Get Outside

walking on the beach

So…the sun’s shining, the wind is warm and you’re on holiday. Get outside, you crazy thing you! It’s summer!

If you have a bike, a pair of rollerblades or even just a pair of walking shoes, you’re in luck. Niagara is connected to one of the longest trail systems in Canada. If the mood strikes you, you can wander right across the country.

The Greater Niagara Circle Route, a 140+ kilometer multi-use trail system at the east end of the Niagara Peninsula is part of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail – connecting to the 17,000 kilometer Trans-Canada Trail leading to Victoria, British Columbia in the west,St. John, Newfoundland in the east and Tuktyuktuk to the north. Much of the trail is located on abandoned rail lines, meaning it’s relatively level and smooth – an easy ride for walkers, hikers, cyclists and rollerbladers.

Perhaps you’re thinking of something a bit shorter? You do, after all, have to be back at work in a week’s time. If so, may I suggest a roll or stroll down the Niagara Parkway, reputedly Winston Churchill’s choice for world’s best Sunday drive? Or, perhaps you’d prefer the Welland Canal trail – wonderful because it is completely removed from traffic and therefore perfect for riding, walking or rollerblading with the kids? Bring a picnic and a blanket and when it’s rest time, you can loll on the grass and watch the ships sail by.

My favourite kind of walking is in the water – shallow water, that is – and there’s no better place for that than Crystal Beach, on the shores of Lake Erie. Although the lucky homeowners whose properties overlook the water
are the official owners of the beach land directly in front of their homes, any sand that has water on it is public. Keep your feet in the water so you’re not trespassing and you’ll be able to walk for nearly a hour in one direction…and then walk back. You’ll find the shoreline remarkably clean and well-maintained – a joy to wander.

Feeling a bit adventurous? Why don’t you skim, instead of walking? Skimmer boards are great fun – just toss them onto the water at the shore, run and jump on! With a little luck and a bit of balance, you should be able to skim across the water like a smooth stone. Even if you fall, wet sand isn’t all that hard.

There now…next time the kids wail, “There’s nothing to do!” you’ll be prepared…and completely unable to avoid joining them!

Is a travel writer with weekly columns in the Toronto Star, various other newspapers and She's a thrilled to be a blog contributor, and is inspired by the people she's met through White Oaks.