Presquile Provincial Park Review

Park Entry

The park is located south of the town of Brighton. There is a main entry building to the park, but it wasn’t occupied when we got there. There is another building closer to the camp spots where you can check in, etc. There wasn’t a lineup when I got there. In fact, I just drove right through without registering because it was early.

 

 

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Park Layout

After the entry to the park, the road winds towards the lake. The main beaches are right after the first main building. The beach is very large, and nice with lots of sand. There is alot of parking for the beaches. The camp store and dumping stations are between the first building and second building. The camp sites are all fairly close to the lake, some sites right on the lake, and others just a couple campsite roads away. You can access the water from the campsites, but it’s rocky/pebbly, but offer great views! The bathrooms seem to be nicely scattered around the park. There are a mix of vault toilets, and nice full features bathrooms.

Overall Park Quality / Privacy

First, the bathrooms seems really nice. Always clean and smelling good. The campsites in High Bluff Campground, as least closer to the water, have no Shade, and mostly just the big motorhomes, and larger trailers park there. The sites toward the back of High Bluff are like normal sites. All the other campgrounds are typical campgrounds. Not tons of privacy, but all within the forest, and walking distance to the water, but not beach. The beach is a drive away, as mentioned above.

 

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Park Attractions / Activities

There are some nice walking trails here. One of them called marsh trail. It goes out throughout the marshy area and explains it all. Other walking trails just go through the bush. There are no biking trails, but a bike path that goes to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is neat to go and learn about the history, there are plaques that explain it all. There is also a trail that goes near the seagull breeding ground island. There is is hutch building for Sundays, and also a BBQ on one of the days. Not sure if any other activities.

Pro’s

Clean bathrooms, alot of water sites, nice hiking trails, nice campstore, beautiful views, nice people!

Con’s

Seagulls, Seagulls, Seagulls. Remember, Presquile is right near the Seagull Breading island. If the water isn’t wavy, all you hear is the seaguls. However, you do see alot of birds flying around. Cold water. Not many bike trails, or rocky hiking (cliffs, etc)

Best Campsites

I didn’t really take a tally of the best sites. The sites in High Bluff that are right on the water are really nice, beacuse your right on water. However, NO SHADE, and some have a big drop off to the water (1-2 meter cliff). Site 73 has a nice ROCK walkway down to water. Any other site on the water in the other campgrounds are fairly neat, as they are RIGHT on water, at water level. However, don’t expect a beach, but a rocky/pebbly shore.

 

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Site 213 is really nice, but it’s right across from the Campground Sponsor, or whatever you call them. Also, with some of the “waterfront” sites, it appears the bike trail is between them and the water. This isn’t correct. The bike trail is actually ON the camproad, and the site is on the other side. So don’t let that deter you from booking those sites.

Conclusion

I liked this park. I really liked the High Bluff waterfront sites, even tho no shade. Everything is clean, and the views of water are awesome.

Rondeau Provincial Park Review

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

RO.Overview

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.

Front Gate

Front Gate

Second Gate

Second Gate

Second Gate

Second Gate

Garbage / Recycling area

Garbage / Recycling area

General Discussion

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

Paved road that surrounds park

Playground. Has metal slides, no swings.

Playground. Has metal slides, no swings.

Camp road

Camp road

Camp Road

Camp Road

North camp road

North camp road

North camp road

North camp road

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Marsh Trail

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Viewing platform on marsh trail

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Boardwalk to viewing platform

Park Store

Park Store

Beach area 1

Beach area 1

Beach area 1

Beach area 1

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Sitting area on the bay side

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Sitting area on the bay side

Boat Ramp

Boat Ramp

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Main road right after front gate

Best Campsites

– 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.

Pro’s

– Close to the beach
– Hiking trails, paved roller-blading paths
– Good camp store
– Grass sites

Con’s

– 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

Conclusion

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!

TripAdvisor Reviews

Bringing your own Firewood to Provincial Parks – My Opinion

** UPDATE JUNE 2014 **

While looking for a new area map, I found this article.  They have now “officially” created one big “area” in Southern Ontario.  As the order states, you cannot transfer firewood INTO, or OUT of this area.  If it’s already in Southern Ontario, you are free to transport it.

Larger regulated area as of April 1, 2014

***

I’m writing this article just to help understand what the Ministerial Order states in relation to transporting firewood.

First, we need to understand what “”infested place” means. They describe it as “an area described by an item in the Schedule”. If you look at the schedule, item 1 is grouped together as one item, which is everything in the map below highlighted yellow. So yellow equals the infested place.

Update * June 2014 *

The first map below is from 2014, the second map is from 2012.

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Next, lets look at the term “pest”. Pest means “the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) in all its life stages”.

And last, the term “regulated article” is defined as “firewood of all species, as well as trees, nursery stock, logs, lumber, wood packaging or dunnage, wood or bark, wood chips or bark chips of the genus Fraxinus (commonly known as Ash), other than ash seeds”.

So, now lets read the order. “No person, except an inspector, shall move or cause the movement of the pest out of an infested place, unless the person is authorized beforehand to do so in writing by an inspector under a Movement Certificate and the person complies with the certificate“.

So, it doesn’t say you can’t transport firewood. The order says, you can’t transport firewood OUT of the infested place. And the infested place is the yellow in the map above. They don’t mean each individual county is the infested place. Since they grouped all counties as Item 1, in the schedule, they mean the infested place is item 1, which is the yellow area.

So if your IN the yellow area, and are camping IN the yellow area, you are free to transport. Just don’t leave the yellow area with your firewood. If your OUTSIDE of the yellow area, according to this order, you can transport anywhere. It doesn’t say you can’t transport firewood INTO an infected area.

However, this is just the legal standpoint in transferring firewood.  As some commenters have stated, transferring the wood could still bring some negative impacts, so why would you?  I’ll leave that for you to decide.

MacGregor Point Provincial Park Review

Review Date: Aug 2010 – ** Updated May 2015 **

General Information / Location / Address

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located on the shores of Lake Huron, close to the Bruce Peninsula. It’s just south of the beautiful town of Port Elgin, and South Hampton.

Address: 1593 Bruce Road 33, RR#1
Port Elgin, ON, ON, N0H 2C5

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

Entry / Layout

MP.Overview

The park entrance is a few km’s west of highway 21. It’s kinda neat because the main entrance isn’t anywhere near a major highway. There is a long winding road, which eventually leads to the main camp office, just like every other provincial park. The office if large, and seems to register people fairly fast. There isn’t a large parking lot before it, so if there’s alot of people registering, parking might be a problem. As you drive in, the forest seems nice and thick, which is great for camping in.  You also see plenty of trails as you drive in.

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After the main gates, the park is split up into 3 sections. Huron Campground, Nipissing Campground and Algonquin Campground. Each section is also split into 3 areas. Each area, within the sections have a ring road, with looping roads around which hold the campsites. Inside that ring road is the main bathrooms for each sub area. Each area within the sections has a bathroom, and some even have vault toilets throughout the sites. The beach is closest to the Nipissing Campground, and another water access close to Algonquin, and Huron. The park store is not within walking distance to any of the campgrounds, bike fairly close via bike path. The park store also rents bikes.  It’s also where you get your fire wood.

General Discussion

This campground is covered in thick, bushy forest.  The campground is fairly wide, which allows a lot of water access.  The privacy at the Algonquin campground is really good! There are some nice sites there, and I’ll list them below. Algonquin is in a THICK bush, with LARGE trees. Nipissing campground is similar, but seems like it’s more bushy, and less tree’y. I didn’t go in Huron. The grounds seem to be kept up nice, and the sites are all fairly level, and clean. The main bathrooms are great! Lots of family showers, and bathrooms are fairly clean.

There is a large grassy field near the exit for anyone that wants to play a ball game, etc.

Here is me biking around Algonquin section of MacGregor Point PP.  Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what the sites are like here.

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** Update May 2015 **

The beach here is OK.  It’s not a luscious beach that you might expect from Lake Huron, but it does the trick.  There is sand, which is nice, and a play ground really close.  I could see myself hanging out here for an afternoon.

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Alot of the trails will come out to water, where there are picnic tables, etc. Most of the access has rock bottom, but the main beach is sand, including water access.

Hiking / Biking

There are alot of bike trails and walking trails here. We split them up into 2-3 days and did them all. Take a look at the park flyer, to see the quality of the trails, and locations of them, etc, etc.  There is also a nice gravel trail that follows Lake Huron through the width of the park.  It connects some of the water access areas.

Here is a video review of Lake Ridge Trail:

Here is a video review of Kempf’s Trail:

And here is a short walk-through of Kempf’s Trail: (Not the whole trail)

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IMG_0284BestCampsites

Birch Campsite / Algonquin –

– Site 44 is right beside the host, not good!
– Site 51, 52 are close to the road – not good
– Some of the pull through sites are OK, althought they are fairly open to the road (71,73)
– Site beside # 80 is OK
– Site # 82, is fairly private
– Site 84, 85 are shared sites
– Yurst on the inside of the loops, with cover over bbq and picnic table

Cedar Lane / Algonquin

– Site 102 – Very Private, best site
– Site 113 – OK
– Site 118 – nice site, private, close to beach area
– Site 125 – nice site, decent privacy
– Site 131 – Pull through, large site, private

Ash Woods / Algonquin

– Site 2, 3 – not bad, fairly big
– Site 9 – open to the road, but big and deep in bush
– Site 13,14 – Shared, not good
– Site 20 – not very private, but HUGE
– Site 21 – small path down to the water
– Site 22 – private, HUGE, goes way back into bush, near a path
– Site 25 – Good site, it’s deep and large
– Site 31 – no neighbours, big, private
– Site 39 – really sucks

Nipissing

Site – 225, 226 – Private, but small
Site 231 – really nice, nice and big, nice and private, nice driveway, sand,
Site 233 – same as 231
Site 236 – very private
Site 141 – fairly decent, private
Site 148 – really nice, long driveway, lots of privacy
Sites 167, 168, 169, 170 – Worsts sites in park

Pro’s

Con’s

This is a large park, and could get confusing when biking around, or driving, etc.  But there is lot’s of signage.

Surrounding Area Activities

Port Elgin, and South Hampton are really nice places to visit.

Conclusion

I like this park. Lots of privacy here, and good hiking. Everything is kept clean.  I will go here again for sure!

Turkey Point Provincial Park Review

Review Date: Updated review coming August 2016

General Information / Location / Address

Turkey Point Provincial Park is located a km or two off of Lake Erie, just north of the small town of Turkey Point.

194 Turkey Point Rd., P.O. Box 5
Turkey Point
N0E 1T0

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

TP.Overview

Entry / Layout

The park is located north of Turkey Point about 1-2 minutes. After turning off Turkey Point road, you go down a longish drive-way (1/4 mile) and get to a toll booth. Directly after the toll booth is the main office, which is where you register for all of the campsites.  We were there Thurs to Sunday, and nobody was ever in the first booth.  You just drive by, and park if you need to register, or continue on if you’ve already registered.  After the front office, you turn LEFT, then the park is divided into 3 campgrounds. Whipoorwill Campground, Walkingstick Woods, Fin & Feather Campground. Whipoorwill, and Walkingstick each have their own bathroom / showers, and Fin & Feather only has a outhouse type bathroom. The front office has firewood for sale, and a small store to buy snacks and small toys.

General Discussion

The front drive seemed nice, with cut grass, as did the front office. They did some landscaping to make it look nice. The drive-ways are all paved up until you get into the individual campgrounds. There are a lot of nice big trees that do provide privacy in some areas. Fin & Feather campground is the smallest section, which only has 22 sites in it. The sites here seemed a lot more private, and since it’s the radio free zone, everything is a lot more quiet. Around the campgrounds is a lot of big tree’s, that make the campground as a whole a lot more private. As for individual site privacy, there are a view sites that are decent, and I’ll mention those below. As an overall, I would give privacy a 7/10. Fin & Feather’s bathroom is a outhouse style bathroom, but it’s made of concrete, and is quite nice. However, it does stink.

We camped in Walkingstick Woods.  The bathroom here is in the center, with roads going outwards from it.  I would suggest not camping near the bathroom, or directly across from it. Ex: 66, 99, 106, 82, 81, or sites adjacent.  That area is fairly open, and it seems like you’re sharing a site.  If you can, I’d also avoid 67, 71, 73, 75, 76, 78, 80, and sites without that ring.  Fairly open here.  The other sites are fairly decent.  We stayed in site 45, and it was nice and large, and the trees were big.  The sites between 35 and 44 are pull through.  There is a trail going to the playground right beside site 52, so this area is close to the playground for the kids.

I went into Whippoorwill, and it seems just like Walkingstick.  However I think the woods are a little nicer in Walkingstick.

Some of the sites have poison ivey around them, so be careful for that.  The website will tell you if there is PI around your site.

The playground is fairly large, which is great for the kids to run around.  They also have a shelter nearby, where there are kids activities.

The BEACH!  You need to drive to the beach, which is only a 2 minute drive.  You’re park pass gives you access to free parking at the beach.  If you get there around 10-11, there are plenty of parking spots.  However, if it’s full, you can drive south down Cedar Drive to find some more parking.  Some of it is public, and other spots are provincial park property.  The beach is great, and water is shallow.

I didn’t see any park officers drive by during the day, but did see them start driving around 6pm.  I also say OPP go into the beach parking area, and look around.

Best Campsites

The best sites in Fin & Feather are 235, 225, 226, 227. None of the sites are 100% private, but they are good for the most part.  Site 47 in Walkingstick is really nice, but not electric.  It backs down a long hill, and really private.

Hiking / Biking

We took the trail that goes to the bluff.  It’s a fairly wide  trail, so good for strollers, etc.  The view at the end isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s a good hike.  We didn’t venture on any other trails.

Pro’s

– Quality of bathrooms and showers are nice.
– Fin & Feather is small, and quiet
– Road quality is good

– Near mountain bike trails, as well as dirt bike and ATV trails
Con’s

– Poison ivy in some places
– You have to drive to the beach

Surrounding Area Activities

Mountain Biking!  I don’t know much about the sport, but I know there are a bazillion trails near by. Check this trail map out.

ATV’ing, and Dirt Biking.  Turkey Point, as well as Saint Williams has some dirt bike/ATV trails that are open to the public.  I think this is the only place in Southern Ontario that offers this!  Check out the trail maps here (maps at the bottom)

Conclusion

I liked this park.  The woods had large tree’s, and felt like you were camping in a large forest up north.  The beach is a drive away, but you can park right at the beach and there is barely any walk.

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This is the picture of our site. # 214. Would not recommend it, as it’s on the main road, and is really visible from the road

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This is the end of the main road, and the entrance to Fin & Feather campground. See how they kept a lot of shrub, and big trees.

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One of the sites in Fin & Feather. It has a lot of road front.

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The driveway through Fin & Feather

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One of the more private sites.

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This is the main bathroom / shower center at Walkingstick woods campgrounds.

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This is the road through Walkingstick Woods. See how open it is, and how there is not much privacy between sites

 

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