Neys Provincial Park is an quiet little campground on the north shore of Lake Superior, with a LOT going on! Here's our review of our stay.
Located just a few hours from Thunder Bay - and just over a half hour up the Trans-Canada Highway from Pukaskwa National Park - Neys was our last stop before Sleeping Giant provincial park.
This one has just what we love in these lakefront campgrounds: A great view of Lake Superior - right from our camp site! - coastal trails, and a prisoner of war camp.
Ok, so that last one is incredibly specific and unique to this park, but I stand by the rest of what I said.
Neys has several hiking options, so it has something for any difficulty level and length of trail you may be looking for.
It also has a couple kilometers of clean, sandy beach, stretching across the bulk of their campgrounds. Absolutely gorgeous!
Let us tell you all about it!
Campground Name: Neys Provincial Park
Address: P.O. Box 280, 1004 Hwy 17 Terrace Bay, ON P0T 2W0
Price Ontario Provincial Parks uses a pricing matrix across all their parks. See 2023 Camping Fees for more details.
Reservations: Ontario Parks Reservations
Online reservation was quick and easy with the Ontario Parks online portal.
Registration at the park was very quick and friendly, it did require going into the building.
The maps and signage leave a bit to be desired.
In terms of maps, any of the roads that aren’t for campers ... aren’t on the map. It can make it confusing when comparing the map to what you’re seeing, as you go through the park.
Also, when it says that it may not be to scale - yeah, it’s definitely not kidding.
Beyond that, some of the aspects of the park are shown in confusing places (the opposite side of the road from where it actually is, something being shown directly across from another point, but being further up the road), implied paths/access points that don’t exist, actual access paths in the park that are not shown on the map, etc.
The map we got included a page specific to the trails, but it had been SO blown up from a small image, that a lot of the writing on those 2 maps was fairly illegible - especially the smaller one.
In terms of the signage, there are a few locations where the sign is VERY specifically showing only to traffic from one direction, and you’ll miss the sign until you see it in your rear view.
For instance, the sign for the day use area is only visible from one direction, and it’s off around a weird turn/corner. If you’re coming from area 4, you’ll miss it.
Cell phone coverage (Rogers) was fairly spotty. We had some access in some areas, absolutely none in others, and really decent coverage at our campsite.
Campground Amenities & Info
Neys Provincial Park may be a smallish park compared to some of the others we’ve been to, but it’s got a LOT going on!
About half of the almost 150 campsites in the campground are electrical sites, and the posts seem to be fairly close to each site.
(Definitely check your site’s info when booking, though - the estimates for power tower distance are in the site details!)
As with most provincial park campgrounds, there are no water or sewer hookups in the camp sites.
There is a dump station / filling station set up near the front gate.
There’s one platform for the dumping station, and another single platform / tap for the fill station. They’re both in line - single lane - with no passing lane.
There is no Wifi in the park.
There is a single comfort station for the park, between Campgrounds 1 & 2.
You can access it via the road in campground 2, from the main road (with a parking lot and short walk up a trail), or a short trail from campground 1 to the road on campground 2, leading up to the comfort station.
The comfort station has flush toilets, laundry facilities, and showers.
It also has a sign out front warning people that it will be closed for cleaning between 12:30pm-2:30 pm every day. It’s nice to have a heads up - haven’t seen such a sign outside any of the others we’ve been to - maybe it’s noted inside?
We thought it said “beer lockers” as we pulled up, had a laugh about it!
We both feel like we saw more privy washrooms, than are represented on the park map.
There’s a small camp store located at the front gate, where you can buy souvenirs, clothing, electric adapters, various types of mosquito repellant, snacks, batteries, etc.
Outside of the gatehouse is a second building, where you can buy firewood and ice. The canoe rentals are also handled at that building.
Unfortunately for us - on our mid-September stay - the visitor center is only open in July and August.
I had managed to miss that fact when booking - I had thought it was really cool that they advertized having a model of one of the German POW camps from World War II - apparently there’s also some remains of POW camp 100.
Prisoner of War Camp
When we stopped in Wawa, we’d read some displays there about how the Canadian government had put captured German soldiers to work in the area, during the war.
They were tasked with non-war activities, such as logging and forestry.
These German POWs were given pay - the Wawa sign had said 50 cents a day (Wasn’t that a fair amount of money back in the day?).
They were also given a ton of freedom, allowed to move about fairly freely in their spare time, as long as they didn’t leave the area.
Apparently the German prisoners were treated so well here, that many immigrated to Canada after WWII - another factoid we learned from signage we’ve seen on our journey!
Anyway, the Neys camp is the only one we’ve seen so far that has made any mention of war prisoners, so it definitely stuck out!
Moments of Algoma
This was another easel / artist’s seat display, this time focused on Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven, and how this remote location on the northern shore of Lake Superior influenced his paintings.
Day Use Areas
There are 2 picnic areas, one at either end of the beach.
We visited the one at the south end of the park (the far end from the entrance).
Located near the boat launch, this are has picnic tables and benches - some overlooking Lake Superior - as well as a fairly large picnic shelter that can be reserved.
There’s also a playground, next to the picnic shelter.
Anyway, this day use area can be accessed via a parking lot, or via a trail from the Area 3 campground.
As with most Ontario provincial parks, the comfort station is noted to have barrier-free access - it is up on a bit of a hill, so heads up on that. As well, they have two barrier-free campsites.
The trail we did - the Point Trail - is one of two advertised to be “easy”.
This one was not wheelchair friendly, but could be used by those with other types of mobility aids.
Based on my own experience, I would have been ok taking that one with a cane or in a boot, but may have had trouble if using crutches.
It’s mostly flat, there are some roots to navigate in a few areas, and a few - 3, if I recall correctly - little raised bridges that involve a bit of a step up onto.
As well, there’s a short staircase towards the end of the trail. There are handrails, but the steps are very narrow, and VERY steep.
The roads in the park are fairly rough.
One really cool thing about accessible options in this park is that there’s a wheelchair ramp down to the beach in the Area 2 Campground!
That’s the first one we’ve seen at any provincial park campground. It looked a little janky, but I definitely appreciate the fact that it’s even there.
There’s an off leash dog beach that you can access from a little ways up the Point Trail - though we didn’t actually see any signage in the parking lot or the trail entry to indicate that to be the way to get to it.
The weird thing is that it appears to be the ONLY way to access the dog beach.
Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach area adjacent to it on one side (the right, when looking out to the lake), and there’s no access BUT the trail, to the left.
Anyway, you’re required to keep your dogs on a 2 meter leash in all areas of the park that they’re allowed in, aside from that section of the beach.
As a note: There are a TON of sticks on or near the beach, so it should keep a lot of dogs very happy!
The camp sites all seem large enough to accommodate at least one vehicle, beyond your camping equipment.
There are also several parking areas throughout the campground, including by the comfort station, by the fish cleaning station, at each of the trail heads, etc.
Garbage and Recycling
There are two main garbage / recycling centers in the park - one at the comfort station, and one near the gatehouse.
Weirdly, the recycling are doesn’t have a bin for cardboard or paper.
Activities and Entertainment
There’s a LOT to do in this park, here’s some information on your options:
There are several trails in Neys Provincial Park, with various degrees of difficulty. The Neys PP map had a helpful trail insert, laying out the distances and difficulty ratings.
Unfortunately, we only had the evening we arrived to do any exploring, as we were rained out the rest of the trip. We only got to do one trail 🙁
Further, I was still recovering from wrecking my landing knee during our hikes at Lake Superior Provincial Park. So, we decided early on that IF I was going to do a trail, it should be short-ish and marked easy.
Anyway, here are our thoughts on the trail we did, and some general info about the options we were not able to check out personally:
This is a 1 km linear trail (so 2 km total), one of two advertised as being “Easy”. The description made it sound more interesting to us than the other easy one, so it was our choice.
We did it as a quick walk between setting up at the campground, and having a (somewhat late) supper.
It took us almost exactly an hour - we were walking with INTENT, but did take some time at the end to enjoy the scene and take photos.
This one started at Prisoner’s Cove, walked past the off-leash dog beach through some woods, opened out onto the rocky shore for a bit, back through some woods, then onto wide open rocky areas overlooking the lake.
It was a fun, beautiful trail with a wide variety of views. In the wooded areas, the trail was lined with various types of sub-arctic plants that we haven’t seen on other trails we’ve done.
This is the furthest north we’ve camped so far, though... so that tracks.
Anyway, I’d say that their “easy” designation was a lot more accurate than the “easy” designation we ran into at Lake Superior Provincial Park, LOL!
This is the second of two trails marked as easy, and it’s a 1.3 km loop, accessed from the main road - sort of across from the Prisoner’s Cove area.
As the name implies, this one’s all about sand dunes, and sand dune vegetation. The trail info suggests that it’ll take 30 minutes to walk it.
This was the trail I was originally considering doing, before blowing out my knee.
It’s a 1.6 km loop, rated as moderate and with a suggested completion time of an hour. It’s accessed via the far end of the Area 4 campground.
This one says it takes you up over scenic rocky areas, overlooking Lake Superior. The trail is supposed to wind through dense forests, a shaded valley, sand dunes, and more.
Rocks, scenery, and variety! Augh, wish I could have done this one!
Under the Volcano Trail
This is the first of a series of more difficult trails that stack onto the Point Trail.
The trail head for this linear trail is at the far end of the Point Trail, and it ends where Copa Cove trail begins.
This section of trail is 2.5 km in length (so 5 km return), is supposed to take 2 hours to do, and is rated “difficult”.
It takes you out along the Lake Superior coastline, with a focus on geological formations, and the history of glaciers and volcano activity in the area.
Kopa Cove Trail
This one starts at the end of the Under the Volcano Trail, and can continue on to the Pic Island Overlook trail.
The Kopa Cove section of the overall trail is 2.6 km long - or 5.2 km return. It’s rated “very difficult”, and is supposed to take 2 - 2.5 hours to complete.
It takes you across a rocky beach and a steep climb, ending at an overlook point with a view of Thompson Channel and Pic Island.
Pic Island Overlook Trail
The final trail in the long series of more difficult trails, this one is 4.5 km long / 9 km return, and rated difficult. This section is supposed to take 2.5 - 3 hours to do.
It’s described as a dirt road that takes you up to a Pic Island overlook, with a spectacular view of the Island.
Apparently this particular view inspired the Group of 7's Lawren Harris.
Campground Areas 1, 2, and 3 are fronted by a 2 kilometre beach , said to be one of the finest sand beaches along Lake Superior’s north shore.
This section of Ashburton Bay is relatively shallow, so the water actually warms up a fair amount in the summer.
Swimming is also available in Little Pic River.
It was cold enough during our stay, that our enjoyment of the sandy beaches was limited to sitting and watching the waves, while enjoying a gorgeous Lake Superior sunset.
I may be from Winnipeg and probably have a fair amount of natural antifreeze running through my veins, but I’m NOT going into Lake Superior when it’s like 5 degrees and windy out!
There’s a boat launch onto Little Pic River, in between the day use area and the Area 4 Campground.
I’ll be honest, that boat ramp - as viewed from the road - looked pretty nerve wracking. It LOOKED like you’d have to back your trailer down over a very steep road, directly to the boat launch.
An exit-only road out of the launch area is far less steep than the way in, btw.
If you don’t have your own canoe, the park offers canoe rental through the main gate, complete with paddles, a boat safety kit, and life jackets.
If you happen to have some fishing gear, you can use it out on Lake Superior! This area is known for lake trout, rainbow trout, salmon, and whitefish.
There is a fish cleaning station across from the boat launch.
As with all of the provincial parks we’ve been to, Neys PP has a Discovery Program that it offers during July and August.
This one offers children’s programs, evening talks, guided walks, and even movie nights!
Additionally, they have special weekend events throughout the summer - “Superior Sand and Sun” is one, but another - “Neys Nostalgia Days” sounds WILD.
The description says it “gives visitors a chance to meet the spirits of the past including the prisoners-of-war who once stayed in this remote spot, voyageurs who passed by here, Canadian Pacific Rail navvies, loggers and fishermen.”
Ok, maybe it’s less that it sounds wild, and more that what I’m picturing is wild. I really hope that it involves ghost cosplayers and ~hijinks~.
... Or maybe there’s a seance? “Meet the spirits...” could go either way, IMHO.
Bikes are allowed on the park roads - which are fairly rough - but not on the trails.
The literature says that the park has birds “typical of the boreal forest”, but our “the birds must hate us” streak continued in this park.
We saw a single bird, on road. It mustn’t have gotten the memo that it’s supposed to hide from us, because it clearly DNGAF, taking its sweet time to cross in front of us, absolutely unbothered.
I don’t know what it was, but clearly it THINKS it’s a seagull or Canadian Goose.
There are only 2 Ingress portals in the park, both located at the Visitor center, overlooking Prisoner’s Cove.
Those are 2 of the 3 Pokemon stops - well, 2 stops, 1 gym. They’re in a tight cluster.
All 3 are in range of campsites 25, 26, and 27 - with the bonus of cellphone reception being generally decent in that area, as well.
We hadn’t known this when we booked - I was more concerned about views and such - but we lucked out and had easy access to all 3, for the duration of our stay.
Given how rainy it was, it was nice to be able to raid from our bed or dining room table!
The park’s campground has almost 150 sites, almost half of which have hydro.
There are 4 campground areas in Neys Provincial Park, some having a very different vibe and feel than the others.
Area 1 is where we stayed, and it’s relatively open - there’s some tree cover over the center / back of it, but sparse.
Most of the sites in this area - most of which are pull-through sites - have a decent to good view of the lake, and easy access to the beach.
We stayed in #25, which is on a corner. Very little privacy, but it was surprisingly quiet, given that everyone has to drive by us when leaving. We didn’t even notice!
It could do to be re-graded - there were a lot of weird little ruts, but nothing too obnoxious.
While our view of the lake was a little more set back than some of the rest in that first row, I think we had a fantastic view overall:
Area 4 feels way more remote. It’s not on the lake, the road is more rough, etc.
We thought it was probably exclusively for tents, but we did see a couple trailers when we drove through.
One interesting thing to note is that Neys Provincial Park also has a single cabin for rent. It’s in area 2, overlooks the lake directly, has a grill, and it’s super cute from what we could see!
Apparently they provide everything you need to cook and serve your food on / with, you just need to bring the food itself.
You also need to bring your own bedding, which sounds a bit weird... but also a good idea in general.
Note: Pets aren’t allowed in the cabin or on the cabin site at all.
We were kind of shocked at how much this park had going on for it.
I kind of assumed a sleepy little campground, with a bit of a WWII display, more like a stopover between the larger parks that are a few hours on either side of it.
One of the things we liked - even if not able to take advantage of it this trip - was the stack on, choose-your-own-adventure thing that the one trail had going on.
You don’t have to commit to the whole trail - or any more of it than you feel able to handle- in order to access amazing views and signage telling you some of the geological history and themes of the upcoming trail.
The view from our campsite was gorgeous, too. Aside from the frustration with map inaccuracy and poor signage, everything was great!
We’ll definitely be back - hopefully with a more functional knee, more time, and better weather!
More Campground Reviews
Want to read some more of what we have to say about the campgrounds we've stayed at? Here are some more reviews!
Chutes Provincial Park
Conestogo Lake Conservation Area
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
Fifty Point Conservation Area
Killbear Provincial Park
Lake Superior Provincial Park
Long Point Provincial Park
Meaford Memorial Park
Port Burwell Provincial Park
Valens Lake Conservation Area
Selkirk Provincial Park
Turkey Point Provincial Park
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