Stroll the beautifully landscaped grounds of the first-class LEAMINGTON MARINA and enjoy a picnic lunch while enjoying the waterfront with its many activities. Watch the pleasure crafts as they come and go out to Lake Erie.
Update: August 22, 2007 - As part of our Essex County Circle Tour, Hans and I took KitKat (Keida84) and Kristi (Dabs) to Leamington Marina.
Point Pelee has more than 12 kms of trails for both hiking and biking. Each one offers diverse habitats.
1.4 km loop
Includes two observation areas with telescopes.
Habitat: open ponds and cattail marsh.
CENTENNIAL HIKE & BIKE TRAIL:
Runs parallel to park road from Marsh Boardwalk to the Visitor Center. Gentle tree-lined winding trail.
Habitat: Hackberry dry forest and beach.
1.2 km loop
Historic house and barn with exhibits and artifacts featuring the park's cultural and human heritage.
Habitats: Open fields, cedar savannah, swamp forest, marsh and old canals once used by farmers.
TILDEN WOODS TRAIL:
1 km loop
Begins at northeast corner of Visitor Center parking lot.
Habitats: Horsetails and mature swamp forest, cedar savannah.
CHINAQUAPIN OAK TRAIL:
Access to historic cemetery. Access from Tilden Woods Trail or near White Pine picnic area.
Habitats: Mixed dry forest.
WOODLAND NATURE TRAIL:
2.75 km loop
Begins behind Visitor Center. Partially boardwalked wetland and mature forests.
Habitats: swamp and dry Carolinian forest and cedar savannah.
Interpretive trail booklets available at the Visitor Center.
Stay on designated trails to avoid poison ivy and ticks.
Located in the Marsh Boardwalk area can be found the OBSERVATION DECK. The Deck has three levels and provides an awesome view of the marshes. Here you can observe the blackbirds and other birds as they pass through the cattails and bullrushes.
Climb the observation tower for a bird's eye viw of the marsh and then walk the one km floating boardwalk through the cattails. For a more unique experience, rent a canoe or take a tour on the Cattail Cruiser freighter canoe. Rent bicycles from the Cattail Cafe'.
The shuttle drops you off at the entrance of the Tip Trail, which consists of a 1 km loop around the tip of the park. Along the trail are a few informative exhibits on the tip itself, the monarch migration, and the lifesaving station (not sure what that one is about exactly?). Head down to the very tip itself so you can tell your friends that you've been to the southernmost point of mainland Canada!
This is the largest and, in my opinion, loveliest beach at the park. Picnic benches and charcoal grills are available for picnics on the beach. Lots of parking spots available in the adjacent lot. Activities: swimming, sun-bathing, sailing, etc.
The other beach areas are nice too, just not as big. There are other picnic sites as well, and not all are on the beach (consult the Point Pelee map/pamphlet for details on picnic locations).
The park has 12 km of trails through various types of habitats. These include the Tip trail, the marsh boardwalk, a biking trail (bike rental available-inquire at the Cattail Cafe), and a number of other trails through the forested and savannah habitats of the park. All of the trails are highlighted in the Point Pelee map/pamphlet that you receive at the entrance to the park.
Trail guides are available for a few of the trails (see website below).
The visitor centre has some interesting displays on the history and ecology of the park and surrounding region (including Pelee and Middle Islands). Displays include endangered and extinct wildlife, history of shipwrecks, information on the location of the park and islands, and the significance of the Carolinian zone in which the park is located.
The staff is highly knowledgeable about the park and its going-ons, and they are very happy to answer any questions you may have as best they can. The visitor centre is the starting point for nature walks with a naturalist guide, as well as shuttle rides to the tip (see transportation tip).
The visitor centre is also home to the Nature Nook Gift Store (see shopping tip).
The Monarchs arrive in September and October on their way south to their winter home in Mexico. They congregate en masse in the trees at the tip until conditions are ideal for the long crossing of Lake Erie. I've yet to see this myself (I've just returned from a trip to Pelee-Sept 2006), but apparently the trees drip with them! To increase your chances of seeing the butterflies while they roost at the tip, phone the park first to get an update of their movements. The park staff are very knowledgeable about what is going on and what you can expect to see.
Hoards of people flock to Pelee during the Annual Migration. It's definitely a hot spot for bird watching. Spring is the best time to see songbirds stopping over on their journey north, usually in the first two weeks of May. *Call the park to find out when is the best time to come to avoid disappointment.* The fall migration is also nice to watch, but is not as pronounced and many of the birds are in their fall plumage (often making them difficult to identify). Still, during the fall there are the waterfowl and hawk migrations (as well as the monarchs), so it's still worth a visit.
The marsh boardwalk makes a 1.4 km loop through the cattails of the marsh. Not only is it a pleasant walk, but it's also a great opportunity to spot wetland wildlife. It's a particularly lovely walk as the sun is setting and park traffic has died down.
There is also an observation tower that provided great views of the marsh and park (telescope available for close-ups).
Canoe rental is available on the marsh as well (inquire at the Cattail Cafe).
At Pelee Island Winery's production facility in Kingsville, grapes grown on the Island become Pelee's award-winning wines.
Enjoy sampling the end-result of their endeavours in the winery's Barrel Tasting Room. Pelee Island Winery is one of the many wineries featured on the Ale, Wine & Spirits Trail that also showcases area breweries and and the Canadian Club Brand Heritage Tour.
There are two overlooks along the Marsh Boardwalk. Both are equipped with telescopes so keep your eyes open for muskrats, turtles, frogs, or one of the hundreds of species of birds that call this park home.
While you are waiting for the return shuttle, you can learn about the Park, Lake Erie, the Islands, and wildlife at the Tip exhibit area. You can also watch the nesting birds in the rafters above!
Unless you are biking or hiking, you will have to take a shuttle to the Tip Trail (April through October). When the shuttle drops you off, it is a short walk through the woods, then beach...then the tip!
Hours of operation vary by season and day of the week....check the website for detailed information.
Remodeled and opened with new exhibits in Spring 2005, you will find all of the park information here. There are interactive displays, a history with pictures, gift shop, and restrooms. Behind the center is where you can catch the shuttle to the point.