boats at the campground.  There is a well stocked store and even a restaurant on site. It is not exactly backwoods camping but it is a good home base if you are travelling with kids.  They can swim in the lake and play on the beach and there are lots of places in the area to explore.

You can fish right off the dock or take a boat out further into the lake.
Right near the entrance to the park is a great candle shop that is fun to poke around in on a rainy day.
Tired and hot after a hike in Bruce Peninsula National Park.  The trail is not that long but it was very hot that day!
There is the National Park not far away too which has great hiking trails and a good visitor's centre along with a lookout tower.  The National Park is also home to the Grotto which we haven't been to yet but hope to check out later this summer.  From what I hear it is not the best for little kids but awesome for older ones. If you have been post a comment below letting me know what you think.
There were a surprising number of fake beavers at the Visitor's Centre.  Make of that what you will.
About a 30 minute drive to the North is Tobermory which is a great place to spend an afternoon.  You can check out the tugboats and the Chi Cheemaun ferry that goes to Manitoulin Island. You can also get some good fish and chips or an ice cream cone.  There are some fancy schmancy type gift shops and little galleries too to poke around in and several cruise ships that you can go for a ride on out to Flowerpot Island which is worth a trip.
The ice cream shop in Tobermory.  They do have  at least one non dairy flavour
for those of you who are lactose intolerant like my daughter!
About 30 minutes to the south of Miller Lake is Wiarton which is a mid sized town with everything you would expect, a grocery store, some restaurants, a good park, book stores etc.  There is also a great fish store, called Howell's where you can get all kinds of fish, including a great frozen stuffed fish that you just toss in the oven for dinner.  We always stop there on our way home from the Pennininsuila with a cooler full of ice to pick one up.
Farmers on the beach.  They also had a kid selling homemade waffles and he was hands down the best thing about Lion's Head but it would be weird and creepy if I posted a picture of someone else's kid so you will just have to take my word for it and bring waffle money if you head to Lion's Head.
Lion's Head is also not far from Miller Lake.  It has a nice shallow beach, a marina with lots of sailboats to look at and a playground.  They also have a farmer's market right on the beach on Saturdays in the summer. I also highly recommend their emergency room.  We have had to visit them while on vacation (TWICE! - two different times - long stories!) and they have always been super friendly and helpful and quick.  Granted, we were the only people there, but still.
Since I can't provide you with waffle boy pictures you will have to
content yourself with the smoothie guy.
Miller Lake is a nice area to visit with kids of all ages since there is plenty to do in the area for young kids and teenagers and Summer House Park is great camp site to use as a home base while exploring the good old Bruce Peninsula. 
The best part of camping as far as my kids are concerned.  S'mores.  

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