Rondeau Provincial Park – Best Park On Lake Erie?

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.

Rondeau Beach

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.

Marsh Trail

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

Resources: For camping information and tips, see: The Camp Tripper. For camping gear, see: http://astore.amazon.com/tip4cam-20

Advertisements

About Patrick Dzieciol

I have authored and published "The Camp Tripper - The Secrets of Successful Family Camping in Ontario" http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=9781450226264&image1.x=79&image1.y=17. If you want to get in touch with me, please drop me an email at: tips4camping@hotmail.com.
This entry was posted in Beach, Biking, Camping, Erie, Hiking, Ontario, Park, Rondeau, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Rondeau Provincial Park – Best Park On Lake Erie?

  1. John says:

    While I appreciate your explanation of the poor quality of sites at Rondeau in relation to the park’s age, I just can’t wrap my head around it when there is so much better in this region. We only went there once and would not return. Maybe Rondeau lifers know where the “good” sites are but we didn’t see anything that impressed us.

  2. I agree with your concerns about the poor quality campsites John. Rondeau is one of my favourite parks because it offers a lot of good recreational facilities, including the beach, biking and hiking trails as well as the visitor centre. I don’t spend a lot of time at the campsite, so the lack of privacy isn’t a huge issue with me as long my neighbours aren’t noisy! Thanks for your comment here as well as your comments in some of my other posts!

  3. Sue R says:

    We would like to spend an overnight there in a week or so to check it out. Any recommendations as to which campsite numbers might be the best? It will be a Sunday night…so do we need to reserve or is it better to go and pick one for our little tent?

    • The campsites along the perimeter (especially along the Lake Erie side) are the best campsites. Almost all campsites are open and offer very little privacy. If you are camping in a tent, focus on the perimeter sites that are located in the south end and closest to Lake Erie. Check the Ontario Parks website for availablility on your dates before you go. Campsites aren’t always available.

  4. L W says:

    I’ve been camping at and visiting Rondeau my entire life and although I will agree about the lack of privacy throughout the campground it is getting better. The Ontario Parks direction, at least at Rondeau, is to return as much of it back to nature. This includes allowing the native flora and fauna to grow between sites and in as many places as possible.

    It is one of my favourite places because one can go northwest to Rondeau Bay (where famed pro-fisherman Bob Iszumi got started) and southeast to Lake Erie. Rondeau bay is also one of the main stopping points for migrating insects and fowl such as the monarch butterfly, Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, many types of ducks and many other birds. It is also one of the most northern points of the Carolinian Forest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolinian_forest) which boasts one of the most diverse eco-systems in North America. It is one of the most popular provincial parks in the spring for birdwatchers.

    There are lots of other fantastic facts about the second oldest provincial park in Ontario. You can find them at the Friends of Rondeau Park website here: http://www.rondeauprovincialpark.ca/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s