Birding is a popular activity at Darlington. Many species of migratory birds can be seen in the park in the spring and fall. Check out the bird sightings board at the main park office to find out what has been spotted lately.
The sheltered waters of McLaughlin Bay are ideal for canoes and paddle boats. Only motors up to 9.9hp are permitted on McLaughlin Bay. The open waters of Lake Ontario are suitable for larger motorboats and sailboats.
The sheltered waters of McLaughlin Bay are ideal for canoeing, whether you are an experienced paddler or setting out for the first time.
Daily, during the summer months, there are many opportunities for the whole family to learn about the natural ecology and cultural history of Darlington and the surrounding area. Many programs are offered including children’s activities, drop-in programs, and guided hikes. Many special event weekends also take place throughout the season.
Fishing is a popular activity for the whole family in Darlington’s McLaughlin Bay. You can even borrow fishing rods and tackle at the park store through the TackleShare program. Some fish species in the bay include, perch, pumpkin seed, pike, catfish, and bass. Please obey all fishing rules and regulations including licensing and catch limits.
Enjoy our Learn to Fish program, a free, hands-on program that teaches new anglers how to fish in Ontario. This fun and engaging two-hour program combines a practical teaching session with an hour of supervised hands-on fishing. For more information and program times visit ontario.ca/learntofish
Burk Trail 1.25 km (30 minutes) moderate
This trail moves through fields, meadows and mature forest past a pioneer cemetery to a scenic lookout over Lake Ontario. Watch for the elusive Coopers Hawk at the bluff and songbirds in the meadows.
McLaughlin Bay Trail 1.5 km (1 hour) easy
As you hike this trail from McLaughlin Bay, you travel through a marsh ecosystem into the transitional zone between wet and dry land. Plants and animals abound here, especially nesting waterfowl such as the Great Blue Heron. This trail links to the wildlife reserve and Oshawa Second Marsh Trails system at the west boundary of the park.
Robinson Creek Trail 1 km loop (30 minutes) easy
Starting and finishing at the Visitor Centre, this trail follows the intermittent Robinson Creek through a forested ravine full of mature willow, Staghorn sumac, maple trees and a diversity of plants and wildlife.
Waterfront Trail 2.6 km (1 hour) easy
A small section of the 350 km, multi-use trail that follows the shore of Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Trenton and passes through Darlington.
There is a controlled waterfowl hunt at Darlington which operates from mid-September to mid-December each year. Hunting is only permitted from designated blinds on McLaughlin Bay and takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays only. Contact the park for more information, (905)436-2036.
Darlington offers a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, perfect for swimming, on the shores of Lake Ontario. Please remember that there are no lifeguards on duty at the beach so children should be supervised. Pets are also not allowed on the beach.
Darlington is open for day use year-round for your winter adventures. Bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis and enjoy a wonderland experience close to home.
Parking and self-serve permits are available at the main park office. Vehicle permits are required year-round.
We recommend Burk Trail, which moves through fields, meadows and mature forest past a pioneer cemetery to a scenic lookout over Lake Ontario. Winter visitors should also check out McLaughlin Bay Trail and Robinson Creek Trail for an extra dose of scenic winter landscapes.
Observant hikers may spot a variety of wildlife including coyotes, deer, mink and rabbits.