Since travel and spending time outside is important to our family, it is what we give each other for Christmas. For their main present every year, each kiddo gets to go on a special trip by themselves with Dave or I to a destination that they are interested in. Last year I traveled with Garrett to Amicalola Falls for a 4 night Appalachian Trail section hike and Sophie to New Orleans where we ran the Louisiana Half Marathon. This year I got to travel with Maya and Naomi. Maya picked a trip to Pittsburgh for the Three Rivers Arts Festival and Taylor Swift Concert (which was a blast!). And Naomi and I decided to brush off our passports and head up Canada’s Lake Huron Shores to Bruce Peninsula National Park, camping at Provincial Parks along the way. Our first stop was Pinery Provincial Park before visiting MacGregor Point, Sauble Falls and finally Bruce Peninsula National Park. With the beautiful Lake Huron beach, pleasant campground, and gorgeous scenery, our trip got off to a great start at Pinery Provincial Park.
Camping in Pinery Provincial Park:
There are three campgrounds in Pinery Provincial Park- Riverside, Burley and Dunes. We chose Burley for it’s proximity to the beach and limited number of electric sites since we didn’t need electricity. Reservations can be made here, and we were glad booked in advance since there were only a couple of open sites when we arrived early in the afternoon in the middle of August.
Pinery Provincial Park- Burley Campground
The campsites at Burley are wooded and large and even though there are large numbers of campsites, felt private. It was an easy walk to the beach where we spent most of the day. Both the bathrooms and shower houses were clean and well maintained. While we were just staying overnight, it is obvious that many people come here to vacation for several days as many of the campsites were quite elaborate with large hammocks, grills and enormous tents.
The beach was somewhat crowded with visitors in the middle of the afternoon, but Naomi and I were happy to see that there was no litter strewn about as you sometimes find in crowded beach areas. (Read about our trip to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to see what I am taking about.) The weather was gorgeous and the water was clear, what more could you ask for? We spent the entire afternoon laying out, swimming, and walking along the shore. We also enjoyed an amazing sunset on the beach. It was a perfect first night!
Pinery Provincial Park- Cedar Trail
Waking up early the next morning, I let Naomi sleep in while I ran along the beach and also ran the 2.3 km Cedar Trail. With easy access to Burley Campground from the 1 km Cedar Trail Extension, this was an ideal morning run destination. Make sure to take in the views of the gorgeous Ausable River down the boardwalk mid trail. I saw turtles, ravens, wild turkeys including a mama and her babies and tons of black squirrels which I had never seen before.
Before heading out of Pinery Provincial Park, Naomi and I visited the impressive Visitor’s Center. We enjoyed meandering the exhibits and watching the black squirrels raid the bird feeders at the large windowed overlook. The hours are somewhat limited, from 10-5 on weekends and 1-4 on weekdays. Free Wifi is also available here.
We were really impressed with our first experience at a Provincial Park in Canada! Clean, organized and well maintained, we would be happy to make a return visit.
Pinery Provincial Park
If you go-
I have never seen such an abundance of poison ivy as we saw throughout our trip and Pinery Provincial Park was no exception. Make sure when camping and hiking in the woods to watch for it. It was in the ground cover surrounding the campsites and bathrooms and could be seen just off the trails throughout the park. As Naomi is quite sensitive to poison ivy, she made sure to wash with Tecnu Cleanser after hiking and never developed a rash.
While we didn’t bring Luna, dogs were welcome at all of the Provincial Parks we visited this trip as well as Bruce Peninsula National Park.
If you can, bring a bike to use during your visit. While we didn’t have ours, it would have been convenient and many campers had theirs.
Make sure to bring a snorkel and mask if you head up this way! Naomi added it to our pack list and we had so much fun using it in the clear Lake Huron waters! The Mask/Snorkel/Fin Set we have are very basic and quite inexpensive but we’ve used them all over the place and work great.
We especially enjoyed reading Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals while traveling along Lake Huron. Part ghost story and part history, it is a fascinating read!