This two-day tour through the friendly communities of St. Thomas and Elgin County breaks up your days with themed activities that allow you to stroll, sip, shop, see and snack your way around this beautiful part of Ontario.
Day 1 Morning Activity: Stroll
Gorgeous parks and trails in St. Thomas and Elgin County make starting your day off with a little fresh air exploring a natural choice. Excellent options include:
- A hike at Yarmouth Natural Heritage Area, a beautiful wetland with a network of trails in Sparta.
- Exploring the Whistlestop Trail, a natural trail that runs from St. Thomas to the harbour of Port Stanley.
- Taking in the view of the Kettle Creek Valley from St. Thomas’ Elevated Park, Canada’s first and only elevated park.
Day 1 Lunch
If your morning travels leave you feeling peckish near Port Stanley, stop by The Art & Soul Café for art for the eyes and food that will feed your soul. If you’re closer to St. Thomas, fuel up with delicious Mexican favourites at Bella Jacks.
Day 1 Afternoon Activity: Sip
After an active morning and a delicious lunch, settle in for an afternoon of serious sipping.
- Craft beer lovers will have fun sampling their way through the taps at Natterjack Brewing Company, Railway City Brewing Co., and Caps Off Brewing Co.
- Wine enthusiasts will adore finding their favourite varietals at Quai du Vin Estate Winery and Rush Creek Wines or trying the many exclusive access wines available at From The Vines, a beautiful wine bar in St. Thomas. Watch our Next Stop: Taste video profiling Quai du Vin Estate.
- If a hot cup of tea is calling, the Green Frog Tearoom at Pinecroft Pottery is sure to please.
Day 1 Dinner
Get a taste of the area you’ve been exploring all day by enjoying a dinner that showcases fresh, local favourites. In Port Stanley, Solo on Main Restaurant and Bar uses only the freshest local foods in a menu with all house-made ingredients. In St. Thomas, The Bistro’s tasty daily specials won’t disappoint.
Whether you’re looking for a historic inn, cozy bed and breakfast, spacious vacation rental or modern hotel, the diverse range of accommodations options in Elgin County and St. Thomas makes it easy to find a place to stay that’s perfectly matched to your preferences.
- Favourite local hotels and inns include Kettle Creek Inn, Inn On The Harbour, The Windjammer Inn and the Comfort Inn in St. Thomas.
- Nature’s Oasis Retreat is a luxurious bed and breakfast with an indoor pool, sauna, and hot tub.
- Big Blue is a vacation rental in the beach town of Port Burwell with both a large main house and a smaller beach house available.
Day 2 Morning Activity: Shop
With such a busy first day behind you, you may want to enjoy a slow start to your second morning. After a leisurely breakfast, spend a few hours enjoying the area’s many unique places to score local finds. Fantastic options include:
- Drift for locally made custom wood furniture and beach-inspired décor.
- James Street Home Décor for beautiful home goods and gifts.
- Sparta Country Candles for amazing hand-poured candles, garden décor and more.
- Wildflowers Farm for herbal teas, herb-infused bath products, and farm honey.
- Horton Farmers’ Market for fresh produce, local meats and baking, and hand-crafted items (Saturdays mornings from May through October).
- Las Chicas Del Café for family-owned and operated direct-trade coffee from Nicaragua.
Day 2 Lunch
Should your shopping travels take you toward Port Stanley around lunchtime, Two Forks’ menu of classy casual dishes is a perfect choice for your mid-day meal. If you’re closer to St. Thomas, Your Fish and Chips is a local institution that’s been serving up fantastic fish and chips for decades.
Day Two Afternoon Activity: See
By this point in your travels, you may be thinking you’ve seen everything the area has to offer but think again. These afternoon activity choices will give you an entirely new view!
- The Legends of Erie Boat Tour is a one-hour pontoon boat cruise where you’ll learn fun facts about Lake Erie while cruising along the shores of Kettle Creek.
- Get to know Canada’s Cold War secrets on a tour of the HMCS Ojibway, a 90-meter Oberon Class Submarine in Port Burwell.
- Catch a matinee at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre.
- Learn why St. Thomas is celebrated as Canada’s Railway City at the Elgin County Railway Museum.
- Take in the sights of the serene Otter River by canoe or kayak with a gear rental from Otter Be Here in Port Burwell.
Day Two Late-Afternoon Activity: Snack
What’s a getaway without a well-timed snacky hour? Excellent local places to find a little treat to help tide you over until dinner include: Shaw’s Ice Cream (watch the Next Stop: Taste video), Seed Confections, Streamliners Espresso Bar and The Fritter Shop.
Day Two Dinner
Wrap up your second day with another excellent meal. Izzy’s Schooners Restaurant and Patio Lookout in Port Burwell is a fantastic choice for tasty fish and chips and burgers. Legends Tavern in St. Thomas offers pub fare favourites, including legendary nachos. If you’d prefer a dinner that’s a little more hands-on, consider taking an evening cooking class at Pepper Tree Spice Co. in Port Stanley.