You might be surprised to learn that the great white north is home to magnificent wineries, spectacular quaint little towns, delectable food, sandy beaches and some of the best hiking around….and it all can be found in one place! That’s right! The most southerly part of Canada is one hell of a gem!
When visiting Canada’s south, there are various options of areas to stay all of which will depend on each individuals preference. I would recommend either Leamington or Kingsville, both of which are conveniently located close to hiking, vineyards and beaches, and Canada’s south makes for a spectacular road trip passing through an abundance of beach towns along the way.
3 Day Itinerary in Southern Canada
- Kingsville, Ontario, Canada’s Most Southerly Town
- DAY 1: 3 Day Itinerary in Southern Canada
- DAY 2: Point Pelee National Park
- DAY 3: Pelee Island, Canada’s Most Southerly Point
Canada’s Most Southerly Town
When researching where to stay for my little 3 day jaunt to Canada’s South, I opted to stay in the smaller Town of Kingsville and it sure didn’t disappoint. Kingsville is the most southern town in Canada and enjoys the warmest climate in Ontario. It is located along the shores of Lake Erie and is a 45 minute drive from the Detroit/Windsor border. If arriving from the Toronto area, it is too far for a one day trip so I would recommend staying for a minimum of two days. My little jaunt lasted three days and this post will provide the perfect three day itinerary to the most southerly points in Canada, and will outline the best way to use those three days in order to see the maximum of this beautiful area.
The drive alone to reach Kingsville is well worth the trip even though Kingsville is 361.7 kilometers (224.75 miles) from Toronto, I would definitely allow for 7 hours as there is an abundance of site-seeing to do along the way. If time allows, take Highway 3. It is likely one of the best road trips you will take in Canada and makes for the perfect road trip destination.
Arriving in Kingsville
Upon arrival, check into your hotel, bed and breakfast or Airbnb and then head for the downtown to check out the restaurants and quaint little shops. During the summer, the main street is blocked off to traffic between 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., but there is ample parking well within walking distance.
You will have your pick of several locally owned restaurants most of which expanded their patios into the street. On our night of arrival, we chose to eat at the Grove Hotel on the patio. Unfortunately, I never did make it inside of the hotel but from what I have heard and seen on the internet, it is a very unique place to stay.
Before heading to your lodging for the night, I highly recommend that you pay a visit to Cheese Cake on a Stick , but be warned…..you will be returning to this gem more than once throughout your visit. I also recommend stopping at Kings Bake Shop for some pastries to have for brekkie. Oh….and if you are a lover of all things chocolate, I recommend a visit to Dutch Boys Chocolate for some freshly made chocolate made right on site.
Just One Tip: Most restaurants in Kingsville are closed on Sunday and Monday. I recommended picking up some eats to have on hand for those days.
Now it’s time to hit the hay and rest up for a full day of shenanigans.
3 Day Itinerary in Southern Canada
Day 1 – Exploring Southern Canada
On day 1, you will want to hit the road fairly early (but not too early) to explore the area.
Take a drive through the wine region of the south towards Amherstburg while taking in the views of the vineyards, Lake Erie and the Detroit River.
Essex County Wineries
If you are a wine lover there is a tour company or two that will transport you through wine region which will allow you to sample the various wines. If a tour of the region is of interest, I would recommend Grape Vine Tours Inc. You are able to tour the wineries and sample the wine on your own, but because of COVID I would highly recommend that reservations be made.
There are currently 14 wineries in the Region and if you start your day early enough, there will be time to get in most of them. If you are energic you can also rent bikes from from the Grove Hotel and tour the area by bike, but you won’t cover them all. A printable map of the wineries is available online.
Once you have exhausted all of the wineries, continue your drive through to Amherstburg. Grab one of the best cups of java from Caffeine & Co. and laze by the Detroit River. Sit back and enjoy the scenery before heading back to your accommodations.
Branded Goose Brewing Co.
Once we returned to Kingsville, it was time for some food. It was a Sunday and not many restaurants are open on either Sunday or Monday, but we did find the Branded Goose Brewing Co. Yes, it offers beer tasting, but it is so much more. We chose to eat on the back patio which was a pretty cool spot. The menu and ordering was all done online through your phone which I found a bit tricky to do, but I eventually figured it out. The food was served from a food truck which was tucked out of the way. The walls of the buildings were covered in wall art which was beautiful and led to a great atmosphere, and there was even a solo guitarist playing music from the 70’s. My kind of tunes! I highly recommend a visit to the Branded Good Brewing Co. when visiting Kingsville.
Day 2 – Point Pelee National Park
Point Pelee National Park offers the out-door lover a plethora of activities from hiking one of the eight trails, to lazing at the beach and swimming in the cool waters of Lake Erie, and of course visiting the most southerly point of Canada’s mainland.
Cool Fact: The tip of Point Pelee is roughly the same latitude as Northern California and Rome.
From Kingsville, you will have a short 22 minute drive to the entrance of the park, which is in Leamington. Bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts flock here from all parts of Ontario and the United States, but the park is large making it is easy to social distance and never feel crowded.
POINT PELEE NATIONAL PARK – ENTRY FEES
April – October (prime season)
Commercial Group/Per Person
November – March (off season)
Commercial Group/Per Person
Things to do at Point Pelee National Park
There are an abundance of activities at Point Pelee National Park for the outdoor enthusiast:
- Hiking and Biking: There are eight different trails to either hike or bike ranging in distance from 0.5 km to 4.0 km. The trails are suitable for all fitness levels;
- Canoe or Kayak the Marsh: Canoes and kayaks can be rented right in the park at the Marsh Boardwalk (on left hand side after entering the park);
- Swimming: There are four beach areas within the park. The North and West Beach are the most popular and have washrooms/change rooms, and picnic facilities;
- Bird Watching: Point Pelee is the perfect spot for bird watching, boasting over 30 different species. Spring and Fall are the most popular seasons for migration;
- Picnic: Bring a picnic. There is no restaurant in the Park, but there are plenty of picnic areas scattered throughout;
- Spend the Night: If one day isn’t enough, oTENtik’s are available to rent for overnight;
- Visit the Tip: You can’t visit Point Pelee National Park without visiting the most southerly point of Canada on land. Park at the Visitor’s Centre and start your hike (2 km. each way). There are free shuttles to the tip if you are unable to walk the distance.
Just One Tip: Do not swim, or allow children to swim at the southern tip! The current and riptides are extremely strong and dangerous
After an adventurous day in the Park, you will have worked up quite an appetite. If you didn’t bring a picnic lunch or dinner, you will have to head outside of the park to find food (due to COVID, the Park restaurant was closed). Freddy’s restaurant is a short distance outside the park. It doesn’t look like anything special, but believe me when I tell you that the patio is like being in the Caribbean. And they serve the best burger ever! Save room for some dessert and visit next door for a fresh strawberry frozen yogurt.
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Day 3 – Pelee Island
Day 3 was a long one with a ferry ride over to Pelee Island. Pelee Island is the largest island in Lake Erie and the southermost populated area of Canada. It is connected by ferry to both Canada and the United States.
Prior to COVID the ferry could be boarded either in Kingsville of Leamington, but at the time of this writing, the ferry left from Leamington between April and July, and from Kingston July 30th to September 6th. Because of COVID the ship is sailing at 25% capacity and reservations are required. There is space for vehicles to board, but they are necessarily needed. Walk-ons and bicycles are also welcome.
You are required to arrive at the ferry terminal 30 minutes prior to sailing, and masks must be worn throughout the voyage. The ride over to Pelee Island is approximately 1.5 hours. At this time, no food is allowed on the ship but personal water is allowed. Fur friends can also join you on this voyage.
Touring Pelee Island
Pelee Island is approximately 42 km. and can easily be explored by bike if you are fairly fit and are spending the night on the island.
Just One Tip: There is not enough time to explore the entire island by bike if you are returning by ferry on the same day.
If you still have your heart set on exploring part of the island by bike, there are rentals available on the island at Comfortech Bike Rentals. After disembarking, turn left and walk approximately 3 minutes and the bike rental will be on your left. Bike reservations are not needed during the week, but are recommended on weekends.
If the intention is to explore on foot, you will be disappointed, as there isn’t a lot within walking distance. It doesn’t have a large population and as such amenities are scarce.
Things to Do on Pelee Island
- Pelee Island Bird Observatory;
- Swim at Sunset Beach, East Park Beach, Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserve or Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve
- Geocaching on Pelee;
- Visit Pelee Island Winery.
I would recommend taking a picnic to the Island with you, as restaurants are limited. There is a food truck directly across the street from the food terminal that serves, burgers, fries, cold drinks and ice cream, as well as a tavern which also serves food and cold beverages. It gets hot on the island, so pack up your sunscreen and bottles of water …. and don’t forget bug spray! The little pests are everywhere!
INTERESTING FACT: The ferry from the mainland to the island does not run during the Winter months as the lake freezes. The island does have permanent year-round residents. In order to travel back and forth between the mainland and the island, it is necessary for the residents to take a plane to and from Windsor, which is approximately a 10 minute flight.
Kingsville is a fairly small town with a population of approximately 22,000. If you plan far enough ahead, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding accommodation.
- The Grove Hotel
- Distinctive Inns of Kingsville
- Walnut Grove Bed & Breakfast
- Cottage Rentals
- Airbnb (I HIGHLY recommend Cindy’s Airbnb!)
Leamington is slightly larger than Kingsville with a population of approximately 28,000.
Accommodations in both Kingsville and Leamington book up fast, so the sooner you make reservations, the better in order to avoid disappointment.
As in everything else, all good things must come to an end…..time to pack up and hit the road early in the morning. That’s the end of my three day itinerary, which was the perfect amount of time to see what this area of Canada has to offer.
If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend a trip to Canada’s most southerly point. While it is true that you won’t see the mountains as found on Canada’s West Coast, or the quaint fishing villages that scatter Canada’s East Coast, you will find endless beauty, an abundance of water sports, and warmer weather.
SAVE FOR YOUR EPIC 3 DAY ITINERARY TO CANADA’S SOUTH