Port Stanley Beach
Port Stanley Beach is the heart of the quaint town of Port Stanley in the Municipality of Central Elgin in Southwest Ontario. The beautiful beach hugs the north shore of Lake Erie at the mouth of Kettle Creek.
During the early settlement era in the 17th and 18th centuries, Port Stanley served as a key stop on the route north from Lake Erie via inland waterways. Port Stanley was a convenient landing point and for many explorers, including Adrien Joliet. Port Stanley was settled by Europeans in 1804, though it was renamed 20 years later when Edward Smith-Stanley, the 14th Earl of Derby, visited. His son, Frederick Stanley, became the Governor of Canada and donated the first Stanley Cup. Remnants of this history are still evident in the area today.
Often listed as one of the finest beaches in Ontario, Port Stanley Beach is approximately a 2 hour drive east from Windsor, under 2 hours west of Hamilton and just 45 minutes drive south from London.
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More about Port Stanley Beach
Main Beach in Port Stanley is a long beach with beautiful sandy stretches along the northern shore of Lake Erie. The beach is one of only 27 in Canada to have earned the official Blue Flag status for its excellent care, including water quality, environmental responsibility and safety measures. Port Stanley Beach also offers mats to make the beach accessible to people using wheelchairs, walkers or strollers.
Paid parking is in effect for the beach to help direct and maintain traffic flow throughout the day. Main Beach attracts tens of thousands of beachgoers throughout the year, though, so parking elsewhere in town is sometimes the better way to enjoy the beach hassle-free.
Besides sand and sun, the beach has a beach volleyball court, boardwalk and lifeguarding service during peak season. You’ll also find washrooms and changing facilities on-site, with accessible features for those with disabilities.
While at the beach, take advantage of the many opportunities to enjoy the sparkling water like swimming, sunbathing, boating and water sports. Main Beach was once known as “Coney Island of the Great Lakes” thanks to amusement rides, an outdoor theatre, and a giant waterslide. These features have left the sandy shoreline, but there are still great attractions along the beach beyond the sparkling waters and dazzling sand.
You’ll find rentals for canoes, kayaks, and other small watercraft available in town or along the beach.
A short walk into town will bring you to ice cream parlors, boutiques, antique shops, delicious eateries and more. The town of Port Stanley resembles a romantic painting of a fishing village, complete with picturesque marina, lighthouse and piers. Check out the historic King George VI Lift Bridge, which was built in 1938 and has undergone many repairs over the years.
If you’re planning to stay in town to enjoy the beach a little longer, there are many historic and beautiful B&Bs to choose from, along with fully equipped cottages, elegant harbourside inns, and other cozy accommodation options.
For those travelling by boat, Stan’s Marina has been serving the Port Stanley community for over 50 years with full dockage facilities and other services for boat owners.
If golf is your game, visit the Bluffs Golf Club boasting 3,700 yards of course over 12 holes, with a spectacular view of Lake Erie.
Families with little ones in tow will love a visit to Great Lakes Farms. Enjoy apple picking in late summer or early autumn. There’s a play area for the kids, featuring a giant climbable pirate ship, as well as a zip line, sandbox and diggers, a corn maze, straw mountain and tractor rides on the weekends. Of course, you may purchase apples, apple-based products and other goodies while visiting.
The Port Stanley Terminal Rail is another popular attraction for families visiting the beach. The heritage train has been operating for over 35 years. Visit the gift shop and museum on-site featuring many items that train buffs will thoroughly enjoy.