Point Pelee National Park

Top choice in Southwestern Ontario

About 13km southeast of Leamington, this well-loved national park features nature trails, a marsh boardwalk, lookout towers, forests and lovely sandy beaches. A bird-watcher's paradise, over 390 species of birds call this home, depending on the season. In the fall, the migration of monarch butterflies is a spectacle of swirling black and orange. Trekking, biking, kayaking and beachcombing are all great ways to explore the park. Stop by the visitor centre for more info and maps.

The park boasts the title of being the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. (And a 'tip' it is! Like a pencil point.) It's also a Dark Sky Preserve; check the website for evening events or stay overnight in one of the park's tricked-out oTENTiks (tent/cabin hybrids) and see the stars all night. Kayaks and canoes can be rented at the Marsh Boardwalk.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southwestern Ontario attractions

1. Pelee Island Heritage Centre

14.77 MILES

Near West Dock, the small Pelee Island Heritage Centre has one of the best natural history collections in Ontario. Engrossing displays cover early…

2. Pelee Island Winery

15.2 MILES

Enjoy the fruits of island life, literally, with a visit to Pelee's winery. Regular 90-minute tours of the facilities, including tastings, are offered…

3. Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve

16.22 MILES

This long sandy spit is the southernmost point of inhabited Canada (there are some tiny rock islands – like humps of whales skimming the water – just to…

4. Glacial Grooves

24.02 MILES

The deep scars in the limestone here – which a glacier rubbed in some 18,000 years ago – are the largest and most easily accessible grooves in the world…

5. Kelleys Islands State Park

24.12 MILES

The park features a popular campground with 126 tent and RV sites ($17 to $39), 6 miles of hiking trails with birds flitting by and a secluded, sandy…

7. Gibraltar Island

24.76 MILES

The little island, named for its resemblance to the Rock of Gibraltar, was once owned by banker Jay Cooke, who built a 15-room, gothic-looking castle on…

8. Aquatic Visitors Center

24.9 MILES

Ohio State University operates this educational facility, where displays teach about Lake Erie’s ecosystem and its fish, snakes, bugs and other critters…