In August 2021, on my way back from a long weekend in Niagara, I decided to cut the road back in two and spend the night in Presqu'Ile Provincial Park, a small protected strip of land on Lake Ontario, in Canada. I spent an afternoon and one night there camping by myself and decided that I would need to come back for a few days and explore the park properly. Then in May 2022, my friend Amy and I were looking for a place to visit during a long weekend at the end of the month and I jumped at the chance to visit Presqu'Ile again. I think it's the perfect camping destination for beginners and it has plenty of fun activities!
Our weekend in presqu'ile
Amy and I arrived in Presqu'île passed 10 PM on the Friday of our long weekend. We had a reservation so we were able to go in to our campsite without any issue, which was good because the campground office was closed. There are indications that were easy to follow to our campsite.
It was the end of May when we visited so it was pretty cold, but still comfortable with a regular sleeping bag. In the two and a half days that we were there, we had one day of rain, but the other days we had perfect weather. There was also a huge thunderstorm on our second night that lasted about 30 minutes, but our tent was protected by the surrounding trees and we were able to take shelter by the amphitheater. We then had a beautiful evening and the weather cleared up for the night.
All in all, it was a great weekend where we were able to do multiple activities, enjoy the park amenities and even try a new recipe: we baked chocolate cake in an orange peel on the fire!
There is so much to do in Presqu'île, but at the same time there is a relaxed atmosphere. There is no rush!
We personally spent the rainy day exploring the small town near the park and going on a hike in the forest to be somewhat protected from the rain. During the sunny days, we went swimming and paddleboarding in the perfect turquoise waters, we went for a walk on the beach and spent time reading by the water. We also saw plenty of swans and other small birds that we couldn't identify as we are very much not specialists in that area.
Most people had bikes and could ride along the bike path around the peninsula or went bird watching. There is also a lighthouse and museums that you can visit and guided activities with the park rangers are offered for children and adults alike.
Honestly, it's just a great place to relax, unwind, enjoy the beautiful scenery and spend quality time with friends and family.
Why it's perfect for beginners
I would have loved to be in Presqu'île when I first started camping. Back then we were in British Colombia and Alberta in huge National Parks where the closest grocery store was two days away.
You don't have that problem in Presqu'île. Although it feels secluded by being on a smallish peninsula, it is a 15 minute drive to the closest town where you will find a grocery store, liquor store, sports equipment store, as well as cute little books and souvenir shops. So if you are missing anything, there is always the possibility to go and buy it.
Another thing that I love is the rain shelter. By the group sites, there is a large building with tables, big enough to seat about 30 people, where you can go to cook or eat if its raining and you don't feel like eating in your car or in a small tent. For people that don't have a lot of equipment, it is great and allows them to enjoy their food in all weather. We went there for breakfast and lunch during the rainy day that we had and we even saw deers from the window while we were eating.
There is also a camp store with last minute items like butane cans or bug spray and the staff was really helpful everytime that we had questions or needed anything even if it was the beginning of the season and they probably were still being trained.
What you need to bring
Honestly, except for camping essentials, you don't need anything in particular. A tent, a sleeping bag, clothes for all weather, rain gear, a mattress, a camping stove if it's easier for you than cooking on the fire and cutlery, a cooler, and that's pretty much it. Most of these can even be rented at local outdoors equipment stores if you would like to try camping out before buying your own equipment. The water is drinkable and available at multiple places around the campground so there is no need to bring a big tank. Like I said, if you are missing anything, you can always buy it in town.
Presqu'île is one of those lesser known places in Canada where I would like to go back year after year. It's just as pretty as Bruce peninsula, but less crowded and the water is just so clear and nice that I can't help, but love the scenery.
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