Extended Weekend Getaway: Canada + Detroit - The Cleveland Moms

We recently went on our first trip of 2023 in January & I got a lot of requests to share more so I figured this would be a great way to get the Travel section here on TheClevelandMoms.com active again.

One of my husband & I’s goals this year is to go away once a month. We’ve been talking about doing extended weekends more often & have decided it’s time to put our aspirations into action. I took a poll on Instagram while we were away if you’d be interested in me sharing about our travels since most of our trips will not be that extravagant & pretty accessible from Cleveland. An overwhelming amount of you said yes so I’d love to share to give travel inspo to other families out there.

I feel it’s necessary to make note that none of these trips are sponsored or comped in any way. We’re just a normal family getting out & about for some quality time together.

Okay, let’s go!

We had a 4 day weekend in January & decided it was a perfect time to get away to celebrate my birthday + our 20 year anniversary. We’ve been talking about going to the “other side of the lake” in Canada for some time now so that’s where we headed. I found a super cute lakefront home on AirBnb. A little west of where we live but on the other side of the lake nonetheless. There’s not a ton of things to do in this area of Canada but if you’re looking for a low-key destination, it’s a great place to consider.
(photo below is from the listing, it was dark & gray most of the weekend but wanted to shed some light on this view!)

The main attraction I wanted to visit was Point Pelee National Park. This is where the southernmost point of Canada is on the mainland (the truly most southern point is on Pelee Island which requires a ferry ride in season.) Point Pelee National Park was closed for some time earlier in January due to efforts to control the park’s deer population. I was ecstatic to plan the trip around going the first day they reopened to the public.

They do charge admission but kids under 17 are free! Prices vary depending on when you go so it’d be best to visit the website for details.

The two main things we did at Point Pelee National Park was driving down to the most southernmost parking lot & then walked to the tip! It was absolutely stunning, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Right when we were just about done, it started snowing & that was just icing on the cake for us. Another beautiful spot there is the Marsh Boardwalk. There is an observation tower that would be fun for the kids & a boardwalk to explore the marsh. When it’s in season, they have kayaks available to rent & we were talking about how pretty that would be. It’s a gorgeous spot.

Here’s what else we did while in Canada:

– Eat at a McDonald’s! The menu is so different & there’s such a variety of things to order. My son loved how they have little red maple leaves on every container/sign.
– Visit the Canadian Aviation Museum. If your kiddos are into planes, this was a very cool stop we made. Unlike most museums that are self-guided, this was a detailed tour given by one of their volunteers. It’s not a gigantic museum but still neat to see all the planes. They even had a simulator to try as well as a computer game you can play to try & fly/land planes.
– Visit the Windsor Sculpture Park. I personally love sculpture gardens. This is free with great views of Detroit. We’ve been to the RiverWalk in Detroit years ago so we got a kick out of seeing the city from the other side of the river.

We entered Canada through the Ambassador Bridge so we scheduled time to explore Detroit for a bit. This wasn’t our first time there so if you’re looking for more recs, please reach out! I just want to share what we were able to do this time around since we were just there for one night.

One of the first things we did was the Michigan Science Center. We have a membership to Great Lakes Science Center which means we have access to the ASTC Travel Passport. What this means is that we are able to visit science centers for FREE all around the country! If you’ve been considering a membership & are a traveling family, I’d highly recommend it to get the most out of your money.

The Michigan Science Center is very nice compared to ours in Cleveland. Slightly bigger but they did have the top floor shut down for renovations. There was the science of video games up there which we were bummed about missing out but hopefully we’ll be back soon. There are a lot of interactive parts & we really enjoyed the free science show as well. Highly recommend if you’re in Detroit!

Next while in Detroit, we went over to Belle Isle. This was actually our first time there & we can’t wait to go back in nicer weather! We started with the aquarium which is absolutely free (although you can give a donation if you’d like.) It is small but had a few really unique marine animals. We were going to go over to the conservatory afterwards that is next door but they are closed until 2024 for major renovations.

So we hit up the Nature Center next. This was another free attraction to visit & had quite a few interactive exhibits & things to do. Definitely great for little ones, we enjoyed it to waste some time until we could get into our AirBnB.

After the nature center, we still had time to waste so we visited Dossin Great Lakes Museum. While not free, it was affordable & we really enjoyed it since we love everything about the Great Lakes. They had many interactive portions. We enjoyed the William Clay Ford Pilot House the most where my son had a lot of fun pretending we were a crew on a ship.

We then retreated to our rental. We had attempted to check out the new Monroe Street Midway downtown but they were closed due to the snow. Honestly, we didn’t have great dining experiences this time around so I don’t have any restaurant recommendations for you but before we headed home, we of course had to stop at Ikea for some items we needed. Ikea is about a half hour away from Detroit & I do have one restaurant rec near there in Canton, MI. We had breakfast at Biscuits & Gravy – one of the best breakfasts we’ve ever had. Highly recommend.

Worth noting: MANY of you inquired about passport requirements for kids. We entered Canada with just our son’s birth certificate. I last minute found out his passport expired last year so I was panicking for a moment on Instagram & lots of you were wondering the same thing. As long as mom & dad have passports, minors 15 & under do not need a passport to enter Canada BY CAR. If you’re flying in, that’s a different story but wanted to share our experience with that as well.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out HERE or comment below!

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