Learn why Grand Lake is the best spot to camp—and how to get there:
Grand Lake was one of Tom Thomson's favourite haunts—it's the setting for his iconic The Jack Pine-and it has some of the most beautiful sand beaches in the park. The lake sits in Algonquin's more remote eastern end, but the 45-site Achray Campground is still quite popular, so you need to book ahead. Launch your canoe or kayak and explore as much of the lake as you can. And while you're in the area, make sure you check out the nearby Barron Canyon. A one-hour hike takes you to the top of this 330-foot-deep gorge, and you can also put-in just above the canyon and canoe into it. (The current generally isn't that strong in the canyon, so you can paddle and portage your way back to your start point.)
Directions: From Pembroke, take Highway 17 north, then turn west on County Road 26, which becomes the Barron Canyon Road. This road takes you into the park through the Sand Lake Gate. Follow this for 20 km, then turn left on the Achray Road, which leads to the campground.
Resources: A Paddler's Guide to Algonquin Park, by Kevin Callan ($20; kevincallan.com).