I love road trips!
Who doesn’t? It’s so much fun to pack some snacks, blast some tunes and head out on the highway.
My friend and I have always had big plans to drive across Canada. Big plans require big moola and big time, neither of which we’ve got just yet. So, until that happens we decided to use a recent 2 days off to experiment with a smaller scale adventure and the result was amazing and fun filled.
To start with, we decided that we would make zero plans prior to hitting the road. No set destination, no accommodations, nada.
On a Monday morning bright and early, we created a hat o’directions.
And the winner is….
So off we went, driving West on the 401. Where to go? Where to go? We didn’t want anywhere too far because we only had two days, but we wanted someplace far enough to be different. We had heard of Point Pelee and knew it was the Southernmost point of mainland Canada. We also knew that we would hit it if we kept driving West, so that became our destination. We had no idea what was there, or where to stay so we just put Point Pelee National Park in the gps and set off on the 4 hour drive.
On our drive we noticed that en between En Route rest stops; there are a surprising number of museums in the small towns of Southwestern Ontario. As we noted these on the signs, nothing really piqued our interest. Until …cheese museum! The town of Ingersoll features a cheese and agricultural museum that sounded right up our alley.
The Cheese Museum was the weirdest thing ever. It looked like something out of a horror movie.
The small barnlike building’s door was open but there was no one around. Inside there were various tools and machines used for cheese making with descriptions.
There was the bio of a famous cheese poet, and a sample of his riveting cheese poetry. The whole thing was very bizarre.
Oh well, selfie time…
On the road again! We exited the 401 and made our way through the town of Leamington towards the provincial park. Driving through a strip of beautiful beachfront Summer homes, we pulled over to take in the view. Gorgeous!
Continuing our drive further down the road, we find that the street ends at the entrance to the Point Pelee National Park. Just outside the entrance though, we spot Ship Ahoy.
We decided to stop in for some lunch and we are so glad we did!
Before I get to the amazing part, let’s talk about lunch. The area is known for fresh fish, especially perch. We decided to try smelts and chips and they were so yummy. We left our phones to charge at Ships Ahoy (you can take the girls out of the big city but you can’t take the big city out of the girls) and ventured across the road to eat by the water. This is the life!
When we returned to Ships Ahoy to make good use of their free wifi, we chatted a bit with the owner and asked him if there were any hotels in the area. He said that he had a cabin with a private beach if we wanted to rent it for the night.
We all went to have a look at the cabin and it was perfect. I am soooo not a roughing it kind of gal, but this place had electricity, washroom and full kitchen.
And. the. view. How gorgeous is this?
There was an outdoor shower, but it turned out to be just fine!
Before swimming and relaxing at our new home-for-a-night, we wanted to check out the park. First off, it seemed HUGE but apparently it is one of Canada’s smallest National parks. There must be some huge ones. The drive through the park to “the tip” as Canada’s southernmost mainland point is called, took about 10 minutes, and then it was a 7 minute free shuttle ride from there. The park was full of butterflies, and it was really pretty to see forest transition to beach.
And here we are, on the very tip of Canada.
Parks Canada describes this as a wondrous place where spring bird and fall monarch, dragonfly and bird migrations evolve. Point Pelee Ontario is Canada’s most southerly spot on the mainland, lying at 42 degrees on a par with Rome and Barcelona.
This experience alone was breathtaking and well worth the drive from Toronto.
After our visit to the park, we got some supplies and headed back to our little house.
The water was wavy but swimming was not too choppy for swimming. It literally looked like we were in the Caribbean. Not too bad for 4 hours from home!
The sunset was especially lovely!
We cooked a delicious lobster dinner and ate beside the crashing waves. Although the plan was making a bonfire on the beach, we chickened out after spotting a critter outside.
Candle smores it is!
The next morning we decided to be troopers and get up at the crack of dawn to photograph the sunrise, since our sunset pics were so beautiful. We trudged out of the side door at 6 am, proud of ourselves for actually waking up in time. Except we soon realized that we left from the storm door, that locked behind us.
Nothing like walking to Ships Ahoy at dawn in your jammies.
Luckily, the owner was up already and had a second set of keys so let us back in. By this time , I was over it… but Suzanne got some gorgeous sunrise pics.
Before leaving Leamington, we had to try some of the famous perch. We stopped at Freddy’s restaurant, voted the best perch in Ontario. The lightly battered, perch on a bun was delicious.
One last stop to buy some local fruits and veggies, and we were on our way home.
In just two days, we managed to have an incredible mini-break right here in Ontario. Everything worked out absolutely perfectly; we could not have planned a better experience if we tried. I would highly recommend Point Pelee and the town of Leamington for a day trip or longer. It is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also very close to Detroit if you’re looking to head across the border for a bit! This was a road trip that I will always remember and I am glad to have had an amazing friend to share it with.
It is amazing to be able to see the world, and we love sharing those experiences with you in our TNL Travels. But, sometimes it’s just as exciting to hop in a car and explore our amazing province!
What was your favourite road trip?