Review Date: Sept 2015
General Information / Location / Address
Rondeau Provincial Park is located on Lake Erie, just south of highway 3. Closest city would be Chatham.
Click here to reserve, or view campsites
Entry / Layout
Once you arrive to the Rondeau area, you’re greeted with a few cottages, ice cream shops and restaurants. It reminds me of Long Point a bit, but a lot smaller. On your right is Rondeau Bay, and the left is Lake Erie. The entrance to the park is a little unique, as there are two gates. The first gates controls entry to the whole park, and the second controls entry to the campgrounds. The front gate sometimes gets fairly busy (because even cottagers need to stop here), so I would suggest arrive on an off hour, or day. At the front gate, just tell them you have a camping reservation, and they will send you to the second gate. Once at the second gate, there is lots of parking, as you walk up and check in. Directly after the second gate, the park is split between North Campground, and South Campground. It’s divided by a paved road, with gravel roads looping into the campgrounds. The park staff at the front, and second gates were very friendly.
Garbage / Recycling area
I would classify this campground as a beach type campground. The terrain of most of the campsites is grass, and sand, with a few being forest floor. There are SOME scattered tall tree’s that provide privacy and shade, but the majority of the sites have only 1 tree. I would say 80% of the sites have no privacy, and maybe 60% offer no shade. Most sites have a grass base, which is nice. Some of the sites also have some slopes to them, so make sure you read the description on OntarioParks website.
The campground is split into two areas. North, and South. In order to describe the sites properly, I am going to add another two areas. East, and West.
The North campground, on the West side has more forestry. The sites have a forest floor, and for the most part offer a lot of privacy, and shade. It’s also more quiet in this area. The North campground, East side has far less trees, which means less shade and privacy. The sites here are mostly grass based. However, the East side is closer to the beach.
The South Campground is very similar. The West side has more forestry, and the East side less forestry. The east side has very few trees, which mean less shade and privacy. But again, closer to the beach.
I quite enjoyed the North, West side of the park. It reminded me of a park in the middle of a thick forest.
There are also a lot of cottages surrounding the park, and in between you, and the beach. We did do quite a bit of walking down the cottage roads, and everyone was friendly.
I found the park to be fairly noisey, and busy on the east side, where-as the west side was more quiet. However, there is a stretch of road in the North campground, on the EAST side that is almost secluded from the rest of the campground (this road contains site 176). This is because there is a thick row of trees between it, and the rest of the campgrounds. The sites here are not private to each other, but private from the rest of the campground.
Rondeau can accommodate some large trailers. I saw a lot of larger trailers setup on the WEST side of the campground. (closest to the bay)
The beach here isn’t amazing, as the grass has taken over making it less deep (Beach is only 10-15 feet in depth). Having said that, there is still sand, and entry into the water is great. There isn’t a large drop off, so it’s great for kids to run into. The sand isn’t the cleanest, meaning there are some shells, patches of pebbles, and sticks, etc. We walked North to beach area 1, and there was plenty of room to share between the cottagers, and the campers. One thing to note, the cottagers share the same beach access. The beach area is community land, so don’t worry about setting up right in front of a cottage. As well, on beach area 1, you can walk north, off the Park boundry, and setup there if you wish. This is a public beach. You can even drive north out of the park, then head east to the beach and find public beach access paths. There is parking for 1-2 cars. The dog beach (11), is very large, with lots of room for the dogs to run around. There are sand flies at the beach, that bite your legs. It’s very annoying, and stopped me from going to the beach as often as I’d like. You can even see some of the cottagers wrap towels around their legs when sitting. They hurt when they bite also.
The park store here is great! It’s large, and even has a restaurant inside, and ice cream. I’m obviously not affiliated with the park store, but I would suggest spending your money here, instead of the one directly outside the park. It probably supports the park financially. I had a slightly problem with the ice cream shop directly outside the front gate, but nothing huge.
On the bay side of the park, is the boat ramp, and a few sitting areas. I would suggest going just west of the boat ramp, and there is a nice grass field, and a few park benches. The scenery is good as you look out of Rondeau bay. Another nice spot is just west of the park store. There are some swings here, and an open field. There is also a swimming area here, but the water is rather disgusting. This side of the park seems to also smell sometimes, because of the stagnant water in the bay.
There is a playground here. It’s located west of the campsites. It’s decent, but the slides are metal, and heat up in the summer. My son could barely slide down, as he kept sticking to the slide. I think plastic slides are better. There is also a swing set over by the park store.
Rondeau is a Roller Blading MECA! There are miles of paved roads surrounding the park, and into the small cottage communities. It’s also very good for biking. Some of the cottage roads are small, and quiet, and offer a great bike ride. More on that below.
We camped here in September of 2015, and didn’t have any mosquito’s on the campsite. One thing tho, there are TONS of spiders. Spider webs are everywhere, and even walking down a path you will get close lined by spider webs. I had lots of spider webs on my trailer, and truck.
I’ve been to Rondeau three times now. The first time I was here, my review was pretty negative. I criticized the attitude of the campers, and the cottagers. I was camping in the southeast end of the park, which might have something to do with it. The past visit, I didn’t feel any attitudes from anyone. Campers, or cottagers. It was a very pleasant weekend, and has made me completely re-write this review.
And one other thing… is Rondeau Provincial park underrated? I don’t know what this place used to be YEARS ago, but I quite enjoyed my time here. This park always seems to be the last park that filled up on long weekends. It seems to be everyone’s last resort. I wonder if people get setup in a open, no shade type of site, and think that’s what the whole park is like. The sites here are inconsistent, and you really need to explore to find the site that suites you.
Paved road that surrounds park
Playground. Has metal slides, no swings.
North camp road
North camp road
Viewing platform on marsh trail
Boardwalk to viewing platform
Beach area 1
Beach area 1
Sitting area on the bay side
Sitting area on the bay side
Main road right after front gate
– I would NOT book sites 1-169, 291, 300-306. (However, sites 306 is the closest to the beach, but is very close to your neighbours, has alot of vehicle traffic, and pedestrian traffic by a trail RIGHT beside you
– I would NOT book sites 170 – 201
– 256 is OK, kinda open to road, and no privacy with 255, and kinda uneven
-255 is meh No shade
-254 is really large. Really good. Kinda uneven.
-253 is large and good, but not as good as 254
-252 neat, tree in middle. Not good for trailers.meh
-251 no shade. Long skinny. Meh.
-249 large grassy. Big trees.
-It seems the closer you get to center the less tree it gets
-258 257 are OK. Really bushy tho, and not foresty
-241 240 are OK. Seems more loud over here
-235 is OK
Hiking / Biking
Here is a link to the list of hiking / biking trails at Rondeau.
– The Marsh trail is a nice, flat, gravel path that leads to the end of Rondeau. It’s a path wide enough for a vehicle. There is a viewing playform about 1.5 kms in. There is a nice breeze on this path.
– As I said above, there is a lot of paved roads surrounding the camping area that are GREAT to bike on! Some of them are narrow, with cottages on ither side, and others go right through a nice forest.
– Close to the beach
– Hiking trails, paved roller-blading paths
– Good camp store
– Grass sites
– Lacks privacy and shade on most sites
– Beach has flies that bite your ankles
– Lots of traffic on the outskirts of the campgrounds
Surrounding Area Activities
Rondeau is a neat area, with cottages, and campgrounds mixed together. The campsites here are pretty inconsistant. Certain areas have thick forest, while others have unleveled open grass. Certain areas are quiet, while others are loud and bustling. It’s right near the beach, but grass has overtaken a fair bit of the beach, but still leaves lots of room for beach goers. This campground is not perfect, but depending on where you’re camping, you enjoy yourself!