Port Stanley is one of those cool little towns that they make TV shows about. In fact, walking around the charming little town (or is it a village?) made me think of Stars Hollow- the fictional town in my beloved TV show, Gilmore Girls.
And it’s easy to see why- Port Stanley is exactly what small town life is all about. It is insanely picturesque with two stunning beaches attracting people from far and wide.
While it’s only a 2-hour drive away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto, it seems like it’s from another world completely. And we’re not the only ones who think the town is worth writing home about.
With its shifting demographic, the town is being embraced by young urbanites, and millennials looking to get away and start fresh in a smaller place. This is made abundantly clear by the amount of the great clothing stores, art galleries and stunning architecture that line the quiet street leading up to the little beach.
Another interesting tidbit- the elementary school that was slated to be closed a few years ago due to low enrollment has new life and is at full capacity now with the transfer of French Immersion students from St Thomas.
Port Stanley is nestled in Elgin County, and has something for everyone- particularly those looking for a beach getaway without wanting to fly a few hours. We fell in love the moment that we drove in. You can’t find a more pristine beach anywhere- no wonder it’s classified as a Blue Flag Beach.
What To Do When You Get There:
Hit the beach: No, seriously. Make that the first thing you do when you get there. Both the main beach, and little beach are stunning, with great sand, and clear waters. Bring your towel and your sunscreen and get ready to spend a few hours enjoying the sun.
Find the bees in the lavender field: While not in Port Stanley itself, a few minutes drive out takes you to Steed & Co on Sparta Road where you can make all of your lavender field Instagram dreams come true. Watch out for the bees!
Transport yourself into a different timeframe: If you love luxury, and modern amenities (along with different theme rooms) then the Inn on the Harbour is the perfect place for you. The charming inn only has a hand full of rooms so you get the intimate service that’s missing from bigger chain luxury hotels. It has also a great back deck where you can enjoy your gourmet breakfast while watching the harbour (hence the name of the Inn- get it?)
Where To Eat
Windjammer Inn: Head here to experience some of the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted. They also have a great buddha bowl for the vegetarians in the crowd and divine tacos for the taco connoisseur made with fresh perch caught locally.
Mackie’s: Fry fanatics rejoice. Located right on the beach, this historic establishment is the place to get your fry fix. They also have other menu items like hotdogs and poutine if your cravings can’t be satisfied with a huge order of fries.
New New Age: Newly opened by husband and wife transplants from LA, New New Age oozes hipster vibes. From their veggie charcuterie boards to entirely locally sourced or self-grown menu items, this is the place where you can truly find out where your food comes from.
GT’s Beach Bar and Grill: Tacos on the beach while watching volleyball players serve and spike right in front of you? Yes, please! GT’s is located right on the beach, and is the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks and watch the sunset with friends. They also have amazing tacos!
Village Square Coffee House: Situated right in the middle of town and next door to New New Age, and Broderick’s Icecream Parlour, this is the place to go to people watch and get work done. Try the banana bread, too- worth every calorie.
Broderick’s Icecream Parlour: Ice cream lover dream right here. Nothing is the ice cream out this world (we loved the orange and watermelon combined), but they have great service and a wonderful staff (who are clearly experts).