Port Dover: Staycation on a budget

Port Dover: Staycation on a budget

by Kelly MacNeill

Lately, I have been on the hunt for things to do with our nine-year-old daughter that won’t bust the budget so I thought I’d share my experience of enjoying a staycation while being mindful of costs. Our recent trip to the beach in Port Dover was a fun and inexpensive day out for my daughter, her friend, and myself.  

Port Dover is about an hour from Crown Point—close enough to make it a half- or full-day excursion yet far enough to get the feeling of a fun road-trip experience.

Don’t get me wrong—Port Dover isn’t necessarily a cheap place to visit. It’s a tourist spot where a lot of money can be spent if you allow it. There are lots of wonderful shops, places to eat, and touristy things to do. If it’s in your budget, then I would definitely consider adding on the other fun things Port Dover has to offer, but it’s not required to still enjoy your time there.

For our trip, we headed out super early in the morning, about 6:30 a.m. Crazy I know to most of you, but as someone who doesn’t love the heat or crowds, it meant we got to the beach before it was really hot and busy. It was still nice enough for the kids to play in the sand and the water, and I got to enjoy some relaxing time. You definitely don’t need to go this early. If you like the heat and crowds, then any time of the day would be just fine.

To avoid the need to buy food while we were there, I took a cooler bag full of fruit, sandwiches, chips, granola bars, and water. It did the trick and I came back with leftover food. I didn’t buy anything special for this trip; I just used what we already had at home.

After a few hours of swimming and playing, the kids were ready to go and looking for some ice cream. We could have easily bought some in Port Dover, but I decided to take them to Hewitt’s Dairy Bar on Highway 6 in Hagersville on our way back. Other than perhaps gas, this was the biggest expense of the day, about $15.  Pretty good I’d say for a day trip.

Speaking of gas, it hasn’t been cheap lately, so on our way home I stopped near Caledonia on the Six Nations Reserve and filled up with gas. This saved me a lot of money as well.

I know there are lots of other ideas all around us—we just need to look for them. My mission now is to see how much fun we can have while spending as little money as possible.

Have a great summer!


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