Port Dover: A Weekend Lake Erie Retreat

Erie Beach in Port Dover, Ontario, photo by JasonParis
Port Dover's Erie Beach, photo by JasonParis
Port Dover Light
Port Dover Lighthouse by portdoverbeach.com

If you want to take off for a weekend trip this summer, you may want to consider Port Dover, Ontario, about 1 1/2 hours southwest of Toronto. While Port Dover is the famous meeting place of motorcycle enthusiasts every Friday the 13th, the lakeside town offers superb swimming and fresh Lake Erie pickerel and perch for beachside dining.

If you’re staying overnight, the Erie Beach Hotel, which is steps from the beach, hasn’t changed much in years, but is affordable ($110 per night) and offers traditional seafood and steak meals in their three dining rooms. The Brant Hill Inn offers large, modern rooms with wireless Internet and is perched on a hill overlooking Port Dover Harbour Marina. There are also a number of bed & breakfasts and cottages for rent in Port Dover. The central focus of Port Dover is Erie Beach, a public beach that is accessible by foot if you are staying anywhere on the main street. The beach and water are pretty clean, and there are public washrooms nearby.

For lighthouse fans, the Port Dover Light, which is still active in assisting navigation, is located on the west pier. If you are fascinated by marine life, check out the Port Dover Harbour Museum. The museum’s exhibits include artifacts from Lake Erie shipwrecks including that of the 1852 steamer Atlantic, as well as those of commercial sail, ship building and rum running.

Finally, if you’re up for a night of culture, head over to Port Dover’s Lighthouse Theatre, which is performing Rhinestone Cowgirl, a musical tribute to Dolly Parton, from May 22 to June 16, 2012; popular Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s Self Help from June 19 to July 11, 2012; the drama, Fly Fisher’s Companion, from July 17 to August 4, 2012 and Rum Runners, which is based on the Lake Erie bootlegging trade, from August 7-25, 2012. Adult tickets are only $33.

Erie Beach in Port Dover, Ontario, photo by JasonParis
Port Dover’s Erie Beach, photo by JasonParis