Rondeau Provincial Park is situated on the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario. Rondeau has a lot to offer and those of you who are looking for new parks to camp at should try Rondeau. We camped at Rondeau most recently on Thanksgiving weekend, 2010. Here is what makes Rondeau stand out among other parks in the Ontario Parks system:
Environment: Rondeau is situated on an eight-kilometre long sand spit that extends out into Lake Erie. This land mass contains beaches, sand dunes, marshes and unique forests with rare trees, including: butternut and hickory trees.
Beach: There is a beautiful eight-kilometre long beach on the east side of the campground. It is easily accessible and only a few minutes walk from the campground. You will need to cross Lakeshore Road, which is used by campers and cottagers, so ensure that your younger children are supervised.
Biking: In my opinion, Rondeau is one of the best parks in the Ontario Parks system for biking. The trails are flat, safe for children and quite scenic. We did the Marsh Trail (14.4 km return) and enjoyed the large observation deck along the trail that faces southwest over Lake Erie. The South Point Trail (8 km loop) will take you to the southern tip of the sand spit that Rondeau is situated on and offers a great southerly view of Lake Erie. You can see many old cottages dating back to the 1920s and 1930s along Lake Shore Road. Biking is also permitted on the Harrison Trail (16 km return) and Rondeau Road.
Camping: The Rondeau campsites are mostly in the open and do not offer very good privacy. This is understandable as Rondeau is the second oldest provincial park in Ontario (after Algonquin Park), dating back to 1894. The campsites have been used for decades, which hinder the ability of the trees and shrubs to grow.
Hiking: The biking routes mentioned above can also be hiked. There are three other smaller trails in the park that are designated for hiking only and are more suitable for young children. The Tulip Tree Trail is the best choice because it starts and ends at the visitor centre, which is also worth a visit. Our favourite hike was just along the eight-kilometre Rondeau beach.
Facilities and Services: Rondeau has day use picnic facilities, comfort stations, playgrounds, a park store, and a visitor centre. Boating and fishing are also very popular in the area.
In Conclusion: There are 262 campsites at Rondeau and the July-August occupancy rate for 2009 was only 65%, which means that there were lots of campsites available. It’s hard to believe that such a great park has so many campsites unoccupied. There are enough activities at Rondeau to keep you busy for a week in the summer. If you camp at Rondeau for Thanksgiving, don’t forget to pack your Halloween gear and pumpkins. Halloween has been celebrated at Rondeau on the Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekends for the past eight to nine years.
My Park Rating: 4.5 out of 5