Just down the road from Grand Bend, but a world away from town life, you’ll find The Pinery—home to dramatic sand dunes, towering oaks, and Ontario’s only lizard (the five lined skink), plus great swimming along 10 kilometres of sandy beach. Boardwalks protect the fragile dunes and their rare plant life and animal species, and they make access to the beach both easy and scenic. The beach is located close to washrooms and parking lots.
More info: Pinerypark.on.ca
What’s nearby: The Pinery offers extensive programming for kids and adults alike. Check out guided hikes, Ask the Naturalist sessions, bike hikes, and story time in the Visitor’s Centre, just to name a few. Of particular interest to kids are the Wednesday Ooze ’n’ Goos pond study session. For some after-hours entertainment, the park has an outdoor theatre complete with evening programs. Outside the park, head to Grand Bend on a Sunday to check out the weekly Antique and Flea Market—you just might find a beachy bargain.
How to get there: Take the 401 west to Highway 8. Turn right onto Huron Street, turn left onto County Road 130, turn right onto Perth Line 20, then turn left onto Ontario 21 south/Bluewater Highway.