Things to Do in Southern Ontario

by Lori Straus

The summer in Ontario offers many getaways that don’t cost oodles of dollars. In this blog post, I’ll cover a few places you can visit in Southern Ontario.

Point Pelee National Park

This national park has the distinction of being the southernmost tip of Canada. The park is open all year round and is a popular destination for camping in the warmer months. But did you know you could also do the following activities at Point Pelee:

  • Bicycling along 12 km of bike trails and 9 km of roadway
  • Bird watching on this major migratory flyway
  • Canoeing and kayaking through the wetlands, including canoe tours
  • Dark Sky Night self-guided tours—Point Pelee is a designated Dark Sky Preserve
  • Hiking and walking along more than 12 km of park trails
  • Shuttle to the Tip—a free service that takes you directly to the Tip’s outdoor exhibit

(Fun tip: Apparently, Middle Island, now part of the national park, was once owned by an Ohio car dealer who used it for his family.)

Rock Glen Conservation Area

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority manages the Rock Glen Conservation Area in Arkona. Recreational trails take you through Carolinian Forest and ultimately to the falls, a hidden beauty of nature in this area.

This conservation area is home to some of the best Devonian Era fossils in North America. (The Devonian Era came before the dinosaurs.) The fossil lovers in your family (often the kids!) can take home one fossil that they’ve found along your walks. (However, digging is forbidden.)

A favourite among car lovers of course is the Bruce Redman Antique Car Show, a fundraiser for the local Lions and Lioness clubs. Entry fees for the last two years were only $5 per car, and conservation area visitors could enter the park for free on that day.

Storybook Garden, London OntarioStorybook Gardens

This theme park in London, Ontario, is divided up into familiar storybook locations: the castle, a frog pond, the village and backwoods, a gnome’s garden, a pirate’s island, the riverbank, and an enchanted forest. Storybook Valley welcomes visitors into this magical place.

At only $8.25/person and $29/family of four, admission fees are more than reasonable. No plane flight and expensive hotel required.

According to Storybook Gardens’ website, most families stay between three and five hours, making it a suitable theme park for families with young children, who can easily become overwhelmed in larger parks.

Plan a Short Trip or Two This Summer

Short family trips can give you the break you need from your daily routine without requiring days—and sometimes months—of planning. Depending on where you live, they can also give young drivers in your family a chance to drive longer routes under an adult’s watchful eye. Enjoy your travels!