Camping in Long Point

Shots of the gang – almost all taken with our GoPro Hero 3+.

We just spent a wonderful week tucked away on a camp site in Long Point Provincial Park.

Long Point is one of our favourite parks in Ontario. Only two hours from our storage facility in Hamilton, it’s easily accessible via winding country lanes. We love the lush, green landscape of Norfolk County, so different from the harsher feel of Lake Huron. The shorter trip is ideal for the kids who tend to get cranky when we’re travelling for longer than four hours.

I had been in touch with Karen Matthews, manager of Burning Kiln Winery, to secure an overnight spot for our upcoming trip in August, but as Burning Kiln happened to be on our way to Long Point, we decided to drop by unannounced for a quick lunch. Karen graciously showed us around the winery, pointing out a spot by a forest where we’ll be staying when we’re returning in a couple of weeks.


The Airstream parked at Burning Kiln

A delicious lunch of Lake erie perch tacos, for the adults, and pizza, for the kids, later and we continued on our way to the campground.

The road out to the sandbank is a little like a fairy tale of summer. Old, rickety family cottages, some little better than shacks, sit next to newer buildings along the sandy shore. Little beach stores sell ice cream and sun screen, boats are everywhere.

Arriving at Long Point, I remembered just in time that the main dumping and fresh water station is actually outside the park – last year, we had to turn around and go back out. We had booked a campsite just opposite the playground, so the boys could just run across. What we hadn’t counted on was the prolific growth of poison ivy that the park rangers allowed to grow, so letting the kids run unsupervised wasn’t a possibility after all.

Our campsite at Long Point

Add to this that our site was very exposed, I don’t think we ever had less privacy, and we’ll be choosing differently next time. On the plus side, we were very close to the beach and with the kids now all able to walk, we had a lot less work on our hands than we had last year, when we visited on our maiden journey.

When we arrived, I had the chance to try out my home made backup camera for the Airstream. Our GoPro Hero 3+ connects to a tablet or phone via its own WIFI network, streaming the camera view. The stated range is 600ft, but that’s line of sight with nothing between camera and receiver. A 34′ Airstream can cause quite a bit of an obstacle for a WIFI signal.

When we arrived at the Park, I mounted the camera to the back of the Airstream with a gopro suction cup, then connected our iPad to the camera’s WIFI signal. Driving on, the stream was clear, with perhaps a 1/2 second delay – ample for reversing into a tight spot.

Testing the gopro on the way into the Park

The stream did stop and reconnect a couple of times on the last mile or so towards our camp site, so it’s not a perfect solution for a permanent rearview camera. But, as these are in the $800 range, I think we’ll make do with the gopro for now when we need to be able to see what’s happening behind us.

The next morning we were joined by our friends Ed and Marina and their kids, also from Toronto. After a fun day at the beach, and a shared dinner, we all retired, tired but happy. The kids all slept the second their heads touched the pillow and didn’t wake up until 8:30 the next morning.

Ed and company packed up to get back to the city for the week, which turned out to be a good thing as a heavy thunderstorm drenched the entire campground the following night. A bolt of lightning struck a tree nearby, knocking out the electrical system in a trailer parked underneath and even causing a small fire. Not much fun in a tent.

The following days were spent at the beach, when it was sunny, and exploring the surrounding area, when it was raining for two days. Norfolk and Elgin County reminded us of England, lush and green with gently undulating hills. We visited some amazing lavender farms and wineries, we ate fried lake fish, we saw some beautiful little villages and hamlets.

Port Dover in the rain
What was interesting for me was that there were many opportunities to park the trailer for the night. Port Stanley has a huge, free, parking lot down by the harbour where one lonely Class C was already parked, the village of Sparta offered free parking to visitors as well and almost all the farms we visited would have allowed us to stay as well.

Steed and Company, a beautiful horse and lavender farm deep in Elgin County

The week ended with a visit from more friends, more good food and then, all too soon, it was Sunday and time to hitch up and drive back to the city. We dropped the Airstream off at the storage facility and were soon home in our brick house again – until next time.

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