wheatley provincial park sign

Wheatley Provincial Park: Ontario’s Southern Gem

When discussing the camping opportunities in Ontario most people will look to the northern region of the province, but don’t overlook the hidden gems in the south. Located just an hour from Windsor, Wheatley Provincial Park is a beautiful and well-maintained park with much to offer for your next camping adventure!

**Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products/services that I love, and feel are valuable to my community. Thank you! For more information, please visit my Disclaimer page.**

Nestled in the Chatham-Kent region, Wheatley Provincial Park can be found in the southern tip of Ontario along the shores of Lake Erie. Just 20 minutes off Highway 401 and approximately an hour from the Detroit/Windsor border, the park is easy to access for both Canadians and Americans alike.

Sitting at the same latitude as Northern California, this park offers great weather much later in the camping season for those who are interested in experiencing the beautiful fall colours firsthand. Open until October 15th, 2019, the park is a favourite for many who are searching for a warmer Thanksgiving camping experience.

view of sugar creek

I will be honest and admit that I had brushed off this park for a number of years after moving to Windsor/Essex, assuming that it wouldn’t offer an experience comparable to the beauty that I grew up within Muskoka.

However, after giving this park a chance I will admit that I was sadly mistaken! A beautifully forested area, the park offers a great mixture of private, more ‘rugged’ sites for those who want nothing more than to be surrounded by the beauty of nature as well as some more open, trailer friendly areas for campers who prefer to be part of the close-knit ‘camping community’ during their stay.

With 220 campsites split into four different campgrounds and 2 group sites, there really is something for everyone. Each of the campgrounds offers their own unique benefits and experiences, All campsites are car camping, meaning that you are capable of driving up to your site. There are no backcountry campsites available.

The Campgrounds Include:

Boosey Creek Campground: Of the four campgrounds, Boosey Creek provides the most wooded and ‘outdoorsy’ experience for those who are interested in simply enjoying the rustic camping experience. These are non-electrical sites and the entire campground is radio-free. While some sites provide the space necessary for a trailer, others may be more challenging to access due to the narrow roads and heavily treed sites. There is a comfort station located within Boosey Creek which includes bathrooms and shower facilities, as well as a number of toilets located throughout the campground’s many loops. With both Sugar Creek and Boosey Creek bordering the campground, many sites offer a beautiful view of the water.

Highlands Campground: While the Highlands still offers beautifully treed lots, they are a little more open than those found in Boosey Creek. This allows for easier access for those camping with trailers and RVs. Highlands Campground offers both electrical sites and non-electrical sites, as well as a small number of premium sites along the East Branch river with waterfront views.  The campground includes a comfort station with laundry facilities as well as a playground for the kids.

Middle Creek Campground: The next campground you will come across is Middle Creek Campground. The sites in this area are entirely electrical and are more open like the Highlands Campground meaning that they are ideal for those who are camping with trailers or RVs. Within the campground is a comfort station with laundry facilities and another playground for the kids.

Two Creeks Campground: Finally, the smallest campground at the park, Two Creeks Campground is surrounded by water with East Branch running along one side and Sugar Creek along the other. Due to this reason, many of the sites in this part of the park are either right on the water or provide a view of the water nearby. As the Two Creeks Campground is so close to Middle Creek Campground, it runs along the same comfort station and playground offered there making them easily accessible. There is a footbridge from Two Creeks Campground to the Day Use and Beach area.

Group Camping: For those that are heading out with a larger group, Wheatley Provincial Park offers two group camping sites, requiring a minimum of 9 people on the site. These are set back in the woods on an unpaved road. For this reason, the park has set the stipulation that these sites are solely for tent camping. They offer a very ‘rustic’ camping experience for those interested in a higher level of privacy.

woman laying in a tent on the bed with two dogs, one on each side of her

campsite with a tent, chairs, campfire pit and picnic table in the woods
eggs cooking in a cast iron skillet on the campfire

Facilities and Activities:

With the many creeks located throughout the park as well as Lake Erie, the park is a great place for those who enjoy canoeing, kayaking or paddleboarding. There are also 2 hiking trails that wind through the forested area and provide a view of the creeks. Both hiking trails are great for those of all ages, however, if you’re looking for a challenge, the park doesn’t offer the longer and more difficult trails available on many of the more northern parks.

collage of photos from wheatley provincial park

For those that are open to travelling to additional sites, Point Pelee National Park of Canada is only 25 minutes from the park. The park provides some beautiful hiking trails throughout the year as well as a wide assortment of different wildlife. The southernmost point of Canada, this is a must-see for those who are coming to the area for the first time!

If you are interested in fishing, you’re in luck! There are many locations throughout the creeks and Lake Eerie for those of all skill levels to drop a line. If you are newer to fishing, the park participates in the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Tackleshare program. Designed to encourage new anglers to try fishing without having to make a large initial financial investment, the program loans out a road and reel and an assortment of tackle to participants.

Boaters that are interested in spending time at the park may be disappointed to learn that there is no boat launch within the park. However, Wheatley Harbour is only a 10-minute drive from the park.

As for beaches, the park is currently dealing with some struggles there that many other parks are also struggling with. As a result of the rising water levels in the great lakes, there has been a significant amount of erosion. In fact, the road leading into the day-use area has been damaged to the point that the park has had to shut it down making the beach area accessible only on foot. At this time, I haven’t seen any official statements regarding when or how they plan on addressing this.

hiking trail leading into the woods
comfort station at an ontario provincial park

If you are in need of supplies, the park is located right by the small town of Wheatley where you will find all of the necessary basics including an LCBO, drug store, and a variety of small local stores. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, 20 minutes down the road is the town of Leamington completely with a Walmart, grocery stores, dollar stores and more.

My overall opinion?

The park is a beautiful getaway that we will be returning to for our weekend trips moving forward. That being said, it’s not going to act as a substitute for our trips further north. One of the major drawbacks is that the waterview sites at Wheatley PP are just that, water ‘view’. Due to the large amount of algae and plant growth, they don’t allow for swimming off the site the way that you can at campgrounds like Six Mile Lake PP.

Privacy is also a concern when I’m choosing a campground. While there were some beautiful sites that did offer the privacy I was searching for, especially back in the Boosey Creek Campground, most of the sites were quite open. Even within Boosey Creek, you could often easily see your neighbours through a small amount of tree cover.

recycling station at wheatley provincial park

One program that I love within the park is their recycling efforts. There are recycling stations set up throughout the park, rather than just a single central location as you see at some of the parks. At these recycling stations, you will find a stack of blue recycling bins. These are for campers to grab and take to their site, encouraging all who visit the park to recycle responsibly during their stay.

The park itself was incredibly well maintained. In fact, I will say that the comfort stations and bathrooms were arguably some of the cleanest I have ever seen at a provincial park. I learned that the park contracts out the cleaning duties to a third-party company and they do an incredible job. Furthermore, if you do have the pleasure of running into them when they are working, they are so friendly!

Whether you live in Southern Ontario or are visiting the area, I highly recommend that you give Wheatley Provincial Park a visit!

Camping lovers, what is on your ‘must-have’ list when selecting a park? Let me know in the comments section and I will be sure to keep this in mind when writing further park reviews!

16 thoughts on “Wheatley Provincial Park: Ontario’s Southern Gem”

  1. I would love to go to Canada some day, it’s on my bucket list! This now helps me narrow down where I might want to go! Thank you for the information, it’s very helpful!

    1. I was incredibly impressed with how well maintained it was. Not that Ontario Parks are generally poorly maintained, but this one took things to a new level for me!

  2. The park looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been to a few Provincial Parks over the years but they have all been in Northern Ontario. I would love to head down to Southern Ontario one of these summers and do some camping there, which is funny to say because I’m not the biggest fan of camping, but at least the weather would be nicer there.

    1. The weather is beautiful down here – I will be tenting into early November easily and while we’ll certainly dress warmer and add extra blankets to our bed, we don’t feel the need to pack a heater

    1. It’s one of our favourite getaways – There is something about leaving the stress of our fast-paced lives behind and just connecting with nature!

    1. I think it’s so important to also discuss the drawbacks as no location is going to be perfect. However, having an idea of both the pros and cons will allow you to head in with realistic expectations. That way you can enjoy yourself rather than finding yourself disappointed

  3. Tbh, I am not a big fan of camping especially since I did it for a few months when my home flooded the first time so I think I’m camped out. I would do it if friends or family wanted me to do and it wasn’t more than a few days though. I love how beautiful that park is, and I would love to go to Canada one day.

    1. I feel like in a situation like that, you’re going to need some fun and enjoyable experiences to help you stop associating it with your first time… I know I would have a hard time after that too!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.