Weekend Away in Ontario’s Blue Coast

The Pinery Grand Bend

As I always say, you never know what’s in your own backyard! The other weekend I got to explore Sarnia, Ontario and Grand Bend thanks to Ontario Southwest and Ontario’s Blue Coast.

Growing up in London, I was familiar with Grand Bend as I had a family cottage there however it has definitely changed so it was amazing to re-visit and see all the new local shops.

Sarnia, Ontario is a place I never thought of visiting but we definitely had fun exploring the area and discovering new restaurants. Read more below about the places we visited and scroll to the end to watch the VLOG.

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Camlachie Chapel Airbnb

Located a 20 min drive from downtown Sarnia, Ontario is a cozy Airbnb called Camlachie Chapel. This chapel was originally built in 1877 and was serving the community until 2014. The new owner, Jenn who is an award-winning interior designer converted the chapel into a cozy, rustic sanctuary that is now available to rent on airbnb.ca.

The home is filled with so many fun activities, like a DIY basketball net, mini trampoline, board games, hula hoops and more. I truly find it’s these little touches that make a place. I could picture myself and my closest girlfriends spending a full weekend just hanging out, drinking wine and playing games! This place can bring out the kid in anymore.

However, if you’re looking for just a relaxing getaway, the chapel is perfect for that too. Turn on the cozy fireplace, grab a glass wine and flick on a good movie. The Camlachie Chapel has it all! If you’re visiting in the summer, it’s located only 3 min drive to numerous beaches.

Check out the Airbnb listing here.

Best Restaurants in Sarnia, Ontario

Los Puntos Cantina

New to Sarnia, Ontario (Feb 2019) is Los Puntos Cantina. If you love Mexican food, then this place is a must. They have classic margaritas, tacos and local craft beer from Refined Fool, Cowbell and more.

We started our meal with their chips and salsa, homemade queso dip, and chicken taquitos. Overall, it was all so delicious. I did find the queso to be a bit runnier compared to others but I definitely still cleared that plate!

For the main, we had to go with the tacos! We tried a variety of them including, cauliflower, fish, shrimp, beef and pork. My personal favourite was the cauliflower and great vegetarian option while Adam loved the pork taco.

Blackwater Coffee Co.

Located on the main strip of Sarnia, Ontario is Blackwater Coffee Co. A cute, quaint and relaxing place to enjoy a cup of coffee. The owner, not only has a wide selection of beans available but also roasts them all in-house to ensure you get the best coffee possible! Make sure to watch the VLOG to hear just some of the places the beans are from.

I opted for the tumeric latte and it did not disappoint. Adam got a cappuccino with a double espresso that not only tasted delicious but had the most perfect latte art on top.

Limbo Lounge

Located almost across the street from Blackwater Coffee Co. is Limbo Lounge. A casual dining restaurant right downtown Sarnia.

I almost wished we visited Limbo Lounge in the summer as it looked like they have a huge patio. I can just imagine sitting there with a cold beer on a summer night.

Although, we did visit in the winter and the inside was beautiful. We sat at a table close to the bar allowing us to watch sports games on the TVs while enjoying our meals. With a wide selection of options, it might be hard for some to choose. However, as soon as I saw that Teriyaki Salmon on the menu I knew I had to try it. The Salmon came originally with rice but I upgraded to the cheesy risotto which I highly recommend.

Other meals we tried were the Salt & Pepper Shrimp – shout out to our waiter who recommended it. They are known for it so it’s one thing you have to order when you’re there.

We also tried the daily soup – mushroom and the daily special which was a seafood paella.

More Places to Eat Just Outside Sarnia

Schoolhouse Restaurant

Located in Grand Bend, a 40 min drive from our Airbnb is Schoolhouse Restaurant. We stopped here for breakfast on our second day and loved the small and family vibe it gave off. They specialize in fresh made-from-scratch cuisine which definitely showed with their freshly squeezed orange juice, and the most scrumptious biscuits ever.

One thing I really loved about their menu is that they offer the option to order a smaller portion of some of the meals for a lower price. I personally don’t eat that much in the morning and also hate wasting food so seeing a place offer this, was a huge plus.

What’s even cooler about the Schoolhouse Restaurant is that it’s actually in a former public school. All around the restaurant you’ll see photos from old classes and even downtown stairs there’s the ‘Teacher’s Lounge’, other words a bar!

Highway Girl

An Instagrammer’s dream right in Grand Bend – Highway Girl is a super cute pink shop. It’s a finer food shop, bakery and cafe which offers a variety of fresh baked goods including vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

I picked up a chai latte to go, as we had just been at the beach and it was freezing outside. Don’t ask why I thought exploring the beach on a windy day was a good idea. However, the chai latte did the trick and I was back to feeling normal!

While I was there I also picked up some of their energy bites which were SO good. They had a peanut butter chocolate chip that any peanut butter lover will love. As well as a keto coconut ball which tasted like eating a cake but you felt a lot healthier eating this energy ball.

MacPherson’s

On our last day, we stopped in at MacPherson’s for breakfast. Now, from the outside, you wouldn’t think much of it but the food was great. Being around since 1924, they have changed the menu but are still creating food that makes everyone happy.

As it was Sunday, it felt like the perfect day to get a little larger and fuller breakfast so I opted for the Belgium Waffles! I got mine with fruit and I ate it all. My stomach is actual rumbling as I’m writing this and thinking about the waffles.

What to Do in Sarnia, Ontario

Wine Tasting

Who doesn’t love a little wine tasting? During our visit to Ontario’s Blue Coast, we visited two wineries including Alton Farms Estate Winery and Dark Horse Estate Winery.

Alton Farms Estate Winery hand crafts their own wines and is the pioneer estate winery and vineyard in Huron Shores. Offering a variety of events including hiking, snowshoeing or just lounging around their outside fire pit it’s a place that you could bring the whole family to. Did I also mention they have an outdoor wood-fire pizza oven? I definitely need to go back in the warmer months to try that.

Dark Horse Estate Winery is a 31-000 sq.ft estate winery that I swear would be the most beautiful place for a wedding. I instantly fell in love with all the rustic wood details around the winery and their elite VIP space and patio are two areas that I’m sure you’ll fall in love with as well. Lastly, they also have a wood-fire pizza oven available on their patio during the summer months.

If you want to check out other local wineries check out:

Refined Fool Brewery Co.

Refined Fool Brewery Co. might just have the coolest story. So, a couple of people who all loved beer, Sarnia, business and each other started brewing beer in their backyard using propane burners and frozen hoses but now own a microbrewery together! How cool is that?

They have a ton of beer to try, games to play and popcorn to snack on. We opted for a flight as I personally think it’s the only way to visit a brewery. You need to try as much as you can! They also have a bottle shop where you can purchase additional cans or growlers to take home.

Newly opened within the brewery is March Hare. A snack bar tucked into the corner of the brewery which offers a selection of casual foods, light lunches, hearty suppers or a late night snack with your pint.

Pinery Provincial Park

With 10km of sand beach, the Pinery Provincial Park is one place you must check out. The Pinery is available to visit year-round as you can enjoy 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail and 38 km of groomed ski trails.

As we met with one of the guides they told us about the Yurts that are available to rent in the winter which are fully heated. Definitely something worth checking out.

In the summer you can even rent a canoe, hydro bike, paddleboat or a single or double kayak to explore the Old Ausable Channel – a provincially significant wetland.

During our visit, we walked around the trails which were so beautiful with the snow coming down, explored the sand dunes and fed the chickadees. Feeding the chickadees was definitely my favourite part as they were so cute and we ended up seeing even more birds like a Blue Jay and a Wood Pecker. Make sure to check out the VLOG at the end of this post to see the adorable chickadees feeding right out of my hand!

We definitely didn’t get enough time to fully explore as the weather was not on our side, but that just means I need to come back in the summer for a camping weekend. I’m actually already in talks with friends and family to plan this!

Other Places to Visit in the Area

While we didn’t have time to see everything here are some other places you might want to check.

Watch the VLOG