Restoule Provincial Park Review

Review Date: August 2017

General Information / Location / Address

Restoule Provincial Park is located West of Highway 11, and North of Highway 522, and just North of the town Restoule.  It’s located on the shores of Restoule Lake.  It’s a fairly remote area, and wildlife is abundant!

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

Phone:
705-729-2010

8818 Highway 534
Restoule
P0H 2R0

Entry / Layout

After a long, winding, and beautiful ride around Restoule Lake on Highway 534, you arrive at the front gates.  Park your rig and go inside to register.  After the front gates, you turn LEFT at the intersection to get to the 3 campgrounds.  Kettle Point, Putts Point, and Bells Point.  Each campsite has it’s own bathroom, and the primary beach is at Putts Point.

General Discussion

The campground is deep in the Ontario forest.  Trees are large, and the forest is thick.  The ground cover is basically forest floor, with pine needles.  I didn’t see many grass campsites, which is good IMO.

We stayed in Kettle Point Campground, on site 440.  This campground is sloped towards the lake, so the closer you camp to the lake, the closer you are to water level.  Which also means there is a bit of run off from higher up sites.  Our site, 440, had a path to the water, but we didn’t go swimming here as there was lots of seaweed sticking up. It was ALMOST swampy, but not exactly.  I suspect the majority of other sites right on the water here have similar seaweedy waterfront.  We picked this site because according to the map, the beach and swimming area was directly beside us.  This is NOT the case.  Beside 440 is a small parking lot, with a path that goes over to Putts Point, where the beach is.  I would say the edge of the beach / swimming area is still about 400 meters away from the campsite.  As well, the path crosses over this small stream, and there’s no bridge.  However, the campsites right on the water are still neat, as you can see a bit of the water from the campsite, which is always a great.

Except the beach path, there are no other paths connecting Kettle Point to Putts Point, so you’ll need to head back to the main road, then over to Putts Point if you want to walk around there.  We walked through the other two campgrounds, but I don’t know enough to really talk about them.  If you want to be near the beach, camp at Putts Point.  According to the map, the boat launch is in Bells Point, as well as the dog beach.

All three campgrounds have a small parking area right on the water, with a couple of docks at each.  It’s nice to walk down to the docks, and see the lake.

As I mentioned above, the beach is on Putts Point.  The beach area is fairly large, and there is some parking right down at the beach.  It’s a little bit rocky getting into the water, and there was quite the breeze when we were there.  I think I remember seeing a volley ball net at the beach.

Best Campsites

  • The campsites down by the water, on Kettle Point are good.  Fairly large, and right on the water.  There is about 8-14 meters of forest between you and the water.  Some sites the forest is too thick to even see the water

Hiking / Biking

  • We went on the Fire Trail.  It goes up to the bluffs on the lake, and has an amazing view!  As you get on the trail, stick to the LEFT to get to the bluffs.  It’s a fairly easy trail, but there is a steep climb towards the end.  It took about 1 hour to get in, and out.

Pro’s

  • Water sites
  • Beautiful area, and very remote
  • Sites in Kettle are nice and large

Con’s

  • Not sure there are many activities here?

Conclusion

This is a really remote park, which is really neat.  Camping in Northern Ontario is awesome, because of the fresh air, and abundant wildlife.  I wish that the campsites were closer to the water.  The fire trail is great because the view is awesome!  I enjoyed this park, but because of how far it is, may not return for a while.

Grundy Lake Provincial Park Review

Review Date: June 2017

General Information / Location / Address

Grundy Lake Provincial Park is located just East of Highway 69, and north of Highway 522. It’s located between Gurd Lake, Grundy Lake, and Clear lake.

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

Entry / Layout

You enter the park off of Highway 522. The park gate comes up after about 2-300 meters. If you have registered already, you can keep RIGHT, if you are there to register, keep LEFT. There is lots of large parking for your rig. After the front gates, the road goes past the garbage area and the the dumping station on your left. If you are looking for fresh water for your trailer, you can turn left at the dumping area, or just keep going straight and the fresh water will be on your right. After that, you’ll get the road to White Birch, Jack Pine, and Balsam on your left. If you keep straight, you’ll get to the main beach, and the visitor center. After that, the road continues on to White Spruce, Hemlock, Trailer, Red Maple, and Poplar campgrounds.

Balsam, Jack Pine and White Birch share one comfort station in the middle of all three campgrounds.  Those campgrounds also have vault toilets throughout.  There are two other comfort stations.  One is near the main beach, accessible to White Spruce, Hemlock, and White Pine, the other one is slightly north, accessible to Trailer, Red Maple, and Poplar.  Each campground here also has vault toilets throughout.  Trailer and poplar has their own beach, as does Balsam.  Note – You can see a beach area in White Pine, but when standing on the main beach, I don’t see any beach sand beside White Pine.  I’m wondering if the high water washed away the beach there? Someone else needs to confirm in the comments.  As well, I didn’t go into Jack Pine, or White Birch, so I don’t know of the condition of the beach there.  There is also a main beach on the side of the road between Gut Lake, and Grundy Lake.  More on the beaches below.

 

General Discussion

This park is located on 4 lakes.  The forest here is fairly thick, so privacy on each site should be decent.  The shores of each lake are mainly grassy and in some areas rocky.

We stayed in Trailer Campground.  It has it’s own beach, and has a grassy area beside the water.  The majority of the sites are pull through trailer sites.  Privacy is OK but not great on all the sites.  The floor of the sites closest to the water are typical forest floor, bare, and pine needles, where as the sites away from the water have a grass floor.  There is a comfort station within walking distance.  Note that the beach doesn’t extend all the way across Trailer as seen in the parks map.  The beach is only in front of sites 236 and 235.  The rest is just grassy area, with some trees.  This grassy area is still nice to sit on, and view the lake, etc.  Note that trailer campground floods really bad when there is rain.  50% of the sites are completely under water, and there are HUGE puddles in the road that even some people wouldn’t drive through.  It’s wet, and soggy here.

We moved from Trailer to Hemlock half way through our stay as it is a lot dryer.  Hemlock is a bit of a maze to get through.  Sites 106 108 are the low spots, and there is some water running through the forest in this area.  But majority of the other spots are fairly dry.  Right beside site 113 is a nice rocky open area right on the water.  This is a nice area to site, and look across the lake.  115 116 117 118 120 are right across the road from the water.  There are some trees between you and the water, but it’s still a nice area.  Rain water WILL flow through your site to get to the water.  These sites are a bit slanted.  I don’t think you’ll be swimming in the lake here, but it’s more of a spot to put your canoe in.

I drove through Poplar, and didn’t like it very much.  The floor of the sites seemed to be mostly grass.  The forest didn’t seem very thick here.  White Spruce was mainly small tent camping sites, some of them with great views of Gut Lake.  I didn’t drive through any other campground.

Lot’s of people like to jump off the rocks into Gut lake.  The entrance to do this is between sites 22 and 24.  Follow the trail, and stick to the right.  I wasn’t sure which rocks to jump off of, as nobody was there.  But I found a rock that looked pretty worn down, and jumped.  There is a spot to climb up also.  I talked to the front desk about this, and they said they don’t recommend it, as people have gotten hurt.  But I don’t think they actively patrol it, and kick people off.

On the main road coming in, there is a beach on your left.  There are about 4-5 parking spots, and more parking spots across the road.  It’s obviously a man made beach, but still decent to sit on during the day.  There were a few kids that had leaches on them from swimming in the water, so just be careful about that.  Same with the beach in Trailer.  In between White Sprice and Hemlock, is where the dog beach is.  I don’t think there is actually a beach here, but the dogs can run around, and in the water.  There is parking here, and a turn around spot.

The main road coming into the site is really bumpy.  Lots of roots sticking through, and pot holes.  The camp roads seem to be bumpy as well, and when it rains, they all fill with water.

The park wardens do their typical drive-by’s twice in the evening.  They never seemed to concerned about anything as they drive by.

Dumping stations are on your right as you leave the park, and so are the garbage bins.

Outside the park, right across the road is a large store.  It has gas, and small groceries etc.  They also rent canoes here, and the canoes can be delivered, and picked up right to your campsite.

Grundy also rents cabins.  One of the cabins is right beside the main beach, up on a hill.  Seems like a cool place to rent!

Best Campsites

  • The sites on the water in Trailer are decent, because you can walk across the road and be right on the water.  But it’s very wet here when it rains
  • We liked sites 158, 114, 113 and 111 in Hemlock.  They are near a big clear rock area right on the side of the river.
  • The water sites in White Spruce have great views of the lake.
  • There are other nice sites, but I didn’t drive around and tally them.

Hiking / Biking

  • Check out the Swan Lake Trail.  It’s a shorter trail, and has some cool board walks.  There is also a spot where you climb up on a large rock, and overlook the trail. Very neat.
  • Beside the Poplar Lake comfort station, is a road that continues North.  It goes to a remote lake, where people put their canoes in.  Take a hike, or bike up here.  Actually, there is nothing much to see once you get there, but it’s a nice hike or bike.

 

Pro’s

  • All the lakes are cool. Great scenary, etc
  • Up north, lots of wildlife, thick forests
  • Lots of sites right on the water
  • Good canoeing
  • Comfort stations are great, and accessible
  • Lot’s of activities at the visitor center in the park

Con’s

  • It’s wet.  When it rains, lots of sites flood
  • Beaches are meh.  But, who goes here for the beaches really?
  • Roads are in rough shape

Surrounding Area Activities

  • Check out the French River Visitor Center.  It has a cool museum, which is free with your Parks reservation. There is also a really neat suspension bridge.  As well, take a hike down to Recollet Falls.  A 2.7km hike each way down to a neat water falls.
  • Check out the French River Trading Post. It’s a souvenir store north of the French River.
  • East of the park entrance, is a logging road that goes right up to the Pickerel River.  It’s a cool drive. And the river is really neat to see.  There is a bridge, and water falls.  You don’t need 4×4.  Below is a video I made of this logging road:

Conclusion

  • I like this park because of how north, and remote it is.  Being in the middle of 4 lakes provides great canoeing, and views of the water.  The hiking trails are neat, but there are no cliff views, etc.  We went up when it rained for weeks straight, and it was like camping in a rain forest. Very moist, wet and soggy.  The swimming and beaches aren’t great, but the kids still enjoyed it!

Trip Advisor Reviews

Sibbald Point Provincial Park – Review

Review Date: Sept 2016

General Information / Location / Address

Sibbald Point Provincial Park is located on the south east side of Lake Simcoe.

26071 York Rd 18 (Park Road)
Sutton West
L0E 1R0

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

SP.Overview

Entry / Layout

As you turn East into the park, you are faced with a fork in the road.  Keep LEFT if you are buying a day pass, and keep RIGHT if you are registering your campsite.  As you can see from the pic below, there is TONS of room to park your rig, as you head into the office.  There is a center booth for day passes, and a large office for registering.  Sibbald is split into quite a few areas, and I’m not going to list them here.  You can see those areas in the above map.  Each site does have their own bathrooms, so I think you can rely on the fact that there is a running water bathroom near by.  Some of the area’s are electric, and some are not, as you can see above.  As you drive through the campground area, you get into the beach/park area, and the historical areas.

proshot_20160908_164203

General Discussion

The park is made up of fairly thick forest.  Some campsites have thick brush, and other sites have larger trees and a brushless forest.  It’s really spotty, but if you look at the campsite pictures on the Ontario Parks website, you’ll get a good idea of the kind of bush you’ll see around your site.  Most of the sites are typical forest floor, and not grassy.

We stayed in Beavermeade, so I’ll talk about that area first.  As you enter, the bathrooms on are the right, along with a small play ground and sand box.  Across the road from the area, is a large grassy field.  The road going into Beavermeade is gravel, and the sites are mainly forested, with light brush.  Some of the inner sites have far less brush, making them slightly less private. The sites along the outside are fairly private. Don’t fear camping along the east side of Beavermeade, along the main road, as there is a line of pine bushes that create great privacy.  There is one path on the north side of Beavermeade that cuts through to the beach and park area.  As well, there a couple of holes in the pine bushes that head to the main road.  The sites here are a medium size.  The bathrooms at Beavermeade were large, and clean, so I can expect the rest of the bathrooms to be the same.

The campsites in Horseshoe line the grassy playing field, and some of them have a path into the playing field.  I took a bike ride through Hardwoods, and the majority of the sites seemed kinda small.  Not sure what else to say about this area. Same for the CedarGrove and Meadowlands.  Across the main road is the non electric sites, and I only briefly drove through this area.  Can’t really comment here.

The beach!  It’s LONG, and the water is fairly shallow, which is great for the kids.  It’s also roped off, and has a couple rock points that jet out (you’ll see what I mean in the pictures).  There is TONS of parking for the beach area, but the one thing I’ve heard is during the summer, people use this beach as a day use beach, and it gets VERY busy (you can see those type of comments in the tripadvisor area below).  There is two parking lots for the beach, so if one is busy, try the other lot.  The beach area has grassy areas with a ton of picnic tables, and bbq’s and even a few picnis shelters that are reservable.  It’s really neat that it’s not only a beach, but a park as well.  There is a main bathroom on the east side of the beach.  The beach sand does have golf ball sized rocks in it, and that continues for the first 5 feet of water, where the rocks disappear, and it’s sandy again.  There is also a lot of natural shade on the beach, from the nearby tall trees.  We didn’t have to take out our beach umbrella’s at all.  The dog area is on the east side of the beach, and is basically a large grassy area right up against the water.  Easy for dogs to walk in and out.  Still a great area for people to relax as their dogs play in the water.  The beach is really nice here!

Here’s a good panoramic view of the beach and picnic area. (click below pic)

pano_20160909_153102

There is a really large playground at the beach.  It also has swings.  Kids will love it here!

proshot_20160909_104925

There is a boat launch, and docks as well.

There is an amphitheater, where they do activities for kids.  We camped in September and didn’t get to see anything, but I’d guess they have great events here.

The park officers do drive by on a regular schedule.

I didn’t get to the park store, but across the road is a store that sells variety type stuff, and firewood.  Kinda smells in there tho.

Heritage / Historical areas – This isn’t really my forte, but I hear there is great history here, with historical buildings, and churches, which are now museums.  The main museum was closed when we camped, but make sure you check out the main museum, and church. I hear it’s worth walking through

Best Campsites

For trailer sites, we liked the campsites in Beavermeade.

Here’s a panoramic photo of our site 927. (click photo)

pano_20160908_182937

 

It’s the closest to the beach for electric sites.  If you are not in an electric site, I would suggest the northern most sites in Lakeside and Butternut.  There are foot paths that lead to the parking lot, and would be a quick walk to the water.

Hiking / Biking

I didn’t hike any of the trails, but looking at the trail guide, this isn’t really a hiking or biking park.

Pro’s

BEACH and Picnic areas!

Historical buildings

Playground at the beach is awesome! and huge!

Con’s

Hiking trails, and biking trails are at a minimum

Surrounding Area Activities

I would suggest driving Hedge Road (right from the park) and other Lakeshore roads, all the way to Keswick.  It’s such a beautiful drive, and the road follows the lake almost the whole way there.  Check it out!

Conclusion

A good park!  The beach area is great, and am still really amazed but the amount of picnic area in front of the beach.  As well, there is an abundance of full water bathrooms, with one right at the beach.  The campsites were OK, with a lot of them electric.  I’m a little weary about how busy this place would be in the midst of summer tho.

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img_20160909_153251 img_20160910_161145

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Point Pelee National Park Review

Review Date: May 2016

General Information / Location / Address

Point Pelee National Park is located in a lush Carolinian forest oasis at the southern tip of Canada.  Point Pelee National Park resounds with migrating song birds in the spring, hums with cicadas in the summer, flutters with Monarch butterflies in the fall and is a peaceful place of reflection in the winter.  (Description taken directly from the website).  

1118 Point Pelee Drive
Leamington, Ontario
Canada
N8H 3V4

Capture

Entry / Layout

A few kms south of Leamington, on Pelee Point Drive, is the beginning of Point Pelee.  At the start of the park is the main office, where you pay for your entry (click for fee details).  There are no parking lots, but just two lanes.  One for people with memberships (left), and the other for people who are coming for the day (right).  Directly after the main office, is a long road that heads to the Visitor Center.  Currently, the visitor center is as far as you can go.  On this main road, you will find small side roads that heads to beaches, trails and lookouts.  I would suggest checking out the map of the park ahead of time, and plan your route.

Here is what the entry gate looks like:

General Discussion

Before I get started on some tips that I have, I want to first let you know that Google Street View has 3D mapped every inch of this place.  If you’re not sure what that is, Google has walked every driveway, path, trail, beach and shuttle ride and captured photo spheres of EVERYTHING!.  Click here to go to Google Maps, and drag the Google Man icon (lower right) onto the map, and check out every inch of this place, before you even get there!  I found this handy to see what the trails are like, or to see where the parking lots are, etc, etc.

This can be a VERY busy place.  I would suggest getting to the park around 9am-10am.  We got to the park at 10am, and there was 3 cars in line, and on our way out at 2pm, there was 40 cars in line.  As well, according to a tripadvisor review, someone witnessed a line-up of 500 cars.  Check here for park hours, and again, get to the park early to avoid the lines.  As well, I would suggest heading directly to the visitor center first, as according to the front office, they reported to me that the shuttle to the “tip” is far less busy in the mornings.  When your at the “tip”, I found it very relaxing when there wasn’t a bazillion people there.  I will discuss more later about what to visit on the way back from the visitor center.

Once at the visitor’s center, there is a round about on the West side, where the bus shuttle stops.  There is covered benches that you can use while you wait.  The shuttle seems to come every 20 minutes.  There is no schedule, or tickets, it’s first come first served.  So whenever you see the shuttle, just hop on, and take a free ride!

Once on the bus shuttle, make sure you keep your mouth closed, as there are fish flies EVERYWHERE!.  The shuttle takes you to another depot closer to the point.

From here, you can check out some of the exhibits, then head to the point.  There are three ways to get to the point.  1) Take the board walk right from the depot, 2) Head west and take a larger path close to the water 3) Head east through the woods, out to a nice beach, then walk along the beach to the point.  3) is what I suggest.  Check it out below:

After you’ve checked out everything at the Tip, just head to the depot, and wait for the bus.  Once it comes, hop on and head back to the visitor center, and check out all their exhibits within.  It’s a really neat place.  I would also suggest watching the 12 minute video in the theater.  This gives you a good idea how the park was developed, and the problems and struggles it’s been through. Highly recommended!

After the Tip is done, and the visitor center is done, you can then decide how many trails you want to go on.  Check out the map above, which shows you all the trails, or go to the parks website to see a description of all the trails.  We decided to head right to the Marsh Boardwalk.

The parking lot here is fairly large, and should be plenty of spots to park.  It’s also the area to rent canoe’s, and paddle out into the marsh.  I highly recommend getting out into the canoes!  The Marsh Boardwalk parking lot also has a small store, with ice cream bars, snacks, and other souvenirs.

We really enjoyed the boardwalk.  You can check out the whole walk below:

A couple other notes and tips.  On the West side of the park, along the main road, are small parking lots for beach access.  There is also spots with a shelter, and bbq’s.  Below:

The majority of the paths are chip and dust based, and are plenty wide.  You can easily fit a large stroller down them, or even a wheelchair.

There is also a bike path that goes from the front of the park, right to the visitor center.  I would suggest taking this trail instead of driving.  More exercise!

That’s all I can think of right now.  Again, if you’re interested in what anything looks like here, just check out Google Street View.

 

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