a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Aug, 2016

Restoule Provincial Park 2016: the wrap up post

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

The number one question we get is in regards to car camping is THE WHERE, so I wanted to address this a bit here in case someone is considering a visit to Restoule Provincial Park in the Ontario Parks network.

Restoule is one of the smaller parks, and not very busy. We were fortunate to nab a good spot in a quiet area near the biggest beach in the campground. As per many Ontario parks campgrounds, you can rent canoes and kayaks too. We didn’t do that this year because it was windy and the water was actually quite choppy. There are a few hiking trails at Restoule. The best one is Fire Tower Trail. It’s rated as being “moderately” difficult, which is an assessment I agree with. There were hilly parts with lots of rocks and exposed roots. You need a solid pair of ankles to carry you over them all.

Storybook forest, Fire Tower Trail at Restoule

Along Fire Tower Trail

The fire tower, top of Fire Tower Trail

It was a bit of a slog in parts. But the views at the end are definitely worthwhile:

We made it to the lookout!

The trail was a mixed blessing. On one hand, it was probably the hottest day of the year, which made it especially challenging, but on the flipside, it’d been dry for weeks and there was nary a mosquito in sight. This was true for the other parts of the campground. In fact, we’ve never camped with SO FEW mosquitos in our history of family camping. We were very grateful for this miracle.

We battled with some persistent deer flies along some of the trails. If you know about deer flies you know that they buzz around your head and drive you insane as you wait for the inevitable moment they land on the back of your head and take a bite out of you. I made a good discovery this year. I brought a lightweight shawl and draped it over my head, ears, and neck. It was light enough that it didn’t create too much extra heat and added a welcome layer between me and the deer flies which I could also douse liberally in bug spray if I were so inclined. (And yes, I was inclined.)

What else did we do at Restoule? When we weren’t hiking we were all relaxing with a book or magazine. We also spent some time in the water, which was lovely. Our site was close to the big beach, which is ideal for families with small children as the water is clear and shallow, right up to the ropes.

We were here during the week in August. It was never really busy.

View of the big beach at Restoule Provincial Park

The girls went fishing. We played with sparklers and glow sticks at night. We did some stargazing. We roasted marshmallows and played cards. Basically, it was my idea of a very relaxing holiday. And when you relax, you have time to absorb your surroundings and open your eyes to things you may not normally notice:

"Got any more OJ?"


Leopard frog

Hungry Blue Jay

Chipmunk bums are cute

Sparkler fun

Would I go back to Restoule? Probably not. It’s nice enough, but personally, I don’t think it’s worth driving from Ottawa when there are more striking campgrounds closer to Ottawa. Personally, I like geographical drama and stunning hiking trails! Also, last year’s trip to Achray is pretty hard to beat. I do still love camping though, especially with my family. It sounds so cheesy to say this, but it truly gives us some time to reconnect with one another. When you’re with someone 24/7, how could it not? The daily distractions like Netflix and dates with friends and soccer practice and work and chiming phones and doorbells are all replaced with something tranquil, and so so peaceful. And it’s lovely. I am secretly planning a fall camping trip. Question is, where?

A few more camping photos have been uploaded right here.

2 Responses to "Restoule Provincial Park 2016: the wrap up post"

1 | Claudette

August 16th, 2016 at 9:25 am


So now the truth is out. Canadian chipmunks love Tims! lol (he was probably looking for a crumb of a timbit thinking you may have dipped it in the cup)

Beautiful pictures!

2 | andrea tomkins

August 16th, 2016 at 3:41 pm


That cup had a few drops of orange juice in it. He must have really liked it. The dishpan was a total magnet!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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