Road Trip: Onward to Ontario

Encounter the southwest region on Lake Erie’s Canadian side.

Hop around Ontario’s southwest region, and you’ll find wineries, horseback riding, boat cruises, paddle adventures and more. “Ontario’s Southwest offers world-class freshwater beaches, the rich biodiversity of the Carolinian Forest region with some of the most productive farmlands in the province creating a rapidly evolving wine and culinary scene, and friendly communities,” says spokesperson Jen Moore. 

Here’s a trip-tik that covers a breadth of activities beyond the beach. 

Windsor/Essex: Stay at the Essex Lakehouse ( or Magnolia Ranch (, a property in wine country across the street from Lake Erie. This is the winery leg of the trip with the beachside Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery ( and Viewpointe Estate (, which Moore says has the “best view of Lake Erie.” The newest in the bunch is Vin Winery ( Nosh on a stone oven pizza at Paglione Estate Winery ( 

Elgin: Satiate your sweet tooth at Seed Confections ( before touring the Jumbo the Elephant monument — a real photo op in St. Thomas as a 38-ton statute and tribute to the King of Elephants. Pinafore Park provides playground space, picnic shelters and an ideal spot to simply enjoy being outdoors. Top off the day at Caps Off Brewing ( for a beer or nonalcoholic “booch” and try the baked brie and charcuterie from Gunn’s Hill Cheese and Carmichael’s meats. 

Port Stanley and Port Burwell: Stay the night at Kettle Creek Inn ( with its luxury and designer suites, guest rooms and one-bedroom apartments. Or make reservations at the Windjammer Inn ( for fine local cuisine and a generous wine list. Spend the day on the water with Legends of Lake Erie Boat Cruises ( The two-hour guided pontoon ride features a local storyteller as you troll along the coast of Port Stanley’s beaches. The journey includes stopping for an elegant picnic with homegrown delicacies. Nearby Sparta is chock-full of shops to explore. 

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