Your Ultimate Vacation Guide to Erieau, Ontario
Erieau is really a hidden gem on Lake Erie’s North Shore. It is quaint, relaxed, yet bustling in the summer, and home to a local brewery and darn good perch and pickerel.
And if you’re on a budget, you’re in luck. You won’t find prices hiked here for tourists. This community is just happy to welcome you to their turf.
If you’re looking for a low-key getaway with that Ontario fishing-village-meets-beach-town vibe, we highly recommend spending a day or two checking out the beaches in Erieau.
Is Erieau worth visiting?
Erieau is like other Southwestern Ontario beaches in many ways, with a cute waterfront restaurant, busy marina, cabins and cottages for rent, and a few unique stores for shopping.
But it is also quite different from other popular summer beach destinations. Located a bit further away from Ontario’s larger cities, Erieau feels much less touristy and much more like a country song about having your toes in the water and a beer in your hand…
So, if you’re looking for a summer road trip that will deliver that laid-back beach life at an affordable price, we highly recommend a stop at the quaint little town of Erieau.
Erieau Public Beach
If this is your first time travelling to a beach on the Great Lakes, then you may be shocked to see how vast the waters of Lake Erie really are! We have had many friends from other countries comment on how the beach feels like the seashore rather than a lake.
Thankfully the lake will not leave you with a salty mouth, is usually a bit warmer than the ocean, and doesn’t come with any scary predators to watch out for! The lake is really where the fun is at.
When you arrive at Erieau’s public beach you will find a fairly large parking lot (though you can also park almost anywhere along the road without having to worry), with public washrooms (a definite bonus!). You will also find a nice sized pavilion for family picnics and barbeques.
Note: With regional restrictions due to the current state of the world, we can’t be sure that the public washrooms will be open.
There is also a beach volley ball court and an amazing kids’ playground featuring some awesome inclusive and accessible play equipment.
Two other great features of this beach include a wide, wheelchair accessible boardwalk spanning a good length of the shore, and a long walkable pier leading to the lighthouse at the end of the beach.
Erieau is about three hours southwest of Toronto, and just over an hour east of Windsor, Ontario. The village of Erieau is nestled on a narrow peninsula right across the bay from Rondeau Provincial Park. With the shallower, usually calmer waters of Rondeau Bay on one side, the more open waters of Lake Erie on the other, Erieau is the perfect location for boaters, fishers, and sunbathers alike!
8 Awesome Things to do in Erieau
Of course, the summer months are the busiest and offer the most things to do in Erieau. Based on our experience, here are some things we recommend doing while in the area:
Of course, swimming is a must when you’re at the beach in the summer! The long, sandy beaches of Erieau do attract crowds, but you should have no problem finding a comfortable spot to relax on the shore.
Erieau can get some decent sized waves (by lake standards), and while fun to jump in, there can sometimes be an undertow. Make sure to heed to any undertow warnings that may be posted.
Note: The public beach is not patrolled by lifeguards. Swimming is at your own risk.
You could also swim on the Rondeau Bay side (which is usually warmer due to shallower water) but since there is no public beach on the bay side, you would have to access by boat or by renting private property with bay access.
2. Shoreline Fishing
Growing up close to Erieau, I (Erie) have so many good childhood memories of fishing off the piers at Erieau. Granted, the experience was far superior to our catch! (We were pretty amateur.)
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a low-cost, easy fishing experience, shoreline fishing in Erieau is for you. If you’re more ambitious, you will likely prefer fishing on the open water.
Note: You can find everything you need for your fishing experience at Erieau Marina. They even sell fishing licenses, which are legally required to fish in Ontario.
3. Chartered Fishing
There are a number of companies that offer Chartered Fishing trips from the Erieau Marina. Due to the current state of the world, we recommend contacting Erieau Marina directly to find out what companies are operating at this time.
4. Learn to Sail
The Erieau Yacht Club offers summer camps and activities to teach children how to swim or sail. Check out their website for their full list of activities for the upcoming season.
5. Visit the Observation Tower
Just before you reach Erieau, you will see McGeachy Pond Conservation Area on the right hand side (you cannot miss it!).
Climb the picturesque observation tower to look out over the lake and the pond. This observation tower makes for an awesome spot for photos! We actually got some of our favourite wedding photos here.
The Erieau Shore Trail is a wide, waterfront trail that runs between McGeachy Pond Conservation Area and Erieau.
If you’re visiting during the fall you may get lucky enough to catch the Monarch Butterfly migration, as this the McGeachy Pond wetland provides a significant habitat for migrating butterflies.
6. Walk the Erieau Marsh Trail
The Erieau Marsh Trail is a wide, gravel trail runs along the marshy shores of Rondeau Bay, providing a very easy path for walking, birdwatching or biking. The trail is also partially wheelchair accessible. The terrain is predictably flat making it an easy out-and-back trail.
Park along Erieau Road (just past McGeachy Pond), where you see the trail sign right before entering Erieau.
7. Boating, Kayaking and Canoeing
One of the best things to do in Erieau is to get out on something that floats! There are plenty of places to rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boats in Erieau. Check out the Accommodations options below to see which places offer rentals.
We love to load up our family’s kayaks and spend a couple hours exploring Rondeau Bay. The bay waters are usually calmer than the Lake Erie, so we usually find a side street, offload our kayaks and paddle along the bay shore.
If you decide to cross the channel by the marina, you will be able to paddle along the Rondeau Provincial Park peninsula. You can often see fish, small turtles and herons, and get a unique tropical feeling as you paddle past spindly roots digging deep into the waters.
Note: The channel is deep for the large boats to get through. Be very cautious when crossing, as these waters have been known to be more dangerous due to boats coming and going, leaving large wakes behind them.
If you’re arriving in Erieau by boat and will need to dock, the Erieau Marina posts all of their rates (nightly, weekly, monthly or for the season) online.
8. Enjoy Ice Cream!
What would a day at the beach be without ice cream? Mariner’s Cone and Shake is located on Mariner’s Road just as you enter Erieau.
There is also a kilometer-long sidewalk in the median of this road (the Erieau Boulevard Trail) that makes for the perfect opportunity to burn off the ice cream calories!
7 Things to do Near Erieau
1. Stock up on local Fruits and Vegetables
U-Pick Your Own Produce
We love picking our own produce! Not only do you get the best prices, it is also such a unique experience that gives you a rare feeling of connection to your food.
Our go-to for U-Pick produce is Pardo’s Berrie Farm, located at 7951 Talbot Trail, Blenheim. They have tons of fruits and vegetables for sale as pick-your-own or already picked.
Local Produce to Buy
There are also numerous fruit farms and orchards in the area surrounding Erieau that will offer delicious fresh fruit for the cheapest prices you will find. Here’s our recommendations for local produce/products to buy while visiting:
Radishes & Onions: Erieau’s marshy soil is known for growing the “Erieau Super Radish” and onions. As you drive into Erieau you will pass the Super Radish farm, which offers a roadside stand.
Tomatoes, Broccoli, Squash, Pumpkins & Sweet Potatoes: The climate and soil of the Lake Erie North Shore is ideal for growing numerous vegetables and there is no lack of them here! Pick some up at local roadside farmer’s markets.
Apples, Pears, Cherries, Nectarines, Peaches, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries: Some orchards, fruit farms and roadside farmer’s markets that we recommend for these products (and more) are: Delhaven Orchards (8182 Talbot Trail, Blenheim), Pardo’s Berrie Farm, Greatview Orchards (8677 Talbot Trail, Blenheim), Manitree Fruit Farms (8445 Talbot Trail, Blenheim).
Baked Goods: Pardo Villa Acres Farm Market and Bakery (7707 Talbot Trail, Blenheim) has served this community for over 80 years through their delicious baked goods made with local produce. You will find pies, crisps, loaves, breads, gluten free items and more!
2. Unique Shopping in Blenheim
For a small town, Blenheim (15 minutes from Erieau) has amazing boutique shops. From ladies and men’s fashion, to home décor and artisanal jewelry, to an eco hub market, this town actually lives up to its slogan “Experience Unique Shopping”.
We highly recommend Charlie’s Café for a place to grab locally roasted coffee, kombucha or craft beer and intentionally-healthy snacks.
We also think you will enjoy browsing many local items including locally butchered meat products, Ontario-made beauty products, and environmentally-conscious home goods in Mindful Market and Eco Hub.
3. Visit Wineries and Breweries
The mild climate of the Lake Erie North Shore is optimal for vineyards, and while not much barley is grown here for beer, that hasn’t stopped locals from starting some unique microbreweries.
Erieau is home to Bayside Brewing Company, and is less than 15 minutes from Red Barn Brewing Company. In Chatham (25 minutes away) you will find Early Acres Estate Winery and Sons of Kent Brewing Company.
4. Be a Kid at Greenview Aviaries
This place is so much fun! If you’re travelling with kids or animal lovers of all ages, you can easily spend a full day at Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo.
Greenview Aviaries is much more than a petting zoo, with a wide variety of exotic animals and birds. On top of this, it offers a top-notch picnic zone, play area and splash pad.
5. Hike in Rondeau Provincial Park
One of the best outdoor things to do near Erieau is to spend a day exploring Rondeau Provincial Park. The Park has multiple hiking and biking trails that take you through the lush Carolinian forest and wetlands.
It is known for birding (especially during the springtime migration), fishing, and of course, camping. We recommend exploring the Visitor’s Centre and Discovery Program for kids!
6. Take a Drive to Wheatley Provincial Park
In the opposite direction to Rondeau you will find another popular daytrip option of Wheatley Provincial Park. You will find a lot of the same activities and amenities here as you will at Rondeau, so choosing between the two largely comes down to which direction you’re planning to travel.
7. Travel on to Point Peele National Park & Peele Island
A visit to Point Peele National Park is well worth making a trip of its own, but if you’re short on time you will still get a great experience spending a few hours hiking and swimming in the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. Walking out to the very tip of the peninsula is definitely worth the trip and makes for an awesome selfie spot!
The Peele Island Ferry runs to Peele Island, which is has its own thriving, local community! It is filled with picturesque vineyards, lighthouses, and bike trails (including one around the entire island perimeter). A trip to Peele Island would definitely require more than a day to get the best experience.
Erieau Motels, Cabins, Cottages and Camping
Erieau has a variety of affordable accommodation options, in the form of traditional motel style, B&B rooms, cabins, cottages, and trailer sites.
Molly & OJ’s Lakeside Cabin Rentals offer multiple cabins and a beach house for rent behind the popular Molly & OJ’s Restaurant. Wifi, free parking, a bonfire pit, and access to a private beach are some of the great features of this rental location.
Bayview Bliss Cabins has simple, affordable 1-2 person cabins and 1-6 person cottages for rent. They also rent power boats, canoes, and boat dockage space.
Mariner’s Trailer Park offers seasonal trailer sites, 1 cottage, and 1 cabin for rent. They also operate an amazing ice cream store that is a must-have treat during your visit to Erieau!
Erie-O Motel & Marina is a small, comfortable motel offering traditional style rooms, rooms with full kitchens, waterfront cottage suites, trailer lots, and a private marina and boat ramp. They also offer a BBQ and fire pits for guests to use.
Bayside Camp offers trailer sites and cabins for rent. They also have docks and a boat ramp, and rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.
South Side Landing Marina & RV Park operates a seasonal RV park and a marina with dock rentals.
Arn’s B&B is located just across from the Erieau Marina. This is a cute, locally owned Bed and Breakfast. For reservations call 519-676-4870.
Hotels in Nearby Chatham
There are also a some popular independent and chain hotels in the larger city of Chatham, which is about a 25 minute drive from Erieau.
Our top picks of hotels in Chatham, Ontario:
- Retro Suites Hotel: Modern luxury boutique hotel
- Comfort Inn Chatham: Modern, comfortable
- Holiday Inn Chatham: Modern, comfortable
Airbnb will also have some comfortable options in and around Chatham.
Erieau has a handful of fantastic local, family-owned restaurants to choose from that are all steps from water. We’ve simplified things for you with this up-to-date list.
Molly and OJ’s Restaurant is your go-to for seafood cuisine and all-around delicious dining. Our favourite is the locally-caught Lake Erie perch and pickerel and some homemade clam chowder. Yumm! If you’re just looking to have a few drinks and some pub food, we recommend being seated at the Sandbar Pub, which is the other side of the same restaurant.
Bayside Brewing Company is a modern, rustic-style pub and onsite brewery. It has a busy bay-front patio and offers lunch, dinner and appetizer menus and of course a refreshing selection of Bayside beers. We highly recommend their wood-fired pizzas, which also include gluten-free options.
The Galley Grille and Pub (Eau Buoy Grille) is the perfect place to come for your morning coffee or mid-day meal. They serve classic Canadian diner food at a price you can definitely afford.
Mariners Cone and Shake is the very popular ice cream shop in Erieau. Loads of flavours of ice cream, steps from the beach. Who doesn’t love ice cream at the beach?!
How to get to Erieau
Driving to Erieau from Toronto
Driving from Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo or London, your fastest route to Erieau is to head west on the Highway 401. Exit the highway at Exit 90 Communication Road/County Road 11/Highway 40. Head south towards the town of Blenheim. When you reach Blenheim, turn right onto Highway 3/Talbot Trail and continue until you reach Erieau Road. Turn left down Erieau Road and drive all the way to the village.
Driving to Erieau from Windsor
Driving from the direction of Windsor, your fastest route to Erieau is to take Highway 401 heading east. Exit the highway at Exit 81 Bloomfield Road/County Road 27. Head south by turning left onto County Road 27, then make a quick right (at the church) onto Country Road 14/8 Line, then make a quick left to get back onto 27 heading south. Take this road all the way to its end, where you will turn left onto Highway 3/Talbot Trail. Take this road until you reach Erieau Road, where you will turn right and continue all the way until you reach Erieau.
The Scenic Route to Erieau
As an alternative to Highway 401, you can take Highway 3/Talbot Trail all the way to Erieau Road, from either the direction of London or Windsor. This route offers a slower drive with more opportunity to enjoy the countryside.
You might also find some exciting reasons to get out and shop along your way, as Talbot Trail features various unique roadside stops. We always love to support amazing local businesses!
Roadside Attractions on the way to Erieau, Ontario
Along Highway 3 Talbot Trail between London and Erieau we recommend checking out:
- The Crazy 8 Barn for unique indoor and outdoor items, bakery goods and ice cream.
- Picards Peanuts for totally “nutty” local treats!
- Along Highway 3/Talbot Trail between Windsor and Erieau we recommend stopping at orchards, fruit farms and bakeries! Delhaven Orchards and Greatview Orchards are some of our favourite orchards that you will pass.
- Pardo Villa Acres Farm Market and Bakery is a great stop for fresh baked goods and in season produce. You can find them on Google Maps at 7707 Talbot Trail, Blenheim.
- Pardo Berrie Farm is your best bet for produce grown right on site! If you have extra time, try their pick-your-own produce for an amazing summer Ontario experience.
Local Transportation: Getting to Erieau by Bus
The municipality of Chatham-Kent offers a Seasonal Beach Bus route from some of the surrounding urban areas to Erieau between the Victoria Day holiday weekend until Labour Day weekend. Fares are affordable and should be checked at the CKTransit website.
Our Wrap-Up: Erieau, Ontario
The Lake Erie North Shore is filled with beautiful beach towns and small town fishing villages. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway without the crowds and high prices to go with it, we encourage you to check out the hidden gem of Erieau, Ontario!