Secluded, Eco-Friendly Forest Lodge on Private Lake
The phrase off the grid is often thrown around to describe a home without WiFi or mail service. Algonquin Eco-Lodge is literally off the grid. Power lines don't reach out this far, so the lodge generates hydroelectric energy from a small waterfall onsite. There's an unwavering commitment to the environment, from low-energy LED lights to meals made from locally-sourced ingredients. Despite the low-impact philosophy, staying here hardly means roughing it, as you'll find out while relaxing in the carbon-neutral hot tub or the wood-fired sauna.
To get here, you'll park at the Eco-Lodge parking lot, near the Kingscote Lake entrance of Algonquin Provincial Park and hike 2.5 kilometers toward the lodge. Along the trail through pine groves, keep an eye out for moose and white-tailed deer. The resident wolf pack is harmless to humans, and the wolves are often close enough for the lodge to host howling sessions, during which a staff member imitates a wolf to see if the pack responds with its own howls.
You'll need to arrive by 7 p.m. for dinner, which might include barbecue chicken or grilled lake fish, with marshmallows roasted over a bonfire for dessert. Beyond the ring of firelight, there's little to no light pollution, so you'll be able to gaze at the clearly visible Milky Way.
In the main lodge, simple bedrooms are appointed with furnishings fashioned from the same knotted pine as the walls. The decor downstairs is rustic, showcasing antler chandeliers, a cast-iron stove, and wall-mounted fishing rods. After breakfast in the morning, the staff prepares brown-bag lunches ready to tote along for the day's activities.
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario: Pine Forests Dotted with Ponds
Algonquin Provincial Park is Canada's oldest provincial park and Ontario's second largest—at more than 7,500 square kilometers, it's larger than Delaware. That means you can hike the interior for days without seeing a wilderness TV crew. One of the most popular ways to navigate is by portaging, or carrying, a light canoe from one lake to the next. The landscape is speckled with hundreds of ponds formed by retreating glaciers. There's plenty of activity beneath the water as well: with a rod and a license, you can fish for pike, yellow perch, and trout to roast up for dinner.