Originally published July 10, 2014. Updated May 27, 2015.
One of our earliest adventures together on this blog was a Cornwall camping trip. It was in early June, a cold spring not entirely unlike the one we just came through. At the time, Drew’s idea of camping involved minimal equipment – he liked back country camping and getting out in nature minus all the stuff.
My idea was a bit more glamorous. A camper with running water and a place to cook, a campsite with a pool and evening entertainment, more of a rustic resort experience. Emphasis on resort.
And after five years of couple camping experiences that have run the gamut on the glamp/camp scale we found a great compromise in Mactaquac Park.
Mactaquac is a 1,300 acre provincial park about 20 minutes outside Fredericton. It wasn’t my first time in the park, but it was my first time [intentionally] visiting the Mactaquac campground.
I say intentionally because the park is also home to a TreeGo Ziplining course. My sister and I tried it out during a torrential rain storm last year and while we had a lot of fun, by the mid-point we were so soaked we decided to call it a day.
We got lost. In our efforts to get back to the start of the TreeGo course, we found ourselves in the middle of the campsite, awkwardly dressed in head-to-toe zipline gear. We caused quite the stir.
There was no downpour on this trip, and, even though it was early in the season, the campground was packed. I was surprised at how full the site was for May, but as Drew said, “After the winter we’ve had…”
And like all our fellow campers, we too were keen to get the summer underway. We arrived after sunset, and while we thought we were ready for the great outdoors a quick drop in temperature made us happy for our “rustic shelter”.
“Rustic Shelter” camping is exactly as it sounds. It is a simple cabin – no special decor or trimmings – just delightful basics. Inside ours was one wooden bunk bed frame and a queen size frame, a table, four chairs, a candle, a light, and a mirror.
The evening we arrived was a little chilly. We happily hid inside, drinking Picaroons and playing Crazy 8 Countdown at our little cabin table late into the night.
The campground is perfectly placed – just far enough from the city to be calming yet convenient. We hit up both markets for campfire dinner supplies (hello, garlic and hot pepper sausages) then took Charlie for an hour-long play at a nearby dog park. Charlie made friends, and so did we.
We were also close to the Fredericton Exhibition, and it just so happened we were there for Freddy Beach Rib Fest, the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada. We ate a lot of delicious ribs and pulled pork, and we did this…
We fit in a lot in our short trip downtown but by 5 all we wanted was to be back at Mactaquac on the trails. We explored a different trail than the morning, the Setiner trail. It was a beautiful walk through the woods and over small rivers.
We spent night two cooking our spoils on the fire and relaxing in the big Muskoka chairs (moved from the deck to the fireside). We finished the night with a few more rousing games of crazy 8’s (I won).
The stand-out points at Mactaquac were the extremely clean bathrooms, free showers, the size of the property, and the relative privacy of the plots. We could actually see and hear the zip liners from the woods behind us and at one point two adventurers emerged from the woods. While this could have been a negative, we became fast friends, exchanging favourite adventure activities in the Maritimes.
Want to have a rustic shelter experience of your own? Bookings for both shelters and regular camping plots can be made online at https://parcsnbparks.ca/Mactaquac. The 2015 Freddy Beach Ribfest takes place May 28 – May 31. For more details on this year’s event, click HERE.
1265 Route 105
Mid-May until Late September
$24 – $78
Thank you to Mactaquac Provincial Park for providing us with a Rustic Shelter to rest our heads during our two-night trip to Fredericton. It is organizations like yours that helps us continue to tell our travel tales.