Chatham-Kent is located north of Lake Erie, just east of Lake St. Clair in Southwestern Ontario. Surrounded by an abundance of freshwater, the region offers all kinds of water-based recreational activities like fishing, boating and swimming.
Known as the ‘Classic Car Capital of Canada’, Chatham-Kent has celebrated many years as a car manufacturing powerhouse, and this industry is a big part of its history.
Explore local culture and character at local galleries, theatres and family-themed attractions in Chatham-Kent’s small towns, urban centres and rural and waterfront communities.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Chatham-Kent, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Where is Chatham-Kent?
Chatham-Kent is under three hours’ drive from Toronto, along Highway 401 west. VIA Rail Train travels to Chatham-Kent. Be sure to check the train schedule for frequency of service. Chatham-Kent is just an hour's drive east from Windsor and a short distance from two US border crossings: the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge.
Things to Do in Chatham-Kent
Take a road trip around Chatham-Kent to get acquainted with its deep historical roots. Look out for barn quilt trails that feature quilt art on various buildings throughout the countryside. Barn quilts represent a rural art form that tells the visual story of early settler life and the importance of agriculture in Chatham-Kent’s cultural heritage. The region has three barn quilt trails: The Thames River Barn Quilt Trail, East Chatham-Kent Trail and the Longwoods Trail. Marvel at the handiwork and creativity of the rural community.
Car enthusiasts visiting Chatham-Kent between May and September should keep an eye out for annual vintage car shows like the Blenheim Classics Auto Show and Retrofest.
Follow 11 driving route markers along the Tecumseh Parkway to learn about Indigenous history in Chatham-Kent. They recreate the final steps of celebrated Shawnee hero and Chief Tecumseh during the War of 1812 Battle of the Thames. For more intriguing history of the region, be sure to visit museums such as the Chatham-Kent Museum.
Chatham-Kent prides itself on its role in the Underground Railroad. Many Black freedom seekers escaped slavery in the US to the Chatham-Kent area to start a new life. Their legacies endure in the homes, barns, school houses and churches that they built. Many of those buildings are now significant historical sites. Learn more at the Buxton National Historic Site & Museum, the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum and Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History.
Enjoy various types of outdoor recreation in Chatham-Kent. Rondeau Provincial Park is Ontario’s second-oldest park, with 11 km of beautiful sandy beach, undulating sand dunes and 60 km of recreational trails. If you prefer water activities, take a refreshing swim, go fishing on the lake or spend time on the water kayaking and canoeing. Camping is also available in the park.
Chatham-Kent Neighbourhoods & Districts
Chatham-Kent consists of several communities including:
A small rural community in the northeastern part of Chatham-Kent that’s home to the Bothwell-Zone Oil Museum, where visitors can learn about the oil boom in the area.
Known for its annual cherry themed event in July that features midway rides and other family friendly attractions.
The largest populated urban area in Chatham-Kent and home to various cultural attractions, such as the Capitol Theatre, originally a movie house that dates back to the 1930s.
The Sydenham River flows through this small farming town. Abolitionist Josiah Henson made Dresden his permanent residence and his home — Uncle Tom’s Cabin — is the popular Historic site.
Nature lovers will enjoy the local hiking trails and sandy beaches in this area. The historic village is also a popular port for recreational boaters.
A favourite beach and fishing destination.
North Buxton and Area
Many Black freedom seekers moved to the North Buxton area after escaping slavery in the United States.
This quaint town was once the site of the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812.
Learn about the area’s important lumber, glass, sugar and automotive production at Chatham’s largest museum, the Wallaceburg and District Museum.
Things to Know About Visiting Chatham-Kent
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Chatham-Kent, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend.
Favourite local gem
Stroll a tree lined boulevard and admire work of local artists during the annual Art on the Boulevard in Erieau.
Where to get great ice cream
The Sugar Shack in Wallaceburg has a wide range of delicious ice creams, sundaes and homemade chocolates.
Where to go for a drink
Go straight to the source at Bayside Brewing Co. in Erieau, Sons of Kent in Chatham or Red Barn Brewing in Blenheim.
Last updated: January 24, 2023