Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cheap Things to do in Southern Ontario - Part I

Dave and I have often Googled things to do in our area, and come up empty.  No one seems to care about spreading the word of the hidden secrets in our vicinity that don't cost much money.  So, being as how we are also usually broke, as you might be, I am pleased to present to you the beginning of a semi-regular installment, detailing for you what might be little known treasures in Southern Ontario.

Conestogo Lake

About 30 minutes from Kitchener and located near a town called Dorking, is the Conestogo Lake Conservation area.  It costs $4.25 per adult for a daily admission into the parks.  Being my first time there, I was surprised at how pretty it was, in comparison to some other conservation areas that I have had the fortune of visiting.

In the picture below, you can see the beach, which is mostly sand but is a tiny bit rocky in the shallow areas.  It isn't very wide along the water, but the sand goes pretty far back from the water, providing lots of room for families, even on holidays.  In fact, it was the Labour Day Monday that we went and it wasn't at all cramped.  The area is surrounded by grass, trees, and rocks, with picnic tables and barbecues.  There is a playground for the kids, and to the left of the beach area is a boat launch ramp and a place to rent boats.  But I suppose if you are here because you are searching for cheap things to do, that wouldn't be of interest to you.

Also to the left of the beach is a dam which supports a road on top.  Across the lake is what looks to be a bunch of cottages and their private beaches.  So while you are enjoying your cheap beach trip, you can also resent those who can afford to own or rent the cottages.

Once you are tired of swimming and enjoying a rousing game of Backgammon in the sun, you can take a walk along the rocky beach to the right of the swimming area.  Here you will find what looks like the Designated Seagull Exploding Area (there was A LOT of feathers amongst the rocks).  But aside from the feathers there are great views, giant boulders, driftwood, water skiiers and a variety of other nice things... like these tree roots.

Across the street from the park's main entrance, is another entrance to their lower park.  Here you will find what looked to be a very quiet campground, in fact we were interested in looking into it for some future camping of our own.  Otherwise there are some good fishing areas, and the main event, the other side of the dam!  Actually it is pretty cool to see, its so big and ominous looking.  The area is teeming with wildlife, including herons perched atop the dam walls.  There doesn't seem to be any place to swim here.  Even though we didn't venture to the far reaches of the campground, I doubt there is, the shore is lined with large rocks.  As seen below.


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