Exploring Canada’s “Deep South”

Wheatley Provincial Park is located about 15 minutes northeast of Point Pelee National Park on the shores of Lake Erie, near the town of Leamington. With forests, marshland, a few creeks and almost 2 km of Lake Erie shoreline, it is quite a diverse area.

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Lake Erie Beach

 

Our Experience

We decided to avoid the black flies and head south for May 2-4. Wheatley Provincial Park was the perfect choice!

We chose Boosey Creek campground as it is radio-free and non-electric. That is our usual preference when camping – and definitely for May 2-4! We could hear, and occasionally see, fireworks across Sugar Creek. Plenty of music, yelling and what must have been a pretty awesome drum circle . The other campgrounds at Wheatley were celebrating! The noise didn’t bother us, but I was happy to be where we were with kids.

The Carolinian forest was a bright, spring green and the bird migration was in full-swing. We had a lovely campsite by Sugar Creek that was rated ‘good’ for privacy as well as for quality. It was pretty good! We couldn’t see neigbours on either side, though there was one site almost across from us.

Site 12 was fairly large and flat and we were able to catch a glimpse of the creek through the trees behind us.

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Sunset on Sugar Creek

The Carolinian Forest along the creek was the best thing about this site. I have never heard so much wildlife! The bird songs filled the air, the frogs were croaking, the otters were splashing and the herons were fishing.

We arrived late afternoon, set up camp, then walked down to the footbridge over Boosey Creek to check out the beach on Lake Erie.

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Lake Erie Beach

The beach is not sandy, but it is full of interesting stones. We only explored a small section, so I am not sure if it is the same all the way along. The kids had a great time finding the “best ones ever!” My son found a fossil and we all found plenty of flat skipping stones. We skipped stones and chased waves until sunset, then headed back for a rather late dinner and campfire.

Saturday we woke up pretty late, after a morning of drifting in and out of sleep, listening to the birds. We hung out at the site, playing frisbee, walking along the creek-side trail and playing card games.

We then headed to Point Pelee shortly after noon.

Point Pelee is just 20 minutes from Wheatley and our main reason for choosing this area. The spring migration and long weekend made for a pretty busy day to visit, but the crowds weren’t too terrible and by late afternoon were thinning out.

Point Pelee is really lovely.

Standing at the tip of Canada was more exciting than I thought it would be! To see the water meeting from both sides and crashing at the tip was pretty fun.

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Southern Tip of Mainland Canada

The beaches along the eastern side are soft and sandy, and the walk through the woods is full of butterflies and birds. The trolley to the trail to the tip is free and pleasant. Because we were there on such a busy day, we opted to hike the 2 kilometers back to the Visitors Centre, rather than wait for the next trolley. It took about 20 minutes and the road was nice and flat. Next time, we will bring bikes.

The Visitors Centre is well worth a visit. The displays are great, there is a fun board game the kids and I played, and the movie is quite good. Nice little gift shop and clean bathrooms as well.

Planning a trip?

Wheatley Provincial Park has car camping only, spread across four campgrounds. Check out the Ontario Parks website for more information and to make a reservation. I booked our site 5 months in advance, but I don’t think that is really necessary for this park most of the time. Some campgrounds did fill up quicker than others, and the best sites booked up long before May. If privacy and location are important, advance booking is recommended! There are also 2 group camping sites available for tent camping in a more rustic setting.

Point Pelee National Park is currently mostly a day-use park and only has 2 group camping sites, but will be adding a few oTENTiks soon! Staying in an oTENTik made my Parks Canada Bucket List and I’m looking forward to staying at the park once they are available

Check out the Friends of Point Pelee website as well as the Parks Canada website for more info.

Photo Albums:

Point Pelee National Park Facebook Album

Wheatley Provincial Park Facebook Album

 

 

 

 

 

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