Lansdowne, Southeast Ontario (contact info at the bottom)
The Camping Dirt
Charleston Lake Provincial Park is a popular family and fishing destination. It is located on a large lake a little over 3 hours from Toronto via the Hwy 401 and under 2 hours from Ottawa via Hwy 416 & 401. It offers beaches, a Discovery Centre with kids programs, playground and amphitheatre, and hiking trails. The park is open mid- May through Canadian Thanksgiving in October.
The park has 240 car camping sites in three campgrounds. It also has 4 yurts, 10 interior sites accessible by hiking or boat, 1 cabin accessible by water only, and 3 group campsites accommodating up to 40 people.
Most of the car camping sites are best suited for multiple tents and small to medium sized trailers. Take note of the descriptions on the reservation site if you have a large trailer.
Each campground has a comfort station with toilets, showers, and laundry facilities. Vault toilets and water taps are located throughout, as well.
Meadowlands is in a younger forested area, so some of the campsites are sunny. It is close to the Discovery Centre and a couple of trailheads. There are a number of sites that accommodate larger trailers. Approximately a quarter of the sites have hydro.
Bayside has tent and small – medium trailer sites. Some of the sites have at least partial shade and others are quite sunny. About 8 sites close to the beach have water access. Approximately two-thirds of the sites have hydro. The day use beach and canoe/kayak/paddle boat rentals are adjacent. The sandy beach is very nice with a roped shallow swimming area, perfect for families. A short path from the campground leads directly to the Discovery Centre and a couple of trailheads. This campground also has nice accessible toilets near the entrance.
Shade Ridge has nicely shaded sites and a beach of its own with dog area. Approximately one-third of sites have hydro. A path leads to the amphitheatre and day use beach.
Things to do in the park
Hiking trails range from 1.7km to 10km, easy to difficult. The boardwalk trail is accessible, great for folks with mobility concerns or families with strollers. The Discovery Centre has lots of programming for kids during the summer as well as for adults!And a trip to the playground will keep kids busy. The roads are also bicycle friendly.
The two beaches are welcome respite on hot days.
Charleston Lake has a long history as a prime fishing locale. The park has a boat launch so you can fish for trout, bass, crappie, perch and pike. It’s a great lake for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards, as well, with many inlets to explore. A portage takes you between Charleston and an adjacent lake. Birding is another activity at various times of the year.
Check with Friends of Charleston Lake Park for activities and park history.
The Lansdowne Farmers’ Market is every Friday at the Fairgrounds from June to October. There is a grocery store and LCBO in Lansdowne if you need supplies.
Rainy Day Movie: 1963 The Incredible Journey. The beginning of the movie could practically have been filmed in Charleston Lake with is long history as a cottage and fishing destination.
Contact Info: Charleston Lake Provincial Park
148 Woodvale Rd., Lansdowne, ON K0E 1L0