We've got a great camping destination for you!
When Expedia.ca asked me what one of my favorite places in Southern Ontario was, Long Point Provincial Park immediately came to mind. As one of Ontario's oldest provincial parks, and the only one to be located in a designated World Biosphere Preserve, Long Point Provincial Park is long indeed on bragging rights. Located a mere two hours or so outside of bustling Niagara Falls, this gorgeous park, set along the shores of Lake Erie, is famous for fishing, birding, and boating however we love it best for good old fashioned camping.
Every summer we join friends for our "big" annual camping trip, lasting anywhere from several days to nearly a week, and Long Point is a favourite spots of all our destinations. It checks all our usual camping boxes (clean sites, clean washrooms, a nice blend of lively but not TOO lively atmosphere) and yet it offers so much more than that. Here are our five favourite things about Long Point Provincial Park.
Tenting at Turtle Dunes
While squinting at an online map of the campground doesn't sound like much fun, I'm glad we spent so much time analyzing our choices. Long Point features four campgrounds, one of which is radio free, and about half of all sites have electrical service. After much consideration, we opted for a premium site on the Turtle Dunes Campground. All the premium sites are on sand, separated from the beach only by the dunes and located at the end of a quiet driving loop.
Getting a campground right beside the water was a wonderful decision! It was easy and convenient for the families in our group and it made going for a quick swim an easy activity - no packing up all the gear and driving to a different location only to pack it all up again and return when the weather turns or it's time to eat.
The beaches here really are amazing. The waters of Lake Erie are clean and clear, and there's an endless expanse of soft, white sand, occasionally marked with drift wood. The only downside of our location next to the lake was that it wasn't a dog-friendly area for swimming but we were able to make alternative arrangements for getting Oliver out for a swim. (Pro tip: Pack a mini broom and dust pan. You are going to be sweeping A LOT of sand out of your tent!)
Campfire, s'mores, and sunsets are the perfect summer combination and Long Point does especially well when it comes to excelling on the sunsets! I might be biased, of course, since I've been here several times.... The long, flat spit of land that the park is located on (the long point in question) juts out into the lake and the result are sunsets that rival anything I've seen in Hawaii. The rainbows are pretty great too (though much more tricky to capture on camera).
Break for snakes! (And other critters too...)
Long Point Provincial Park and the surrounding area is renowned for bird activity and it is a favourite haunt of dedicated birders. Over 300 different song birds and waterfowl call the area home! But feathered friends aren't the only animals here. We loved seeing these cute signs as we drove in and out of the park. For those who find snakes and their kin less than appealing, take heart. The snakes, turtles, and toads were so shy that we never once saw them - much to our disappointment!
There was a time, not that long ago, really, when the general response to snakes being spotted in a Provincial Park was to have someone frantically run down to the ranger's station to retrieve a staff member - and a shovel. Happily, those attitudes have changed and the eye catching animal crossing signs are just one way the staff are taking measures to preserve the park's delicate eco-system.
Unfortunately, there is one member of the animal kingdom that is an unwelcome guest at Long Point and that's the tick. While some ticks are harmless or just merely annoying, others can transmit Lyme Disease. Wearing long, loose layers can help, as well as generally avoiding their habitat (easy enough to do if you're spending more time at the beach than the woods. Canine campers should be pre-treated with an anti-tick and pest product recommended by a veterinarian. We use a medication called Revolution for Oliver and, while he did end up with a tick attached to him despite our best efforts, it was happily harmless.
A different way to explore "on foot".
Just steps from the Provincial Park entrance is the launch point for Baer Kayak. They offer kayak and fishing tours on angler kayaks, also known as pedal paddles as the bulk of your moment comes from foot paddles.As a newbie to the game, I found these boats tremendously easy to use and very friendly for those who are just on the wimpy side of brave. And they're the perfect way to explore the waterways around Long Point and can take you into the ideal fishing spots.
But if you want to swap camping for civilization...
Port Rowan, right beside Long Point Provincial Park, is a charming little town that has everything you need to stock up for camping. There's a great spot to get ice cream and also a branch of Godfather's Pizza, which makes a mighty fine pie (though I may be biased as it was our go-to food when we got rained out of the campsite one night!)
If camping isn't your style or you'd just like to break things up with a night in a fine bed, I highly recommend Palm Trees and Polar Bears Bed and Breakfast. They're well versed in catering to travelers who come to the area for birding and nature activities and they'll make you feel right at home. And their breakfasts are absolutely amazing!
Camping often has a reputation as a "love it or hate it" kind of travel activity but I think Long Point Provincial Park is the perfect place for those in the middle, for anyone's who's a bit hesitant or not sure if camping really is the activity for them. The beauty of the campground and the surrounding area lets you feel like you're truly on vacation and offers everything you want in a travel experience.
Heading to Long Point Provincial Park? Here's more things you should check out in the area!
A Day in Port Dover
The Combine Restaurant of Simcoe
The Cheese Lover's Guide to Norfolk County