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How to get to Algonquin Park without a car – my Algonquin Park bus adventure

There’s nothing I love more than some fishing and a nice cold beer on a wide open lake in the spring. Add a few overnights, some canoe paddling, and my best buddy, and its the perfect way to get out of the city for an adventure. Algonquin park is the number one canoe destination in Canada, so what better place to make this happen! We have it all planned out, including the canoe trip route we want to take. Except we have one problem – I don’t have a car, and my buddy and I are only 22, so renting is out of the question. But the last thing I want to be is stuck in Mississauga all spring when Algonquin is out there waiting for us! I thought I only had one bus choice which meant I wouldn’t be able to go until the May long weekend.

But then my buddy heard about this Algonquin park bus that goes to South River twice a day every single day of the year! And Voyageur Quest will come and pick us up right from the South River bus stop and take us to the Algonquin Park access point #1 – even better. We don’t even have to buy the bus tickets ourselves – we pick when we’re going up and they’ll do everything for us. It’s all online – we just pick what gear we need for the trip and book it in advance. After booking our permits we had everything ready to go.

Flash forward a few weeks and we’re getting on the Ontario Northland bus in downtown Toronto on a Thursday! Met some cool locals on the bus who got us even more excited by telling us some of their best stories. When we got into South River, VQ was waiting for us with the shuttle, and we were at the outfitter by late afternoon. A great guy named Malcolm got us all set up with our gear. We got our permits at the kiosk next door and soon we were paddling over to our amazing lakeside cabin where we would be spending the night. What a view! We headed back to the outfitter for the best steak dinner ever and unwound with a couple beers on the Broken Paddle patio. A pub in the wilderness – how cool is that! Back at our cabin we ended the day with a chill campfire and headed to bed early in preparation for our trip.

The next day we went back to the outfitters for a full breakfast and double-checked our gear. Of course we forgot our fuel for the stove but Malcolm hooked us up in no time, and we were paddling into the interior of the park by 8am. We were out for 4 nights. My buddy and I got up to some wild stuff – what happens in Algonquin stays in Algonquin! But its safe to say we had the best time ever – caught some fish, caught some rays, got some good paddling in, some great stories around the campfire, and we even saw a couple moose! I think we have ourselves a new yearly tradition.

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