There’s nothing like beautiful weather to get people thinking about barbecuing, camping and swimming, and not necessarily in that order. In Lanark County, spending time cooking outdoors is pretty much a local pastime, and barbecuing has become far more than just a way of cooking food, it’s an art form that’s celebrated all season long.
When the weather turns fine, the hunt for the perfect cut of steak, London broil, stuffed chicken and chipotle sausage is on, along with the search for the ultimate setting in which to fire up the barbecue, whether it’s at the cottage, park, campground, or your own back yard. When you’re celebrating the time-honoured tradition of cooking meat outdoors, camping and swimming go hand in hand with the best barbecue experiences, and in Lanark County, you’ll find we have enough campsites, swimming holes and grilling spots to keep you in summertime heaven.
Here’s everything you need to know to create the best summer barbecue experience in Lanark County!
Where’s the beef?
Breaking out the charcoal is only part of the quest for the perfect barbecue experience, the real fun is finding a butcher shop that sells high quality – and often local – meat that will have your neighbours wondering what’s cooking. The best cuts of meat are cold, fresh, and just waiting to hit a hot grill.
In Lanark County, you can find the fresh meat at butcher shops in virtually every community. In Almonte, Don’s Meat Market is your typical small-town butcher shop where you can chat with the owner – Don St. John – about which product you should bring home for dinner. Don’s Meat Market has a good selection of barbecue-worthy meats, along with homemade sausages you won’t find anywhere else. Don makes the sausages himself, so they’re guaranteed to be fresh, and many of them are also gluten-free!
If you’re near Carleton Place, the Beckwith Butcher will be your go-to for barbecue fare. Guaranteed fresh and hormone free, Beckwith Butcher has a wide selection of locally sourced, hormone free and naturally raised pork, beef and chicken. In Perth, The Butcher’s Edge sells local and Canadian meats that are fresh, delicious, and reasonably priced. Check out their collection of specialty condiments to complete your barbecue experience, many of them are locally produced.
Where to pitch your tent (and set up your barbecue)
Of course, the enticing smell of a smoky barbecue will naturally make you think of camping, and if you’re looking for a place to pitch a tent or park a trailer you’re in luck; Lanark County is an outdoor paradise, with fantastic campgrounds to suit every camping style scattered across the countryside.
In Lanark County you’ll find two provincial parks, Murphys Point Provincial Park and Silver Lake Provincial Park, both situated in Tay Valley Township. Both parks offer a network of hiking trails that traverse preserved woodlands, with sheltered camping spots nestled beneath the trees. You can also purchase a day pass to the parks and take advantage of the scenery, picnic tables and pit barbecues for the perfect barbecue set-up.
There are a number of private campgrounds peppered across the county where you can camp – and barbecue – in comfort. In Lanark Highlands, Casawinati Campground is an idyllic family campground nestled on the shores of the Mississippi River near the village of Lanark, the town of Perth, and more than one golf course to keep make sure you never run out of things to do. Only minutes from Carleton Place is McCullough’s Landing Campground, where you can rent a cottage, pitch a tent, or park an RV all on one scenic and fun destination. Rent a kayak and explore Mississippi Lake!
If you’re in the Mississippi Mills area, you can camp beside the Mississippi River only minutes from Pakenham at Riverbend Park. You can also pitch your tent right in the heart of picturesque Perth, at Last Duel Park, where you can pitch your tent only feet from the scenic Tay River.
Combine your camping experience with the history of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal, and camp at one of the locks bordering the waterway. The locks are owned and operated by Parks Canada and tent camping is allowed at the locks for a nominal fee. Between Smiths Falls and Merrickville, in Montague Township, Kilmarnock Lockstation and Edmonds Lockstation are both great places to camp for the night.
Bring your canoe or kayak and paddle between locks for a one-of-a-kind experience! At Lower Beveridges Locks, near Rideau Ferry, you can pitch a tent or upgrade your camping experiences with an oTENTik rental, a homey cottage-like tent structure that combines the luxury of home with a rustic camping experience. You can follow this link here for everything you need to know about camping on the Rideau Canal lock system.
Don’t forget your swimsuit!
Don’t forget to bring your flipflops, swimsuit, towel and sand toys, because if there’s one thing Lanark County has in plenty, it’s swimming spots. Murphys Point Provincial Park and Silver Lake Provincial Park both have excellent beaches with washroom and changeroom access. Most campgrounds offer lake or river-side swimming.
There are also public beaches in both Pakenham and Almonte, in Mississippi Mills, and Riverside Beach in Carleton Place has a splash pad and beach in one fun location! In Rideau Ferry, only minutes from Perth, the Rideau Ferry Conservation Area has the perfect beachfront to explore the Rideau Waterway.
More about swimming areas and beaches and splash parks is available at the following link: https://lanarkcountytourism.com/2017/03/public-beaches-swimming-areas-splash-parks/