We recently took a drive from Toronto, Ontario to visit Canada’s Deep South – that is Point Pelee National Park. Point Pelee is that wedge of land that juts out into Lake Erie, and is the southernmost point in mainland Canada. It’s latitude is just below 42°—about the same as Rome, Barcelona, and northern California. As a Canadian, I find that quite exciting in itself.
In 1918 Point Pelee was saved from development and named one of Canada’s National Parks. Today it is home to five unique Carolinian habitats with diverse plants and wildlife species. The main sounds you will hear are from the wide variety of birds at this world-renowned sanctuary.
It’s a lovely, peaceful spot, with sandy beaches, forested nature trails to hike, and a boardwalk to stroll through one of the largest remaining southern Great Lakes marshlands. There are also bike paths and canoe rentals available.
After our walk through a leafy Carolinian forest trail we arrived at the Tip of Point Pelee. It’s a breezy spot and the colliding currents are continually changing the shape of the Tip. We stood at the Tip and snapped our photo as everyone does, then walked down the beach to sit on the warm sand and watch the waves.
The Marsh Boardwalk
The best time for bird-watching was a month ago in early May. But there was still a chorus of birds calls around us as we walked through trails on our way to the Marsh Boardwalk. We met an 85-year-old man, Walter, who has been coming to bird watch each year for more than thirty years. Walter told us if we were here a month earlier, the chorus of bird calls would be a roar. Thousands of visitors from around the world come for the annual Festival of Birds, so he reserves his accommodations a year in advance.
Strolling around the Marsh Boardwalk on the warm sunny day was great, and there is also a birdwatching tower you can climb for even better views. We watched others paddling canoes around the network of canals in the marsh and that looked fantastic.
We really enjoyed our day at Point Pelee and would recommend it for all ages.
See our review of fresh fish tacos at Birdie’s Perch Bustaurant.
Point Pelee National Park Facts
- Point Pelee National Park is recognized as: a UNESCO Wetland of International Significance, a world-renowned Birding Area, an International Butterfly Reserve, and a Dark Sky Preserve.
- Point Pelee National Park Entrance Fee: $7.80/Adult, $3.90/Youth, $19.60/Family or Group.
- Location: Point Pelee is located next to Leamington, Ontario, one hour SE of Windsor, Ontario (or about the same distance from Detroit, Michigan) and about four hours SW of Toronto.
- There is a shuttle running from the Point Pelee Visitor Centre to the Tip from mid-April to Thanksgiving.
- Swim or sunbathe at one of three beach areas.
- Picnic: Day-use areas are equipped with barbecues, picnic tables, washrooms and parking.
- Paddle: Canoe rentals available at the Marsh Boardwalk.
- Bike the 4km Centennial Trail from the Marsh Boardwalk to the Tip.
- Hike one of eight trails through a variety of Carolinian habitats.
- Don’t forget: sunscreen, bug spray and water.
- Pet friendly (must be kept on leash).
- In the park, snacks available for purchase at the Marsh Services Canoe Rental area.