Free time = Pinery time
While searching for new employment in November 2013, I took the time to visit Pinery Provincial Park again. I purchased an Ontario Provincial Parks pass last April that gets me into any of their parks for day use for one year. It was worth it when I lived close to some of my favs and for the May trip to the Point Pelee National Park’s Festival of the Birds for entry to Rondeau and Wheatley Provincial Parks. At $15 entry for the day for most parks, the $150 price was worth it to me as I certainly used it more than 15 times. A pass can be purchased online or at the parks’ offices.
Pinery is a very big park with two main routes to the day use beach area. I usually drive the 12km one-way road that travels along and across the Ausable River, so that I can stop at the river-side picnic tables and walk the road by the river. This is a great method for seeing and hearing many birds. This road has some parking areas to access trails, as well. When you get to the lake section of this road, there are 9 picnic areas with parking lots and trails to the beach. Day use 1 is the only place in the park where dogs are allowed on the beach. Except for day use 3 and 9 areas, you must park in the lots and hike over dunes to get to the beach.
Day use 3 and 9 have parking directly beside the beach, so are ideal if you have lots of items to carry for your day in the sun. In an effort to protect and conserve the sand dunes’ natural habitat, park staff have erected beach access trail signs in the parking lots and request visitors not to cross in other places. To prevent people from doing that, park staff have placed natural barriers on decades’ old former trails. I suppose this is ‘a good thing’, but exploring the dunes used to be part of the fun.
Here’s a tip from someone who knows: if you want to get to the beach at Pinery day use quickly, don’t drive the 12km one-way, 40km/hr road. Take the main park road towards the Dunes campground, keep going past the Dunes turn off and turn left at the number 9 day use area road that takes you to the beach-side parking.
Here are pics from my early November Pinery day trip:
Coming up: another Pinery trip and other adventures.
Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask me about my fav southwestern Ontario places. I love to hear from you.
Happy travels and safe journeys!