The word “Beausoleil” translates into “Beautiful Sun” and that’s exactly what this southeastern Georgian Bay Island offers visitors throughout the summer months.
For boaters arriving to Georgian Bay via the Trent Severn Waterway, Beausoleil Island is one of the first major anchorages you will encounter. Located just north of Midland, it is 8 km long and the largest within the Georgian Bay Islands National Park.
Being situated on the edge of the Canadian Shield, the island’s unique topography combines beautiful bare rock and windswept pines on its northern shores with hardwood forests and wetlands on its southern shores.
A walk along any one of the well maintained trails or shorelines will indicate the variety of different species that reside here and just how diverse this island is.
Located close to most southern marinas on the Bay, Beausoleil is a very popular choice for local boaters, either to anchor or alternatively moor at one of the many docks situated around the island. Note that the yellow areas painted onto some docks are for Emergency and Park vessels only.
There is a fee for going ashore or staying on the docks but the island has many protected anchorages surrounding it so finding a place to drop the hook is usually not a problem. However it does get busy on summer weekends!
On-shore facilities include toilets, garbage drop off, picnic sites with covered gazebos, and fire pits. And if your boat can’t hold all your guests, bring your camping gear as there are plenty of sites on the island available to reserve. Need to feed those guests? No problem! Nearby Honey Harbour has everything you need – restaurants that you can dinghy to for dine-in or take-out along with public docks should you wish to leave the dinghy and walk into the village for provisions (grocery, ice and liquor are available). There are also a few marinas with fuel, pump out and transient slips available.
And in the event you tire of your guests – LOL, it happens! – there is a ferry shuttle that runs between mainland Honey Harbour and the island called the “Day Tripper”, just check in advance for times and reservations.
Being a National Park means no alcohol may be consumed on the land, docks or while in the water and to ensure the rules are followed you can always count on a friendly visit from the Park Ranger and local Police unit. Along with maybe a bear or two 😱
This island holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. When I was a child boating on the Bay with my parents, it was my all time favorite place to visit. I loved the sandy beaches and warm water, exploring the island, meeting other boating kids, and back in those days the park staff would run a movie on the beach Saturday nights for all the families to watch. Today they rent bicycles and have a few other activities for kids – stop by the visitor reception centre at Cedar Spring for details.
Here is a link to the Park’s website for the most up to date information, including mooring fees:
Beausoleil is also home to two YMCA camps, one of which my grandmother attended 100 years ago as a child in the 1920’s! Up until her demise in 2005 at the age of 90, she could still sing the camp song! Boaters anchored near the camp during the months of July or August will often hear the meal bells ringing and see the campers out sailing their Lasers.
The history of the island is amazing, dating back thousands of years. Due to the amount of artifacts, hunting and other ancient tools located from digs, archaeologists believe this island was used as a summer camp by hunting and gathering cultures thousands of years ago. As you hike the trails some of this fascinating history is on display along with historical depictions. Below is one from Frying Pan Bay on the north end of the island (excuse the pine needles in the pic!).
And in 2011 the island was designated a National Historic site in Canada.
Beausoleil is one of my favorite islands on the Bay and with every visit I see new beauty in her. And no matter what direction the wind is blowing, boaters can always find a safe harbour at Beausoleil Island to set their hook.