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.

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First trip with our new FORD!

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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!

Pinery Provincial Park Review – Riverside

Review Date: May 2013

General Information / Location
PInery Provincial Park is located in Southwestern Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron. It is a fairly large park, and also fairly popular. It’s my GO-TO park, as it’s one of the closest to me. We usually go here for a weekend at the very start of the season, to make sure our camping gear is all IN-CHECK. This review will focus on the Riverside section of Pinery only.

The Pinery Provincial Park
R.R.# 2
Grand Bend, Ontario
N0M 1T0
(519) 243-2220

Click here to reserve, or view campsites


View Larger Map
 

Entry / Layout
PI.RiversideO

As you enter Pinery, you are brought right to the main gate where you show your pass, or register for a pass. Each campground inside of the pinery has its own “main” office. After the front office, the road winds through the forest of the pinery, and you eventually navigate to the main store, where it branches off to the individual campsites. Here, we are only going to concentrate on riverside. Once you enter riverside, it’s split into 4 different areas. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Each area inside riverside has 1 bathroom, with showers, and flush toilets.

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This is the front gate.

This is the front gate.

The road into the park, after front gate

The road into the park, after front gate

General Discussion

I think area 4 is the best. There are a number of sites right on the river, and its awesome listening to the birds on the water. Area 4 seems a lot more private as well. There are some sites at the back that are large and private. However, the only reason we go to riverside is because the time of year we go to the piney, riverside is the only campgrounds that’s open. I much prefer burley.

I have to admit, I havn’t gone in area 1,2 or 3.  So I can’t really comment.  From the road, they look really open, and don’t offer much privacy.  Also, there are no spots directly on the river, which IMO, is the only reason to go to riverside.

In area 4, there is a large, bathroom in the center, which has lots of showers, laundry, and bathrooms.  There are also a couple vault toilets in the area.

Riverside is the furthest away from the beach, and its def a drive and park if you want to visit the beach. However, if you get a campsite on the river, swim in the river. :)  It’s a real nice drive to the public beach, so not a huge issue.  But, if your going to spend alot of time on the beach, you mise well camp at Burley, or Dunes, as you could just walk to the beach.

There is alot of hiking trails in the park.  Look at the park paper that is handed out at the front deck, and read about all the hiking trails.  Here’s a link to the trails on the Pinery website.  We went on the Carolinian Trail, which had some decent elevation, and boardwalks ontop of hills etc.  It also takes you to a small pond in the middle of the bush.   We also took the Cedar Trail, which takes you to the other side of the river, and gives you a good view from “the other side”.  The is also a bike trail that goes from the main gates, to the camp store, then to the public beach, then back around to the main gate.  It’s  good ride, but half of it is just on the paved road.  I would suggest following the path from the main store to parking lot 8, then turning around and come back.  That path is off the side of the road, on a bike trail through the forest.

There are alot of activities to do at this park it seems.  I havn’t actually done any, but I see they have canoe and bike rentals at the main store.  There is also a visitor center that you can visit, and learn about the park, and the ecosystem.

I like to go to Pinery outside of regular camping months.  Example: April, May, September, October.  I find that when you go during the peak months, they seem really strict.  A lot of officers driving around, etc, etc.  I guess it’s a good thing, keeping the hoodlums in check, but it just seems to be over-policed.

One other thing to note.  When this park is full, you know it.  It’s just a BUSY place.  I’ve been to other parks that are FULL, and you’d never know it.  Maybe it’s just the layout of the pinery, with alot of open sites?  Also, when it’s busy, I’ve seen some pretty crazy line-ups at the gates.

Bicycle & Canoe rental at the main store

Bicycle & Canoe rental at the main store

Camp Store

Camp Store

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One of the docks at the camp store

One of the docks at the camp store

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Area 4 bathroom

Area 4 bathroom

Road at area 4

Road at area 4

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 road

Area 4 campsite

Area 4 campsite

Bike trail

Bike trail

Bike trail

Bike trail

Bike trail

Bike trail

Handicapped boardwalk at beach

Handicapped boardwalk at beach

The beach

The beach

The beach

The beach

The river view from campsite

The river view from campsite

The river view from campsite

The river view from campsite

Middle campsites in area 4

Middle campsites in area 4

Pond in Carolinian trail

Pond in Carolinian trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Carolinian Trail

Here’s a video of the bike path.

Best Campsites

I don’t have a list of good campsites, and bad campsites.  However, the sites that back onto the river are really nice.  Depending on which one you get, the views of the river are great.  The campsites in the middle, I would stay away from, as they are really open.  It’s pretty simple, if you can’t get a river view site, book somewhere else.  However, if you must book at Riverside, and can’t get a riverview site, get a site at the very back, on the outside roads, as they are more private.

Pro’s

- Riverview sites are nice!

- The park is really beautiful in April and October

- Main bathroom is large, and clean

Con’s

- When it’s busy, it’s busy.  It feels cramped

- Over-policed

- Alot of sites at Riverside seem really open

Surround Area Activities

Conclusion

I really like this park during the off-season.  This is usually my GO-TO park for testing my trailer before the camping season.  It’s fairly close to home for me, so it’s fairly quick to get up here and camp for a weekend.  I really like the laid back atmosphere during the off-season, but generally don’t camp here during season, as it’s REALLY busy.  We love staying on the Riverview sites, as during the April and May months, there are alot of Waterfowl laying their eggs, etc.

Halloween at Pinery Provincial Park – October

Halloween…., Camping…., Our two favourite things!

Every year, on a pre-determined weekend, campers flock to Pinery Provincial Park to celebrate Halloween. This year, the date was October 20th, 2012. It took place in Riverside, in section 4. The busiest parts were in the 733 to 724 row, and closer to the river. I can’t comment on the very back of section 4, as I didn’t walk back there, so maybe other’s wouldn’t have ither?

Campers arrived on the Friday, and started decorating their sites and carving their pumpkins. Some campers teamed together on one site, to create spectacular Halloween displays. It’s just a great time to walk around and chat with other campers, and see their decorations and Halloween ideas. The Pinery is really nice at this time. The leaves are in the midst of falling from the trees, and are spectacular colors.

On the Saturday, starting at dusk, kids (and adults) will walk around to each site to gather their candy. It was fun to decorate our site, and hand out candy to visitors. After the candy was all out, we walked around to check-out all the other sites. Some pictures below:

If you have any questions about the Pinery Halloween events, send me an email

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And here are a few pics of the Pinery during the October month. It’s sooooo nice!

 

 

 

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