The Perfect Weekend Getaway Within an Hour Drive from Detroit : A Guide
April 7 | 8 min
How to spend 2 days in Windsor, Essex County
We are proud Canadians but more so, proud residents of Ontario….Ontarians! We live in a beautiful province with so much to see and we love to showcase the area to our friends next door. Growing up, our tourism slogan was so perfect; “Ontario. Yours to Discover” and we hope that we inspire you Michiganders to do exactly that…Discover! We are right next door, getting here is easy and your money is worth so much more in Canada. In this post we will provide our recommendations of things to do, places to see, where to eat and where to stay in just two days that are sure to be filled with great times, fun memories and won’t break the bank this summer.
We haven’t provided any agenda or schedule. Don’t worry about time, just enjoy yourself. Go rogue or just use this blog as a framework for our itinerary. So let’s get started in Metro Detroit. Pack your bags, grab your passport, we’re going to Canada.
Day One. O’Canada
Getting to Windsor / Essex County from Detroit, Michigan is easy, as there are two border crossings available, including the Ambassador Bridge, and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Once you cross the border, you’ll find yourself in a region that’s rich in history and culture, with plenty of things to see and do.
Point Pelee National Park
One of the top attractions in the area is Point Pelee National Park and that’s where you are headed first. This is the furthest point on this trip so lets start there. It’s roughly an hour’s drive from the border entry, straight down Highway #3 until you arrive at a stunning natural reserve that’s located on the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. As you approach the park you will see
boutique shops, outfitters and one of our fav spots; Freddy’s. Stop here for a coffee or a snack before entering the park.
Entrance to the park is approximately $16 for a family (or $8 for a single adult). Here you can explore miles of hiking trails, go birdwatching, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. Oh by the way. We saved you a seat! Parks Canada has placed over 200 red Adirondack chairs in peaceful and scenic locations throughout many of the country’s most unique and treasured places, including the set found here at Point Pelee National Park.
Go for a walk on any of the many hiking trails then relax and snap a selfie on one of the red chairs. The red chairs are for you to discover. While some chairs are easy to find, others require more of an adventure and we promised not to share the exact location but head over to the DeLaurier Homestead trail and look around.
Our next destination is the quaint town of Kingsville where we recommend you make plans to stay the night at The Grove Hotel in Downtown Kingsville. The moment you walk into The Grove Hotel you know you’re in a special building. The historic building was built in the mid-1800s and has a rich history. This boutique hotel right in the heart of Kingsville is surrounded by various restaurants and shops. Each room is uniquely designed with a creative theme – so if you stayed there at least 20 times, you could have 20 unique experiences! The owners are absolute experts in hospitality and own several businesses in the area.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Erie, the charming town of Kingsville, Ontario is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and friendly locals, Kingsville is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the town’s top attractions is its quaint downtown, which features a variety of unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. You can spend hours browsing the boutiques for locally made goods, or grab a coffee and take a stroll through the town’s many historic buildings.
Speaking of history, Kingsville has plenty of it. The town was founded in the early 1800s and was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape to freedom in the mid-19th century.
Of course, no visit to Kingsville would be complete without sampling some of the town’s famous cuisine. From fresh-caught Lake Erie perch to locally sourced vegetables and meats, Kingsville’s restaurants are a foodie’s paradise. And with so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your taste buds. Our personal favourite is Elite Steakhouse. The owners are there most every day. One works the dining room and the other, the kitchen. The food is exceptional and they have a wonderful rooftop dining area and patio. Book a reservation well ahead as it’s very popular.
Perhaps one of Kingsville’s biggest draws is its neighbouring wine country. The region is known for its award-winning wines, and there are several wineries near Kingsville that offer tours and tastings. Whether you prefer red or white, sweet or dry, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Welcome to Epic Wine Country
Located just a stone’s throw from Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, Epic Wine Country offers a variety of experiences that are sure to delight the senses. From touring vineyards to tasting award-winning wines, this region is a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates fine wine and beautiful surroundings.
The region’s climate and soil conditions are perfectly suited for grape-growing, and the winemakers take great pride in producing high-quality wines using traditional methods. Some of the most popular grape varieties grown in the region include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir, just to name a few.
Visitors to Epic Wine Country can take part in a variety of experiences, including wine tastings, vineyard tours, and food pairings. Many of the wineries offer guided tours and tastings, where visitors can learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the region’s best wines. There are many in the area but our favourites include;
Oxley Estate Winery – an incredible patio with a small but delicious menu
North 42 Degrees Estate Winery – A picturesque winery nestled amongst a lavender farm.
Paglione Estate Winery – Pizza! OMG they’re wood fired pizzas are awesome.
Coopers Hawk Vineyard – Brussels Sprouts! Of course the wine is good but get the Brussels sprouts…you’re welcome 😉
Day Two. A Historic Fort, Brunch & Boating
Good morning Traveller! Once up and packed, grab a coffee next door at JOE after checking out of The Grove Hotel and get ready for a Sunday Morning Drive along Canada’s southernmost scenic road – County Road 50. Just head west out of town and then turn left onto County Road 50 and let yourself be surprised as you Explore the Shore.
Another must-visit destination in Windsor Essex County is the town of Amherstburg, which is located on the banks of the Detroit River. This charming town is home to several historic sites, including Fort Malden National Historic Site, which played a crucial role in the War of 1812. Stop to check it our along with nearby Navy Yard then put the Harbour House Restaurant in your GPS because this is your stop for Sunday Brunch. They offer an extensive Brunch Buffett with three seatings so book ahead for the time that works best for you. The restaurant is located in East Windsor at Lakeview Park Marina with views of Peche Island.
Enjoy your brunch but don’t linger there too long as you don’t want to be late for your reservation at RAW Watersports. You’re going boating! Choose from over a dozen boats; Sea Doo Jet Ski’s, Pontoon Boats, or Fishing Boats, this boat rental service has something for everyone. Convenient reservations with real-time availability allow you to rent a boat online by picking a date and time in advance.
No boating license? No problem! The crew at RAW Watersports will take the time to provide a safety briefing and on-water orientation before providing you with a temporary boaters license that is good for the duration of your boat rental.
RAW Watersports is located in Puce, just 15 minutes from the Harbour House at Puce River Marina with access to the region’s best sport lake; Lake St. Clair.
Lake St. Clair is the perfect spot for recreational watersports and may just be one of the best boating lakes on the planet. Tucked between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, crystal-clear Lake St. Clair draws visitors from Michigan and Ontario on warm summer days and is a popular boating and fishing destination.
Puce River Marina is a charming little marina with colourful Key West style buildings and features one of the area’s best waterfront restaurants—The Sandbar Waterfront Grill. Their large patio, with live entertainment most weekends, makes for the perfect way to complete your day on the water. Reservations recommended as this place is popular! We highly recommend ending your Canadian getaway here with dinner on the patio.
Overall, visiting Windsor Essex County from Michigan is a great way to experience a different side of Canada, one that’s rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a chance to unwind and relax, this region has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your trip today and discover all that Windsor Essex County has to offer? After all, it is Yours to Discover!