Planning a summer beach escape is a sure cure for those winter blues.

As winter is very slowly rolling into a cool spring, the time has come when many of us look at the frosty corners on our windows with frustration and exasperation.  But remember, especially those of us living in the Snow Belt, April is almost upon us, April means spring, spring means melted snow, melted snow means flip flops and flip flops mean it’s time for road trips to the beach! 

There are so many unique waterfront options throughout Ontario’s Southwest that will gladly help you shed your winter coat.  No matter what type of day at the beach you are looking for, you will find it with just a short drive on scenic county roads through charming country towns.  There are many lakefront towns I plan on going back to, and even more that are new, on my ‘to-visit’ list.  

Port Stanley is a charming and quaint town and home to the famous Jumbo the Elephant statue that you can visit on your way into town.  The beach is clean and beautiful and it’s one of only 26 Blue Flag beaches in Canada. Port Stanley also offers appealing shopping, dining and theatre options to give me even more reasons to keep visiting.

Erieau is another charismatic town that I am looking forward to revisiting. I loved being there in the off-season and cannot wait for the change of seasons to return.  It has beautiful beaches, local wineries, great restaurants, and farmers markets nearby, plus a new microbrewery.  This area is also home to Rondeau Bay, known for its world class kite surfing and wake boarding. 

New on my list of places to go this year are Long Point and Turkey Point.  I have never been to this area but cannot wait to experience all it has to offer.  Long Point Provincial Park is a beautiful natural wonder which has been recognized as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations. Turkey Point is right nearby and offers adventure for those who are looking for it with zip lining and shipwreck scuba diving.  Both are activities I love and cannot wait to experience in my own backyard.

Another of my favourite areas to visit is Point Pelee and Pelee Island.  The point is a wonderful National Park where you can go for a hike or picnic and see a wide array of wildlife.  Or, you can hop on a ferry from Leamington or Kingsville and head to Pelee Island.  The island has many vineyards and it’s also a great weekend getaway with friendly islanders, campgrounds, cottages, B&Bs, and some of the best summer sunsets I have ever seen. 

There have been many summer days growing up where my family would have an enjoyable day at Ipperwash Beach, or as in my teenage years, fun weekends in Grand Bend.  Both have much to offer and are worth the trip, but I would like to check out the long scenic beach found within Canatara Park in Sarnia with its walking/biking trails and picnic areas. There’s also Fanshawe Conservation Area in Middlesex County, the Pittock Conservation Area in Oxford, the Grand River in Haldimand, and many other smaller lakes, ponds and rivers all over Ontario’s Southwest left to explore.

Now, these are just a few of the many options for a fantastic beach day I plan to take advantage of once the frost goes on sabbatical.  Although it is our close proximity to the Great Lakes which brings cold and very snowy winters, it is also these lakes that bring the sensational, sunny, sandy summer afternoons we all enjoy so much.   So get your beach towels, sunscreen and sunglasses ready…a warmer spring will be sprung in no time!