Beaches, wine and nature along Canada’s southernmost shores

Road trip to one of Ontario’s prettiest regions, rich in culture, cuisine and fine wine.

Explore craft breweries and distilleries, sunny beaches, key birding spots, bicycle-friendly trails and photo-worthy waterfront views in Essex County and Pelee Island.

And the best part? You’ll love how much further your dollar goes in Ontario, Canada.

Border crossing information

Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to know to cross the border into Canada.

Before travelling, check border wait times

Border crossing locations from Michigan into Canada include:

Where to stay in Essex County

  • Approximate distance and travel time from Windsor, 25 miles (40 kilometres) 40 minutes
  • Approximate distance and travel time from Sarnia, 84 miles (135 kilometres) 1 hour 40 minutes

While visiting Essex County, find a place to stay that suits your needs and make it home your base for the duration of your trip. Options include a boutique inn, reinvented roadside motel, classic hotel, cozy bed and breakfast or a nature-focused glamping site.

Lakeside Porch and Pillow: Two of the four suites in this unique bed and breakfast feature gorgeous balconies with endless lake views.
Location: 123 Adelaide Street, Harrow

Magnolia Ranch: A gorgeous Victorian bed and breakfast with the perfect balance of old-world charm and modern comforts.
Location: 178 County Road 50 East, Harrow

Lungovita Beach Retreat: Connect with nature, soak in gorgeous lake views and enjoy comfortable glamping-style accommodations on the shore of Lake Erie.
Location: 225 County Road 50 East, Harrow

The Walnut Grove Bed and Breakfast: Just northeast of Harrow, three luxurious suites are available in an idyllic country farmhouse, with unique add-on experiences from picnics to pollinator garden tours.
Location: 4000 McCormick Road, Harrow

Distinctive Inns of Kingsville: Choose from three unique well-equipped downtown suites.
Location: 136 Mill Street West, Kingsville

The Grove Hotel: A trendsetting boutique hotel in a heritage building that offers bicycle rentals.
Location: 12 Main Street East, Kingsville

The Seacliffe Inn: This heritage waterfront inn is conveniently located close to the marina, Pelee Island ferry dock and Seacliffe Park.
Location: 388 Erie Street South, Leamington

Best Western Plus Leamington Hotel: Indoor pool, games room and onsite restaurant make this an attractive accommodation choice.
Location: 566 Bevel Line Road Rr 1, Leamington

The Grove Motel: Funky and fun are key themes at this brand-new, reimagined roadside motel. Be the first to book a stay! Sign up to be notified when they are taking reservations.
Location: County Road 50, Colchester

Getting around

Essex County is a predominately rural area with small towns and farm market communities. The best way to get around is by car or motorcycle. You’ll find free and paid public parking close to town centres and EV charging stations in Amherstburg.

Cycling is another great way to travel. From relatively flat and rural countryside on the mainland to quiet back roads on Pelee Island, this region is ideal for recreational cyclists to explore by bike. Bring your own or rent from one of the operators below.

Tours, rentals and routes

Wine Trail Ride Guided Cycling Tour: Visit local wineries to enjoy tastings and food pairings on a fun and leisurely five-hour bicycle tour with award-winning guiding company, WindsorEats.
Location: 100 Jackson Street, Harrow

The Grove Bike Co.: Seasonal electric and traditional peddle bicycle rentals are available at the Grove Hotel.
Location: 12 Main Street East, Kingsville

Chrysler Canada Greenway: This 31-mile (50 kilometres) multi-use recreational trail follows repurposed rail lines through Essex County and is an easy and scenic ride for cyclists.

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail: The local portion of this epic pan-provincial trail hugs the picturesque shoreline of Lake Erie and the Detroit River.

Ontario By Bike: A resource for more cycling info for the region, including maps and bicycle-friendly businesses.

Day 1: Amherstburg

Located on the shores of the Detroit River, the quaint town of Amherstburg is one of Ontario’s oldest communities steeped in military and cultural history. Visit engaging museums and stroll the waterfront with views across the river to the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse on Boblo Island.

You’ll want to park your car and explore downtown on foot during Amherstburg’s pedestrian-friendly Open Air Weekends.

Things to do

History and nature

Fort Malden National Historic Site: Originally named Fort Amherstburg, this fort was built in 1795 as a defense of British North America from American invasion. The stronghold experienced action during the War of 1812 and the Rebellions of 1837-38. Download the visitor guide to explore the grounds, learn about its military history and watch a live musket demonstration.
Location: 100 Laird Avenue South, Amherstburg

Amherstburg Freedom Museum: Delve into the history and legacy of African-Canadians through rare and well-preserved Black heritage artifacts and stories. The museum was founded by residents in 1975 and continues to be a community-run not-for-profit organization. Book an in-house tour for the best experience.
Location: 277 King Street, Amherstburg

Holiday Beach Conservation Area: Keen birders will enjoy a visit to this designated Important Bird Area (IBA). The three-story observation tower provides a great vantage point for bird watching and nature photography.
Location: 6952 County Road 50, Amherstburg


Dancing Swallows Vineyard: Relax in the whimsical outdoor tasting garden at this small, generational family farm and vineyard. Tasting flights can be pre-booked.
Location: 8704 Essex Road 9, Amherstburg

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery: A beachfront winery that offers tasting flights, wine by the glass, charcuterie boards and picnic baskets and even a weekend beach hut bar serving wine, beer and sangria.
Location: 7258 Essex County Rd 50 RR #5, Amherstburg

Where to eat and drink

Waterfront Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt: Indulge with a sundae or scoop of gelato from this local landmark overlooking the river.
Location: 229 Dalhousie Street, Amherstburg

Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant: Authentic Italian food and a splendid view overlooking the Detroit River.
Location: 238 Dalhousie Street, Amherstburg

The Salty Dog: Elevated pub fare, a great beverage menu and a chill atmosphere makes this a local favourite.
Location: 237 Dalhousie Street, Amherstburg

Wolfhead Distillery and Restaurant: The area’s first premium craft distillery, Wolfhead produces fine vodka, gin and speciality whisky like coffee, cinnamon or apple caramel. Stop in for a tour and tasing and stay for a bite to eat in the restaurant or outdoor patio.
Location: 7781 Howard Avenue, Amherstburg

Lot 10 Brewing Company: Located in historic downtown on the banks of the Detroit River, this microbrewery serves a tasty selection of pizza-style flat breads and nachos to enjoy with a craft ale or lager.
Location: 263 Dalhousie Street, Amherstburg

Day 2: Colchester and Harrow

Two colourful plates of food and glasses of wine at Oxley Estate Winery.

  • Approximate distance Amherstburg to Colchester/Harrow: 16 miles (25 kilometres)

From the beaches and shoreline of Lake Erie to favourable agricultural conditions, the communities of Colchester and Harrow have extended rural roots to embrace grape growing and wine making. So ready your palette for wine tasting.

Public parking lots are located close to the Colchester beach and harbour.

Things to do

Local attractions

Serenity Lavender Farm: Lavender flowering season typically runs from mid-June to early August, although it's worth visiting this lavender farm and shopping anytime for their lavender-infused products. Book a garden tour and celebrate this fragrant flower during their Lavender Festival, June 25-26.
Location: 130 County Road 50 East, Colchester

Colchester Beach: Next to the Colchester Harbour, this groomed Lake Erie beach features a playground, splash pad and beach volleyball net. Washroom facilities are available.
Location: 100 Jackson Street, Colchester


North 42 Degrees Estate Winery and Bistro: Fine wine and great food.
Location: 130 Essex County Road 50, Harrow

Viewpointe Estate Winery: Views of vineyards and sparkling blue waters under a big sky set the scene for tasty pizza, flatbread, tacos and salads paired with great wine on the patio.
Location: 151 County Road 50 East, Harrow

Colio Estate Winery: One of Ontario’s first wineries has nabbed over 500 awards from around the world. Find out why.
Location: 1 Colio Drive, Harrow

Oxley Estate Winery: Lake breezes and the temperate climate make the large wine garden an attractive spot to enjoy a glass of wine.
Location: 533 Essex County 50 Road East, Harrow

Paglione Estate Winery: Savour a slice of Italy with small batch wine and homemade traditional wood-fired pizza on the patio at this charming boutique winery.
Location: 724 County Road 50 East, Harrow

Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards and the Vines Restaurant: Look for hawks and other birds of prey in the natural spaces surrounding the vineyard from the Wine Terrace.
Location: 1425 Iler Road, Harrow

Where to eat and drink

Garfield's: Family owned and operated serving diner style comfort food along with local craft beer and wine.
Location: 1 Country Road 50 West, Colchester

The Wreck at Colchester Harbour: A seasonal Tex Mex inspired beachside grill with Lake Erie views and ultimate vacation vibes.
Location: 220 Jackson Street, Colchester/Harrow

Day 3: Kingsville and Leamington

  • Approximate distance Colchester to Kingsville: 12 miles (20 kilometres)
  • Approximate distance Kingsville to Leamington: 10 miles (15 kilometres)

The neighbouring towns of Kingsville and Leamington both enjoy the benefit of breezy lake views, farm fresh local produce nearby and access to stunning parks and nature.

Find free public parking, including accessible parking in Kingsville. Paid and free parking is available around Seacliff Park in Leamington.

Things to do

Local attractions

Sunny Britches Acres: Agri-tourism attraction with fun farm experiences for kids, and the kids-at-heart. Pre-book a private farm tour to learn about farm life and meet some of the farm animals, including ducklings and hedgehogs.
Location: 257 Road 10, Cottam

Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary: Take a stroll along the nature trails, observe the birds, and learn about the conservation efforts of the sanctuary, which was the first of its kind in North America.
Location: 332 Road 3 West, Kingsville

Leamington Arts Centre: Tap into the creativity of the region and beyond with over 600 works of art in the permanent collection.
Location: 72 Talbot Street West, Leamington

Seacliff Park: Enjoy the sandy beach, waterfront views and open green space for a picnic or to watch the sunset.
Location: 24 Seacliff Drive West, Leamington

Golf and spa

Kingsville Golf and Country Club: Choose from three different course options with a total of 27 holes. This scenic public golf course will host the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada this summer.
Location: 640 Essex County Rd 20, Kingsville

Estate of Health: Need a dose of self-care? Enjoy invigorating and therapeutic treatments for body, mind and soul in a beautiful sanctuary surrounded by gardens. 
Location: 101 Mill Street West, Kingsville

Where to eat and drink

El Diablo: Globally inspired fusion menu of tacos, small plates and bowls.
Location: 16 Main Street West, Kingsville

Jack’s Gastropub: A neighbourhood landmark with a cozy wrap-around porch serving a seasonal, locally sourced menu.
Location: 31 Division Street South, Kingsville

The Grove Brewing Company: Award-winning, locally focused craft brewery and restaurant in the heart of Kingsville.
Location: 86 Wigle Avenue Unit 1, Kingsville

Kingsville Winery: Book wine and food tasting and pairing as well as winery tours at the Kingsville branch of the Pelee Island Winery.
Location: 455 Seacliff Drive, Kingsville

Kings Bake Shop: Treat yourselves to something sweet.
Location: 13 Main Street East, Kingsville

Sweet Retreat Ice Cream and More: Over 30 different flavours of delicious scoops.
Location: 7 Nelson Street, Leamington

Cured Craft Brewing Co.: An independent, small batch brewery located in a renovated heritage building.
Location: 43 Mill Street West, Leamington

Day 4: Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee is the southernmost point of mainland Canada and also the most ecologically diverse park in the country. Quite impressive for one of Canada’s smallest national parks.

Things to do

Point Pelee National Park: Explore forests, marshlands, savannahs and beaches on scenic trails, along a stunning stretch of boardwalk. Paddle the wetlands and shoreline by kayak or canoe. Rentals are available at the Pelee Wings at the Boardwalk.

With over 370 species of birds reported in the park, it is one of the best places in North America for birding. The park serves as a key spring and fall migration stop for birds as well as monarch butterflies.

Point Pelee is also a designated dark sky preserve and hosts a variety of stargazing and night sky viewing events.

If you want to stay in the park, in addition to camping, 24 oTENTiks are available to rent. These permanent shelters are basically a hybrid between a cabin and tent.
Location: 1118 Point Pelee Drive, Leamington

Day 5 - 6: Pelee Island

Soak in the laid-back vibe and natural scenery on Pelee Island, Canada’s southernmost inhabited land and one of Ontario’s best-kept secrets. Board the 90-minute passenger and vehicle Pelee Island ferry from the Leamington or Kingsville dock. Purchase tickets in advance and arrive at the ferry early.

Where to stay

The Wandering Dog Inn: An inviting inn that embraces the simplicity of “island living”.
Location: 1060 East West Road, Pelee Island

East Park Campground: Non-electrical camping sites include a firepit and picnic table. It’s recommended to make reservations well in advance.
Location: 1362 East Shore Road, Pelee Island

The Main Station: Family run campground, RV park, guesthouse and restaurant.
Location: 11 West Shore Road, Pelee Island

Things to do

Pelee Island Heritage Centre: Uncover local history and unique natural culture of the island at this museum and bookstore.

Fish Point Provincial Park: Hike out to the end of the sandspit and stand in Canada’s southernmost tip of land. Birders will note the island is recognized as an Important Bird Area, especially for migrating shorebirds and butterflies.

Lighthouse Point Provincial Park: View the remains of the second oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes, located in the northeastern corner of the island. Built in 1834 this landmark is almost 200 years old.

Pelee Island Adventures: Explore the shorelines and country roads comfortable with golf carts, e-bikes or peddle bicycles. Or opt for SUP board rentals and take to the water. Guided nature and sightseeing tours are also offered.  

Ruins at Vin Villa: Visit the site of Canada’s first commercial estate winery founded in 1866. Pelee Island Adventures provides exclusive tours into the restored underground wine cellars.

Where to eat and drink

Pelee Island Winery: Tour the property and sip a glass of red or white with light snacks from the pavilion overlooking Lake Erie.
Location: 20 East West Road, Pelee Island

Stone House 1891: Enjoy craft beer and delicious farm-to-table food in a beautiful heritage stone building.
Location: 1115 West Shore Road, Pelee Island

Westview Tavern: Lake Erie perch and pickerel feature on this comfort food menu.
Location: 1065 West Shore Road, Pelee Island

The Dog and Goat Restaurant: Friendly local spot at the Main Station serving wraps, sandwiches, burgers and perch tacos.
Location: 11 West Shore Road, Pelee Island

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Last updated: August 22, 2023

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