beach under blue sky with sea gulls

How to plan your day trip to Port Burwell

Port Burwell Provincial Park is a favourite spot for families, dog-lovers, and beach-goers.

With 2.5 km of sandy beach, a dog friendly beach and exercise area, and plenty of recreation facilities, this park has become a popular weekend destination.

Unfortunately, Port Burwell’s increasing popularity has meant that our park can get extremely busy, and often reaches capacity on hot summer days.

Parking lots closest to the beach fill quickly, and later arrivals may have a longer walk to reach their preferred location.

If you’re planning a day trip to Port Burwell, here is what you need to know to plan a frustration-free visit:

  1. Where is the park located?
  2. When is the best/worst time to visit?
  3. Where can I park?
  4. How much does it cost to visit?
  5. What are the park hours?
  6. Is the park accessible?
  7. The beach is full! Is there anything else to do at the park?
  8. Can I bring my dog to the beach?
  9. Can I bring my boat?
  10. Is the beach safe for swimming?
  11. Why can’t I access the pier?
  12. Does the park have ticks / poison ivy?
  13. How can I help protect and preserve the park for future users?
  14. Can I bring a barbecue or have a campfire?
  15. Can I bring alcohol to the beach? Can I smoke/vape on the beach?
  16. Where can I eat?

1. Where is the park located?

Port Burwell has two entrances. The address for our campground and Camp Office is 15 Libbye Avenue. The address for our day-use entrance is 1C Chatham Street.

2. When is the best/worst time to visit?

Our park is busiest on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Once our parking lots reach capacity, our gates close for safety reasons.

This typically happens by mid-morning. If you must visit us on a weekend, plan to arrive early.

beach parking sign

After major rain events, our parking lots may flood. We are working to resolve the issue, but parking near the beach may be limited.

If you are bringing young children or cannot walk longer distances, we strongly recommend checking our social media channels for up-to-date information before you visit. You may wish to visit a different beach, such as Port Bruce Provincial Park to the west or the municipal beach in Port Burwell to the east.

3. Where can I park?

All vehicles must park in designated parking spaces.

Parking on roadsides or in meadows and picnic areas is not permitted and could result in your vehicle being ticketed or towed.

4. How much does it cost to visit?

Day use fees are $15.50 per vehicle.

2021 Annual seasonal permitYou can also use your seasonal permit. Please note that the purchase of an annual or seasonal permit does not give you priority access to provincial park beach areas. If we hit capacity and close our gates, you will not be able to enter.

In 2021, we’re making it easier for Ontarians to enjoy the outdoors by providing free weekday daily vehicle permits from May 1 to September 2, for all provincial parks Mondays through Thursdays.

5. What are the park hours?

From May 14 – September 6, day use is open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm daily.

gatehouse

The Park Office is available during regular business hours when campgrounds are operating.

For operating dates, please check out our park’s web page.

6. Is the park accessible?

Day-use facilities are accessible, and partial boardwalks are also available at P2, P3, P4 and P5 for visitors looking to access the beach.

A beach wheelchair is available for loan (with deposit) at the Day Use Gate.

7. The beach is full! Is there anything else to do at the park?

If beach areas are full when you arrive, there are plenty of other activities to fill your day!

The park boasts a large recreational field for picnicking, soccer games, volleyball and badminton nets, horseshoe pits, a basketball foul court, and a large playground.

Disc golf

There are also many opportunities for wildlife viewing. There is a 3 km hiking trail and Port Burwell is a paradise for birders with over 232 bird species documented.

8. Can I bring my dog to the beach?

Absolutely! Dogs are permitted within our designated dog beach and off-leash dog beach, which is located east of P1.

All pet owners must enter through this designated access point as dogs are not allowed on the beach anywhere else outside of this designated area (service dogs exempt).

Dogs are permitted in all grassy picnic areas and on park trails.

Remember, dogs must always be on a leash (no greater than 2 m) when in provincial parks, unless you are in a designated leash-free area. You must pick up after your pet and properly dispose of pet waste in a garbage receptacle.

9. Can I bring my boat?

Port Burwell Provincial Park does not offer a boat launch, but there are private launches located nearby.

10. Is the beach safe for swimming?

Any beach advisories will be posted on our Alerts page.

Our beaches do not have lifeguards. Everyone is responsible for their individual water safety. Children and non-swimmers should always be supervised.

Visitors to the beach should be aware of weather conditions, including offshore breezes and storms. The shallow water and high winds on Lake Erie can create dangerous undertows and rough water conditions should be avoided. Offshore breezes can blow inflatables out into deep water and inflatables should only be used in shallow water, under calm conditions.

We also offer a PFD Lending Program at our Day Use Gate. PFDs can be borrowed for the duration of your visit, and are available in infant, child, youth, and adult sizes. Ask a staff member at the gatehouse upon arrival for more information.

11. Why can’t I access the pier?

There is a rock pier that is located just outside of Port Burwell Provincial Park’s boundary. It is owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and is currently off limits.

Please obey all posted signage.

12. Does the park have ticks/Poison Ivy?

Tick safety: ticks are common throughout Ontario, including at Port Burwell. To protect yourself from Lyme Disease, follow these safety tips.

Trail Lookout

Poison Ivy: Poison Ivy is prevalent in the park, especially along the side of park trails and parking lots.

Poison Ivy is an important shoreline stabilizer, helping to protect our beaches, as well as being a food source for wildlife. Avoid it by using park sanctioned trails and by keeping a close eye on children and pets.

13. How can I help protect and preserve the park for future users?

Please obey park signs and regulations. These are in place to protect both you and the park’s ecosystems.

Use established pathways when walking between the parking lot and the beach. The dune’s vegetation holds it in place and helps to keep our sand on the beach. These plants are sensitive to trampling by both tires and feet.

Take your garbage home with you. We often have visitors leaving more garbage than our bins can handle on a busy weekend, especially when they leave behind their tents, chairs, and barbecues.

Help us maintain park ecosystems and reduce plastic waste by bringing re-usable food storage containers, limiting the number of toys and equipment you bring, keeping track of your belongings while at the beach, and taking your garbage home.

14. Can I bring a barbecue or have a campfire?

Yes, barbecues are permitted. We recommend using low-lying, off the ground units. Always use them on a stable surface like a picnic table and keep hot surfaces away from flammable materials like grasses.

Fires are only permitted in fire pits on designated campsites. Beach fires are not allowed.

15. Can I bring alcohol to the beach? Can I smoke/vape on the beach?

Uphill trail to the beach,

Having open alcohol and/or consuming alcohol is not permitted anywhere on the beach or within the provincial park, except on your own campsite.

Please remember that the provincial park is a public beach. Day-use visitors caught with open alcohol and/or consuming alcohol will face a fine from park wardens or OPP.

All provincial beaches are designated as smoke-free, which means smoking and vaping are not permitted on the beachfront. Smoking/vaping are also not permitted within 20 m of a public building or playground.

Smoking/vaping is permitted in grassy picnic areas. We ask that all cigarette butts be disposed of in a receptacle or garbage bin. Cigarette butts are the number one litter item on Ontario’s beaches, and pose a considerable health risk to park visitors and the ecosystem.

16. Where can I eat?

There are many dining options in the local area. Your daily vehicle permit does allow you to leave and re-enter the park, if the park has not hit capacity.