From the club to the cabin, queers are jaunting out of the city with feverish frequency during the blistering summer months. Whether it’s a naughty gay campsite, a place to get an all-over tan, a country bed-and-breakfast, or a more traditional resort, you have options.
La Belle Province offers a range of gay camping options. Of course, gay camping bears little resemblance to the traditional Canadian past-time: you won’t be doing a lot of portaging between lakes or hiking up mountains. But you will find gay bears and hard wood in these campsites — along with men who applied their decorator gene to their large tent or camper trailer.
O Camping is a refuge for male nature lovers that is flanked by crystalline cascades and platinum beaches where nude sun bathing is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. The forested grounds accommodate 75 sites and feature scenic pedestrian paths, on-site sauna and various appetizing options. O has recently come under the new management of Marc Bellend and Jean-Yves Tremblay who strive to offer uncommon peace to the queer male traveller.
"It’s the best place to relax and enjoy nature. Our site is different because the campgrounds aren’t close to others and you won’t see your neighbours when you are having your morning coffee,” says Bellend. He goes on to tout O’s scenery and ample wildlife sightings.
In its 19th year, Camp Plein Bois has become on of the most popular gay campgrounds in Canada. Situated 45 minutes from Montreal near Sainte-Marthe, the 350-space site often reaches capacity. Highlights this year include the Sexy Boy, Mr Leather and Plein Bois Bear contests. Plein Bois also offers nudist areas and sporting grounds, swimming pools, an animated dance club, a bar, a terrace and a restaurant. Room and trailer rentals are available. The owners boast that new additions this year include renovated showers and bathrooms, and a heated pool.
The largest men-only campsite in North America is proud to offer naturism on all sites. Open year round Domaine La Fierté has over 400 sites with campers, tent-trailers and cottages for rent. Surrounded by two lakes, cascades and a river, La Fierté touts a discothèque, a pool, an inn with over 20 rooms, and a wide range of hospitable services to cater to your needs.
For the amorous adventurer, Gay Camping Luron is a men-only resort that claims to be situated in the most romantic part of Quebec. With trailers, cabins, cottages and apartments all available for rent by the day, night or weekend, it should be easy to fulfill your bathetic quota. And for the exceptionally daring, Luron has a nudist island you might not mind being a castaway on.
Camping L’Oasis des Pins claims to be the only campsite for your family, friends and kids without exception. They offer more than 100 sites for your choosing on the family side or the side designated for “wild” campers. Services and attractions include restaurants, bars, playgrounds, sports fields and shows, and events, including bingo, every Friday and Saturday.
If you follow a rainbow into the forest to the end, it may take you to Domaine L’Arc-En-Ciel. This remote facility can accommodate travellers in one of their 50 private residences, as well as trailer sites for rent. Cottages include a stove, bathroom and refrigerator, but linen is not provided. Renowned for its cleanliness and pool which can fit up to 150 bathers, L’Arc-En-Ciel may be the light after the storm you’re looking for. Events like the White Party and country-themed dance are sure to bring a touch of glam to your retreat.
Though so far there are no campgrounds aimed at lesbians, there are alternatives. Wildewood Bed and Breakfast, the oldest gay owned and operated B&B in Ontario, is a popular place for dykes looking for some homespun hibernation. Located three hours from Ottawa and 30 minutes from Algonquin Park, this 750 sq ft renovated 19th century home promises there’s so much peace and quiet that there’s nothing to do but relax and unwind. Owners Joey Shulman and Barry Siegrist say 75 percent of their business comes from lesbians, who have a wide array of activities to choose from.
"You can kayak, cross country ski, or just relax and watch a movie,” says Shulman. Set on 10 acres of private forest in the Madawaska Highlands, Wildewood’s rooms come equipped with comfortable queen-sized beds, pine cathedral ceilings and fittingly, rocking chairs for calming country motions.
For those in search of something more exclusive, consider Blueberry Lake Resort. Close to Mont Tremblant Resort, this luxurious, gay-friendly getaway has winter and summer packages available ranging from $285 to $785. One hour’s drive from Montreal and surrounded by 300 acres of grand landscapes, Blueberry Lake offers A-list service, a kids club and Swedish massages to melt the urban stress away.
With their online concierge service it’s easy to book all your activities. You can play tennis on the Har-Tru courts, or go boating on one of three tranquil motorized lakes. Snaking around Blueberry Lake, Le P’tit Train du Nord bike path provides limitless adventure possibilities.