port dover beach

This incredible tropical beach is just two hours from Toronto

If you're strapped for cash but looking for a tropical getaway this summer, this beach two hours southwest of Toronto is a must-visit destination.

From the warm waters of Lake Erie to the real palm trees that sway on the shoreline, Port Dover's beach is a bit of paradise in Southern Ontario.

Plenty of people do a double-take when they see the row of palm trees along this stretch of waterfront, but they are very real. This unique feature of the beach comes courtesy of Peter Knechtel, owner of the Beach House restaurant.

For the last decade or so Knechtel has planted palm trees here starting in late May. They tend to stay up until early October before they're taken back to the greenhouse for the coldest portion of the year. For five months of the year, Southern Ontario has a pseudo tropical destination.

Believe it or not, the trees tend to do really well planted on Lake Erie's shores. There's only a handful of them at the beach, but they manage to completely transform the vibe such that you'll be humming Jimmy Buffet after laying out your towel.

Fortunately, the beach at Port Dover is pretty great beyond the addition of Florida palm trees, so it's definitely a spot to have on your getaway radar. The fine-grained sand is easy on the feet, and come August, water temperatures are luxuriously warm.

Take Highway 6 south from Hamilton to get to Southern Ontario's little tropical escape. Weekends get busy, so make sure to arrive early.

Lead photo by

fotofrysky. With files from Derek Flack.


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