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by Sally Abdullah

Last year my husband and I decided to go camping for the first time. We choose Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts which is located approximately 100 kilometers (62 mi) North of Montreal, and borders on a lake called Lac des Sables. We booked the campsite online but paid upon arrival.

The Welcome Center is located at the entrance, built like a cottage house. The Staff was friendly; once you arrive, they orient you about the services offered at the camp and hand you a map of the site. You can buy the campfire wood form the Centre as well as many camping supplies. Because the campground is massive, I was fearful it will be dismal. Surprisingly, the camp begins with sections for year-round residents which makes you feel warmly welcomed and acquainted. Seasonal camper’s sites are located at the far end of the campground where there is less traffic and it tends to be quieter.

The camp provides a wide range of options for campsites; you can either rent a small cottage, an RV, a car or an empty site where you can simply use your own tent. We chose to rent a car from the city and we used it for our shelter.  Each campsite is provided with seating tables, water, and electricity, washrooms, and showers. The rates of empty campsite range from $(38-56). Laundry facilities ($2 each for wash & dry). Kayak, canoe and paddle boat rentals are available at $13/hr.

Although we went mid-August, the weather was a bit chilly. So, you need to be mindful to bring a jacket and rain covers in case of rain. We fall short in supplies and clothes but the nearby town has bustling shopping centres like Walmart, Dollarama, and Super 8, that are full of all the supplies you need.

The first day was rainy so we enjoyed cooking, listening to music and relaxing. On the next day, we went to explore the site and decided to go canoeing. The experience was absolutely incredible as you get to see stunning views of the whole camp. At the end of the day, we enjoyed being on the beautiful sandy beach, watching the breathtaking sunset. For people who enjoy the nightlife, they can still enjoy a live band music at a nearby bar. We left the camp the third day to Mount Tremblant, a gorgeous Quebec village located one-hour drive North West of Sainte Agathe. I realized that I arrived once I saw the colourful buildings of the city, it looks like a mini Europe in North America. You will be impressed by its geographical location and charmed by the brightly coloured, well maintained European style architecture.

The touristic village features ample shops, hotels, sports activities (skiing, karting, rock climbing, ziplining, Euro Bungy, rafting, and many water sports) in a walkable pedestrian area and at a reasonable price. You can loan free game equipment (soccer ball, basketball, stick and mini-put ball, and playground area for the kids). Free telefrag is utilized to transport visitors from the upper to lower town and vice-versa. Mont Tremblant has basically activities to please all family members. It’s a wonderful resort that I would love to go back to again to explore more in winter!

Camping is not only a way to connect with nature, but also, a great gateway to learn the Canadian culture. Besides, being a newcomer can hold a lot of stress, therefore, being in the presence of plants can be therapeutic. As such, I encourage all newcomers to hit the trails and explore the beauty of the Canadian outdoors.

For more information about the campsite, you can check out this link: http://www.campingsteagathe.com/en/