Take in the stunning panoramic views along the shores of Elgin County, an area brimming with country charm infused with just the right amount of urban experiences and local attractions. It’s a place where the daily pace is a little more relaxed, allowing you to spend more time relaxing and doing the things you want to enjoy.
Elgin County has three Blue Flag beaches and four portside villages that cater to a variety of visitors. Shop at trendy stores, choose from a diverse assortment of cuisine that include local ingredients and stay at comfortable accommodations. Combine all of that with historic museums, rolling farm fields and scenic rural country roads to tour, hike and cycle.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Elgin County, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Where is Elgin County?
Elgin County is located in Southwestern Ontario, north of Lake Erie, east of Chatham-Kent and west of Norfolk County. It is halfway between Toronto and Windsor, with about a two hour drive each way.
Travellers arriving by car from the United States en route to the area can enter Ontario from Detroit to Windsor via the Windsor Detroit Tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge. Both Windsor and Toronto have international airports.
Things to Do in Elgin County
Three of the sunny beaches in Elgin County have been awarded the Blue Flag designation. This means the beaches of Port Stanley, Port Burwell and Port Glasgow have all met and maintain strict water quality commitments. Also, Port Stanley is an accessible beach equipped with Hippocampe Chairs, smooth cement walkways and mobile mats to allow for easy access to the water.
History lovers will appreciate a visit to Canada’s Cold War Submarine in Port Burnell. The HMCS Ojibwa is on the eastern part of the port and is a reflection of an important part of Canadian military history.
For those who want to keep active, Elgin County has over 100 km of great hiking and cycling trails. Port Burwell Provincial Park's Ravine Creek Trail, located near the beach, features two easy paths that lead to a lookout point with a great view of Lake Erie. If you enjoy heights, scale the stairs of the Port Burwell Historic Lighthouse. Built in the 1840s, the view at the top of the lighthouse is well worth the climb.
For the anglers, cast off from the pier at Port Bruce, just a short distance from Port Bruce Beach, and fish for bass, perch, pike, and walleye.
A visit to Elgin County in the spring coincides nicely with a variety of maple syrup events — the Elgin County Maple Trail is your guide to everything maple. Learn something new about maple syrup production and sample delicious maple goodies. Spring is also the best season to watch the migration of thousands of swans at the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area.
Elgin County Neighbourhoods & Districts
Elgin has seven townships and municipalities, including small towns, hamlets and villages.
The most western municipality in Elgin County south of Highway 401. The main communities are Rodney (home to the smallest jail in North America), Port Glasgow, West Lorne and Eagle.
Notable landmarks include John E. Pearce Provincial Park, a 68-hectare park with trails and great views of Lake Erie, and Backus-Page House Museum, a Georgian-style house from the 1850s that was converted into a museum.
A rural area known for its production of rhubarb and the annual rhubarb festival, it is also the location of Southwold Earthworks National Historical Site, an ancient Indigenous village.
Elgin County’s most populated area is a mixture of urban and rural settlement. Communities include Sparta, Belmont, Union and Port Stanley.
Located west of Bayham, this township includes mainly rural communities, including an Amish settlement.
A historic town with murals that illustrate the community’s history.
Elgin County’s most eastern municipality includes the communities of Vienna, Straffordville, Eden and Port Burwell, home to Port Burwell Marina and the Port Burwell Historic Lighthouse.
Situated between the municipalities of Southwold and Central Elgin.
Things to Know About Visiting Elgin County
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Elgin County, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around the county.
Where to go for a hike
Great place to see the fall colours
Sparta Country Candles offers a wide selection of scented candles and homemade fudge that make unique gifts.
Where to find great art
Where to go for a drink
Open May to September, GT's on the Beach in Port Stanley features an extensive drink menu, including non-alcoholic drinks and classic cocktails.
Last updated: January 10, 2022