Rondeau offers unique car camping experiences in two ecosystems that are very rare in Canada. Camping in these habitats provides park visitors with the possibility of up-close interactions with rare and interesting animals including Ontario’s only lizard, the Common Five-lined Skink, and the striking Red-headed Woodpecker.
The main campground at Rondeau opens the first Friday in April and closes the last Sunday in October. It is located in the north end of the park in an Oak Savanna ecosystem, within walking distance of sandy beaches, the Park Store, prime fishing locations, and other recreational opportunities.
The two group campsites at Rondeau are located deep in the heart of the Carolinian forest and are accessed via Harrison Trail from Bennett Avenue.
Rondeau has one campground in the north end of the park that opens the first Friday in April and closes the last Sunday in October.
You navigate through the main campground on a series of parallel roads named after trees; campsites can accommodate equipment ranging from tents only to large trailers and some offer electrical hook-up. Amenities such as water taps, comfort stations and laundry facilities are close by. Swimming, boating and the Park Store are only a short distance away.
Rondeau has two group campsites, which are ideally suited for youth groups (i.e. Boy Scouts, Girl Guides). The group area is located off Harrison Trail in a fairly remote forested area of the park with very basic facilities.
Group Site #401 will accommodate tents as well as small trailers with a maximum of 50 people. Group Site #402 will accommodate tents only and 25-30 people.
Each site is equipped with a large fire pit and picnic tables. Electricity and water are not available at these sites and are serviced by Porta-John toilets.
Separate from the other campground, the group camping area is a five minute drive to both the beach and comfort stations. You are welcome to use the shower facilities in our main campground. We also recommend that you bring containers for water and can fill them at the trailer filling station or from a water tap in the campground.
Please note: Alcohol is not permitted in any of the public areas in the group camp area.
Reservations can be made by calling the park directly at (519) 674-1750
Explore the rare ecosystems that jut out from the shores of Lake Erie in the southern reaches of Ontario. The Rondeau peninsula is an enormous crescent-shaped sandspit featuring delicate sand dunes covered with hardy grasses, a large tract of Carolinian forest and an extensive marsh where American and Least Bitterns, Bald Eagles and Sandhill Cranes nest.
Learn about unique and rare species including: American Beech, Sassafras, Sugar Maple, Shagbark Hickory and Tulip trees that thrive in Rondeau’s Carolinian forest. This is one of Canada’s largest Carolinian forests and it features trees in excess of 200 years old. Sunlit meadows of prairie grasses grow among towering oaks and pines in a protected Oak Savanna. Species at risk, including the endangered Prothonotary Warbler, Common Five-lined Skink, and Fowler’s Toad call Rondeau home.
Cycle or hike your way into the heart of the peninsula with a picnic lunch, relax on the Lake Erie shoreline, or canoe into the extensive marsh.
Participate in the Natural Heritage Education program that will provide you with hands-on, entertaining ways to explore the park and learn more about the species at risk, Carolinian forest, and natural history. Did you know that Rondeau is home to more species at risk than any other provincial park in Ontario?
Spice Bush Trail - 1.5km loop, 1 hour, easy
The Spicebush Trail winds through a southern hardwood forest of old growth Tulip Tree, American Beech, and maple. In spring, the forest floor is carpeted in wildflowers making the trail a botanists delight. The trail explores the transition between Carolinian forest and marsh and is an excellent site for bird watching.
Black Oak Trail: 1.4 km loop, 1 hour, easy
The Black Oak Trail winds through a narrow strip of Pine-Oak Savanna. Several meadows along the trail bloom with brilliant Wood Lily, Wild Columbine, and Woodland Sunflower. This is an excellent trail for bird watching.
Tulip Tree Trail – 1.2 km loop, 1 hour, easy
This barrier-free trail travels through a mature Carolinian forest with the majority of the trail being boardwalk for handicap accessibility. Hikers will have an opportunity to see examples of Carolinian trees that are rare in Ontario such tulip trees, sassafras, and Shagbark Hickory. During May, this is also the best trail to see the endangered Prothonotary Warbler. (An all-terrain wheelchair is available for use from the Visitor Centre)
Marsh Trail – 7.2 km one way, 14.4 km return, 5-6 hours, easy
The Marsh Trail travels through the heart of Rondeau’s extensive marsh on an old gravel base roadway. One kilometer into your hike you will come to our two storey viewing tower that will provide you with a true bird’s eye view of the marsh and Rondeau Bay. The marsh is dominated by wild rice, cattails and water lilies. Dozens of species of wetland birds breed here during the summer and thousands of waterfowl stop to feed during migration. Watch for our resident pair of Bald Eagles as you travel along this trail. This trail can also be used for cycling.
Harrison Trail - 8 km one way, 16 km return, 4 hours, easy
Harrison Trail was once a gravel roadway, originally constructed to provide access to the lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. The trail is now closed to vehicles, but is perfect for walking and cycling. The trail travels the length of the park and passes through a variety of habitats including Oak Woodland, Oak Savanna, small prairie openings and Carolinian forest. This is an excellent trail to view birds, butterflies and wildflowers.
South Point Trail – 8 km, loop, 2.5 hours, easy
South Point Trail follows an old roadway around the tip of the Rondeau peninsula. You will travel through an extensive Oak Savanna, along the Lake Erie Shoreline and then through the heart of Rondeau’s Carolinian Forest. This trail is suitable for hiking or cycling.
Rondeau Bay: The generally calm and shallow waters of Rondeau Bay offer an excellent canoeing or kayaking experience. Pack some snacks and water and venture out into Rondeau’s marsh, one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands on the lower Great lakes. Look for Spotted Gar at the water’s surface, Bald Eagles soaring overhead or any of six turtle species swimming under your canoe.
Lake Erie: On calm days, canoeing or kayaking on Lake Erie can be a magical experience. Head out early and watch the sunrise as gulls, terns and other waterfowl fly by. If you’re feeling energetic, begin your paddle in Lake Erie and go around the whole peninsula, ending your day in the productive waters of Rondeau Bay.
Lake Erie: Eleven beach accesses lead to 11 kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches along the Lake Erie side of the Rondeau peninsula. Tread lightly and do not move driftwood as these beach and dune habitats are home to many species at risk including the endangered Fowler’s Toad and Common Five-lined Skink.
Rondeau Bay: The government pier on Rondeau Bay provides a more sheltered swimming experience than Lake Erie. Buoys indicate where swimming is allowed.
Lake Erie: Lake Erie is a prime boating destination for sailing, motor boating and kayaking. There is no lakeside boat launch or docking facilities in the park, but both can be found in nearby Erieau.
Rondeau Bay: A popular place for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, kite boarding and motorboats. A boat launch is available in the park, by the park’s Main Office. Due to fluctuating water levels, the boat launch is best suited to watercraft that are 19’ and under.
Lake Erie: Salmon, walleye, and perch are the most popular catches in Lake Erie.
Rondeau Bay: The warm, vegetation rich waters of Rondeau Bay offer excellent Largemouth Bass fishing. Perch, sunfish, crappie, catfish, and pike can also be caught in these waters.
Rondeau has an active Natural Heritage Education (NHE) program that runs from spring to late fall. Programs, including hikes, evening programs, slide shows, children’s programs and campfires take place daily in the summer. Join park naturalists on hikes exploring the amazing diversity of the Carolinian forest, canoeing through the extensive marsh or biking past gigantic old growth trees. The Visitor Centre has an indoor theater, interactive displays and live animals. Programs are listed in the “What’s Happening” section of this website (above). For additional information visit the Friends of Rondeau Park.
Rondeau is a premiere birding destination providing bird watchers with a world-class experience. 334 species of birds have been recorded in the park and 134 of these have been recorded breeding. Some, like the endangered Prothonotary Warbler, are found in only a few places in Canada.
The Rondeau peninsula is an important stopover for migrating passerines (known as perching or sometimes song birds) and waterfowl in the spring and fall. During these times the park is filled with numerous species of warblers, thrushes, flycatchers and other song birds. Rondeau Bay hosts thousands of ducks and Tundra Swans in the spring and fall.
Rarities including Townsend’s Solitaire, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting often show up on the peninsula during migration.
Hiking, bird watching, waterfowl viewing, ice-fishing, cross-country skiing (no groomed trails), snowshoeing, education programs and activities (check with park at (519)-674-1750 for conditions and schedules).
Waterfowl Blind Hunting available from the middle of September to the middle of December on Rondeau Bay, subject to the Ontario Hunting Regulations. This activity is operated by the Rondeau Bay Waterfowler’s Association. For more information, please contact the Park Office and visit Rondeau Waterfowlers.
Rondeau offers a relaxing camping experience in rare Oak Savanna habitat, located walking distance from the Lake Erie shoreline. Camp with the luxuries of home; barrier-free comfort stations with showers, laundry facilities and flush toilets are available to campers.
Spend some time at the Visitor Centre to get up close and personal with Rondeau’s unique wildlife or stop by the Friends of Rondeau Bookstore for souvenirs, nature books and outdoor clothing. The Bookstore is managed by The Friends of Rondeau Park, a volunteer organization that assists the park with funding educational programs, research and publications.
For the four legged campers, Rondeau has a pet friendly swimming area at Beach Access 11 on Lake Erie.
Three comfort stations are located in the campground providing flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities. A year-round comfort station that offers flush toilets is located beside the Park Store.
All comfort stations are equipped with flush toilets (campground – seasonal; Bay comfort station – year-round). Flush toilets are also available at the Visitor Centre (year-round). Facilities are equipped with vault toilets or Porta-john toilets in remote areas, trails and during winter operation.
Barrier-free access is available throughout the park: showers, comfort station, laundromat, Park Store, Visitor Centre, Friends of Rondeau Bookstore, Visitor Centre washrooms, Tulip Tree Trail and the Waterfowl hunting blind. (An all-terrain wheelchair is available for use from the Visitor Centre).
Rondeau has numerous picnic areas. Visitors can choose from picnic areas that are situated facing Lake Erie or Rondeau Bay.
Within the day-use areas there are two play areas, one is located across from the campground beside the playground picnic shelter and it has jungle gym type equipment. The second is located beside the North Bay picnic shelter on Rondeau Road and has numerous swings. Both have vault toilets nearby.
Laundry facilities are available in each of the three comfort stations in the main campground.
The Rondeau boat launch is located near the park entrance on Rondeau Bay. Due to fluctuating water levels, the ramp is most suited to smaller watercraft (19 ft. and under). Larger watercraft ramp access and boat slips are available nearby outside the park.
Personal Floatation Device (PFD) Loan Service
Visitors can borrow a properly fitted PFD for themselves and their children. Staff can provide additional information and can outfit visitors with a PFD at the Main Gate.
Visitors can borrow basic fishing equipment including a rod, reel and tackle for children and new anglers. Stop by the Main Office for more information.
Five picnic shelters can be reserved. (A fee does apply, contact the Park Office).
The Park Store, located on the Rondeau Bay side of the park is within walking distance of the campground and sells a variety of sundry and camping supplies, as well as basic grocery items. The store also provides numerous souvenir and clothing choices, which includes the Ontario Parks Merchandise line. An extensive snack bar and grill is also available, where you can get your favourite food fix. Don’t forget the ice cream! Check out what’s new each week.
While at the Visitor Centre, stop by the Friends of Rondeau gift store which has a variety of items for the nature enthusiast and souvenir hunter. For the avid birder, this is the place to look for field guides, checklists, bird feeders, clothing and more.
Rondeau has five picnic shelters that can be reserved, one on the Lake Erie side of the park, three along Rondeau Bay, and one south of the campground near a playground (a fee does apply – contact the Park Office).
The Visitor Centre at Rondeau is located 5 km south of the campground at the intersection of Lakeshore Road and Gardiner Avenue. Travel there by bicycle down Harrison Trail or by car down Rondeau Road or Lakeshore Road.
Explore the diversity of Rondeau through interactive displays, live animal viewing and NHE programs. On a rainy day spend some time watching birds through the birding window, donated by the Friends of Rondeau Park.
The Visitor Centre is open daily from spring to late fall. Call 519-674-1768 for current hours.
Beach Access 11 is the designated Dog Beach at Rondeau. Dogs must be on leash while on the beach and under control while swimming. Remember, the beaches at Rondeau are home to many species at risk. Please respect their habitat by not moving driftwood or disturbing dune areas.
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