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Darlington Provincial Park, Courtice

(3.2/5 based on 60 reviews on the web)
Darlington Provincial Park is a part of the Ontario Provincial Parks system. It is located just south of Highway 401 near the town of Courtice, between the cities of Bowmanville and Oshawa. A small park, the topography is dominated by gentle hills, a terminal moraine deposited by glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. The park borders on the northern shore of Lake Ontario also encloses McLaughlin Bay. The Bay is shallow, and at some point in the 1990s was completely closed off from the lake by the action of the waves. The property bordering the park to the west is the home of General Motors Corporation's Canadian headquarters. Kintigh Generating Station can be seen from this provincial park even though it is on the other side of the lake.Park wildlifeDarlington Provincial Park is home to several varieties of plants and animals. The flora of the park consists mostly of second-generation regrowth, as the park was reforested in the 1960s after being cleared for farmland. Invasive plant species are a serious problem in the park, especially the aggressive purple loosestrife growing in the marshy areas bordering McLaughlin Bay. Animal species present in the park range from the white-tailed deer to squirrels and other small animals. Other animals such as coyotes and grey wolves have been rumored to be wandering around the park. Fish and amphibian life are also present in the park, especially in and around McLaughlin Bay. The park is known for migrating Monarch Butterflies. It offers an annual Monarch tagging and educational program.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This park doesn't have the nicest beach on the Great Lakes but it will do for a quick cooling swim. Lots of trees, open areas, trails, parking and camp sites. McLaughlin Bay is great for all ages fish...  more »
  • I have visited the park many times. We have walked the trails, walked along the beach and also brought my kayaks to launch,  more »
  • I visit Darlington Peovincial Park and the adjoining McLaughlin Bay Trail whenever I am back to visit in Oshawa. Growing up I spent time walking our dogs there in the summer or skating in the winter. ...  more »
Google
  • An underrated park in the provincial park system. Keep in mind that it is an urban oriented park so don't expect it to be like some of the more wilderness oriented parks, but given it's location it has plenty to offer for both RV'ers and Tenters alike who are passing through. Unfortunately noise from nearby train tracks and highway 401 does bleed into the park – if you are light sleeper ear plugs maybe a wise thing to pack, especially for tenters in the northern tent oriented area.
  • We were lucky enough to get an electric site on a Friday afternoon of a long weekend. Obviously a good omen because this is a great location! The beach is one of the best we've seen. Our site was big enough for our 32' motorhome with room to spare. There isn't a lot of privacy between the sites but given that they are large sites it wasn't an issue. We stayed in the Lakeside campground. We will go back in the fall when more of the lake view sites will be empty.
  • Beautiful beach area, larger than normal camping lots, cleaner than usual facilities and large areas for walking - has some secluded lots. Great fishing areas, caught some bass and quite a few catfish. Nature walk areas are fantastic. Star removed for: train that runs close - it's very loud and comes late at night. I could hear the sounds of the highway from my lot - and most importantly the area is still affected by Toronto's light pollution. Do not recommend for a 'connect to nature' experience, do recommend for fun trips.
  • The campsites are a fair size and the people/atmosphere are nice however I've got to agree with another commenter on why this place has such a high rating. The ONLY reason I could see anyone wanting to stay here is because it's so close to the city or maybe for a traveler who would only be passing through. We stayed for 3 nights on the labor day long weekend. The beach was ok (definitely nothing to boast about like others on here have)...I personally would NEVER swim in Lake Ontario as well. Noise: The train is honestly not a joke. We saw the comments and thought 'how bad can it be?' I actually like a bit of white noise but this train does not fail to pass by every single half hour and boy does he ever toot that horn. EVERY time. Textbook style. 3 toots with the last one always wailing away....every....half....hour. Yes, you can also hear the traffic on the highway as well. We must've heard some kind of motor bike race near 2/3am one night. It was kind of cool but others may not have been so fond. Not sure how anyone would be able to sleep through that train though unless you're piss drunk! Toilets/showers: are what you'd expect. I was thankful I didn't need to go to an out house. The showers do have quite a bit of mold in them. BRING SANDALS! The showers are in separate rooms. You open the door where there's a seat and some hooks that lead to the shower however bring a plastic bag as there is no curtain and your things will get wet. There's a little sensor button that turns on water and it's timed for 1 minute. You don't control time/temp. Staff: We kept to ourselves given some comments we read. You can tell many were not friendly and did exercise their authority (although a few we ran into were really nice!). We went to the park store once to get some fries and a couple of them barged in loudly, joking around, walking behind the counter, grabbing things for free....not sure why people wear sun glasses indoors. It's easy to spot those on a power trip. They're usually wearing stupid looking glasses like the ones with a red/yellow/blue lens. Bugs: our site was INFESTED with some kind of a fly-bee? They didn't bother us or our things however there were HUNDREDS of them flying around our site and burrowing in the sand. So beware. It's hard to tell in the quality of the pictures but I was at least able to get some in a shot. If you do go, I think our site was 195....don't go to that one. They seemed to only be at our site. Roads: if you need to leave to get something you make think things are near bc the hwy is right there. Wrong. The closest grocery store is 15 minute away. Closest Starbucks (yes I know...but we love good coffee) is 20 minutes away! It's easy enough to get out of the park however because of a really dumb 1 way street you have to go ALL THE WAY AROUND coming back to get in...about an extra 10 minute drive to get back in!!!! Ridiculous!!!!!!!! Some people will go on through because it's just a small section but still dangerous and we saw police waiting and catching purple who did. The design of the road is quite thoughtless and careless if I may say so myself. Check it out on Google to see what u mean. Anyway. Hope my novels helps. Looking on the bright side the experience could've been worse I suppose. Our friends on the other hand ended up leaving after the second night as they couldn't take it anymore.😧
  • Darlington Provincial Park was surprisingly lovely given our proximity to the 401 and major cities. What we liked: Large sites, easy to move about with truck and trailer; the radio free zone, which made listening to the cacophony of bird songs most enjoyable! A bit more challenging: Expect to hear lots of freight train whistles! Also, plan on having a good 75' - 100' of electric cord. We noticed the electrical post for many sites in the Lakeside section were a long distance from where you would be setting up your trailer. Loved the easy access to the beach, and the walking trails. Terrific programs for kids, although not for us. We would definitely go back.