Discover Norfolk County’s wild and adventurous ‘Canadian Amazon’ this summer

If you’re looking to remove yourself from civilisation while connecting with nature on your next summer vacation, consider traveling along the Big Creek watercourse in Ontario’s South Coast—just one of the many ideal vacation spots in Norfolk County.

Big Creek is known as the “Canadian Amazon” due to its majestic scenic waterway winding through the Carolinian forests, surrounded by Sycamore and Black Walnut trees, shrubs, greenery, and over a hundred species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.

It’s about 60 kilometres long and empties into Lake Erie, at Port Rowan and Long Point, making it the perfect place to go paddling or even tubing, where you can wind your way through a canopy of trees, encounter bald eagles, wood ducks, and even deer.

Norfolk County also hosts Long Point Provincial Park — the fourth oldest provincial park in Ontario and boasts a 40-kilometre-long sandspit and over 1.5 kilometers of sandy beach along the warm waters of Lake Erie.

The natural landscape is so unique it’s been recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, it’s perfect for nature lovers as it has plenty of opportunities for camping (with over 253 campsites), water activities, fishing, boating, and even birdwatching. The park has one of the largest bird and waterfowl migration and staging areas in North America, with over 300 different species of migrating birds and 80+ birds nesting on the Point annually.

If you’re into arts and crafts, Port Dover’s annual “Art in the Park” summer festival takes place the third weekend of August — the festival has attracted thousands of visitors on this particular weekend for over 40 years. While you’re in town, stop by David’s Restaurant on New Lakeshore Rd. — an elegant Canadian eatery situated by a beautiful lake, providing guests with breathtaking views while they dine.

Then head toward The Port Dover West Pier Lighthouse — it’s a designated heritage lighthouse located at the end of the west pier at the entrance to Port Dover Harbour, on Lake Erie. The lighthouse features an 8.6-metre square-tapered wood-frame tower and a square lantern, with a foghorn protruding from its south face.

If you’re looking to enjoy the tastes of South Coast Ontario beverages, opt for fully guided tours of wineries, breweries, and cideries nestled among the scenic landscapes and shorelines of Norfolk. Charlotteville Brewing Company is situated amidst 28 acres of breathtaking Carolinian forest in Simcoe; the brewery combines “the essence of a farm” with the craftsmanship of a brewery. Burning Kiln Winery in St. Williams is located just outside of Turkey Point. Their scenic vineyards feature grape varieties from Pinot Grigio to Petit Verdot. The winery’s inviting patio is adorned with red umbrellas, twinkling string lights, and a communal fire pit, making it the perfect place to sit back and savour a glass of something delicious on your summer vacation.

There are many options for overnight stays (some wineries even provide accommodations). If you’re looking for something more traditional, there is a range of B&Bs. Union Hotel has been in business for 185 years—the inn is nestled on the shores of Lake Erie, in the historic village of Normandale, making it an ideal location to explore Norfolk County. If you’d rather camp, Norfolk Conservation Area is a 46-acre park featuring 138 campsites or book from the hundreds of campsites available via Ontario Parks.

If you want your camping experience to be a bit more luxurious, you can opt for glamping cabins at Long Point Eco-Adventures. The area is perched on the edge of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve; glamping tents are complete with king-sized beds, outdoor shower and private firepits. To be really secluded, check out Hideaway Hills — a private 2000 sq ft. resort where a couple can came and reconnect with each other.