16 Apr Camping in an oTENTik at Thousand Islands National Park
When we travel, more often than not, we use hotel points to book free hotel stays. Some of these hotels can be very unique, funky or luxurious such as the The Mayfair in London or the “King’s Suite” at the Comfort Hotel Grand Central in Oslo, but most of the time, we end up in simple rooms in an average, no frills hotel. Camping in a tent is another one of our regular accommodation choices when we are on road trips.
Because we stay in so many run of the mill places, when we do spend money on a hotel, I like to book lodging that’s just a bit different and has unique qualities to it. One such accommodation was when we stayed in a yurt, and another was when we stayed in an oTENTik last summer.
What is an oTENTik you might wonder? I thought the same thing when I was searching for campsites at Canada’s Thousand Islands National Park. Basically, it is a mix between a primitive cabin and a tent, and I couldn’t resist booking one for a couple of nights.
Several national parks throughout Canada have oTENTiks, and Thousand Islands National Park has 10 sites throughout three different campgrounds. Two of the campgrounds are only accessible by boat, and since we didn’t have a boat, we stayed at one of the five drive up sites at Mallorytown Landing.
Each tent has sleeping room for 6 people, a table and seating, and one of my favorite amenities, solar power lighting and a cell phone charging station. The tents are not equipped with running water or bathrooms, but there is an outhouse nearby as well as a water station, showers and restroom facilities at the visitor center located just a short walk away. Outside you will find a fire pit, picnic table, chairs, food locker and a charcoal grilling station.
You will need to pack all of your camping equipment such as a sleeping bag, pillow, food, water, flashlights, lighter/matches, cooking supplies, and eating utensils. Also, be sure to bring a car charger to use in the cell phone charging station.
Firewood for bonfires must be purchased at the park, but you can bring in charcoal to use at the grilling station if you would like to use that for cooking your food. You also have the option to rent some camping equipment from the park if you don’t have your own gear.
We stayed in tent #3D—it was located on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. Our days were spent relaxing in our hammock, hiking on the nearby trails, having coffee on our adorable porch, having a glass of wine with our neighbors, cooking over the fire and admiring our riverfront property.
Everything about the oTENTik was adorable. I absolutely loved staying there, especially because it felt so private. Each site has a bit of a different layout and setup, and I have to say, I think ours was our favorite of the five. We were also pleasantly surprised to see that we had local cell service from our site—the river straddles the border between the United States and Canada and we were picking up AT&T service even though we were in Canada! I know it’s nice to be disconnected when camping and to fully enjoy nature, but when you have to work, you have to work and any burst of connecting is welcome.
Mallorytown Landing was a perfect jumping off point for exploring the 1000 Islands area. There are several small towns nearby with restaurants, shops, and general stores. If you want to get out and enjoy the water you can take a boat tour, go paddling, swimming, and even diving.
Overall, we had a wonderful few days camping in an oTENTik at Thousand Islands National Park. We loved staying in the tent and thought the site was a fun and quirky accommodation option to try out. It was so refreshing to wake up with the birds chirping outside and a cool breeze flowing in from the window, and ending each evening with a relaxing bonfire by the water makes it an experience we won’t soon forget.
Have you ever stayed in an oTENTik or would you like to?