Lonely Planet Writer

See the quirky new accommodation options being tested in Canada's national parks

Summer may be ending, but it’s not quite over yet – which means there may still be time to try out a tiny home or a “cocoon tree-bed” in one of Canada’s National Parks.

Goutte d'Ô in Fundy National Park.
Goutte d’Ô in Fundy National Park. Image by © Parks Canada

Parks Canada have introduced a variety of new accommodation options in the country’s National Parks for 2016. The offerings span from a tiny home to a spherical tree-house and are available, this year, at promotional prices, while the parks agency tries them out.

Early morning reflection in Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park.
Early morning reflection in Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park. Image by Marko Stavric Photography

Parks Canada is looking for feedback from those who try out the accommodations, so it can determine whether or not to implement them throughout the country’s National Park system. The new project is designed to attract visitors to parks who may not otherwise be up for camping in the Canadian wilderness.

Double tent in Riding Mountain National Park.
Double tent in Riding Mountain National Park, in one of Canada’s National Parks. Image by © Parks Canada

Among the options is a new double tent in Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, which provides a “comfortable experience for two people”. The double tent means that there is a smaller tent – with a bed and a small table and chairs – inside a larger exterior tent that has chairs and a place to relax away from bugs and other annoyances.

Micro-Cube in Forillon National Park.
Micro-Cube in Forillon National Park. Image by © Éric Baril

A micro-cube in Forillon National Park on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is ten metres-square with a double bed and panoramic windows, providing slightly more comfortable sleeping arrangements than on the ground in a tent. Another tiny home on wheels is available in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Cocoon Tree Bed in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Cocoon Tree Bed in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Image by © Parks Canada

For a more unique experience, the cocoon tree-bed takes visitors at Ingonish Beach in Cape Breton Highlands National Park up off the ground and into the trees. The spherical accommodation can be accessed by stairs and has a mattress inside that can accommodate up to four people.

Stormy late afternoon along the Cabot Trail, the lower lookout over Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Stormy late afternoon along the Cabot Trail, the lower lookout over Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Image by Tan Yilmaz

Another interesting accommodation option is the Goutte d’Ô, which resembles a drop of water. Despite its small size, it contains both a sofa bed and a hammock loft, meaning it can fit a couple or a family. While the accommodation provides a bit more comfort that roughing it in the wild, visitors do need to bring their bedding, pillows, toiletries and cooking equipment. Prices vary on each site and the homes are only available until 10 October.

Tiny Home on Wheels in Waterton Lakes National Park
Tiny Home on Wheels in Waterton Lakes National Park, one of Canada’s national parks. Image by © Parks Canada

But if you can’t make it to one of Canada’s National Parks this summer, there’s always next year. To mark its 150th anniversary, all of the country’s National Parks will be free, however, camping fees will still apply.