Whilst we were in Jasper National Park at the very beginning of our Canadian adventure, we bought a Parks Canada Discovery Pass which enables us to visit a number of, you guessed it, National Parks across the country for a year. This led us to discovering Point Pelee National Park, our destination for the Easter weekend.
As you can hopefully see from the embedded video below we filmed ourselves again. If this doesn’t work you can also view our day on YouTube here.
At 350km south-west of Toronto, Point Pelee National Park is famous for a number or reasons. Firstly, it’s the southernmost point of mainland Canada, a fact which definitely influenced our desire to visit! Our B&B hosts proudly told us that it’s on the same latitude as northern California, Barcelona and Rome, and the first national park in Canada to be established for conservation.
The park is also a birding hotspot, with thousands of birds stopping off to enjoy the mild climate and mix of vegetation on their spring and autumn migrations. We were a few weeks early for this, but having heard tales about how busy the park and surrounding area gets during this time from our B&B owners, I’m glad we missed it!
Come September and the park is filled with butterflies moving south, attracting yet more people. Visiting in April, combined with it being Easter weekend, meant it was relatively quiet with a lot of the restaurants and local shops closed for the season. We still found plenty to keep us occupied and well fed though!
You could spend as much or as little time as you wanted exploring Canada’s smallest national park. The main attractions could easily be done in a day or less. We spent the day exploring the trails and of course heading to the tip of the 20km long sand spit so we could stand at the bottom of Canada!
This trail took us through the most diverse habitat in the park, home to painted turtles and lots of canoes in the summer. Walking along here required our full attention as the shady parts were still covered in a thin layer of very slippery ice.
West and East Beach
In the winter it’s possible to park 500m from the tip but instead we decided to park at the Visitor Centre and walk down one side of the spit and back up the other. Whilst in theory this was a good idea and meant we got some great views of Lake Erie, about halfway along the West Beach footpath we encountered a lot of snowy patches. This made for a pretty tough walk and we fell knee deep in snow a couple of times, evidence of which can be seen on the video. When we reached the end of the trail we came across a very useful sign informing us that the path we had just taken was in fact closed!
Woodland Nature Trail
Point Pelee is home to wild turkey and our last chance of spotting one was on this 2.75km trail through the oldest woodland in the park. Unfortunately they were all hiding and the closest we got to seeing one was some footprints in the sand on the East Beach.
Our Point Pelee recommendations
Stay: Point Pelee Lakeshore B&B for delicious home cooked breakfasts, welcoming hosts and fantastic views of Lake Erie.
Eat: Jack’s Gastropub, Kingsville for yummy burgers, sweet potato fries and chocolate milk after a long day hiking.