Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park, located in Pointe au Baril, Ontario, Canada, is a beautiful park situated in one of Ontario’s most scenic regions, the Thirty Thousand Island Region. The Thirty Thousand Island Region is surrounded by jagged cliffs, white-sand beaches, and forested islands, and the area is part of the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.
RVers, tent campers, and outdoor enthusiasts should visit Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park because the accommodations and the scenic shoreline are unmatched. The park offers everything from cabin rentals to electrical hookups for car campers, and the activities at the park will entertain guests of all ages. Because the park is a popular destination during the summer, make your reservations early to ensure you can snag your favorite camping spot.
Sturgeon Bay leads into the larger, more well-known Georgian Bay. The Georgian Bay’s islands are not only spectacular to look at, but they are also rich in First Nation history, maritime history, and the area is part of the region’s fur trapping and trading past. The islands, dotted with lighthouses, are filled with places to explore and things to see. By staying at Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park, campers are choosing to visit a small piece of a much bigger portion of Canadian history wrapped with scenic beauty and recreational activities.
Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park is located 175 miles (283 km) north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The route brings drivers through the city of Toronto and across waterways and bridges. In the city, it is best to avoid the morning and evening rush hour.
The park isn’t far from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, making it easy to bring your RV or trailer with you into Canada. The drive is 264 miles (424 km) northeast of Sault St. Marie, Michigan, United States. This route crosses international borders and drivers must pay tolls while driving on certain roadways.
The campground is located just past the Park Office off of Highway 529. There are multiple loops inside of the campground, and depending on which loop you are staying in will determine which direction you will take after entering the park and checking in at the Park Office.
The Sturgeon Bay Campground is a seasonally operating, pet-friendly facility that has both electric and nonelectric sites available for reservation. The sites vary in size with the largest driveways accommodating RVs and trailers over 32 feet in length. The sites are close to the bay, but not on the water, and the electric sites have both 15 and 30-amp electrical hookups. Each space is wooded and offers some level of shading or privacy, and every site has a fire pit and a picnic table. The campground has vault toilets and a comfort station with showers as well as drinking water faucets throughout the facility. There are trash and recycle bins, firewood sales, and a filling and dumping station. Generators are permitted as long as you adhere to the park’s rule of keeping excessive noise to a minimum.
Anglers who prefer to take their boats to remote waters surrounded by the sounds of nature will find the fishing ideal at Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park. The park has one boat launch with a parking lot for boat trailers. The boat launch and parking area are located near the north end of the park near the campground. The entire region is an angler’s paradise, but if you choose to fish near the park, you will most likely find species of fish like pike and small and largemouth bass. It is also acceptable to fish from the shore. If you forget your gear, don’t worry, there are fishing pole rentals available at the Park Office. Ontario requires fishing licenses, but the rules for permits vary by residency and age. Visit Ontario’s travel and recreation department for fishing information before heading out on the lake or river to fish to ensure you adhere to all fishing rules and regulations.
When you imagine the habitat of a waterbird or a migratory bird, you most likely picture a body of water surrounded by wetlands, greenery, and tall aquatic grass. These images you’ve formed in your head are similar to the landscape around Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park, a park known for its birdwatching opportunities. Before heading into the campground, stop at the gatehouse and pick up a birding checklist. The checklist contains the birds commonly spotted in the area as well as some of the more rare bird species found in the park. Some of the bird species that birders most commonly report seeing are loons, whip-poor-wills, pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, and spotted sandpipers.
During the winter, the park’s gates are closed, but that doesn’t mean that all winter activities have ceased. Once the snow falls, the land outside of the park’s boundaries becomes a winter wonderland perfect for snow activities like snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The township of Pointe au Baril, as well as neighboring communities, have rental outfitters that offer the best information on where to explore during the winter. If wintertime is your favorite time to be outside, see what the area has to offer for your next snowy adventure.
The best reason to visit provincial parks outside of camping is, for many people, the ability to spend time in the day-use areas. Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park is no exception because the day-use area is the place where the recreation begins. Visitors enjoy having picnic lunches near the natural, soft sand beach and swimming area because it is convenient to set up a place to come and go from the swimming area, and it is close the Park Store. The Park Store has snacks, ice cream, and souvenirs, as well as camping supplies, so if you don’t like what’s in your picnic basket, or you forgot to bring something, go and see if the store has what you need. The day-use area has drinking water and restrooms, so spending all day near the water is not only possible, it’s a must.
During the height of the fur trapping and trading industry, the rough waters of the Georgian Bay destroyed boats and ships trying to navigate in poor visibility and stormy conditions. The construction of lighthouses became necessary to keep vessels and their crews safe, and consequently, the shores of the lake are still lined with both commissioned and noncommissioned lighthouses to this day. Many of the lighthouses are not operational, but people who like to see lighthouses can see the structures from the outside. The closest lighthouse to Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park is the Pointe au Baril Range Front Lighthouse.
The Thirty Thousand Island region is the place to visit if you want to explore the bay from a boat. While the Sturgeon Bay boat launch doesn’t immediately give you access to all of the waterways, there are still plenty of places to explore. If you have a motorized boat, use the park’s boat launch to spend time on the water, or rent a boat from some of the nearby rental facilities. The area near the park is also ideal for paddling, and the Park Store has canoes for rent if you don’t have a boat with you during your stay. Don’t forget your paddles and your personal flotation devices.