Point Pelee National Park

Pelee National Park is the most southern national park in Canada, as well as its most ecologically diverse. It was also the first park to be established for conservation. From marshlands to sandy beaches, birds to butterflies, there’s plenty to see and experience in this national gem.

For bird lovers, Point Pelee is a must visit. Another seasonal highlight comes in fall when visitors start seeing orange. Gorgeous monarch butterflies linger in the park during their migration south at the end of summer. From around late August to early October, the butterflies stop in the park to rest before crossing the Great Lakes and continue to their next destination, Mexico, 4,000 km away.

Stick around at the end of the day to witness the colourful sunset at the very tip of the park. But don’t think that the adventure stops when the sun goes down in Point Pelee National Park. Put on some layers and get ready to be dazzled by the night sky. Designated a dark sky preserve, Point Pelee makes for sensational stargazing.

Located in Essex County in southwestern Ontario, Point Pelee National Park is about an hours drive south of Windsor. Parking is available at the park.

For up-to-date information and details on Point Pelee National Park, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.

Wooden boardwalk through marsh at Point Pelee National Park at sunset

Accessibility Features

Wheelchair accessible

Unobstructed path through public  hallways that are wide enough to allow  people using wheelchairs and other  mobility devices to move easily through  the building. 

Service animals welcome

Service animal can be identified by visual  indicators (guide dog or other animal  wearing a vest/harness); or  documentation available from a  regulated health professional to confirm  the animal is required due to a disability. 

Accessible washroom

An accessible washroom stall has  adequate manoeuvring room for mobility  devices. Includes grab bars, transfer  space, accessible door latch, sink with  knee clearance, and lever handles or  automatic sensor faucets. 

Accessible transportation

Accessible public transportation and/or  accessible shuttle buses serve the site. 

Accessible seating

Reserved space with a clear view of the  event/activity for someone who is seated,  good sound quality, and adequate  manoeuvring room for a mobility device.

Accessible recreation trails

One or more accessible trails with firm  and stable surface. All slopes, ramps,  handrails, boardwalks and signage  comply with the technical requirements  of Ontario's accessibility laws.

Accessible parking

At least one identified, reserved parking  space with a safe, clearly marked  accessible route from the designated  parking area to an accessible building  entrance.

Accessible hotel bedroom

Adapted room with adequate clear floor  space around all room fixtures, (i.e. bed,  closet) for people using mobility devices:  bed at proper height for a transfer and  clearance under bed to slide in a portable  lift. 

Accessible hotel bathroom

Accessible tub or roll-in shower; transfer  bench, grab bars, handheld showerhead.  Toilet grab bars, manoeuvring room by  toilet; accessible door handle/lock; sink  with knee clearance; lever or automatic  faucets for bath/sink.

Accessible entrances/exits

A sufficiently wide, hard surfaced,  unobstructed path, no steps or equipped  with ramp connecting to a public  entrance or exit and identified by signage.  Automatic door openers, adequate  manoeuvring room in front of door.

Wheelchair and/or mobility devices available

Wheelchairs and/or mobility devices are  available, free of charge, or for rent. 

More about Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Canada, but it more than makes up for size in what it offers visitors. The immense diversity of this park simply isn’t found in other Canadian national parks. Walk through forests, marshes, savannahs and beaches and discover a wide assortment of wildlife, especially birds. 

The park’s name comes from the French word ‘pele,’ meaning bald. Point Pelee National Park is on a landmass that pointedly juts out 15 km into Lake Erie. This odd-shaped peninsula was formed over time by sediment deposited along the beach. Now the area is full of marshes and forests that is the perfect environment for tons of wildlife, especially birds. The area became a Canadian national park in 1918, and in 1987 the park was named a Ramsar site falling under the jurisdiction of the Ramsar Convention, which promotes conservation of wetlands.

The main attraction that keeps visitors coming to Point Pelee National Park: the birds. The park is one of the premier spots in North America for bird watching. During the spring, the park comes alive with the many sounds and songs of various birds heading north during their annual migration. Over 370 bird species have been spotted in the park. This is due to the park’s proximity to two dedicated migration flyways. 

And of course, there is the national park itself to explore. The best way to discover the raw beauty of Point Pelee National Park is to go hiking. There are eight trails in the park that cover over 14 km of land. The trails take you through the various landscapes found in the park, including beaches, savannahs, forests and marshes. There’s even a short trail to the DeLaurier Homestead that showcases what life was like for the small community that called the area home for decades. For a faster pace, bring your bike and take a ride on the park’s Centennial Hike and Bike Trail that extends for 6 km.

With so much of Point Pelee National Park being wetlands and marshes, another great way to explore the park and see more wildlife is to get on the water. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent (seasonal) within the park. Bask in the tranquility of the still waters (and maybe have a close encounter with beavers, turtles, and muskrats).

Before leaving Point Pelee National Park, stop by the Visitor Centre and Nature Hook Gift Shop to purchase a special souvenir that supports Canadian parks.

When heading to Point Pelee National Park, make sure to pack lunch, as there are multiple picnic areas, including grills, throughout the park. And bring your swimsuit as swimming is permitted. In fact, it has the longest stretch of continuous beach in all of Essex County, 20 km long.

Last updated: August 18, 2023

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