Port Burwell Provincial Park Review

Review Date: Sept 2014 

**New for this review – A Bike ride through the park!**

I filmed myself riding through each area in the park.  I thought this would give you a great sense of what the park is like, etc.  Find the 3 videos below

General Information / Location / Address

Port Burwell Provincial Park is located on the shore of Lake Erie, directly beside the town of Port Burwell.

9 Wilson Lane
Port Burwell, ON, N0J 1T0

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

Entry / Layout

PB.Overview

Port Burwell has 2 different entrances for the park, and the beach.  The first entrance goes past a few cottages, then you reach the front office.  The second entrance has it’s own “front office”, which leads to the day use beach areas.

The park is split into 3 campgrounds.  Alzora, Leander, and Iroquois.  Each campground has their own full service bathroom in the center.  There is also a large playing field, and another bathroom between Leander and Alzora.

IMG_5488 IMG_5490 IMG_5489

General Discussion

pbppforest

First, take a look at the above picture.  This is the satellite image of Port Burwell Provincial Park.  (You can also see the big play field, more on that later).  I wanted to show this picture because it shows the type of landscape / foliage you’ll encounter when coming here.  The forest is thick, which in most cases offers a lot of privacy.  Most of the campgrounds I’ve encountered on Lake Erie are more grass then anything, but not here.  You really get the sense that you are camping up north in a fully mature forest.  However, when you venture to the beach, you’ll know you’re on Lake Erie because of the soft sand and great beach.  Not often do you get to camp in a thick forest with a great beach.  On the West side of the campground, there is a large cavern like creek, with a few campsites right on it’s banks.  More on that later.

Port Burwell PP is split into 3 campsites.   Alzora, Leander, and Iroquois.  We stayed in Iroquois because it seemed to be the furthest away from cottages and roads, etc.  Iroquois is at the back of the campground, and think it’s the quietest, and feels more remote then the other.  The campsites throughout the whole park are all fairly large, and private.  They all seem to have wide road front, instead of that long drive way type of site.  The floor of the sites are mostly grass and forest floor.  I didn’t see any that were gravel, which IMO is good.

One small issue, is the roads throughout the campgrounds are all paved.  This isn’t a huge issue, but sometimes driver drive faster when the roads are paved.  However, it does keep the dust down when they are paved.

I will say that the forest is fairly brushy, almost like a jungle, which is great for Privacy, but I much prefer a forest that’s a little more bare.  Yes it’s less privacy, but it just seems more Northy to me.  The sites that offer this barer type forest are 95 to about 206.

Speaking of the back of Iroquois.  If you look at the above google maps satellite image, you can see at the top a farmers field.  This field is fairly close to the top edge of the campsites, and two times we heard coyotes howling right here.  It sounded incredible, and worth the listen.  One time it was 5am, and the other was 9pm.  Now that I think of it.. maybe watch your children and small dogs if you camping up in that area.

There are full service bathrooms at the center of each area.  There is also a bathroom by the large playing field. One thing you won’t find here are those smelly vault type toilets in the middle of every other campsite.

One great thing about this park is the large playing field in the center.  It offers a great jungle gym for the kids, and 2 volley ball nets.  It also has a large area to play soccer, and even baseball.  This is also where the Amphitheater is located.  There are a couple great sites basically right beside the playing field, which would be great for family’s with children.  I believe I have labelled them in my below videos.

I’m not too familiar with what activities this park offers, but I assume because of the Amphitheater in the park, there are lots of events catered to children.

The park seemed really tidy and clean.  All the sites were properly groomed / drained of water.  All the bathrooms were all clean.  It seems they really know what their doing here.  They strive for a clean, well run park.

The beach is really long.  There’s LOTS of room for all campers to setup, and have it not be so crowded.  There’s also LOTS of parking.  One thing I noticed is that the beach is not groomed, and inside the magazine for Port Burwell PP, they explain why.  I also didn’t notice a lot of loose sand on the beach, but more hard packed sand.  I think this is because the water level has been so high.  Getting into, and out of the water is a cinch.  It remains fairly shallow as you walk out.  There is a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the beach, which is kind of a pain, but such as life.

The dog beach is the best dog beach around.  It’s HUGE!  Lots of room to run the dogs into the water, playing fetch, etc.  However, there are signs everywhere of a $95 fine if dog is off leash.  I saw about 50% of the dogs off leash when I went, and even kept my dogs off leash, and didn’t have a problem.

At the front office is a small park store, where you can buy camping essentials, and some munchies.  There’s not a lot of stuff here, but gets the job done if you’re looking to snacks.  Same type of store at the entrance to the day use areas.  Coffee comes from an instant coffee machine, with those coffee pucks / packs.  $2 per coffee.   Firewood is also for sale at the front gates for about $7 a bag.  It’s all covered in it’s own building, but even so I noticed that some of the wood was a little damp when burning.  I also couldn’t chop a log in half, which means it could still be a little wet. Quality of the wood when I went wasn’t amazing.

The camp warden does drive through, but only saw him/her once an evening.  However for whatever reason, I did see an OPP SUV drive through once as well.

I’m not sure how the bugs are here in general, but this weekend the mosquito’s were terrible!  They were EVERYWHERE, and ANYWHERE.  They did disappear around 8pm tho.  I don’t think Port Burwell is bad for mosquito’s in general, but for whatever reason, this weekend was BAD.

One thing worth mentioning, is they have new Dumping stations for trailers.  It’s can accommodate two trailers at once, which is great on those busy Sunday’s when everyone is leaving.  As well, there’s a new trailer filling station, right on the side of the road, that can also accommodate 2 trailers.


IMG_5530IMG_5528IMG_5525IMG_5526IMG_5520IMG_5519IMG_5518IMG_5499IMG_5498IMG_5497IMG_5523IMG_5545IMG_5544IMG_5535IMG_5534IMG_5531
IMG_20140927_132425

Hiking / Biking

Here’s a list of all the trails at Port Burwell.  It also contains some of the other activities that are available in the park.  I planned to walk all the trails, but because of the mosquito’s, never got around to it.  I included the parks description of the trails below

Ravine Creek Trail 1 km, 45 minutes, easy
 (This interpretive trail, which features a self-guided brochure, travels through a ravine and woodlot. Eleven stops along the way explain local geology, flora and fauna.)

Beach Trail 2 km return, 1 hour, easy  (
The trail leads from the campground to the beach. A lookout point provides an excellent view of Lake Erie and the beach below. The trail traverses a 20 m bluff.)

A Bike Ride through the Park!

To give you a better aspect on what this park is like, I created 3 videos of me riding through each area.  Here they are below:

Iroquois:

Leander:

Alzora:

Best Campsites

IMO, the best area is Iroquois, campsites 95 to 206.  Sites 31,33,35 are neat because they are right on the backs of a large revine. (Careful of the drop-off).

197,196 – Large sites, decent privacy

198 OK

200 is good.  With a trailer you can make it fairly private

201, 203 is OK

206 is really big, kinda private. Bigest site I’ve seem

210, 211, 212 right across from bathroom. MEH

218 really private.  really bushy.  shrubs. can’t see big tree’s. doesn’t remind me of up north

172 is kinda nice, really big. nice forest

178 OK

Pro’s

– Very clean, well kept up park.  Staff spend a great deal of time and energy on this park.

– Lots of full service bathrooms

– Sites are LARGE, and mostly private

– Beach is great, with great water entry

– Thick forest. Nice sized tree’s. Mature forest

– Great playing field

Con’s

– Buggy?

– Beach is a drive, not a walk

Surrounding Area Activities

Project Ojibwa – A really cool tour of a retired submarine.  This is located in the neighboring town of Port Burwell.  It’s worth going to see, but it’s $18.50 to go in. Kinda steep.

Should you camp here?

Totally YES!.  Port Burwell deserves your business here.  The park shows that the staff strive to keep it clean, and ready for you to camp.  The beach is great, with lots of parking.  The sites are all large, and private.  It’s really a great park!

First camping trip of 2014!

Well, we did it.  We booked our first camping spot of 2014.  We are camping at Pinery, in Riverside.

We always seem to book here for the first trip of the rear.  It’s a great spot, close to home, to get all the bugs out of the trailer for the first trip of the year.

This trip will have a lot of firsts!

First camping trip with Jase.

IMG_16771

 

First trip with our new FORD!

photo 2

 

And first trip of 2014!

There obviously won’t be a review of this site, as I’ve already done one.   But you can be sure there will be pictures!

Wheatley Provincial Park Review

Review Date: August 2013

General Information / Location
Wheatley Provincial Park is located on Lake Erie, near Leamington, Ontario. For me, it’s a quick drive down highway 401. It’s also really close to Point Pelee National Park.

Wheatley Provincial Park
Box 640
Wheatley, Ontario
N0P 2P0
519-825-4659

Click here to reserve, or view campsites


View Larger Map

Entry / LayoutWH.Overview

After a short trip from highway 401, and after going through the small town of Wheatley, you enter Wheatley Provincial Park. The park has 4 different areas. Boosey, Highlands, Middle Creek, Two Creeks. Each one has their own comfort station, and amenities. The campsites seem to center around the creeks. Each one is equal distance of a walk to the beach.

IMG_2444 IMG_2447 IMG_2448 IMG_2449 IMG_2450 IMG_2451 IMG_2452 IMG_2455

General Discussion

When I think of a provincial park that’s close to the great lakes, I don’t think it’s a “Forest” park.  I think of it more as a “beach” park.  Lots of sand, open sites, etc, etc.  Wheatley is a combination of a beach park, and a forest park.  Just driving into the park is neat, because you are driving through huge trees.  Yes, there are some open campgrounds, but alot of them have alot of tree cover.

We stayed in Middle Creek Campground, and we liked it.  We found a nice site on the inside of the road, with a lot of tree’s and shade.  Their aren’t tons of private sites here, it’s really a hit and miss.  Some sites have great tree cover, and other sites have alot of bushes instead of tree.  Highlands, Middle Creek, and Two Creeks are all basically the same as far as quality, and privacy goes.  I didn’t make my way over to Boosey at all, so can’t comment on those sites.  All sites seem to be fairly flat, which is good for trailers.  When I first tried to pick a campsite, I wanted one beside the creek, as thought it would give a good view of the water, etc.  Well, the creek is barely a creek, and more of a very weedy swamp.  Unless you have a canoe, their really no point in getting a site along the creek.  Of course, this is just my opinion.  From what I could tell from walking the road, theirs not much water in those creeks.

MOSQUITOS!  They are bad!  Mosquito’s breed in standing water, and theirs plenty of that with the creeks nearby.  Their were mosquito’s out ALL DAY, and not just in the evening.  Also, whenever I was at the beach, their were bugs that bit.  No idea what kind of bugs those were.

The beach is terrible.  It’s mostly small pebbles, and not much sand.  Getting into the water is tricky because of a steep drop-off, and the bottom is mainly rocks.  However, the parking lot for the beach is right at the beach, so it’s kinda neat you can have your car so close.  Their is also a steep cliff you have to walk down to get to the beach, but their are pathways provided.  I would suggest going down to the very end, and park near the circle.  The cliff height drops off, and theirs alot more sand there.

There is a comfort station in each campground, with flush toilets, and showers.  There are also a few vault toilets around.

I believe their are a few hiking trails, you can find these in the camp magazine.  These trails aren’t amazing, more of just a path around the creek.

There are a few picnic shelters around, with BBQ’s, so it might be worth coming for a day, and enjoying the view of the lake.

IMG_2463 IMG_2466

Best Campsites

Pro’s

– Tree’s, and beach in the same campground. (However, not the greatest beach)

– Clean park, and walking across the bridge across the creek is neat

Con’s

– Beach is terrible

– Mosquito’s everywhere

Surround Area Activities

Conclusion

I think it’s worth going to this park once or twice.  It’s nowhere near my favorite park, but it’s worth coming here.  I enjoyed the bridge across the creeks, and enjoyed some of the larger trees.  It’s not a spot where you’d sit at the beach all day, but it’s cool to walk around, and check out the creeks, and the views of the lake.

Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park Review

Review Date: June 2013

General Information / Location
Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park is located about 30 minutes north of Parry Sound.  It’s directly off of Highway 69, and located on Sturgeon Bay.   The park is located on one of the bays on the lake.

Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park
P.O. Box 271
Point au Baril, Ontario
P0G 1K0
705-366-2521
Click here to reserve, or view campsites


View Larger Map

Entry / Layout

ST.Campground

Once you get off Highway 400, it’s a fairly quick drive to get to the park entry.  The park only has 1 area, and it’s a fairly small park.  Unless I missed it, I didn’t see a bathroom with running water, but there are vault toilets.  There is a beach in the park which is nice.  There’s also a boat ramp, and parking for your truck and trailer.

General Discussion

 

The atmosphere when entering the park was kinda neat.  Can’t really explain it, but it felt really cozy and rustic.  After the front gate, that’s about where the excitement stopped.  The rest of the park seemed really “Homemade”.  The sites were small, and unused.  There was 2 foot long grass growing in most of them.

I didn’t see any flush toilets, or showers.  There are alot of vault toilets around.

I guess the beach is a nice addition, but I generally don’t enjoy beaches unless it’s on a large, “great” lake.

There is no hiking here, there are no trails here.

I think the only reason to stop at this park, is if you’re into fishing (and you brought a boat), or your stopping over for a night.  There is just nothing to do here.  I think Sturgeon Bay is great for fishing, so bring your boat, put it in the water, and enjoy your fishing, then back to the campsite for the night, and repeat.  We stopped here just to sleep for a night, then left in the morning.

One thing I noticed is the black flies were TERRIBLE!  The next day we drove to Killarney and there were NO blackflies.  So not sure why they are so bad here.

Best Campsites

The only site I would suggest is Site 6.  It’s near the water, and you have your own rock to sit on, and enjoy the water.   However, there is a marina right there, so the view isn’t amazing.

The other sites are just MEH.  Site #8 is small, and you can’t even view the water from your site.

Pro’s

– Beach

– Boat Ramp

– Boat and fisher friendly

Con’s

– Small

– There’s just nothing to do

– No running toilets

Conclusion

We just use this park as a stop over, as it’s right on the highway.  That’s about it.

Killarney Provincial Park Review

Review Date: We are camping here THIS WEEKEND! I’ll complete review shortly after (June 2013)

General Information / Location

Killarney Provincial Park is located about 60kms off highway 400/69. It borders Georgian Bay, and is full of great hiking trails, and canoeing adventures! I like this area because of the rocky and hilly landscape.

Killarney Provincial Park
Killarney, Ontario
P0M 2A0
705-287-2900

Click here to reserve, or view campsites


View Larger Map
Entry / Layout

KI.Overview
When travelling north, south on Highway 400, and you see the Killarney exit signs….. don’t get to excited yet.  It’s still a 57km drive on highway 637 to get to the front gates of Killarney.  However, the road is decent, and it’s a nice drive through the forest!  Also, be on the lookout for animals!  We saw a large black bear, 2 deer, and a fox.  The red fox actually lives in the campground, and you’ll see it walking around from time to time.

Right off the highway is the front gates and front office.  The front office also has a small gift shop / supplies shop.  I found it neat to walk around, and look at the displays that are setup.  There is also a Fox that likes to walk around the front office area. You also sometimes see it walking through the park.  Once past the front gates, the park is split up into 3 sections.   George Lake A, George Lake B & C, George Lake D.  I believe there is one main bathroom, with flush toilets, and showers, and there are plenty of vault type toilets scattered throughout the park.  There are 2 beaches, one on George Lake A, and the other on George Lake D.

Highway 400 exit sign

Highway 400 exit sign

Sign at front gates

Sign at front gates

Parking lot at front gates

Parking lot at front gates

Main office

Main office

Driveway leading to park

Driveway leading to park

General Discussion

We stayed at the George Lake A campground, in site 29.  If your staying in this part of the park, stick to the sites along the river, and not near the parking lot.  The sites along the river are spaced out nicely, and all fairly private.  You really feel like your camping in the middle of the bush here.  There are 3 vault toilets along the river.  The only issue is that you are fairly far away from the Flush toilets, and the garbage bins, but I didn’t mind as you are also away from all the noise.  There is a turn-around spot at the end of this road, so if you have a truck and trailer, you should be able to turn around.  I have a RAM with a 20′ trailer and was able to turn around without troubles.

I didn’t view all the sites in George Lake B & C.  From what I remember, the sites are closer together, and less private.  Maybe because the bush didn’t seem as thick?  However, this campground is alot closer to the flush toilets, which might be nice for some.

I didn’t go into George Lake D at all, so can’t really comment on this section.  I believe these sites are mostly tent sites.

As I said above, there is only 1 full featured bathroom, and lots of vault toilets around the campgrounds.

There are 2 beaches.  The one I did go to is at George Lake A.  For a small lake, the beach is pretty good.  There is also a roped off swimming area.  This also seems to be the main entry into the back hills of Killarney.  Meaning, alot of people are using this beach to begin their canoe trip.  You’ll also see alot of people coming back on Sunday’s, etc.  I believe the beach at George Lake D has a boat ramp. (Or a canoe ramp?)

The park suggests that you bring any garbage to the garbage containers every night.  If you don’t, the raccoons seem to not be afraid to come right in, and steal anything.  Even if you’re sitting at the campfire.

In order to rent a canoe, check the Killarney magazine, and it offers 3 different outfitters for canoes.  You simple call them, give them your credit card, and they supply you with the combination to the lock on a specific canoe.  The one I called was $28 per day.  The canoe trip was the highlight of our trip.  We paddled along the outside of the lake, and once you get to the other side, the cliffs are AMAZING.  There is even one spot where the cliff hangs over you.  Canoeing this lake is a must!

The hiking here is AMAZING!  So amazing, I’ve created it’s own category below.  I’ll describe the trails that we went on, and provide some pictures.  First, see some pictures below of Killarney Park.

View of lake from George Lake A

View of lake from George Lake A

Campsite in George Lake A

Campsite in George Lake A

Site 29

Site 29

Campsite in George Lake A

Campsite in George Lake A

Road following river

Road following river

Campsite

Campsite

Pathway to trail

Pathway to trail

George Lake

George Lake

George Lake

George Lake

George Lake

George Lake

Hiking Trails

Here, I will describe the trails that I hiked on.  I don’t have pictures handy right now, but will add them eventually.  You can see a brief description of all the trails in the park HERE

1) Chikanishing Trail – I suggest taking this trail first.  It only takes 1 – 1.5 hours.  It’s a loop trail.  It follows a river out to Georgian Bay, and brings you a-top large rocks, overlooking the river, and Georgian Bay.  Once you see the view of Georgian Bay, you gasp at how incredible it is.  We walked right to the lake, and went for a quick swim. IT WAS COLD!  On the way back, it winds through the forest, and eventually back to where you started.  This trail is fairly easy, and gives you a good idea of what hiking is like up in Killarney

2) Granite Ridge Trail – I also suggest taking this trail.  Do it at the same time as the above trail.  It brings you out to an incredible cliff, overlooking the Provincial Park.  We sat on this cliff for a long time, just taking in the great views. Here’s a video:

3) The Crack – This is the trail you’ve been practising for.  It’s a must!  I would suggest starting sometime in the morning, having lunch atop the mountain, then start the treck back down.  Bring lots of snacks, and a lunch.  The trail is fairly easy, but it’s long.  There are a few sections where you’re climbing, which can get tiring.  The view atop the final destination, is incredible!  Once up there, take an hour or two, and soak it all in. Relax, and rest.

4) Bike Path – This is a fairly short path that starts near site 30, and goes to the highway. Here’s a video of it:

Best Campsites

– I would say that any campsite along the river are fairly good.  Sites 18 – 30.  I would also say site 63 is pretty good.  It’s got a nice spot you can walk out and see the water.

Pro’s

– Hiking!  If you want to hike, and explore, this park is awesome for that!

– When camping, you really feel like your in the middle of the bush.  Camping in a real remote area (which you kinda are).

– The park is really quiet.

Con’s

– You need to watch out for bears, and throwout your garbage every night.  Which is kinda neat cause I love seeing bears!

– It’s a treck to get there

Conclusion

I really liked this park because it was really quiet.  The sites along 18-30 are spaced out, and give you alot of room.  I love being up north, and seeing all these wild animals.  All the hiking up there is amazing.  Go out and hike all day, come back and relax at your campsite.