Are you interested in camping and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors? This is a week of camping at a group site at The Pinery for home-schooling families.
Dates: Sunday, August 9 to Sunday, August 16 2015
Pinery is a great place for kids. There is a fabulous beach, daily events at the education centre (and badges the kids can hear as a ‘junior friend of the park’), a rare eco-system, a biking trail, hiking trails, a canal (with canoe and paddle boat rentals), and lots of stars at night — not to mention the Perseid Meteor shower set to peak on the 13th this year. The largest mammal are the deer, and while there are coyotes in the park (great to hear the howl at night), there aren’t any ‘dangerous animals’ (unless you count the ticks which you can be on the look out for). The group camping sites are large (up to 35 people) and a lot more isolated than the regular camp sites with lots of room to spread out and pitch your tent. It is less than a 5-minute walk to the beach (we go to the beach a lot)! There is a drinking water tap very close. There are vault toilets that flush, and which are really not too bad. Showers are also available at the park (but not walkable). There is no alcohol on the group camp sites (meant to prevent rowdy groups of youth perhaps? Never seen it enforced). No electricity on the site.
It costs $25 per person to book your spot (so think $100 for a family of four) (to contribute to the reservation fees); you will also be asked to pay your own “per person” and “additional vehicle” fees when you enter the provincial park (e.g., $4.75 per adult per night which goes on the dash of your car). http://www.parkreports.com/fees/group/2015
Map of park:http://www.pinerypark.on.ca/pdf%20files/Pinery_%20Map.pdf (we are in “Area 1”, near beach 5). It is a big park: note that the dotted blue loop is 14 km. That site also has checklists of the different life to be on the look out for. Three years ago I saw a bald eagle fly over early one morning (the deers and bats and flying squirrels and wild turkey and snapping turtles are other highlights too of course).
Most meals will work best if each family does their own food, and we can plan a pot-luck dinner if there is interest. There is only one campfire pit that we all share, so you will need something like a camping stove and/or a mini-bbq to do your cooking. You will need somewhere to keep your food away from raccoons (such as a cooler in the trunk of your car). There is a grocery store in nearby Grand Bend (20 min drive (takes 12 minutes or so to exit the park)), and a farmer’s market in Grand Bend on Wednesdays; so we only pack food for half-a-week at a time. There is a general store at the park where we usually go pick up ice every couple of days for the cooler, and typically whoever is getting ice will find room to get ice for anyone else in need.
If you are new to camping with kids, it might take a couple of days to get sorted and figure things out, so we recommend that you don’t plan too short a trip. That is, not everyone will stay for the full 7 days, but also try not to do just two days cause it’ll all be eaten up by setup/tear-down etc.
You can keep to your own schedule, and come/go as you want. There will be lots of opportunities to hang out together, but we don’t have to do everything as a group.
Here is a panorama-shot of a group site that I took five years ago:
and some other photos from previous trips:
We will aim to arrive shortly after 2 pm on the first day: Sunday, August 9. Everyone else is supposed to arrive after we do, so you may want to aim for 3 pm (not that we’d be late, but you’ll also miss the potential lines (but those are usually only on Fridays)). The way the check-in at the front works is you pull up to one of the booths and say you’re with a group site, then they’ll tell you to pull over to the side and go into the office. You give them the group name, and your license plate and family name etc and they’ll check the list we give them and then ring you up. It takes a ridiculous amount of time (10+ minutes sometimes to do this for some reason) so who ever is left in the car can get antsy knowing you’re at the camp ground and still can’t get to where you want to be. Oh, and it is at least a 10 minute drive around to the site (40km/h) (if you manage the round-about right and don’t head the wrong way). Then we all have to clear off the site by 2 pm on the last day: Sunday, August 16 (not leaving you much time to get de-sanded and unpacked).
We hope you can join us.