If you are ever planning on exploring the southern Georgian Bay area, consider camping at Craigleith Provincial Park. Craigleith is in the centre of a lot of great outdoor attractions and activity, including: Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, the Georgian Bike Trail, Bruce Trail, Scenic Caves, fishing, sailing and power boating.
Environment: Craigleith is located along Highway 26 and the southern Georgian Bay shoreline, near Blue Mountains and between Collingwood and Thornburry. Craigleith is situated on a rocky shoreline with a spectacular view of Georgian Bay and has been a provincial park since 1967.
Beach: Swimming is not advised at Craigleith, due to the unsafe rocky shoreline. Wasaga Beach is one of the top beaches in the province and is approximately a 30-minute drive east. Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is for day-use only and your valid Craigleith camping permit allows you free entry to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park for the day.
Biking: The 32-kilometre Georgian Trail is used for biking and hiking and is accessible from Craigleith. The Georgian Trail runs along the park perimeter, however, it is on the south side of highway 26, across the highway from Craigleith. Be careful when biking across highway 26 to pick up the trail. Once you are on the trail, it is relatively flat in both directions. You can take the trail east to Collingwood or west to Meaford. If heading west from Craigleith, Thornburry is approximately one hour away by bike.
Camping: There are 172 campsites and many of them are situated along the Georgian Bay shoreline. These campsites have a spectacular view of Georgian Bay, including the sunset. The campsites at Craigleith are not very private and it can get noisy in the evenings because the campground is adjacent to highway 26.
Canoeing/Boating: Sailing and power boating are popular on Georgian Bay.
Fishing: There are great fishing opportunities in Georgian Bay. If you go to Craigleith after peak camping season, you will see local fisherman fishing along the shores of Craigleith. Spring and fall tend to be the best seasons for rainbow trout and salmon fishing. Ensure that you have a valid fishing license and review the local fishing regulations.
Hiking: As Craigleith is a small park; there are no hiking trails in the park. The 32-kilometre Georgian Trail can be accessed, by crossing highway 26 from the park office. The Bruce Trail can be accessed at Blue Mountains.
Shopping and Attractions – There are endless opportunities for shopping and attractions in the area. Craigleith has a park store, and Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Thornburry and Meaford are all easily accessible and within a one-hour drive. Blue Mountains and the Scenic Caves are just across on highway 26.
In Conclusion: Craigleith is within a two-hour drive from Toronto and works as a great base camp for all kinds of outdoor activity. The July-August occupancy rate for 2009 was only 74%, but you can bet that this park will be full on weekends during peak season. If you just want to camp at the park, a couple of nights will do. If you want to explore the region, then stay for at least one week, as there is plenty to do in the area.
My Park Rating: 3.5 out of 5