A Beach vacation at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario
We've visited Grand Bend beach a few summers ago with a group of friends. I've written a blog about our experience earlier. This year, we joined a public group on Social media where everybody talked about a famous camping destination in Ontario. According to the posts, it was pretty challenging to score a campsite at this location. Since we were determined to use our camping supplies more than once. I scrolled down the web several times to find good spots in popular provincial parks. One of them was Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron.
Pinery is a breathtaking beach destination spread through 10 km of sandy beach. Scarce flora, fauna, and bird species can be found here in the park. Sunsets from the beach are ranked in the top 10 best globally. Pinery is accessible around the year and stretches through 21 square km of land include coastal dunes. Campers can enjoy walking and bike trails in summer and ski slopes in winter. You can rent a canoe, hydro bike, paddleboat, or a single or double kayak to explore the Old Ausable Channel - a provincially significant wetland.
We were lucky to find two sites close to each other in the Riverside area. Although, both of them were non-electric. Since we were tenting, we were ok with that. After some research, we figured out Riverside campground was farther away from the beaches. We'd have to drive; there was no way we could walk that far. We booked both of them through Ontario Provincial Park's website for the first week of August without any hesitation. It was kind of last minute. We were elevated to explore another territory in the province.
As we reached the gates, we saw the boards mentioning there's been a bear sighting at one of the parks. My heart stopped beating for a minute, bear in the jungle. I'd only heard about it up North. It wasn't common to see such wild species around the beaches. Anyways, we were handed two brochures- One with the information about the bear, how to act if we encountered the black bear, another one with the information about the park.
We followed the map and reached our campsite just around 2 pm, the usual time for check-in. The camp sat on the hill by the river; that's why the campground was called Riverside. It was a decent area to put our large eight people tent. There was a fire pit, picnic table, and an enclosed area to park our car between the trees. Our friends arrived just after that, and we helped them set up their tent. Our booking was only for one night.
After having tea and snacks, we decided to venture into the area. A large recreation center is located near the Riverside campground. You can rent the boats from here. It also has a store where you can buy stuff and enjoy cooked meals from the restaurants. Ice cream and pizza at Pinery are top-rated, so don't miss it. The rental desk was closed by the time we reached. We were told it opens at 10 am. We thought of exploring the Grand Bend beach, which is 10 minutes drive from the park but instead decided to venture inside the park itself.
We drove to the beach inside Pinery, within walking distance of people camping at the Dunes Campground. Omg, it was the cleanest beaches of all. There were few people in the area, and sand enticed us to jump in the water. The kids jumped in the water while we sat to breathe the magnificent view from the beach mat. The sun was almost about to set. It was getting dark, and men with us worried about starting the fire for barbecue.
It happened to be that, for one lucky day, ladies got to enjoy the luxury of appreciating the glorious sunset while both men headed back to cook. They promised they'd bring food before the sunset. We pleasantly grabbed the opportunity and relished the sight.
It was a memorable meal facing the mighty Lake Huron with the collaboration of magical sunset. I will never forget it in my life. Thanks to our husbands for providing us with this experience. We headed to our tents with the falling night and bid goodbyes to nature. All of us sat by the fire to roast marshmallows and smores. I returned the favor with a hot cup of tea. Despite the fact, it was a hot summer day; the night was a bit chilly. I remembered the scorching sun trying to burn me when I was helping my husband to set up the tent. It was pleasant at night.
We were all tired after driving two hours to the park and all the adrenaline rushing through our bodies the whole day. Instead of singing with the birds in the morning, we decided to rest just after midnight. Our friends left first. My husband insisted that we sit to chat a bit longer. But upon hearing about the sighting of the Black Bear, I was frightened to stay out in the dark. I swear after we stepped inside the tent to retire for the night. I kept hearing sounds of animals walking in the area. It was our fourth camping trip, and I had never heard that before. Maybe I was hallucinating.
The following day, we woke up before our kids and drove to our friend's tent to check if they were awake. We wanted to go to the beach again. Since we already saw the sunset at that beach, sunrise wasn't possible, but the calm wind of the dawn didn't hurt. We walked around to avail the sights of the pink skies.
Once we finished our breakfast, we went back to check the boat rentals with the kids. The big boys stuck together, and the husband got on one canoe while we ladies walked around taking pictures. People had started piling up, and it filled up so fast, glad we were able to get something. Past our canoeing experience, everyone enjoyed some ice creams.
The sun was up high again and we were sweltering with heat. We had to leave our site in two hours. We returned to make some lunch at the campsite before emptying the area.
Pinery was one magical experience that our family loved and cherished. We'd definitely come back to this location in the following summer.
Here's my old blog about Grand Bend Beach, if you'd like to read it. https://vandanarajbhatt.com/read-article/1611_a-day-at-grand-bend-beach.html