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“Best provincial park in southern ontario”

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Pinery Provincial Park
Sarnia, Canada
Level Contributor
58 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Best provincial park in southern ontario”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

The pinery is full of things to do for example, hiking the numerous trails, biking the roads and bike trails, visiting the visitor's centre, and basking in the sun at their beaches. I've been going for 13 years, and I always have so much fun there. The best place to camp is Burley, because the sites are a little more spaced out and secluded. Also, make sure when you book you campsite, make it within walking distance of a bathroom with showers instead of outhouses. The other campgrounds are Dunes, with beach access, and Riverside, without beach access. There's also group camping, and numbered beaches for day trips, including a dog beach, the only beach they allow dogs to go to.

Room Tip: Book in Burley for more seclusion and space
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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188 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Niagara, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 April 2012

I have read a few negative comments on this site about the park. I think people expect too much when going camping. It depends on where you stay. We have been there the last 4 years in a row, and have booked 10 days for this year. It never gets boring. Sure you'll have the odd rowdy partysite here and there, but then again, I remember doing the same thing when I was younger. I have noticed a police presence in the park after 11pm on many occasions, along with park foot patrols, so don't let 1 or 2 readers sway your judgement of the park. The beaches are "incredible" and the sunset is something to capture on film. Why not take a ride into Grand Bend for a few hours or the day. It's a 5 minute drive from the park and there are a lot of restaurants and shopping outlets to explore. There are many trails, along with canoe rentals, fishing, and plenty of activities for the kids. If you are looking for a quiet little spot to be with nature, then maybe Algonquin Park is for you. There are about 1,000 campsites, so if you're not the sociable type, then don't book it. Most of the washrooms were redone with ceramics and are clean, depending on which area you are in. Closer to the beach means more traffic, hence why people complain they are dirty,and you may come across the odd ignorant person who lacks the knowledge to flush. We have never had an issue that wasn't handled immediately, (2 minor incidents involving garbage and noise) and the park staff are very helpful. Testament to this parks popularity is based upon how fast it gets booked each year with many American families also enjoying the beauty of it all, so I don't think that the park itself should be given a bad rap over a few posted incidents. Take a shot, give it a try, and I'll guarantee that you will return. We do, even though the drive takes us 3hrs 45mins one way, it's worth it. I never want to leave when I get there. You can't please everyone, but everyone I have ever talked to that spent time at the Pinery loved their experience. Truly one of natures gems. Dan in St.Catharines, On.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
20 Thank dapich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2012

We have been camping at the Pinery for the last three years and are hoping to make this year our fourth. They have three areas - Dunes, Riverside and Burley. We like staying in Burley because it's very far away from everything (up to 20 min drive from the entrance of the park), usually you have more privacy and more we find the area more quieter. Riverside is close to the store, where you can buy breakfast, rent bikes, canoes, etc... so there's more younger families and just a younger crowd in general.

The hiking trails are fantastic, and they have lots of really awesome wildlife and birds.

Definitely a great camping experience, and it's so nice to be right on lake Huron.

Highly recommend Pinery!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank bandnandpups
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Waterloo, Canada
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 August 2011

I camp at this park every summer. Over the years I have learned to try and follow some simple tips:
1. Camp from Sunday to Friday if you want quiet. The rowdy, party crowd will show up on Friday and leave on Sunday. The park can get quite noisy on weekends. This year we came back to our site to find 3 police cruisers assisting park staff with ejecting a group of rowdy young guys.

2. Choose Burley campground. Burley is the quietest campground of the three and is tent only. There is beach access.

Overall the park is great, lots for families to do including canoe and paddle boat rental, bike rental with some lovely trails, beautiful hiking trails. Nice park store with ice cream, nice, newly updated Nature Centre, guided walks etc. There is always lots to do at The Pinery and the beautiful, huge beach is hard to beat. They also have a designated dog beach for the dog loving campers.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank WoodYukon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2011

We camped at Pinery from July 16- 20 at Riverside campground during an incredible heat wave in a tent trailer. This is a very large and busy park with lots of activities and a great beach. We enjoyed ourselves, despite the unrelenting heat.

As a family we camp - 5-8 times per year, and are familiar with many of the Ontario Provincial Parks. We have camped in both large parks like this one, and many of the smaller less popular parks. We have kids 5 and 7 years old, who enjoy the camping life, especially being able to ride their bikes around the sites, going to the beach and participating in many of teh activities the provincial parks have to offer.

We were very excited to be going to this park, however, we left a little dissapointed. The park is very nice, well maintained for the most part and offers many activities such as hiking, a great beach and programs put on by park staff, however, here are some of the reasons we didn't like it:

1. The park is so big that you need to drive about 7-10 minutes to get to the beach - I would not take bikes with 2 little kids from riverside to the beach for fear that they would be run over by reckless drivers racing up and down the main road - their is no backway to get from Riverside to the beach.

2. Comfort stations seem to be few and far between- their is not enough of them for the size of the park and the campgrounds. They were always busy, and were fine if you lucked out that they had just been cleaned or replenished, however, it seems staff could not keep up with the very heavy usage.

3. Some of the access roads to sites are very narrow, which is good from a privacy standpoint, however, it can make accessing your site difficult - especially with a trailer. Pay careful attention to site descriptions. Our site Riverside # 857 was very difficult to get the trailer into - also it was very sandy, which lead to a great mess in the trailer. The broom came in very handy to keep things semi-clean.

4. Since the park is so big and with so much going on, the roads around the site always seem busy. Try to get a site that is not near the main access roads - it will be much quieter.

5. From a positive standpoint, the campground was pretty quiet at night time, however, our site was fairly close to all the other sites, and we really noticed the drone of AC units on the trailers around us. Thus, try and find a site that is not too close to another site.

6. We would go back again to the park, however, not during a weekend - it just seems so busy that you really can't relax - a Sunday - Friday trip would be fine, however, weekends just seem to get too busy and chaotic.

6. The hiking trails are nice and well maintained, and we enjoyed that very much, however, we really didn't do as much hiking as we usually do for the fact it was so hot.

7. Since this park is so close to Grand Bend, the tap water is city water, and thus drinkable, which is good - no need to have cases and cases of bottled water like other parks. Also, Grand Bend is but 10 minutes away with grocery stores, etc. to get supplies, and other items that you may run out of or forget.

Overall this is a nice park, just very large, with lots of campsites (over 1,000), and thus very busy. The beach is great and the views and sunsets make this trip worthwhile, just not on the weekend if you are a family looking for some peace, quiet and relaxation.

4.

Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
15 Thank armchair69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guelph, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2011

Travelled to the Pinery with hubby and two daughters from a Wednesday to a Saturday. The drive to our campsite from the main gate was a minimum of ten minutes, it was like going into another world. Beautiful, beautiful park, which is very well maintained. It was the type of mini-vacation where you feel like you have been relaxing forever. The peaceful feeling is instantaneous and profound. Tons of things to do with kids, very family friendly beach, where the little ones can walk out into the lake for at least half a mile on soft sand.
Campground quiet, no noise issues in any way. We stayed in Riverside, which is a little ways away from the beach, but has much less of a party atmosphere than the Burley or the Dunes. It was a good choice for us. Yes we had to drive to the beach, but we had wonderfully quiet nights, even though park was fully booked on the Friday. Washrooms were very clean, staff very friendly, beaches pristine and great ice cream too!
We couldn't wait until next year to go back, so we booked in for August. Have highly recommended it to friends, who have also already booked. Only word of warning, this park is immense, but it fills up fast. If you want to go this summer, book ASAP. This will be a family tradition for us for years and years to come.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank havetentwilltravel75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stouffville
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2011

This was my first time to this park, and it was recommended by friends. We went with another family, all of us have kids. The beaches are many and great, the trails are fantastic, and the lack of mosquitos due to the dragonfly population is a nice plus. The washrooms and showers are in good condition and are clean, and overall in terms of park facilities, it is decent.

HOWEVER, what absolutely destroyed the experience for us, our friends, and other campers who stayed the same time (to whom we talked) is the completely unacceptable level of noise, rowdiness and drunkenness that the park staff allow. Both nights that we were there, there were sites where many (mostly) males were so drunk, they were shouting, talking loudly, swearing, etc. until well past 1AM. When we complained the next morning to an official, we were told that we should have used the emergency phone, brushing off any responsibility for the park to control noise levels. I mean, we were in a freaking radio free area, so the park should be extra sensitive to the campers' needs with regards to noise. But patrol cars went past and did nothing about the noise. They did talk with the rowdy group, and they quieted down the next night but then another group started shouting. Hardly a good way to introduce camping to young kids. I wish parks not only had radio free zones, but alcohol free zones, so that those who enjoy peace and quiet can have some semblance of value for their money. As it stands, our family will not be camping at the Pinery again.

Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
23 Thank thegazelle85
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

Property: Pinery Provincial Park
Address: RR 2, Grand Bend, Lambton Shores, Ontario N0M 1T0, Canada
Region: Canada > Ontario > Lambton Shores > Grand Bend
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Grand Bend
Number of rooms: 12
Also Known As:
Pinery Provincial Park Hotel Grand Bend
Pinery Provincial Park Grand Bend, Ontario

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