When Is The Best Time to Visit MacGregor Point Provincial Park?

It's hard to say when the best time is to visit MacGregor Point Provincial Park, but I know for a fact that the late spring / early sum...

It's hard to say when the best time is to visit MacGregor Point Provincial Park, but I know for a fact that the late spring / early summer is definitely a perfect time to do so. Not only is it not crowded as the beach season has not started, but also there are almost no mosquito and black flies that could be quite nasty in this area. MacGregor Point Provincial Park sits on the eastern shore of beautiful Lake Huron just south of Port Elgin, Ontario and is open year-around. The park gets pretty busy in the summer attracting beach-goers. It also becomes a mecca for cross-country skiers in the winter. Both the spring and the fall have many things to offer, too. Below is my top 6 to enjoy at this park in the late spring / early summer.

1. Look for Spring Wildflowers. 
MacGregor Point Provincial Park is probably the most blooming park in Ontario I've been to. You can spot dozens of flowers - in different colours and shapes - right from the hiking trail (please remember to stay on trail, leave no trace and take only pictures).
A sweet smell of a wild cherry reminds me my childhood.
Many people believe that orchids only grow in a tropical warm climate, but you'll be surprised to know that Ontario is home to some of the most beautiful orchids such as this yellow lady's slipper. 
Colours and their shades are countless.

2. Spot Some Wildlife. 
Spring is the time of the year when wildlife awakens. While it's very exiting to spot them, always do it from the safe distance and never ever approach or touch wild animals.
The largest spider I've ever seen in Canada.
Tiny baby snapping turtle is crossing a dirt road. Someone could have step on it if we didn't move it off the road.
Milk snakes are soaking up sunlight after a few days of rain. Snakes are pretty harmless creatures, but at this moment they are even more vulnerable as they can't move fast without getting enough sun energy.
Milk snake is not venomous, however it looks similar to a threatened Massassauga Rattlesnake that also lives in the area.
Garter snake (non-venomous) can be often spotted along the beaten paths.

3. Attend Huron Fringe Birding Festival. 
Even if you're not an ornithologist or a person whose hobby is to spot birds, be sure to check the festival's schedule to find some cool activities.
We really enjoyed the presentation about raptors by Wild Ontario from University of Guelph,
From their website: Wild Ontario is a live-animal, environmental education program based at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. Our incredible team of staff, volunteers and animal ambassadors travels the province, spreading our love for Ontario's nature and wildlife. We aim to teach, entertain, inspire and motivate. We love what we do, and we know that you'll love it too!
I've attended similar presentation before, but this one is by far the most interesting one. Speakers provide fun facts about their birds of prey with humour and passion. 
There are other activities in the park as part of the festival such as a guiding walk along the Tower trail. It takes you to a pond that attracts lots of birds - both local and migratory.
According to the park's information stand, water is a 'designed habitat' for many animals. Water is resistant to heating and cooling, therefore in the spring it takes a long time to warm up and in the fall it takes a long time to cool down. For animals that live in wetlands like this one, it ensures no fast changes in temperatures. In the winter, the lower portion of deep ponds rarely freezes that helps animals survive cold winters in Ontario.

4. Walking On A Deserted Beach. 
MacGregor Point Provincial Park stretches along the shore of Lake Huron for almost 5 km / 3 miles, so there are countless opportunities to find a deserted beach. At least, in the late spring / early summer. 
Some beaches are sandy, but most of them are quite rocky.

5. Hike or Bike The Trail. 
Old Shore Road trail combined with Deer Run trail makes a great loop for both hiking and biking.
As the name suggests, Old Shore Road runs in parallel to the lake shore and is accessible from all campgrounds.
The park offers other trails to explore. Besides the Tower Trail trail mentioned earlier, Huron Fringe trail is quite nice. It's the shortest trail and starts close to the visitor's centre.
It has quite a few of information signs that tell about the nature and history of the park.
The trails cuts through a swamp called Ash Swamp. It's a remarkable place as it experiences a great deal of water fluctuation throughout a year. In the spring, the water level is high, up to the boardwalk, however closer to the mid-summer, water may completely evaporate. 
Crayfish, one of the numerous species that live here, has adapted to these harsh conditions - it digs the burrow in the mud down the water table to survive the rest of the year.

6. Find A Secluded Cove. 
I won't reveal where this secluded cove is, you'll have to find it yourself.
The cove's name is Merganser Cove, but the park's map does not have it on it, so you'll have to rely on your experience and be attentive.
This place is definitely worth looking, so get yourself ready for the challenge.
What is your favourite thing to do at MacGregor Point Provincial Park or a similar shore park? 

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