I’ve been to over 30 Ontario Parks now and Oaster Lake Provincial Park has been one of the most surprising for me. It’s certainly one of the smaller parks but it is a fantastic spot for a little summer getaway. With cozy sites, great paddling and stunning sunsets, you’ll want to book your own Oastler Lake Provincial Park camping adventure by the time you’re done reading this post!
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About Oastler Lake Provincial Park
Located just 7 kilometres southeast of Parry Sound, Oastler Lake Provincial Park was established in 1967. This 32 hectare park protects picturesque shorelines as it’s located on the Parry Sound Metavolcanic and Ontario Gneiss Segment of the Precambrian Shield.
At one point, over half the park was encompassed by a swamp with the Boyne River running through it. However, the river has since been diverted and the swampy area filled in with sand and gravel.
The park features a mix of hemlock and northern hardwood forests, creating plenty of shade across the park. You’d never know it but what was once a landfill area has since been overtaken by beautiful cottonwood trees!
While it has been protected for its natural features, Ontario Parks has developed the park into what you see today so that both Ontarians and visitors to the province can enjoy the beauty Oastler Lake has to offer.
Oastler Lake Provincial Park Camping
Oastler Lake Provincial Park features 149 campsites spread across five campgrounds. Each has its own perks to offer depending on what kind of camper you are.
The Riverside and Hardwood Hill campgrounds are adjacent to one another and have 57 campsites, 43 of which have electrical capacity. A handful of these campsites can fit trailers and RVs up to 32 feet though most only have the capacity for 18 feet or tents only. The Beachside campground is completely electric with 25 sites, making it perfect for trailers and RVs up to 32 feet. As for the Lakeview campground, it also has 57 campsites, all of which are non-electric and most can only accommodate tents. This area is also radio free, meaning you’ll need to leave the stereos and karaoke at home.
INSIDER TIP: While I didn’t check it out myself, I read online that there’s a small store near site 419. It’s a private store that backs onto the park so it’s not owned and operated by Ontario Parks, but it’s supposed to be a great spot to grab ice cream!
If you’re wondering what are the best sites to book, I’ve got some insider scoop for you. Sites 129, 132, 133, 134, 137, and 151 are all waterfront sites which offer a decent amount of privacy and give you direct access to Oastler Lake. If you’re an avid paddler, this means you can launch right from your site which is always a bonus! Site 110 is another great option and while it isn’t on the water, it does offer more privacy than most of the Oastler Lake Provincial Park camping sites. Lastly, site 143 is set back and up on top of a ridge, perfect for those looking for a bit more privacy.
If you’re going to camp anywhere in Oastler Lake Provincial Park though, I highly recommend The Point. While it does take a little bit more prep work as these 10 sites are walk-in only, they are 100% worth the extra effort! You’ll be treated to brilliant views of Oastler Lake’s sunrises or sunsets as you enjoy the tranquil scenery surrounding you. This area is both radio free and generator free, making it the most peaceful campground in Oastler Lake.
There isn’t a whole lot of privacy as the trees are scattered throughout the site, but I rarely heard my neighbours when I camped on site 203. There can be a bit of a slope, especially for the sites facing west, but it’s easy to plan for and set up your camp accordingly. Plus if you’re camping with friends like I was, having sites side-by-side means ample room to spread out which is always a plus!
One thing I have to say is that I was really impressed with how cool it was at our campsite, even in +35C weather. The trees made for ample shade across The Point campground and the close proximity to Georgian Bay allows for cooler nights. It’s one of the reasons why Oastler Lake Provincial Park is a fantastic spot for camping near Parry Sound.
Things to Do at Oastler Lake Provincial Park
One of the reasons why Oastler Lake Provincial Park really surprised me is that it’s not my typical park. If you’ve been following my blog or along with my social media channels, you’ve probably realized that I’m an avid hiker. And well… Oaster Lake has no hiking trails. However, the park will still keep you entertained in other ways.
Get Out for a Paddle
With access to both the Boyne River and all the nooks and crannies of Oastler Lake, there is plenty to explore on the water! Bring your canoe or kayak and launch from the day use area or over by the boat launch. It’s easy to spend hours meandering your way along the shoreline.
If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, you can rent one from the park office. Both are $20 for two hours or $30 for four hours. Your rental fee includes life jackets, paddles and the safety kit. Tandem kayaks are also available if you don’t want to paddle your own boat! There are also stand up paddle boards for rent at $20 for two hours as well as pedal boats that you can rent for two hours at $25 or four hours at $35. Make sure to keep an eye on the time as there is a late fee of $30 per half hour!
One thing to note is that Oastler Lake isn’t only for those visiting the park. There are private cottages along its shores and as such, it’s not uncommon to see boats and jet skis. Always be aware of your surroundings!
Enjoy the Beach
If you’d rather enjoy the summer sun in a more relaxing way, Oastler Lake Provincial Park features one of the best beaches in Ontario. Grab a spot on this large stretch of soft sand and settle in for a beach day! With a gradual slope, it’s a perfect spot for families with young children to enjoy the water. However, the beach isn’t supervised so be sure to pay extra attention to the little ones!
Cast a Line and Go Fishing
When there’s water, typically there’s fish and Oastler Lake is no exception! Summer is a fantastic time to try and snag a Rainbow Trout along with some pike and bass. Bring your rod and see what you can manage to catch but don’t forget to check what’s in season and to have a valid fishing license when you do.
Do Some Stargazing
With little light pollution nearby, Oastler Lake Provincial Park can offer some pretty stellar nighttime views! Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and if Mama Nature provides, make sure to look up and enjoy the stars. I couldn’t believe how clearly we could see the Little Dipper aka Ursa Minor!
Things to Do Near Oastler Lake Provincial Park
The park might be small but its prime location offers access to a number of additional activities during your Oastler Lake Provincial Park camping adventure.
Go For a Bike Ride
There isn’t much to offer cyclists within the park but directly across Oastler Park Drive, you’ll find the Park to Park Trail. It’s over 200 kilometres in length and is broken down into several different sections. The Seguin Recreational Trail section is closest to the park and runs from Highway 69 to Highway 11 along the old Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway line which later became a part of the Canada Atlantic Railway.
This stretch can be a bit tricky since it can be muddy in some sections and is more suited to ATVs as areas like the Seguin Baths are impassable without an ATV. Make sure you keep an eye on your surroundings when cycling. These motorized vehicles can sneak up on you!
Stretch The Legs with a Hike
Never fear fellow hikers, there ARE trails around – you just need to travel a wee bit to get to them! The Park to Park Trail is an option though you’ll be contending with bikes and ATVs. If you’d rather only worry about fellow hikers, there are plenty of other great options for hiking trails near Oastler Lake Provincial Park.
Southeast of the park, you’ll find the Humphrey Nature Trails collection that offers 8 kilometres of eco-friendly trails as you explore temperate forests, cross over creeks, enjoy wetland views and even some waterfalls! With loop after loop, you can easily spend a few hours or a full day exploring. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, one of the Parry Sound hiking trails, the Rugged Trail, requires some fancy footwork but offers brilliant views of Georgian Bay along this 3 kilometre out-and-back route.
However, Oastler Lake is close to another popular destination for hiking and camping in Ontario, Killbear Provincial Park. It has four fantastic hiking trails that offer gorgeous views of interesting rock outcrops, hemlock groves, hardwood forests and Georgian Bay.
Explore Parry Sound
As I mentioned earlier, Parry Sound is just a hop, skip and jump away from Oastler Lake Provincial Park. Grab the car or set out with your bike and head into town to explore. There are plenty of things to do in Parry Sound!
Parry Sound is home to hockey legend Bobby Orr and so it should come as no surprise that there’s a museum dedicated to him. Enjoy a cruise around the 30,000 islands with the Island Queen or the M.V. Chippewa III, an old Maid of the Mist vessel. There’s also the option to take to the skies to admire their beauty with Georgian Bay Airways.
Don’t forget to spend some time enjoying a few of the Parry Sound activities in the heart of town. Chances are you’ll work up an appetite or find yourself a bit parched, so a visit to Trestle Brewing Company is definitely in order! Just down the way, you’ll find the Fire Tower Lookout so climb the 130 steps for some amazing views of Parry Sound and the surrounding area. Don’t miss popping into the Museum on Tower Hill when you do!
Oastler Lake Provincial Park FAQ
Ready to plan your own Oastler Lake Provincial Park camping trip? Here are some things to know before you head towards Parry Sound.
Where is Oastler Lake Provincial Park?
Oastler Lake Provincial Park is located at 380 Oastler Park Drive in Parry Sound. It’s approximately 2.5 hours from Toronto, just off of Highway 400. This makes it a great weekend getaway for some camping in Ontario.
When is Oastler Lake Provincial Park open for camping?
Like a number of Ontario Parks, Oastler Lake is open from mid-May to Thanksgiving. Dates fluctuate each year but for the 2022 Oastler Lake Provincial Park camping season, the park is open from May 13, 2022 to October 11, 2022.
What Are the Washroom Facilities Like?
Oastler Lake Provincial Park is a bit of an older park and some amenities could stand to be updated. There is only one comfort station for the entire park, though their showers have great pressure and you can change the temperature – a luxury not all Ontario Parks have!
Some of the privies throughout the park need an upgrade or have been temporarily replaced by outhouses. They do in a pinch but if you’re in need of a tap and running water, you may find yourself having to walk a bit to get to the comfort station.
Are There Bears in the Park?
During my stay, there was indeed an active bear in the park. As with many of the Ontario Parks that offer camping, bear activity can be common so be diligent! Make sure to pack your food away and anything with enticing smells that could have one of these furry creatures digging around your campsite. It will also help keep the raccoons away who can be just as nosy!
What if There’s Rain in the Forecast?
Well, that depends on you! If you’re camping in a tent and have a tarp or other rain gear, then you should be a-okay. I mean, we had a tornado warning during our visit to Oastler Lake and we didn’t see much rain nor high winds! Of course, if you’re in a trailer or RV, you’ll be just fine.
However, if camping in the rain sounds less than ideal, you can always check out some of the hotels in Parry Sound to make sure you stay dry. Be sure to check the Oastler Lake Provincial Park weather forecast before your trip.
Anything Else I Should Know About Camping at Oastler Lake PP?
The only final thing is that there are active train tracks near the park. Unfortunately, some of the conductors do like to go a little crazy with the horn which you may hear during the night. I heard the trains the first night I was there but didn’t hear them once during the second night. If you’re a light sleeper, this may pose an issue for you so I’d recommend bringing ear plugs just in case! Otherwise, the park is so lovely and really is a great spot for camping in Parry Sound.
Looking for More Provincial Parks to Explore? Check Out These Guides!
Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Killarney Provincial Park
Long Point Provincial Park
Mikisew Provincial Park
Rondeau Provincial Park
Short Hills Provincial Park
Silent Lake Provincial Park
Windy Lake Provincial Park