Canada

How To Have a Great Weekend in Kejimkujik National Park

For Nova Scotians who are working year-round, a weekend trip up to Kejimkujik can deliver a large dose of summer in exchange for a rather short time commitment.

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The first thing you need to do is pack up your vehicle and drive from Halifax. It’s only a two hour trip, and you’ll be driving through the scenic heart of the province for most of it.

Next, pick a campsite.

If you’re able to go for more than one night, I HIGHLY recommend booking one of the campsites in the middle of Lake Kejimkujik. You can rent a canoe to paddle out to it, and what’s a better way to say ‘I did summer’ than partying it up on your own private island?

To reserve your spot, give Parks Canada a call. All the reservation info (including when the summer reservations begin – around April/May) can be found by going here and scrolling down to Kejimkujik.

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If hauling all your camping gear out to a secluded island isn’t your thing, there is also Jeremy’s Bay Campground which borders the lake and is easily accessible from the main road.

Once you arrive, set up camp!

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Last time we went, we borrowed a tent that ended up being big enough to sleep a whole boy scout troupe. We had waaaaay to much room.

We’ve since acquired a lightweight two-person tent that is much more portable. We’re bringing it with us on our North American Road Trip.

Next step: Start exploring.

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Keji is a whole network of trails and waterways. For hiking, there’s the more well-trodden path that’s pretty straightforward and circles the lake, but there’s also tons of back-country hiking that you can do, including lots of portage trails for canoe fanatics.

Conveniently, Parks Canada provides guides to all the marked trails in Keji. If you’re going back-country, or off the map, definitely bring a compass and a map with you. The whole Kejimkujik National Park is 404 km². Most of it is very well marked, but you never know when you’re tired or dehydrated how much harder it might be to get back to where you started.

Jacob’s Landing provides free kayak and canoe rentals for all. You will need some form of ID to secure your vessel of choice. Also, plan to get wet and bring a dry bag if you want to take any electronics/phone with you. Ideally, a dry bag with a floatie so that if you flip over in the water your goods won’t be lost to the bottom of the lake.

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There’s a parking lot right beside Jacob’s Landing. If you’re really pressed for time and can’t camp the night, you could very well drive down, spend the day canoeing and kayaking, and then return to the city at night.

Okay, now that you’ve returned tired from your day of adventure, you better build a campfire, cook some supper and make some s’mores.

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Also, the campfire is a great place to sit and read.

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Or play scrabble.

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Or pass out. Whatever fits your description of relaxation.

Be sure to stop at the Wilder either on your way in or out to grab some of their delicious food.

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I had their glorious portobello mushroom burger with goat cheese, sweet potato fries and a dripping, ice cold cider (that I really, really wanted after a day of kayaking) that left me in a satisfied haze.  Honestly, food just tastes better when you’ve been running around outdoors all day.

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The Wider also does outdoor movies once a week when it’s not raining. Their schedule is posted outside the restaurant. The venue is a field next to the restaurant; be sure to bring your own chair and blankets to cuddle up with.

Note their awesome taste in film:

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And that’s pretty much it. Keji is a great place that not enough Haligonians make it out to. It’s close and it’s awesome, so please take advantage of it. I hope to go back again soon! Last time we didn’t book early enough to secure an island campsite. Next time, it’s island all the way.

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sair Korb
    July 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Mel,

    This place looks great and is only a 2.5 hour drive from where I’ll be in Saint John, NB 🙂 do you know if they allow dogs at the campsites/in the park? (Or if you saw any last time you were there?)

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      July 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Dogs are definitely welcome! There were more than a few running around the campsite, and I know a few people canoed out to camp on the islands and brought their dogs with them in their canoes (although some preferred to swim beside them). I think they recommend using a leash when you’re walking the trails so that there’s not too many dog-wildlife interactions.

      Also, here’s their advisory on dog ticks in the area (they don’t carry lyme disease, but are annoying): http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ns/kejimkujik/visit/secur/tiques-ticks.aspx

What do you think?

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