Up for a short drive in a countryside? Ready to see some unique and quaint places along Lake Erie? The drive from Dunnville to Port Dover is just what you need. From giant fish, through high tech windmills dotting the fields, to lighthouses and beaches – this 45 minutes trip offers it all.
Dunnville, a small town located on Grand River, very close to Lake Erie, offers all the basic amenities one needs. If you’re on your way camping in that area you can get all you need in Dunnville.
In addition, this town also offers a few attractions that your kids are sure to enjoy.
Muddy the Mudcat
Muddy is the biggest Mudcat fish statue in the world. The fish has been connected to the town for centuries. It even has it’s own festival celebrated annually in the month of June. The statue is located in a park and it is surrounded by well kept field, trees and a picnic area.
Town History Monument
In addition, the park is also a home to a monument that illustrates some of the historical and agricultural activities related to the culture and agriculture of this area. This double sided memorial shows ten different scenes from trading with Native Americans, through fishing on Grand River, to plowing the field of this fertile land.
In William Wingfield Park, running along the Grand River, you’ll find a nice picnic area and a dock for launching your boat. But the highlight of this park can be found a little further East. A big anchor surrounded by beautiful flower beds and rod iron benches is definitely the highlight of this little park. It’s a perfect place to sit down on a hot day and enjoy a cool breeze coming from the river.
As you drive West towards Port Dower, you’ll see picturesque views of corn and grain fields. Tall windmills dotting the landscape on both sides all along the way provide for a very interesting drive.
Selkirk itself if a tiny town with a few stores and houses leading right up to the gates of Selkirk Provincial Park.
Two main points of interest along the road are the Village Shop and the Sunflower Cafe. The Village Shop is located on the right hand side as you drive into town. The Sunflower Cafe is right on the corner, past the light on your left hand side. Just further down on the left is the entrance to the Selkirk Provincial Park.
Much smaller than Dunnville, Selkirk only provides the very basic necessities to its residents and visitors. However, it has all you really need when heading to relax on one of the beaches along Lake Erie. And with a beautiful provincial park right around the corner, some food and sunny weather is all that you really need.
Port Dover is the perfect tourist destination to enjoy on a hot summer day. A beach, a pier leading to a lighthouse, mini golf, a museum and tons of little shops, restaurants and snack bars all within a very short walking distance from one another.
Arbortown Mini Golf
While there, we enjoyed a round of 18-hole mini golf. It is a relatively small, but well laid out course. It is located right at the main intersection, barely a few steps away from the beach. The nautical themed course offers a very unique feel perfect for this town. Mature trees growing strategically around the course provide some shady spots and make it a perfect place to enjoy a round of mini-golf for children and adults alike.
NOTE: It is cash only. The conveniently located ATM machine charges you extra few dollars to withdraw money from you account. So bring some cash with you and enjoy an extra ice cream or a cold drink instead of paying additional bank fees.
The beach is located right at the end of the main road. It is a good size beach with a view of a lighthouse on the left and beautiful green peninsula on the right. The beach is surrounded by snack bars and restaurants that offer anything from ice cream and cool refreshments to delicious gourmet dinners. The beach fills up fast, so to get a premium spot, you’ll need to arrive early.
Port Dover Harbour Museum
The museum showcases a lot of artifacts representing different time periods in the fishing industry on Lake Erie. Treasures from the Steamer Atlantic that sank off of Long Point in 1852 can be found as a part of the permanent collection of the museum. The rum running memorabilia from the prohibition area are a very unique and interesting addition to the exhibit. The museum also houses outdoor attractions such as Almidart, the 1932 tugboat and lake-freighter wheelhouse. It is a small, but interesting museum filled with many unique treasures.
A short walk away, is a long pier leading to the lighthouse. The pier is lined with benches to sit on and to enjoy the views of the marina or the beach. While walking along, take a look at the inscriptions on the benches. Each one is dedicated to someone’s loved one who passed away a while back. It is a very unique and personal touch that makes you realize that life is short we should take a moment to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. And the pier most certainly offers that relaxing feel and invites you to take a moment, sit back and enjoy the view.
At the end of the pier, a white lighthouse stands out against the blue of the lake and the sky. Looking back at the land, you see the channel leading up to the marina on your right and the beach and restaurants to the left. A very pretty sight.
On the pier, you can also purchase tickets for Port Dover River Rider. The tour is a nice way to learn more about Port Dover area and history. It is also an excellent way to spend an afternoon on a hot summer day, enjoy cool breeze and the views of the Lunn River and the land.
The town is full of little shops that offer everything from sunglasses, hats, bathing suits, inflatables for kids and adults and other beach accessories such as paddleboards and surfboards. You can also find colourful postcards and cute souvenirs. It is truly a beach lover’s and tourist’s paradise. Port Dover is one of few places offering so many choices and varieties of water sports related equipment I’ve seen along the shore of Lake Erie.
Port Dover offers a lot of conveniently located restaurants and snack bars. Many of them are right on the beach. You don’t even have to put on your flip flops to get a burger or a cold drink. Picnic tables and patios surround the beach. You are welcome to enjoy your meal while looking out into the horizon where dark blue waters of Lake Erie meet the light blue sky.
The atmosphere in town is very relaxed and laid back. The best part is that you can just park your car and walk everywhere, as all the attractions are very close to one another.
Now, finding long term parking in Port Dover is a challenge. Everyone wants to park as close to the beach as possible. There are several public parking areas, however, most of the free parking is limited to 2 hours. The private parkings that are usually attached to shops and restaurants charge $20 flat fee for the day and they fill up very fast. Keep in mind that the town is rather small, and even if you park a little further from the beach, the quaint little houses, colourful shops with outdoor displays and wonderful smells coming from many restaurants along the way, will make the walk to all the main attractions a very pleasant one.
One day, three little towns, and plenty to experience and see for the whole family. A perfect day on the shore of Lake Erie.