You don't need to hop on a plane to get somewhere tropical. In Ontario, there are a myriad of beautiful beach destinations that are perfect for cooling down in the summer. One of them even boasts a couple of palm trees - yes, real palm trees - that are sure to get you in a tropical mood.
Port Dover Beach is a popular spot along the coast of Lake Erie, just two hours away from Toronto by car. Its shore is lined with a gorgeous set of palm trees that give the area a Cancun-type vibe.
They were planted there by Peter Knechtel, the owner of Callahan's Beach House Restaurant, which sits right by the water. Every year, when the weather permits, Knechtel imports Florida palms from the Courtland Gardens and Landscape Centre near Tillsonburg. Each of the trees stand approximately 15 feet tall and remain along the beach for the next five months or so. When fall arrives, the trees are then sent back to a greenhouse where they can be protected from frost damage.
The success of Knechtel's palm trees dispels the belief that Canada cannot support the existence of tropical plants outside a greenhouse. Amber Way, the garden centre manager of the Courtland Gardens and Landscape Centre, says they have customers all over Ontario who purchase palm trees seasonally. In fact, anyone can buy a palm tree - for a steep $1,500 each.
Aside from the palm trees, there are several things to see and do at Port Dover Beach. A scenic pier, lighthouse, harbour museum, wine trail, boat charters, theatre festivals and coast watersports are all available in the area, in case you'd like to do more than just lay out on the sand. Just a few steps away from the beach is also the downtown core of Port Dover, which consists of several boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
This summer, make a trip to Port Dover beach for the best vacation ever!