In summer, Niagara is a green paradise, a beacon for hikers who can explore the Niagara portion of the Bruce Trail as it winds along the Escarpment. This is high season! The Shaw Festival is in full swing and there’s a palpable buzz in the shops along Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in the historic district of Jordan (Twenty Valley), and on the walkways beside the Falls. The Falls take on a new drama with nightly illuminations and weekly fireworks displays.
Summer temperatures in the Niagara Region can get surprisingly steamy, but there are sandy beaches on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that are havens for summer visitors. Waverly Beach, located in the South Coast has shady trees as well as a sandy beach and views over the water to the Buffalo Skyline. Nickel Beach, located in the South Coast on Lake Erie, is famous for its sand dunes and for the protected and rare Fowler Toads that inhabit the beach. Long Beach is a gem with a busy cottage community, beach volleyball, sand castle building and large expanses of sandy sunning areas. If you are a diver, the Sherkston Quarry Beach, a large spring-fed quarry, lets divers explore the ruins of a hundred year old mind on the quarry floor. The beach at Queen’s Royal Park is on the Niagara River and offers unforgettable landscape views – Fort Niagara across the river in New York State, and the ever-changing river, with its jet boats and sailboats. In St. Catharines, Sunset Beach, best known to locals as Municipal Beach, is just off the Waterfront Trail and close to the famous Welland Canal.
If beaches aren’t your thing but you still want to be outdoors, plan a picnic, stopping at places like Upper Canada Cheese in Jordan Station to pick up artisan goodies then heading to one of the scenic pull-offs along the Niagara Parkway to enjoy the great weather. For the cycling enthusiasts, the Bike Train allows travelers to come to Niagara with their bikes and tour the Niagara Circle Route, or test their stamina with the uphill Welland Canal Route.
Summer is also festival and event season in Niagara. Signature events such as Canada day celebrations that happen in every town. You don’t want to miss Welland’s ‘FloatFest’ – bring and inflatable tube and float along the Welland Canal. In Port Colborne, there’s Canal Days, a three day marine heritage festival. Boat lovers shouldn’t miss the Henley Regatta. For outdoor pleasure, anyone who loves horses would enjoy a horse trek along the beaches of Lake Erie, with Horseplay Niagara. If you plan it right, you can enjoy great food and wine at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration with special dinners, wine tastings and events at participating wineries. In the summer months, Niagara buzzes with its best on display for the over 14 million visitors who will come to enjoy the Niagara Region’s attractions.