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“Unexpectedly Wonderful!!!”

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Pinery Provincial Park
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 20, 2009

Took a last minute site at the Pinery this week, there were very few left available in the park. After a quick and friendly check in by the teenage staff we went to our site - 629 in Riverside 3, which didn't look very promising being a fairly open pull through right across from the washroom, but it was pretty much all there was. The park was apparently packed, but surprisingly, you would hardly tell. We had been there late last fall, and I thought I would really notice a difference this time, but really I didn't. Our site turned out to be fairly decent, with trees on 2 sides, and we blocked off the other sides with our tent and car. There was a really nice little path down to the river right across the road, and the kids fished there a number of times. The new washrooms and showers were GREAT!!!! They weren't spotless, but they weren't filthy like I have heard reports of. And no line-ups either, ever actually. I had no problems getting in a shower at 8:30 a.m., and only ever saw one or two people waiting. I like the new way of putting all the showers on the end instead of inside the washrooms. We bought wood from the woodlot, and it was actually dry and decent! We saw no racoons ever (although we always keep our food in the car), but we did have 2 friendly chipmunks and a beautiful pair of cardinals on our site. I thought it would be noisy, especially near the washroom, but after about 11:00, it was really quiet. The only exception was our next door neighbour who apparently only had one volume setting rather it was 12:30 noon, or midnight - when I heard him telling his wife, (and half the campground) that he was a night person. Although I heard him again at 7:00 a.m. shouting about who wanted french toast and bacon, so apparently he was a morning person too ;-). We went to the beach twice, and found the comfort station there clean, and the beach clean, and not overly crowded. The kids loved building with all the driftwood. We rented a canoe and a kayak, and there was only a short line there as well. We were only able to get our site for the one night, so after we packed up, we found a day use spot on the river, and the kids fished a bit and caught some catfish. They also spotted a huge snapping turtle. All in all, a fantastic trip. As we were leaving, the kids were asking when we could go back and stay longer.

Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
6  Thank canadianmom2three
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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202 - 208 of 209 reviews

Reviewed July 15, 2009

We stayed at the Pinery in the first weekend of June. We booked two adjacent sites in Burley campground. The drive to Burley itself is a stunning site. A winding road that twists its way down to the campground under a canopy of trees. It truly felt like we were on our own in the wilderness for a while.

Whilst setting up I took my son (3 yrs) for a wee walk to explore. We found the wooden staircase to the the beach on Lake Huron and were astonished at the beautiful view. Sunset was like a whole other world with a pink and purple sky and the waves crashing to the shore. Of course, vigilance is necessary on the walk with the young ones but it is completely worth it.

3 days is not enough time to take in all this park has to offer. We had the chance to to take the 'Cedar Trail'. ( Look out for the creepy demon tree!) There were many other walking and biking trails as well as bike and canoe rentals. Fishing as well, though there were no catches in our group. A well-stocked store and snack bar are also available but buy your firewood up the street (at the Shiver Shakes? place) as it's the best deal in the area. Also there are no gas stations open late ANYWHERE nearby so fill-up in the daytime if necessary.

The bathrooms were clean and the showers are free. We never had any wait time but I imagine there would be in the mid-summer when the park is at full capacity. Our site was spacious and well-shaded as well. The racoons are very bold here. One cheeky rascal came up and stole my friends chocolate bar whilst we were sitting right beside it next to the fire. Lock everything in your car at night. I do mean lock, I'm convinced these little guys could handle a car door no problem.

All in all, a great trip and we would all definitely go back.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
6  Thank villagevagabond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2007

Grand Bend:Pinery Provincial Park
Date:October 12, 2007
Reviewer: Second year Travel and Tourism student of Humber Amber Hopkins

We just returned from a weekend trip from the every talked about Pinery Provincial Park. The fall season is a great time to go. The fall colours are so beautiful! The best part of going this time of year, is there are no line ups and you are free to use the park at your own leisure.There are some people in the park if you like to join them in a campfire as we did on our first night. As we learned very quickly buying the wood from the park was a mistake, due to it would not burn. The firewood we bought from the pinery just smoked us out of the campsite and it did not burn at all! (I was not a happy
camper!). This is how we met our new friends, where we learned were to buy firewood.Going outside of the park there is one well established place that wil take care of you. Later that night when we
returned to our campsite the little bandits tried to attacked our cooler, but our lock was better than them. The next day we enjoyed a long walk down some of the parks trails. Our favorite was the trail that took you along the Ausable river it displayed a nice variety of wild life. We are looking forward to another trip to the park durning
the winter.

Stayed: October 2007
1  Thank amsterdam1721
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2007

Great park for nature lovers! We went tent camping July 6-8 in the Riverside 4 campground. Most of the sites were close together with some trees for privacy, but there were a few heavily treed areas where privacy was excellent. The chipmunks were rustling around in the woods around us all day and night.

The camp store is great if you need a french fry fix, and the ice cream was appreciated during the hottest day of the year!

I would rate the Pinery #1 for activites (walking trails, bike rentals & paths, and canoe/waterbike/paddle boat rentals, nice beach).
We normally camp at Port Burwell provincial park where I feel the washroom facilities are nicer. They did their best at the Pinery at keeping the washrooms clean, but there were only 2 showers for our entire section! I waited in line for an hour for the women's shower (at 6pm), but it was well worth it.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank travelcoupleOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2007

We spent two nights at the Pinery Provincial park and had a great time. The park is huge and so much to see and do that two days wasn't enough time. The drive to the beach was worth it and has a gorgeous view at sunset. The next day we spent 18 for a 2 hour canoe rental. I was very glad that my husband thought to bring our bikes as they were very handy for washroom/shower visits. All in all it was a pleasant park experience. Yes the racoons are quite in abundance and required weighing down coolers and putting the food in the car at night.

Stayed: June 2007
5  Thank SparklingTarantula
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2007

We spent three peaceful days at the Pinery provincial park last week. To reduce the amount of gear we had to pack, we decided to reserve a yurt rather than bring our tent.

A yurt is an insulated, semi-permanent shelter with a locking front door, lighting, electricity and heat. The walls of the yurt are made of some kind of plastic- or vinyl-coated, quilted fabric, a bit like the waterproof underpadding used for a dining room table.

Be careful with the lock on the door -- we learned this the hard way! The lock has a permanent "unlocked" position when turned all the way clockwise from the inside, but when you unlock the door with the key from the outside, the lock is not in this position, so if you close the door, the lock is engaged. We only got one key for the yurt, and the night we arrived, we dropped the key and couldn't find it in the dark, so we had to go to the main office, which was about 7 km away (10 minute drive). Lucky for us, we didn't drop our car keys!

The staff and park ranger at the main office were very easy-going about the lost key. They had a spare which they lent us and told us to bring back the next day when the other key turned up. We were glad that they were so pleasant and calm, and we were relieved when we found the key the next morning.

As for the yurt -- it had four windows which were sections of the wall for which you could pull down the fabric (attached by velcro) and expose a screened rectangle. Some of the screens in our yurt were torn and not patched very well, so a few bugs could get in. But since it was kind of stuffy inside, we opened the windows to let in some fresh air and just ignored the bugs.

Inside, our yurt included enough beds to sleep up to six people, a plastic dining table and chairs, a dish-drying rack, a small dishwashing tub, a broom and dustpan, and a garbage can. Outside the yurt was a large deck with a picnic table and umbrella, and a propane gas barbecue. At the end of the deck, on ground level, there was a fire pit and another picnic table.

The site we chose (#479) was described as being in full sun, but there were trees around which provided some shade, plus we made good use of the umbrella.

The deck was nice, except that it gave the raccoons a great hiding place for the food they stole from the various camp sites around us. In the heat of mid-day, you could get whiffs of the garbage underneath, which wasn't very pleasant. The deck also took up the majority of the space on the camp site, so it didn't quite feel like a camping trip.

As for the park, it was huge! Three days were not enough to visit all the trails, the river and the beach. In fact, you could probably spend a week there and still not see everything. Unless you drive or bring or rent a bike, you can't really get around this park. For example, the trail from the main office to the day-use beaches is a 12 km loop.

There was plenty of wildlife to be seen -- chipmunks on every path and trail, birds and butterflies, an occasional bat and deer, fish in the river, raccoons at night, and of course plenty of bugs. During this time of year, there weren't really any mosquitos or other stinging or biting insects other than a bee here and there.

The beach is about 10 km long with very fine, soft sand. The beach itself was pretty empty and clean whenever we went, and there was hardly any debris from the water. The water looked pretty rough, plus it wasn't very hot during the day, so we didn't venture in. We waded a bit along the shore, and the water temperature was a little cool but tolerable. None of the beaches have lifeguards, so if you go with kids, you'll have to keep an eye on them yourself.

We hiked two of the trails (Riverside and Cedar). Both trails had a guidebook at the entrance which you could borrow for the hike or voluntarily pay a small fee ($0.50 to $1.50 CAD) if you wanted to keep it. The guidebook provided information at various points along the trail explaining the terrain, flora and fauna, and sometimes the history of the site.

We spent one afternoon on the river in a rented paddle boat. The water in the river barely moves, so there is really no current working for or against you. The river is lined with forest on both sides, and there were lots of water lilies growing along the banks. I think we enjoyed the river the most during this trip (both hiking along it and paddling in it).

As for amenities, the park has a store which sells food and supplies, two places that sell firewood ($6 CAD per bag), a nature center where you can learn more about the park, a bike rental place and canoe, kayak and paddle boat rentals.

The comfort station near us was pretty standard for a camp site: a sink area with very scuffed up mirrors, a bank of toilet stalls, and a couple of shower stalls. The showers use electronic sensors to turn on the water, but one of them was malfunctioning and wouldn't turn back on when it should have. There was good water pressure in the showers, and the water was always warm enough. The comfort station also had a family bathroom (I didn't go in, so I'm not sure what was included inside), as well as coin-operated laundry facilities.

One thing I noticed was that there were many retirees or seniors using the park while we were there. Perhaps it was because of the time of year (school's not out yet, and we were there during weekdays), but everyone was very friendly and polite and we felt very safe.

Overall, the Pinery was a nice park, but the yurt was not worth the cost ($75 CAD per night). We probably could have stayed in a motel in nearby Grand Bend for the same amount and had better and cleaner facilities.

51  Thank wrinkly_raisin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2015
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Stayed: July 2015, traveled with family
1  Thank Julie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pinery Provincial Park

Address: Rr 2, Grand Bend, Lambton Shores, Ontario N0M 1T0, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Lambton Shores > Grand Bend
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Grand Bend
Number of rooms: 12
Also Known As:
Pinery Provincial Park Hotel Grand Bend
Pinery Provincial Park Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada

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