Today’s post comes from Laura McClintock, a senior park naturalist at Sibbald Point Provincial Park.
I’m a naturalist.
I work in one of the busiest parks in the province, yet I’m always seeking out a quiet meadow or shoreline to observe nature.
While known for our popular beach and access to Lake Simcoe, Sibbald Point is a small but mighty hub of biodiversity.
Every season has its perks, but for nature lovers and solitude seekers alike, fall camping at Sibbald Point is where it’s at.
Here are some of the perks in store for Sibbald Point this fall:
Understated fall colors
When we think of fall, our minds often go to the scarlets and burnt oranges of changing maple leaves.
But have you ever stopped to think about the other colours that fall brings out in nature? What about purple, gold, and white?
Late summer brings new colours to Sibbald Point in the form of asters and goldenrods. These wildflowers start blooming in August in this part of Ontario, painting the landscape throughout autumn.
These flowers provide nectar for insects like butterflies and bees, as they prepare for migration or slumber in the winter months.
Once gone to seed, these plants provide food for birds such as goldfinches.
For me, the blooming of these flowers not only signifies the end of summer, but also a fresh start for the fall season ahead.
When September rolls around, I look forward to evening strolls after work through the campgrounds and amphitheatre meadow to enjoy the hub of insect activity that these vibrant flowers provide.
In our peak summer operating months, we see thousands of visitors every week.
From sun-loving beach-goers to families picnicking under shady trees, Sibbald Point buzzes with activity.
However after Labour Day, Sibbald Point quiets down to a slower rhythm. As much as I love the high energy summers we have, autumn is a welcomed change of pace.
Spending time in nature has countless benefits for our physical and mental health and visiting Ontario Parks is a great way to reap these benefits.
Our Maidenhair Fern Trail is an ideal spot for getting out in nature.
This trail is fairly flat, easy to travel, and features interpretive signs about the habitats along the path.
My favourite feature of the trail in the autumn is the diverse fungi that favour the cooler weather.
When walking the trail, keep your eyes and ears open to spot fall migrating warblers that use the forest as a way station on their journey south.
Team cool weather camping
Working for Ontario Parks, I often get asked when and where I like to go camping in the summer.
Truth be told, I’m not much of a summer camper! However, planning a quick getaway in the cooler months is right up my alley.
Personally, I find you can get so much more out a camping trip in the autumn.
Cooler weather is the best for a few reasons:
- It’s a great chance to see elusive animals, such as Red Fox, White-Tailed Deer, and Wild Turkeys that call Sibbald Point home. With fewer people around, these species are active in more open places, which makes fall camping a great time to observe wildlife. Please remember to respect wildlife by giving animals space and keeping your campsite clean.
- There are less mosquitos, which makes it more comfortable enjoying the day outside. Instead of swatting mosquitos, keep an eye out for migrating Monarch Butterflies, grasshoppers, and beetles that are soaking up the last of the summer sun.
- Some summer nights are just too hot for roasting marshmallows. But come fall, a crackling campfire is a welcomed addition on any trip. Please use designated fire pits and keep flames below 1 m when burning firewood.
Sibbald Point offers both electrical and non-electrical sites until Thanksgiving weekend.
Make sure to take advantage of our mid-week vacancies and visit our reservation page to find your perfect spot!
What’s on at Sibbald Point?
Maybe you like the quiet, but only for a limited time.
Don’t worry, there is still plenty to do at Sibbald Point and the surrounding area when you visit!
Visit Eildon Hall Museum, the former home of the Sibbald family. The museum will be open every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. until Thanksgiving.
Enjoy the great fishing on Lake Simcoe! The fall season is a great time to catch jumbo Yellow Perch. If you’re bringing your boat for a day trip, be sure to reserve your spot at the boat launch in advance.
Stop by our Discovery programs, which will be taking place from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays until Oct. 1. Our annual Falloween is taking place the Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend. Visit our event page to see what we have on!
Have you tried our Adventure Lab course? Download the FREE app and follow the map to explore the habitats of Sibbald Point.
Fix up a thermos of your favourite soup and come for a fall picnic. Our day use and beach areas make the perfect backdrop for your lunchtime break.
Check out our iNaturalist project! Did you know, we’ve got 5,873 sightings of 1,272 species in the park? Let’s see where we can get by the end of 2023!
Ready to experience fall at Sibbald Point?
Whether you’re a dedicated fall camper, or you’re looking for a new park to visit this fall, Sibbald Point is a hidden gem for relaxing and recharging.
Remember to book your advanced daily vehicle permit up to five days before your arrival to guarantee entry to the park.