Lake Huron. Amazing Sunsets. Trails. Nature Programming. Bike Rentals.
This park should shine. Unfortunately all that somehow adds up to a rather mediocre experience.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located on the shores of Lake Huron, near Port Elgin. It opened in 1975, due to the closure of near-by Inverhuron Provincial Park. Inverhuron has since re-opened.
Its area is about 12 square km and it boasts 7 kilometres of coastline. There are yurts, electrical sites, radio-free sites, trails, beaches and clean comfort stations with showers, flush toilets and laundry.
It sounds like a great park, and comes highly-recommended.
Unfortunately, for us, it seemed to lack the “wow” factor of some of our other camping trips at Ontario Provincial Parks.
That said, our experience was not terrible – it was really quite pleasant. I am very interested in returning to this park to experience it in different seasons, when I think its assets would really shine. I would also love to check out some of their events. The Friends of MacGregor seem to have a lot going on, and I am disappointed that our timing was not great to participate in any of their programs or events.
We camped in Nippising Campground on Site 225. It had a good privacy rating, good quality rating, was a quick walk away from comfort stations and a trail to the Camper’s Beach.
Our site was fairly private. We could barely see the other sites through the trees, but it was open to the (very quiet) road. The site was pretty small, but for one tent and a family of 4, it was sufficient. It was one of the better sites in that area for sure – I would recommend it. Partially because of its close proximity to 2 comfort stations! Close, but not too close.
This was the first time we have car-camped in a non-radio-free campground. Our neighbours did play music very loudly from about 10:30-11:00, when I’m guessing they were asked to turn it down. I didn’t really mind, they had good taste in music and our kids weren’t really bothered by it, so we didn’t complain.
This is the main reason I was not impressed. We walked to the Camper’s Beach along a trail. A nice walk that took us to the water.
At this point, we were pretty apprehensive about the beach. It looked pretty marshy. We were right. The bottom was a sludgy, disgusting mess. I was almost willing to tough it out, but it really was gross. We walked back to our site and headed for the day-use beach. Pretty disappointing, considering I had chosen our site because of its proximity to the beach.
So, we headed back to the site, a good half hour wasted and drove out to the day-use beach. No sludgy bottom, but a whole lot of rocks.
I did like that it was very natural. The sand dunes and mixed forest were pretty.
The water was very calm here – a first for us on Lake Huron. Great for families with young kids – sort of – seriously watch out for the rocks!
The kids had a great time floating on their air mattresses and playing in the water.
The best thing about the beach was the sunset. Apparently the view is better from sunset point, but ending a swim with this view was pretty amazing.
Sunday morning I made a coffee and headed out for a stroll along the Old Shore Road Trail. It was a peaceful walk, but I could have been anywhere. It was a great start to the morning, don’t get me wrong, I just could have done a similar stroll at a different campground. We had planned to do a bit of hiking Sunday morning, but we ended up just having a lazy breakfast and packing up. To be honest, after the amazing trails at Killarney Provincial Park a few weeks earlier, we weren’t really excited about the trails here.
We headed to Port Elgin for ice cream at The Beachside Cafe.
The Beachside cafe was really busy, but we got our ice-cream quickly, and the wait for a burger was worth it.
The beach was busy and the garbage bins were over-flowing, but the sand was soft and the wavy water provided plenty of fun!
Port Elgin is just a few minutes from MacGregor Point by car, and is also accessible via the Rotary Way Trail. This trail is rated easy and bicycles are allowed. Bikes are available for rent from the Park Store.
MacGregor Point is a nice campground, and I would recommend it – as long as the drive isn’t too far and you aren’t expecting anything more than a pleasant time camping with friends and family. And plan to spend beach-time in Port Elgin!