Killbear is located in the heart of the 30,000 islands, about a 30 minute drive from Parry Sound at the end of Highway 559. Killbear is a peninsula that is approximately 7 km long and 2 km wide. The park includes 1133 ha of land and 623 ha of Georgian Bay.
Killbear Provincial Park opened in 1960 and quickly became one of the most popular parks in Ontario. With 882 camping sites there are many days during the summer when 5000 people are camping at the park. Despite the number of visitors, the parks shoreline is so extensive that the beaches rarely feel busy.
Killbear is a water lovers paradise with great swimming, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, motorboating, and fishing. It’s also a perfect place for long walks along kilometres of sandy beach and rocky shore and for watching the amazing sunsets over Georgian Bay.
There is an undeniable attraction to the dramatic rocky shores and islands with their windswept white pines. The water is warm and the beautiful beaches along Kilcoursie, Beaver Dams, and Lighthouse Point campgrounds are usually quite protected from the wind and a great place to sunbathe and swim. The beaches of Harold Point and Granite Saddle campgrounds are more exposed to the western breezes, and many sailors and windsurfers choose to camp here. Blind Bay campground is for those who like their shoreline rocky and quiet, with numerous small pocket beaches. The shoreline of Georgian campground is rocky, but you can easily walk to the beaches of Harold Point or Beaver Dams. Most campsites in the park are no more than a 5 minute walk from the shore.
There are also 3 hiking trails and a 6 km long recreational hiking/biking trail which parallels the main road down the center of the peninsula. It’s in the mixed hardwood and softwood forests that that you may see some of Killbear’s famed wildlife including Massasauga Rattlesnakes, Black Bears, White-tailed Deer, Red Fox, Fisher, Eastern Chipmunks, Red-shouldered Hawks and more.
The Visitor Centre has exhibits about the natural and human history of the park and knowledgeable park naturalist to answer your questions about the park.
Although it may be difficult to get a park reservation during the summer, the spring and fall are ideal times to camp at the park. The park closes on Thanksgiving weekend and reopens in mid May. During the winter visitors may park at the main office and hike, snowshoe or ski into the park.
Did you know that Killbear almost didn’t become a park?
Killbear Point was first purchased in 1900 and it was logged extensively for about 20 years. In 1911 plans were made for a grand hotel and 800 cottage to be built, but luckily for the people of Ontario it didn’t happen. During the 1930’s, numerous squatters built small shacks along the shore and survived the Depression by fishing, hunting, trapping and poaching. In 1957 the land was sold again and the new owner had plans to build a large marina and golf course as well as sell cottage lots. At that time the government was dramatically expanding the provincial park system to provide places for Ontario residents to spend their new leisure time. The Department of Lands and Forests recognized that Killbear was a valuable resource that should be made available to the public so they expropriated the land and made it into Killbear Provincial Park.