While most visitors to the Niagara Falls area are most familiar with its eponymous waterfalls, the Niagara region is a vast place home to much, much more. There are scores of wineries, thousands of acres of vineyards, orchards, and farms, countless businesses, a wealth of wonderful people, and more hidden gems than the lucky visitors who happen upon them can shake a stick at.
One such hidden gem is Niagara’s South Coast with its lovely Lake Erie shoreline and small handful of quaint little towns. If you’re heading soon to the Niagara region, and you’re looking for an out-of-the-way experience, here is a little of what you should know about the South Coast.
While not the most famous of Niagara’s towns and cities, the five towns along the South Coast have a lot to offer any visitor. Port Colborne has an impressive and thriving arts and music scene, tons of excellent fishing, and Canal Days — a festival that celebrates tall ships. Wainfleet is a wonderfully small and rural-life centered place. Agriculture and conservation are king in and around it. The Wainfleet Conservation Area and Bog is one of Canada’s largest remaining peat bogs, and it’s a great place for bird watching.
Fort Erie was an important place during the War of 1812, and today, history buffs have plenty to experience there. Pelham is best explained by its motto: “Five villages, one community” thanks to the tiny, quaint villages that make up its township. It’s also home to Canada’s largest sugar maple, a massive tree that’s over 500 years old. Lastly, the city of Welland offers plenty of fun, outdoor activities, and it also hosts the Rose Festival every June.
For summer fun that requires water and lots of sand, the coast of Lake Erie is absolutely idyllic. From aptly named Crystal Beach and Pleasant Beach to Thunder Bay Beach and Nickel Beach, the South Coast is a great destination for sun and water lovers. Almost any place you stop is worth spreading a towel out on.
Niagara’s South Coast is home to some of the most interesting and entertaining festivals in the country. Some give visitors a taste of Niagara life from over 100 years ago, while others celebrate the culinary prowess the region is known for. Here are just a few of the many festivals that take place in the South Coast throughout the year:
- The Marshville Heritage Festival
- Fort Erie Friendship Festival
- Wainfleet Fall Fair
- Niagara Food Festival
Old Fort Erie, the site of the deadliest battle in all of Canadian history, has been restored to its former glory. Tour the buildings and grounds to get a sense of military life at the start of the 19th century. For lovers of history — especially British, Canadian, or American history — the fort is one of the best places to visit — not just in Niagara — but in North America.
Head to Niagara’s South Coast for a rich and unforgettable experience of a region already famous for unforgettable offerings.