Just 40 minutes from Canada’s capital, in the Ottawa Valley, Fitzroy Provincial Park may be one of the province’s best-kept secrets.
Situated on the Ottawa River and bisected by the Carp River, campsites with river views abound.
Add to that two beaches, boat rentals, hiking trails, and a beautiful group picnic spot, and this secret may not last much longer!
Here are five reasons why we think you should plan a trip to Fitzroy Provincial Park:
1. Close to Ottawa and other charming small towns
Fitzroy Provincial Park is an ideal day trip or camping destination for those in the Ottawa area.
And it’s suitable for beginners and experienced campers alike!
Not from Ottawa? The park is a great basecamp for a day trip to Ottawa and experiencing everything the capital has to offer.
Not only Ottawa is worth exploring! Nearby towns in the Ottawa Valley are also tourist favorites: Perth, Smith Falls, Pakenham and Almonte, to name a few.
2. Perfect for families
Fitzroy is big enough for kids to roam around, but small enough to provide comfort for parents.
Of course, children should always be supervised, especially on roads and coastlines.
Discovery staff will be happy to guide children on expeditions to spot small critters and learn more about the natural environment around them.
Visit the day use area with your kids and build sand castles on the beach or go up to the playground!
3. So much wildlife!
You will be surprised by all the wildlife you will see in our park.
It’s not uncommon for visitors to see deer, raccoons, skunks, and other mammals, plus more than 120 documented bird species!
Some staff favorites are ospreys, northern cardinals, barred owls, and wood ducks. This park is a must see for any bird watcher!
Fishing along the Ottawa River is well worth the effort, with about a dozen species for recreational fishing, including walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass, pike, and panfish.
Fitzroy has a convenient jetty suitable for small fishing boats, canoes and kayaks for cruising the river.
Please remember that adults must have a fishing license and observe fishing seasons and are responsible for boating and water safety in the park. Fitzroy is one of 70 provincial parks offering free PFD loans.
4. Beautiful beaches
There are two beaches in Fitzroy Provincial Park.
The largest main beach is located in the day use area. There you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the Ottawa River.
You can also play beach volleyball, watch your children enjoy the playground and swings, or simply watch a beautiful sunset.
The second, smaller Camper’s Beach is only for campers at Two Rivers Campground. This beach is also located on the Ottawa River and offers a shallower swimming area suitable for younger children.
5. Hiking for beginners
Fitzroy has two hiking trails you must visit!
The Carp Trail is a one kilometer loop that follows the Carp River through mature mixed forest. It features a boardwalk and soft forest floor with ample bird watching opportunities.
The Terrace Trail is a little longer, at two kilometers, and takes you on a geological journey.
You’ll pass huge boulders scattered by glaciers and shale pillars carved by ancient canals. In the spring and early summer months, you’ll also skirt a beautiful waterfall!
Are you planning a visit?
The park store is a popular spot, stocked with ice cream, firewood, groceries, Ontario Parks products, and camping essentials.
With electric sites available, Fitzroy Provincial Park is popular with RV lovers, especially since it’s open until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving!
Why not plan your next turkey dinner in the park and witness the stunning autumn colors in Fitzroy?