For the last 3 years, my boyfriend and I have arranged camping in one of Ontario’s Provincial Parks with another couple in our close circle of friends. Our friends live in Toronto, so we coordinate to have them come over the night before we head out for camping (and this seems to work pretty well and we’ve taken two cars for the last two years). We usually arrive mid-day, make use of the campground and amenities, cook dinner onsite and stay one night, heading out the following day. I’m starting to refer to our camping adventures as an annual tradition!
The Ontario Parks website is easy to use and I really like being able to pick an ideal location and visualize on a map where our campsite is located. Our first outing in 2014 was booked at the Pinery in Grand Bend, which was beautiful and less than 2 hours away! Last year we went to Sauble Falls, which wasn’t quite as nice at the Pinery and was further North towards the Bruce Peninsula. This year we decided on Point Farms as it was reasonably close and was along the same coast as the Pinery, so we felt it would be similar. (All three of my TripAdvisor campground reviews are linked above).
At Point Farms, I chose site 157 in Colborne Campground as this spot was centrally located between a main bathroom, water tap and was reasonably close to the beach – all very important features (in the past I’ve chosen a site further from the main bathroom and we’ve found the “out house” style bathrooms to be quite lacking in cleanliness, lighting and hot water). This turned out to be a great spot with good privacy and shade! The sandy/shallow beach was a reasonably close, though it took 121 steps down a steep hill to access it (or you could take the paved road the long way around). The area offered three different trails (we did the two shortest trails - both were beautiful, well maintained trails and alive with greenery and wildlife! A wide variety of birds were ever present at our campsite and on the trails, and I was serenaded awake by their pleasant chirping in the morning. Again, pros/cons and more details in my Tripadvisor review here. Overall, this campground didn’t disappoint! It was quite scenic, clean and has lots to do!
From a personal standpoint, I love cooking over the campfire! We made hot Italian sausages, hot dogs, grilled veggies for dinner, with potato salad on the side and fresh strawberries for dessert. We had several options for snacks from Bulk Barn, which we indulged in late into the evening. For breakfast, I cooked up bacon wrapped wienies over the fire (unfortunately, we forgot the eggs). I’ve come to find that prepping everything in advance (cutting, washing and storing in containers) makes for a smooth cooking experience in a “foreign kitchen”.
We’ve invested few hundred dollars in good quality camping equipment, including a decent tent, sleeping bag, cooler (with 5-day cold rating), camping-designated cooking utensils and dishes (heavy duty plastic cups, utensils, plates, and tongs, grill basket, frying pan, etc.), flint, tarp, fire starters (homemade), splitting axe, water dispenser, campfire chairs, etc. and have a pretty good set-up now. Over the first couple years you learn things – important things that can only be taught through trial and error:
I find it relaxing to get away for the weekend, leaving my every day stresses at home while enjoying swimming, hikes, drinking, “barbecuing”, and chat among friends. After short getaways like this, I always feel refreshed, returning to daily life and work with new-found energy and focus. I feel these little trips are definitely worth the short drive and wish I could enjoy them more frequently!
I’m working my way through life in Canada and traveling when I can afford to explore beyond the border. Sharing my tips, trips, opinions and rants on life and travel in the meantime.