“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
If you’re looking for a new and exciting experience this summer, then take to the water for an offshore adventure along the river and lakes surrounding Windsor and Essex County.
There’s no better way to explore the coast than by watercraft. Whether it’s by power boat, sail boat, kayak, canoe or jet ski, you’ll be able to explore our region in whole new ways.
For boating enthusiasts, there’s nothing like the tranquility of sailing across a clear blue lake or the excitement of reeling in a big catch while fishing. And there’s no better way to relieve the stress of daily living than with a relaxing, leisurely cruise as the cool lake breezes fan your face and sunshine warms your skin.
If you’re a boating novice and looking to purchase your first watercraft, it’s best to do some research before taking the plunge. Educating yourself on the language of boating terminology and seamanship is key. There are rules, regulations, laws and safety requirements that must be adhered to. And there are costs associated with licences, insurance, maintenance and storage that must be considered.
There are over 20 public and private marinas dotting the coastline along Windsor and Essex County. Local sailing, boating and yacht clubs offer instruction, training, crewing opportunities and events for its members. Some of the exciting events include sailing regattas, poker runs, day and night racing and social gatherings. Other organizations such as the Windsor Power and Sail Squadron offer class-room based courses, training and ongoing education on boating safety and navigation.
But you don’t have to own a boat to be a boater or to join a boating club. You can charter or rent by the hour, the day or the month. You can crew for boat owners. You can partner with boat owners to share expenses. If even those commitments are more than you desire, you can hop on a scheduled ferry, sign up for a guided boat tour, board a fishing party boat or join a group excursion.
These are some of the most scenic destinations in our area to explore…
Travel along lake St. Clair and dock at Light House Cove in Lakeshore. The Lighthouse Conservation Area is a one hectare park located at the mouth of the Thames River at Lake St. Clair. The lighthouse is 200 years old and is one of the three oldest on the Great Lakes. The area is great for fishing and enjoying a leisurely picnic lunch.
Cruise along the Detroit River and make your way along the Amherstburg Shoreline. From historic museums and galleries, to authentic heritage sites and attractions, Amherstburg possesses a delightful blend of adventure and authentic charm.
You can also take a guided sightseeing tour along the Detroit river to Amherstburg aboard Windsor River Cruises. Departure is from Riverfront Festival Plaza along the Detroit River, past Belle Isle and many historical sights along the Detroit Shoreline on route to Amherstburg.
Paddle a canoe though the wet lands of Point Pelee National Park. Explore the freshwater marshes beyond the boundaries of the Marsh Boardwalk. Cruise amongst the cattails as you glimpse the marsh’s eco system below the water and wildlife living above it.
Go island hopping. Visit the natural oasis of Peche Island at the head of the Detroit River. You can get there on your own boat or take the City of Windsor’s newly purchased 23-foot Princecraft pontoon boat anchored at Lakeview Park Marina to get there. The island is overflowing with cedar and oak trees and boasts an inland marsh filled with fish, frogs and waterfowl. The island is steeped in history as the former home of Hiram Walker with different owners throughout the years.
Travel by personal watercraft or take a ferry ride from the Kingsville or Leamington docks to Pelee Island at the Western basin of Lake Erie. The island is a place of wildlife diversity and home to many rare species of birds and animals. Take in the historical sites, unique shops, nature walks and nightlife. Enjoy a bike ride, go for a swim or just relish the sights and sounds of the natural surroundings.
Journey to Bob-lo Island by crossing the Lake Erie Channel from the Amherstburg Ferry terminal.
You don’t have to be a resident of Bob-lo Island to use the ferry service or to tour the island. Green space, walking trails and natural wildlife are abundant. You’ll also find a family restaurant, café, gift shop, marina and historical buildings.
Lastly, you can venture out a bit further to Kelly’s Island. It is located in the western basin of Lake Erie about four miles north of Marblehead and twelve miles from Sandusky on the Ohio mainland. The entire island measures more than four square miles and is the largest fresh water American island in Lake Erie. Enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife on the island and tour the historic landmarks including the largest and most spectacular example of pre-historic glacial grooves in the entire world. Fish in the Walleye capital of the world. Hike along the natural trails, enjoy a walk on the sandy beach or browse amongst the unique gift and clothing shops.
We'll have more more local adventures for you to try in our next issue of the Windsor-Essex 50+ Guide & Directory. And don’t forget to sign up to receive our monthly e-magazine for additional news, information, tips and articles sent to your mailbox each month.
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