Ontario Amazon River

How to spend a weekend in and around Ontario's 'Amazon river'

With summer weather around the corner, it’s time to start planning road trips and your next adventure. There’s no need to travel far for beaches, adventures and Amazon-esque views. 

A two-and-a-half-hour drive from the city you come to Norfolk County and two Provincial Parks that offer warm waters, sandy beaches and lots to explore.

Where to Explore

There is so much to explore in this area of Southwestern Ontario if you like beaches, water and adventure.

Long Point Provincial Park is a World Heritage biosphere due to its 40 km sandpit. This park, Ontario's 4th oldest, is considered to be one of North America’s top places to see birds with over 300 species migrating there. 

The park has 1.5km of sandy beaches, a 5km paved road bike path and over 250 campsites to enjoy. The best way to explore is by water renting or bringing a canoe or paddleboard to navigate the sheltered marshes.

Nearby Turkey Point is a smaller Provincial Park. The park boasts 1-4 km of hiking trails, 2km of sandy beaches with sandbars to swim on and what remains of their old golf course.

My favourite part of this area is Big Creek. The river, which is located at and around the Big Creek National Wildlife Area will make you feel like you're in the Amazon. The river is flanked by massive trees and vines that will make you half expect to see some monkeys swinging by.

There are lots of birds here and hours of river to explore. The water is deep enough to keep you moving in the current yet shallow enough to see the occasional snake or fish swimming along.

Near Port Rowan there are a few launch sites if you have your own gear. If you don't know where to start or don’t have your own kayak or paddleboard, check out Long Point Eco-Adventures. They offer multi-hour tours or rentals for whatever you need.

Long Point Eco-Adventures also offers a massive range of adventure packages including paddling, ziplining, axe throwing, observatory tours and foraging workshops. You can book a day adventures or build them into a multi-day foodie or adventure package.

Lake Erie Beach

Lake Erie Shores.

Where to eat

There are a few recommended restaurants in the area and loads of small breweries and wineries worth checking out. Sandbar on the Beach has a beautiful beach-side patio offering wings, appetizers, burgers and a range of drinks.

A short drive down the road is Jetty Bar and Grill. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends, they offer tacos, wings, pizzas and more at the ends of Lake Erie. 

If you're more in the mood to taste the beers and wines of the region, there are many options to make it a tour. Charlottesville Brewing Company is nestled in the local Carolinian forest and prides itself on its sustainable take on farming and crafting.

Beyond a wide range of beers and flights, they have live music on weekends and other weekday events to consider. Nearby Blueberry Hill Winery sells unique small-batch blueberry-infused ciders and wines using some of the 13 kinds of blueberries grown on-site. 

Burning Kiln Winery offers flights and tasting tours to explore their property. If you can’t decide where to go, consider booking a Norfolk Brewery Tour with Ride the Bines, Toast the Coast or The LOCOL to fully explore the region.

Amazon in Ontario

Big Creek River - Amazon in Ontario

Where to stay

There are a range of options for overnights here. You can glamp with Long Point Eco-Adventures in one of their pods or a large cabin for between $100 to $350 a night for double occupancy. They also run The Harbourview Inn with simple king and mixed bedrooms. 

If you're interested in camping, Long Point and Turkey Point offer hundreds of treed campsites bookable on the Ontario Parks website. If you can convince a group of friends to adventure, places like Union Hotel and websites like Airbnb have accommodations for 6+ friends.

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