What’s one of your favourite outdoor adventures? Recently we discovered a spot that wowed us with lush Carolinian forests, nearby beaches, darkest of skies, and thrilling outdoor activities all day long. You might be surprised to discover it’s closer than you realized.
Right before school returned I decided to take the girls somewhere fun. Little did I know when I started browsing Glamping Hub that I would find my new favourite outdoor adventures destination this close to home at Long Point Eco Adventures near Turkey Point in nearby Norfolk County, Ontario.
The possibility of zip lining and axe throwing, spotting stars late at night and staying in a wilderness safari tent while glamping appealed to me immensely. It seemed like an ideal way to launch a new school year, or start the Fall season.
I had all sorts of questions as you always do when you pick a new spot out of the blue. How close was it to the beach and how far from food and restaurants? Was the zip lining still open? It was almost Labour Day after all and some attractions at various Ontario tourist destinations wind down close to Labour Day. So, as I often do on my family trips, I hoped for the best, researched as much as I could and then hopped in the van and drove away with my kids for a couple of days.
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So Where is this Destination?
Roughly 90 to 100 minutes from London, and about the same distance from Toronto, Long Point Eco Adventures is a great option for a quick getaway. Once you leave Highway 401 it’s a leisurely drive through the countryside and a short scenic hilly jaunt up past numerous wineries.
When we arrived we checked into our safari style tent in the wilderness suites section. Featuring two queen beds, our safari tent was spacious enough for the three of us and posh for camping, with a canopied veranda, sliding doors, fan, free wifi, heating blankets and a clean indoor washroom. An outdoor rain shower attached by zipper to the washroom is a literal breath of fresh air.
Long Point Eco Adventures also features adorable unique to the area wooden camping pods and wilderness pods, which would have been too small for us, but were super cute with a romantic feel. I’d definitely consider those if I travelled on my own or with my husband.
The first thing I noticed was that the wilderness suites safari tents didn’t face inward although placed in a circle. You enter wilderness suites from a patio door around the back. Punctuated with Muskoka chairs and flowering plants, a small seating area faces out onto the quiet trails and woods so you have privacy from your neighbour’s tent.
Outdoor Immersion Therapy
Totally just made that phrase up but that’s what it felt like for me. Walk right off your patio and onto a trail. That’s pretty sweet. One afternoon while sitting outside, sipping a cold beverage, I heard a loud buzzing near my ear and looked up fast to spy a hummingbird at eye level maybe ten feet from me. It’s the closest I have ever seen a hummingbird and had no idea their wings made so much noise.
Sleep was excellent and we left tent flaps up for air and to hear the outdoors. One evening that meant waking to coyotes singing in the marsh which added to the ambience for us.
Our outdoor adventures at Long Point Eco Adventures Ontario were a scream from the second we arrived. After settling in and taking a few photos, the three of us did axe throwing lessons together. It was my first time axe throwing and my oldest daughter had never done this before either. While it took us a few tries to warm up, and a few Walking Dead jokes, our coach was patient and he gave good directions advising us to move closer as we tried two handed overhead throw and then again as we moved on to a different sized axe for one handed throwing.
Turns out I was much better at the one handed throws and I even landed a bullseye eventually. Naturally there was a competition at the end and Ainsley, my youngest sporty girl, who did axe throwing at Pioneer Camp Ontario in August, won twice.
We immediately discovered that this glamping girl’s getaway was close to two beaches at least. Lovely Long Point was about 15 minutes away with super shallow entry to Lake Erie making it suitable for kids and families. Turkey Point was a mere five minute drive, but a bit busier and smaller than Long Point beach.
Hot breakfast buffet is included indoors located near the outdoor adventure centre overlooking the marsh. Breakfast consisted of juice or coffee and eggs, bacon, pancakes and home cooked potatoes. There’s also a food truck on site open until 2 p.m. for lunch.
My only small criticism was that the food truck which serves lunch is a bit expensive. While the kids enjoyed their sandwiches, for almost $40 I expected something more.
We found several great restaurants nearby and headed out to dinner at the Burning Kiln Winery one night. Their menu is not huge, but several individual appetizers and meals were savoury and the outdoor patio has great ambience overlooking the vineyard and property transformed from a former tobacco tract.
Appetizers were top notch featuring a good-sized fresh local cheese and charcuterie platter, surrounded by savoury crostini breads with cranberries and blueberries baked in. In fact I think I might have enjoyed the crostini even more than the ripened and soft cheeses and meats. My daughter had a huge gourmet burger topped with goat cheese and grilled red peppers. And we also tried the fish tacos, that levelled up the heat with a surprising mango salsa.
On our last night we waited for seats at the Sandbar in Turkey Point, where a musician performed. The cheesy cappelletti was rich and possibly the best I have ever eaten. Good fuel after our outdoor adventures all weekend. The patio is buggy so don’t sit out there at night. Servers were efficient and friendly and the crowd was mixed, with many couples enjoying the live music.
We live in London, Ontario, which is not so far away, but surprisingly this was our first visit to the Norfolk County area. We honestly had no idea we’d find this many outdoor adventures so close to home.
Day two saw us doing the four hour Big Creek kayaking tour. We enjoyed our visit thoroughly and I highly recommend the Big Creek paddle tour kayaking with Brian and Leeann. They are exceptional and extremely passionate about nature and the ecosystem in this area. While kayaking, we met a family from Alberta who had driven across the country to have a vacation before settling their daughter in at Western for her first year university. LOVED that they opted for Norfolk County as a memorable outdoor adventure destination for their family trip before university. Brilliant choice.
The rest of day two we hiked, and explored Ontario’s southwest and its beaches. After kayaking we decided to drive to Port Rowan. Cute, cottages and a pretty colourful marina, peppered with outdoor farmer’s markets and small shops to browse make Port Rowan worth visiting. Continue on down the road to the bird sanctuary or to Long Point beach.
Saving the Best for Last
For our final morning we tried the zip lining and canopy tour with suspension bridges through the Carolinian forest on site. This tree top outdoor adventure is safe and not overly high, while also being fun and manageable, which makes it perfect for teen travel companions. We have zip lined several places and the difficulty level of this activity is a 5 or 6 out of 10. For me the most challenging piece was rappelling at the end and then the 80 stairs uphill to return to the centre and remove the harness.
Safari wilderness tents have WIFI access and the patio doors lock so you can feel pretty safe here. It’s not really roughing it by any stretch. The winery scene in the area is really hot and definitely worth checking out. You can do the Toast the Coast tour, self guided and visit several wineries and a brewery or two.
This was an excellent way for us to end the summer and I think it’s worth noting that this could be a lovely romantic weekend away or a great spot to visit for a retreat of any sort.
- Bring your bikes and bike locks for mountain biking to conquer many trails nearby.
- Most importantly BRING the heavy duty bug spray because mosquitoes here mean business.
- Try to book the observatory early. It is extremely popular.
- Camp fires most nights are lit in a common area near the old dining tent, if fires are permitted depending on the threat level etc.
- Choose from wilderness pods, wilderness suites and camping pods. Each vary in size.
- LOOK up. This is a soon to be dark sky destination…skies are stunning and on a clear night you can see half a dozen constellations easily.
Final Thoughts on Norfolk County Outdoor Adventures
If you arrive earlier in the season you will have more options for outdoor activities. The Lavender farm is done blooming by mid summer so we didn’t visit. And there are a wide variety of water sports you can indulge in at the area beaches which are a short drive away. These wind down at end of the summer. We are super satisfied and really made some amazing memories here at Long Point Eco Adventures in Norfolk County.
Unlock the outdoor adventures destination badge at Long Point Eco Adventures.