Are you looking for somewhere to take the family this year, but not sure where to go? Camp grounds are a sure hit! Haldimand is home to many different camp grounds, including two Provincial Parks. Today, I am going to be talking about Selkirk and it’s Provincial Park, and all of the wonderful experiences that are calling your name. Between swimming, kayaking, trips into town and beyond, Haldimand County has the perfect vacation waiting for you and the little ones.
If you are from the city, you may hear, “are we there yet?” more times than you would like to, but when you arrive in the small town of Selkirk it will all be worth it. Before you arrive at the Park, make sure to stop in downtown Selkirk on Main Street and grab all of the last minute things you will need for your camping adventure. The Selkirk convenience store, Town & Country Foods, will have everything that you forgot. But don’t fear, if you still forget to grab something, it is only a 5 minute drive from Selkirk Provincial Park. Make sure to check out the murals while you are downtown too. The little ones will love them, and it is a great way to get a glimpse of what the community of Selkirk is all about.
Once you are checked in and set up, don’t be afraid to explore the park! Take a walk through all of the loops and roads and find things that you may be interested in, such as bird watching, animal tracks and more! Near the back of the park is the day use area, which is connected to the shore line of Lake Erie. There are picnic tables, open space for all of your favourite activities, a playground and lots of trees to provide you with shade on those hot summer days. Eventually, the grass turns into the beach and let me tell you, the view is beautiful. Nothing beats the view of Lake Erie on a gorgeous sunny day.
One of the best parts about camping is cooking over the campfire. Some of my favorites include: Jiffy pop, hot dogs and s’mores… but have you ever tried campfire nachos? A pan full of crunchy tortilla chips, delicious melted cheese, jalapeños, salsa, and all of your favourite nacho toppings. It can’t get better than that, or easier! If you are looking for something super simple, a good old spider dog will do. Cutting the ends of a hot dog into four pieces and roasting it over the fire making the ends curl up, and voila! A magnificent spider dog!
If you are an early bird and can’t wait to start the day, I have just the thing for you to do. Hagersville is a short drive away from Selkirk and has a Farmers Market on Wednesday’s. It is the perfect place to grab a few extra goodies for your next campfire cookout. With a wide variety of farm fresh fruits, you could make every pie iron you have ever dreamed of. There is also an artisan chocolate shop down the street from the Market, called My Sweet Sweet World. Stop in and grab a couple bars of chocolate for out of this world s’mores.
While we are on the topic of food, Hagersville has a few restaurants that you have to try before you leave. Main 88 Pizza Pub makes their dough and tomato sauce fresh every day, and they use only the freshest of toppings, quality meats and 100% Canadian Dairy. Plank Road Taps & Grill is a new restaurant in Hagersville and uses only homemade and local ingredients. With 11 beers on tap and a variety of wines as well as spirits, there is something for everyone. Barin’s Kitchen is an elegant Eastern European Restaurant where everything is made from Scratch. Stop in at one of these restaurants and enjoy their wonderful dishes while you’re here.
If you and your family love to sleep in and don’t think you will make it to the market on time, you could go into Selkirk and eat at The Sunflower Café for breakfast. The Sunflower is a cute family style restaurant that is a staple amongst the community. I recommend the Cheddar Omelet, and Pancakes for the kids. The café is very family friendly and somewhere I always stop at when passing through Selkirk.
Looking for a mid-day adventure? Try and conquer Wheeler’s Walk Trail which is located in the Provincial Park. The trail is 1.5km long and takes you through the marsh on a beautiful board walk. You will see lots of wild life as well as hear lots of frogs, which always gets the kids excited. The hike is relaxing and a great opportunity to connect with nature, especially with the lovely scenery.
When you get back from the trail, there is no better way to cool down than a trip to the beach. Grab your towels, a cooler and some sunscreen and head out to the day use area. Although the beach is a little bit pebbly, the lake is crystal clear and is sure to cool you right down. The view is one you could stare at all day, so don’t be surprised if you stay there till sunset! Just don’t forget to re-apply that sunscreen.
If you are longing for your next adventure on the water, the Park has kayaks available for rent which is fun for all ages. Selkirk is a great place for “beginner paddlers” which makes this adventure more inviting for the whole family. Their most popular kayaking route is through the marsh area along Spring Creek, and into the lake at the mouth of Sandusk Creek. With lots of wildlife to be spotted and easy going water, this is definitely a family friendly route.
If you are looking to learn something new about Selkirk and the surrounding area, Cottonwood Mansion Museum is just the place for you. The Museum was built in 1860-70 and is a stunning red brick Italianate style mansion. Tours are available for booking through their website, which is an easy process. On your tour, you will be taken through the sixteen room mansion and shown some of the original furniture from when the first family lived in the home. The history of the family and what it would have been like to live in the 18th century is one of the many topics covered on the tour. With lovely staff and multiple opportunities to engage in history, this is a tour you will want to book!
If you are hungry after your tour, make sure to head down the road to the Fisherville Hotel & Tavern for dinner. The Tavern was originally built for travelling salesman in 1853, but is now a well know restaurant in Haldimand County. The restaurant has a very “home” feeling and a great atmosphere. There’s lots to choose from, even on the kids menu. Everyone will find something that has you waiting on the edge of your seats to come, and when it does, it will not disappoint.
Do you love to take the scenic route home? The South Haldimand Lakeside Ride touring route, which is available on Tourismhaldimand.ca, has the perfect way to get you there. The route goes right through Fisherville and goes back to Selkirk Provincial Park, taking you down the country side and along the lake. Waterfront Way Trail, which has the prefect photo opportunity. With access to the lake and multiple historic plaques to widen your knowledge of the area, Waterfront Way Trail is a must stop.
While these are just some of the things Selkirk and it’s Provincial Park have to offer, there is still a lot to be explored! With Communities like Jarvis, Hagersville and Dunnville so close, you will never run out of new adventures. Try some of these ideas and grab a few more from Tourismhaldimand.ca and make this summer the best one yet.