Charleston Lake



On our second week of holidays in 2010, we stayed at Charleston Lake Provincial Park at campsite #104. The site was fairly large and the only complaint I have, is the garbage that some disrespectful, ignorant loser left in the woods behind us. There was a bit of poison ivy, but only around the perimeter of the woods. The showers and washrooms were clean all the time. The dryer at the laundry facilities at one of the comfort stations suffered a breakdown while I was using it. The park staff quickly refunded my money and directed me to laundry facilities elsewhere in the park. I hiked three trails while camped here, one with Dave (Shoreline Centennial) and two on my own (Sandstone Island & Blue Mountain).

Here are some pics of the Shoreline Centennial Trail. Loons were calling and an otter graced our presence at one of the posts along the trail.

The next trail I hiked is the Blue Mountain trail. We kayaked across Charleston Lake to the take out at the trail head. Dave fished from his kayak and I hiked this amazing trail. Historically, people have been hiking this trail for almost 200yrs, dating back to the days when the steamboats brought wealthy visitors to the lake. After hiking it, I can’t imagine my sistas from the 1800s hiking this trail in their long flowing dresses without the benefit of good hiking boots and lots of Deet. God bless bug spray, cause this outdoor girl won’t leave home without it! Anyway, here are some trail photos.

The last trail I hiked was the Sandstone Island Trail. This trail was very cool. It covered both the history of people on Charleston Lake and the geology of this particular island and the region in general. The coolest three spots were the rock shelter, dated 2000 years old, the lookout over Charleston Lake and the post that marks the road the settlers (The Runnings) left on, when they abandoned the area. Trail pics below!

Our first road trip was to the 1000 Islands Skydeck on Hill Island. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the bridge to Hill Island (Ivy Lea) was the same one I travelled over as a kid when my dad had a flat tire at the top. Scary bridge. Anyway, the skydeck was cool and the staff so helpful. They showed me where to find Boldt Castle in the distance and the International Shipping Channel. It was really windy the day we went and you could feel the tower moving slightly. Cool experience with amazing views. The pics below are from our visit there.

We spent the day golfing at Village Green in the little town of Athens. We only planned to golf nine holes, but it was such a beautiful day and we were having such a great time that we ended up golfing the entire eighteen!

After our day out golfing, we decided to treat ourselves to pickerel cooked over the open fire back at camp. What a nice dinner!


We also did some kayaking at Charleston Lake in Big Water Bay, Runnings Bay and Slim Bay. We found a cool little spot to rest, where we’d pull our kayaks ashore and fish for awhile and swim. We brought our thermos of coffee with us on one morning paddle and stopped here. This spot was excellent for shore fishing as the one side of the rock dropped off and the water was very deep. You can see the bottom of Charleston Lake clearly at incredible depth. This is due to the large zebra mussel population and the fact that the rock is limestone. Anyway, below are some pics of our kayaking excursions.

Dave fished every day while at Charleston from his kayak and from our fav fishing spot on shore. This bass was the best of the bunch he caught. All the fish he caught were largemouth and smallmouth.


We made another road trip into Kingston to Fort Henry. We missed the departing tour and decided to just tour it ourselves. I’m sure we missed a lot but what we seen was pretty cool. The Martello Towers are in my book “100 Unusual Places In Ontario”. Below are some pics

Charleston Lake Provincial Park was a very, very nice park that I would love to visit again. We made note of some of the other sites in our campground and the others that were nice. Charleston Lake is so incredibly huge with so many bays and islands to explore, we would have needed more than a week. There were other trails as well, but again, we didn’t have the time. One thing that I had to deal with, was the lack of cell phone service in the park. It was almost non existent. This normally wouldn’t matter, except that it was a nice way to communicate with our two teenagers that stayed home. We worked around this fine though. As for wildlife,  there were plenty of raccoons, so we had to be sure to keep our site clean. Here’s a link to my Picasa site for more pics:

Link to 1000 Islands Skydeck:

Link to Fort Henry:

Link to Ontario Parks, Charleston Lake:

Well, if you have any questions on any places we’ve been or parks, drop me a line.


1 thought on “Charleston Lake

  1. Donna

    Loved your site! My husband and I are 2-years new trailer camping folks. 20 foot jayco. we are glad that you gave stamp of approval on Grand River parks…we live in the area and are happy to visit them on weekends when we are not planning longer trips. We were hesitant but now will visit them. Thanks so much. Hope you will write more!! Your visit reviews are very very helpful to us, as we love camping, canoing, fishing and golf (with two older teens at home too LOL!)

    Frank and Donna



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