Awenda Provincial Park: Video Review

Are you considering a trip to Awenda Provincial Park?

Conveniently located on the shores of Georgian Bay just northwest of Penetanguishene, Awenda PP offers over 2,900 hectares of forest and 31 kilometres of trails. During the winter months, the park continues providing outdoor adventurers a chance to get outdoors by keeping 17 kilometres of trails open for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.

The park has six car country campgrounds, including electrical and non-electrical campsites, designated radio-free/generator-free campgrounds, and a pet-free campground. Although, if you’re following us, that’s not likely somewhere you plan on booking…

We kicked off our 2023 camping season with a weekend trip to Awenda PP, with our three dogs: Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer. This was a rare occasion for us where the site we booked had an electrical hook-up, which was a nice perk for camping with our senior girl as we could plug in her heated bed for a more comfortable night’s sleep. John and Indy also enjoyed a little one-on-one time and hit the trails, sharing some of the beautiful hiking views.

At the end, we sit down to share a final review, breaking down what the park offers, our thoughts from a pet-friendly travel perspective, and our final rating.

This video is part of The Kas Pack’s Ontario Parks Reviews series. CLICK HERE to visit our YouTube channel and subscribe to get notifications when new parks are added.

Awenda Provincial Park – May 2023

John: Ooo, missed a step!

Our Campsite Setup (2:47)

John: Hey, we arrived!

Britt: We are on site 219, in the Wolf loop, for the weekend. And it looks like a nice one.

Well, we’re in the process of getting set up. Obviously, we haven’t set up our tent yet. But we did set up the pens for the dogs.

Now, we ran into a bit of a… I’m not going to call it a problem, let’s call it a hurdle, when we started getting set up. You see, we have this nice rock here, which is great. It blocks the road behind it so that the dogs can’t see it.

But as we’ve discussed before, Lucifer is slightly reactive. In particular, he’s to visual stimuli. So, he can hear a dog walking past, but if he can see it, we run into a problem. And we realized that there is a dog directly across the road on the other site.

This meant we needed to get a little creative. By hanging a rope up, we were able to create a wall here of tarps. They’re pegged down at the bottom, and they’re zip-tied together to make sure they won’t move in the wind. It’s created the perfect barrier here so that little man isn’t going to get triggered, and he can also relax and enjoy our trip.

As pet-friendly travellers, we want to make sure not only do we enjoy camping but that they’re going to enjoy their trip too. So, this is the best situation for everybody involved.

Shoutout to KUMA. As you see, the pens here are connecting on each side of the entrance to our KUMA Bear Den Gazebo, and their optional privacy panels create that added privacy here for little man.

So we have a space that we can hang out in the shade. The pens extend out and allow us to all sit around the fire together. And these three can play and explore and be with us and enjoy their trip as well without us having to untangle ropes and deal with all of that the entire time that we’re here.

Campfire Cooking and Fun (5:02)

John: All right, checking on dinner. It’s a pizza pie!

She’s a witch! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Nipissing Trail (6:09)

John: Just heading up the Nipissing Trail with Mr. Indy. We’re at Awenda Park.

First time hitting this trail here, and apparently, there’s about 155 steps going up. Indy’s 11 years old, so it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, well, for both of us, but probably more for him. And then we’re going to head back down because that’s where I parked.

Uh, let’s not go that way, dude. Good boy! Man, I’m out of shape!

That’s one thing I don’t like about, that’s one thing I don’t like seeing on these trails. I’ll be picking that up on the way back.

Did you count all those Indy?

All right, so this is the map of the trails at Awenda Park. And as you can see, we are right there. And we’ve got to go back down the Nipissing Trail, ‘cause that’s where we parked.

Ready to go, Indy? Ya! Let’s go! Who’s a happy boy? Happy boy’s got sniff sniffs.

One thing I really noticed at our stay at Awenda is that there’s trilliums all over the place. Not just this trail, but on our campground, there’s quite a few and everywhere else. For any that don’t know, the trillium is Ontario’s provincial flower.

several trilliums | Awenda Provincial Park: Video Review
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Ooo, missed a step! Filming and going down these stairs is quite fun.

All right, we’re going to do a little public service announcement here. See this? This is rude, irresponsible, and it gives us dog owners, and dogs, a bad name. Be responsible. Be better.

Well, Indy, I think we’re about halfway down. This is a little rest stop to check out the canopy. The forest here.

We’re just finishing up the Nipissing Trail. Beautiful Sunday. We took the extra day, so there’s going to be less people and whatnot. Did not see a single person on this trail. I don’t know if that has anything to do with the 155 steps, but if I can do it and Indy can do it, you can do it.

Dog Beach Day (11:05)

John: Oh, look at you! Look at you! Ow.

Our Review (11:42)

Britt: Okay, so as you guys can see, we’re still at Awenda. Today is actually pack-up day, so we’re getting ready to go home, unfortunately. But before we leave, we wanted to take a moment to do our final thoughts here. Share what we’ve seen, what we think, and give our final review of the park.

John: We arrived on Friday. It’s Monday. It’s our long weekend. Last weekend was the May 2-4 weekend, so we kinda try to avoid that weekend. But, ya, here we are. And what’s your thoughts?

Campsites (12:13)

Britt: So, the first thing that I noticed when we came in here is simply the sites aren’t as private as a lot of the parks that we enjoy.

So, we like going places where our dogs can run and play, and they don’t see other dogs, or people, or anything like that. You’re just… We don’t see other campers. You’re just in a private bubble, basically. And that’s not Awenda.

We did share earlier in the video, you saw our setup to try and deal with Lucifer being reactive and being able to give him the privacy that he needed. So, it can be done, and I wouldn’t say the sites are horrible, they’re not wide open, they’re just not as private as we usually like.

John: Ya, like, in that one video you did with Lucifer, we did show what we had to do to accommodate him. And that’s what we’ll do in the future, is accommodate our pups.

Britt: I mean, we’re in, we are also in a hydro area. We did get a hydro site this time, mainly because in the cooler weather, we wanted to see if it would help baby girl, who’s laying behind us, that’s who we keep looking at.

For those who don’t know, our oldest dog is a 15-year-old German Shepherd mix. So, she gets a lot of aches and pains at this age, which makes sense. But we brought along her plug-in heated dog bed for at night to see if that would help make things easier for her because she still wants to run and play and hike and swim and everything else. So, we paid the extra just so she could have a heated bed.

John: Ya, it’s like she finds an extra gear at camp. Which we love.

man in the lake with a dog | Awenda Provincial Park: Video Review
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Hiking Trails (13:50)

Britt: For sure. Now, speaking of hiking, you and Indy decided to kick things off with your own hiking adventure.

John: Ya! As you can see in the video, we went on the Nipissing Trail. That’s one of 7 trails at this park.

It’s the Beaver Dam that does not, or Beaver Pond, I’m sorry. The Beaver Pond that does not allow dogs on it. That one alone is only 15 minutes.

We went along the trail along the beach there and that was pretty nice for all of us.

Britt: Indy’s still exhausted.

John: Indy’s still exhausted. Like I said, in the Nipissing video, or portion there, that there’s 155 steps. So, I mean, it’s a lot for an 11-year-old dog, but he bounded through it.

Ya, and before or just after we pack up, I think we’re going to try to hit another trail here and tire the pups out.

Britt: For a quiet drive home.

John: Yes!

Dog Beach (14:59)

Britt: And then the other thing you saw yesterday that we did was we actually went down and hit the beach. Now, it is May, it is not warm beach weather per se.

But our sweet senior baby girl… She can literally see water on the horizon when we’re driving and gets excited. So, we couldn’t come somewhere that had a dog beach and not take her to the dog beach.

So, we made the trip over. You do have to drive. It’s a little bit longer. Like, if you have an older dog, it would have been a long walk for her. And then, you know, they wear themselves out swimming, and having to walk back would have been too much.

There are 4 beaches, and between 1st Beach and 2nd Beach, well there’s 4 human beaches, and between 1st Beach and 2nd Beach is the dog beach.

I wouldn’t say it was the worst dog beach. Like it was a good, it was a good size. There was a lot of room.

It was a mix, like there was sandy sections and there was rocky sections. But there was a lot of rocks, and the only catch to that is that the rocks had algae growth on them, which it’s natural, it happens, but it makes it very slippery for the dogs. Especially for ones that maybe don’t have as sure of footing anymore like our senior girl.

So, just something to prepare for and to be aware of is that it was a little bit more difficult for her to navigate than, say, when we shared the Six Mile Lake beach.

John: Ya, I mean, Six Mile, it’s quite…

Britt: Beautiful sandy beach.

John: Ya, it’s probably up there for one of the best beaches for dogs.

Britt: So, I wouldn’t say this was our, like, least favourite dog beach. By far. But it isn’t our favourite either. It was nice, but there are some improvements we could have made.

John: Ya, you can definitely tell that whole area there is more for humans. Which, I mean, it makes sense.

Britt: But, I mean, we talk about pet-friendly travel, so we want you guys to know the pet side of everything.

Overall Pet-Friendly Atmosphere (17:00)

Britt: Outside of that, the park was very pet-friendly. The staff would smile and wave when they saw the dogs. We didn’t run into any issues where, like, some places, there’s just culture where people aren’t as open to pets being around. Everyone here was great.

I actually took baby girl for a walk around the loop, and she ended up making friends all along the way.

Like, at one point, she got excited to see a young couple. No idea who they were, and I said I’m sorry, she believes everyone’s here for her. So, she thinks the only reason you’re walking up the road is to give her attention. And without missing a beat, the couple was like, “Well, we can’t disappoint her.”

Everyone’s super, super welcoming around here.

We had a couple staying next door to us. I don’t know if they’ll see this. If they do and they recognize us, I just want to give a shoutout. I told them in person already, but just to add to that.

They had young kids, and we were able to hear, it was the most wholesome family vacation. They were just having fun. And I know some people get iffy about children making noise. But I personally am okay with it if it’s wholesome fun noise.

Not like screaming and swearing and acting up. But when kids are just laughing, and playing, and having a good time. Or in this case, at one point shouted out to his dad, he said, “You want me to make you the perfect marshmallow?” Things like that are just cute and wholesome and sweet, and we love it.

So, shoutout to them for having 2 amazing young boys staying next to us.

Firewood (18:38)

John: Moving on from that, for firewood. When you drive into Awenda, there are multiple. There must have been a half a dozen places where we could have picked up firewood. Unfortunately, they’re not, you probably have to drive probably about 5-10 minutes outside of the park to get to those.

Friday, I headed to town and grabbed some on the way back. Fairly priced, 3 bags for $20. I found it to be a little too light.

Britt: Ya, it burned really fast. We did try purchasing some park wood. For those who are in the Ontario Parks park wood saga, we haven’t touched any in a couple years at least. Just because it’s so wet. We decided to pick up a bag of it to try it this trip, and… Spoiler, it’s still wet.

John: As I was picking out the bag of wood, I must have spent, what, 6 hours? I spent a little bit of time trying to find the best bag that I could get, and it was not the best bag I could get… Even after, as soon as I made the first split with the axe, I was just like, I’m going to get a workout trying to fan this thing going. So, provincial park wood, avoid it if you can.

Britt: We’re still on team ‘buy your wood from someone local.’

Noise and Bathrooms (20:24)

Britt: Outside of that, I mean, the park is really quiet. I know it’s only May, and I’m sure that it gets a lot less quiet when there’s more people here. But it has been so relaxing and quiet here.

The bathrooms are clean. They are long drops that are near us. We’re in the Wolf loop, and the bathrooms near us are long drops. They don’t smell right now, bad, but I’m sure between the heat in the summer and the extra people, that could change.

John: Ya, and if you wanted to walk, do an extra little walking, you can definitely hit the comfort station.

Britt: And there are comfort stations placed around for you to get to.

campsite with picnic table and fire pit | Awenda Provincial Park: Video Review
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Final Thoughts and Rating (21:09)

Britt: But overall, I thought it was a nice park.

John: It’s a nice park. I’ll come back again.

Britt: It’s somewhere I could see us making part of our routine just for, like, our spring, get out for a weekend, type vacations. Especially with so many hiking trails.

John: It looks like it’s snowing a little bit because of the pollen.

Britt: Yes, my allergies are well aware.

John: It’s the end of May, so the pollen is going quite well today.

Britt: Oh, and one big perk for anybody who likes to camp at the end of May because I know this is a question that comes up quite often. We didn’t see blackflies. Mosquitoes, yes. But no blackflies. So, this is a blackfly-safe zone at this time of year.

John: Ya, there are a few spicy sky raisins, though.

Britt: Bees.

John: Bees.

Britt: Ya, so I guess… final rating? I wouldn’t say it was a bad park. I wouldn’t say it’s the best park. It’s kind of right on that safe medium zone. So, I think maybe a 3.5.

John: Ya, I’ll give it a 3 and a half as well.

Britt: So, there you go. Three and a half paws. And that’s Awenda.

We’ll be coming to you with our next review. It’s MacGregor Point. Now this is one we have visited multiple times before, but we’ve never done a review on. We’re going for a weekend. We pushed it back later than we usually do so that we can spend some more beach time for the baby girl. And we will be on here sharing it all with you.

John: Awesome! Stay toasty!

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