Port Stanley Ontario

Port Stanley in Ontario is a dreamy beach town perfect for your next getaway

Port Stanley in Ontario is an idyllic beach town that comes alive in the summer months, making it the perfect destination for your next getaway.

Located approximately 3 hours from Toronto, the historic lakeside town sits on the shores of Lake Erie just south of London.

Boasting beautiful sandy beaches, clean and shallow waters for swimming, and a charming downtown, there's so many reasons to add Port Stanley to your summer road trip list. Here are some of the best things to do and see:

Hit the beach

The crown jewel of Port Stanley is undoubtedly its beaches, and the town has two to choose from. The Main Beach is one of only 27 in Canada that are Blue Flag certified, which means they're committed to keeping their water clean.

Main Beach once was considered the "Coney Island of the Great Lakes," chock-full of amusement rides, plus a water slide and outdoor theatre. 

While these no longer exist, there are still tons of attractions along the water which cater to the summer crowds.

Today, you'll find plenty of recreational activities at Main Beach including parasailing, paddling, and kayaking, along with multiple sandy volleyball courts, maintained facilities, and a boardwalk.

For a more secluded option, head to the town's east side and check out Little Beach, which has shallower water and is more family-friendly.

Wander through the historic downtown

A must while you're visiting Port Stanley is strolling through the vibrant town, a picturesque melange of colourful buildings, a marina, pier, and lighthouse. Walk down Main Street and stop in to welcoming shops, galleries, and cafes.

You can also peruse home goods and antiques at Little Beach Antiques or Joshua & Company, or admire works of art by regional emerging and established artists at the Art Emporium.

Satisfy your sweet tooth

Sugary treats go hand-on-hand with beach getaways, and Port Stanley has several options to satisfy those cravings. Grab a scoop of ice cream and freshly-made waffle cones at Broderick's, a community staple for over 34 years.

Visit a historic lift bridge

Built in 1938, a cool sight in Port Stanley for history buffs to check out is the King George VI Lift Bridge. This bascule drawbridge uses counterweights to continuously balance the spans through their upward swing. Located at the centre of the village, it's also the oldest of its type in Ontario.

Having undergone many repairs over the years, you can still go watch it in operation today. The two spans slowly rise and fall to let boaters and fishing vessels safely pass to and from the inner harbour.

Take a nostalgic train ride

For a fun dose of nostalgia, head to the Port Stanley Terminal Rail and hop on a vintage train for a charming excursion. The historic tourist railway has been running for over 35 years, and you can book hour-long trips that take you through the area's nearby lush forests, meadows, and farmlands.

The railway also offers fun special events, such as murder mystery rides, pumpkin patch rides in the fall, or Christmas-themed trains with Santa over the holidays. Don't miss the on-site museum and gift shop for a souvenir.

Grab a bite to eat

After working up an appetite at the beach or walking around town, indulge in a good meal at one of the many restaurants in Port Stanley. GT's on the Beach is a local hot spot, previously voted one of Canada's best beach bars and serving up casual fare like Lake Erie perch, bowls, burgers, and more.

If you're in the mood for tacos, try Main Street Taqueria for a quick bite, or head to Solo on Main if you're looking for more of a fine-dining experience.

From basking on the sandy beach, catching a sunset off the pier, to window-shopping at the boutiques off Main Street, there's bound to be something for everyone, making Port Stanley the quintessential beach getaway to check off your list this summer.

Lead photo by

Ontario's Southwest

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Travel

Three Ontario cities ranked among tops in Canada for work-life balance

Toronto-bound flight forced to land back in same country after nine hours in the air

Two Canadians were on turbulent flight that killed one and hospitalized dozens

Low-cost airline sale offers flights from Ontario to Europe for as cheap as $170

New plane rolls off Toronto production line and immediately crashes into fence

Ontario is home to the two bluest lakes in the entire world

Toronto is about to get a new ultra-cheap flight route to world's theme park capital

Nature area in Ontario with pretty boardwalk was the site of a fatal plane crash