I’ve been wanting to visit Point Pelee for a while now, so when the timing worked out to take a couple of days to visit this area, I jumped on it! Unfortunately we booked right in the middle of a heat wave, so it meant less exploring than we’d hoped, but we still managed to see a lot (and sweat a lot!)
Our first day we drove in to Point Pelee National Park straight from the GTA, no breaks! We were excited to get out to the park and see the beaches and the scenery. We headed for the point, and decided to hike from the visitor’s centre instead of taking the shuttle. It was only 2.5km, but we didn’t take into consideration the heat (and flies!). Optimistic, we started off on the beach, but with the sun beating down on us, and the heat wave making the temperatures feel like 44C, it was too much, so we switched to a forest footpath. We saw some patches of prickly pear cactus which was really neat – but the stable flies and deer flies were driving us insane, so we went to the road.
We made it to the point, and checked out the beach area around it. They have extremely dangerous rip currents around the point, so no swimming or even wading is allowed in case you fall. We were just completely done from the sun and heat so we took the shuttle back. It was bliss.
We started back towards our AirBnb cottage, but stopped at this lookout on the way out of the park. You could hear “SHLURP” every so often as the bass sucked bugs off the top of the water from between the lily pads.
We got settled in at the cottage, had a bite to eat (and discovered a family of raccoons were living in the attic), and walked down the road to check out the nearby beach. Unfortunately recent storms had washed a lot of it away, so we hopped back in the car to see what else we could find, and found Seacliff Beach – a big park with a huge sand beach.
The next day we decided to hike Hillman Marsh Conservatory. The hike would be about 5km, but it was two degrees cooler than yesterday (felt like 42C), so we foolishly went for it… Thankfully there was some shade from trees here or there, but it was still way too long of a hike for the heat.
Partway through there was a lookout tower we climbed. I’ve never seen marsh grasses as tall as these, had to be at least 10 feet high! The photos make it look like we’re not a full story up in the air! We looked out over the marsh, and realized we were only halfway into the hike… (the white dot about the centre of the image was where we started)
Onwards through the marsh, we hiked and saw the biggest lilypads I’ve every seen in my life – they had to be 2 feet across! The flowers were beautiful and the size of a football! We also got to see a bunch of bobolinks, and other marsh birds.
When we got back to the cottage, we realized we really overdid it in the sun, so we took a couple of hours to rest in the air conditioning… but not before seeing the temperature! Oops!
After cooling down, we headed out to Wheatley Provincial Park. It was beautiful, and we had a nice walk along the beach, but it was still too hot, so we didn’t spend as much time there as we would have had it been cooler. I definitely have a better idea of how to plan a future trip to the area though, so it was still worth it!
On our last day, we decided to go back to Pelee National Park so we could do the marsh walk (1km), and thankfully it was much, much cooler (30C), because the whole marsh walk is in direct sun. There were swallows everywhere! It was so neat to see them flying around and catching bugs, and flying in/out of their nests – which were everywhere!
We headed out and on our way home, taking Talbot Trail instead of the 401, and stopping at any beaches we found along the way, or had promise via Google Satellite.
Since Rondeau Provincial Park was on the way, we figured we might as well add another checkmark to our parks checklist! The beach sand was so soft. On the way out we spotted something… can you see it?
A garter snake! It was sunning itself, and quite small – I haven’t seen a beige one before!
Three down, plenty more to go – loving exploring our beautiful province!