Keeping the house, the kids and the hubby without breaking the bank, the earth, the people I love, or myself.

Nickel Beach, Port Colborne, Ontario

Before heading out to beaches, pick more than one in an area to visit just in case one is over crowded or yucky in other ways. Check water safety here: and even though they list Lake Ontario beaches, be aware that Lake Ontario smells very very bad in the summer. We won't swim in it. Smells like rotting fish and algae. They test the water for e. coli, but who knows what else is in it when it lets off that kind of funk!

We went to Lake Erie:
Arrival at Nickel Beach

You've got to park outside the beach and park area unless you wish to pay $13 on weekdays or $18 on weekends for the pleasure of parking on the beach. If you're pulling a boat, beach parking is free. If you park outside the park when you first arrive and wait til after 4 pm, you'll only have to pay $5 to drive onto the beach. It's not a bad idea to do it this way if you plan to swim for 8 hours or so like we did.

Are you wondering about that sign next to the boys up there?
I'm not sure if having "PROTECTING THIS THREATEN SPECIES" in quotation marks means the members of the above-captioned Ministry march out on this beach and stomp on toads or what. The use of quotation marks for emphasis makes me crazy. By the way, what is a threaten species? You can learn more about Fowler's Toad here. (Sheez, you would think they'd get the name about we all chip in so they can hire a proofreader?)

The beach looks lovely. The sand is soft and warm under our feet.

Immediately after picking out our spot, RJ set up this scene. Did he play with it? No. That was it. Just the scene.

We figured out that sitting right where the waves are crashing is FUN! By the way, the water is pristinely clear and quite shallow. No undertow this day. When the depth is to your waist, you can still see the bottom! It was quite nice and clean. The beach also has a canteen and washrooms.

Sissy (my daughter's nickname) sorts seashells by the seashore.
She learned later that there were far more of the spiral-type shells she was sorting for in the dry sand on the beach than in the wet sand of the shoreline. All the white stuff on the ground in front of her is crushed shells. Not fun to walk on. Go around those.

We'd taken along a charcoal grill and barbecued on the beach. We packed fruits and veggies and PBJs because we had both lunch and dinner while we were out. Sadly, the beach closed at 8:00PM, otherwise we would have stayed later and roasted some marshmallows (or as my younger kids call them "hushmellows." I find the term appropriate.)

As the day winds down, the boats leave and the Eastern sky reflects the colours of the sunset.

And what a sunset it was, too!

By the way, Nickel Beach was our second choice. First we arrived at Humberstone Beach (about 15 minutes away from Nickel.) As we neared the beach, a nasty, dank, rotting funk hit our noses. At the beach, we saw what it was:
It is slimy, streaked in red and yellow, and very malodourous. There was no way we were stepping in that funk! It looks like the shoreline is bleeding into the sand. Who knows what kinds of bacteria cause that colouring.

Mind, it looked very promising going in:

Across the street is Humberstone Centennial Park:
It is a 46-acre park with volleyball nets, baseballs diamonds, playgrounds, picnic tables and much more. On another day, we'll stay and visit. On this one, we jumped in the car and headed to Nickel Beach where we were not disappointed!


Gill - That British Woman 7:11 PM  

you know I wouldn't dream of setting foot in Lake Lake Erie any better?


CannedAm 11:13 PM  

Oh, Gil, it is SOOOO much better than Lake Ontario. None of that stinkin funk...or the dirty gawd-knows-what floating in it...none of that. It's never been stinky when I've been to it...Lake Ontario ALWAYS is. I don't trust the "safety reports" on Lake Ontario, either...they only sample once a week ... what happens if temp + humidity shoot up to 40 by mid-week. The bacteria levels shoot way up too. They don't test daily, that's for sure. The only spot on Lake Ontario that I've found relatively clean is Port Dalhousie. Still, it's 15 minutes from here and we'll drive another 15 to get to Erie! :)

Anonymous,  6:08 PM  

Obviously CannAm hasn't been to eastern Lake Ontario where Sandbanks ranks as one of Canada's top beaches, miles of sand dunes and clear clean water. Eastern Lake Ontario is pretty clean with the middle part of the lake carrying away the big city toxins. By the way, Nickel beach is so named because there used to be a nickel processing plant on the beach, so think about that the next time you are enjoyng the water....

CannedAm 10:53 AM  

You're absolutely right, Anon! I'd love to visit the area. I've had access only to the parts of Lake Ontario that butt against the Niagara Region, Hamilton (gross) and Toronto so far -- all very industrialized. Hamilton is by far the most disgusting and it appears that all those factories lining the lake are dumping into them. Whatever they're dumping, I cannot say, but I know it just plain STINKS.

Anonymous,  3:25 PM  

Went to Nickel Beach July 2nd 2010 based on this review and it didn't disappoint. Clear, clean, warm water. Clean sand. Nice to be able to drive out on to the beach. Other beaches in the area (Long Beach) had a foul odour.

Nickel Beach was great!

By the way it was $10 to drive onto the beach. Perhaps they've reduced the rates. They also check your cooler for glass and alcohol (not allowed).

Anonymous,  8:28 PM  

hi my name is courtney im 17 me and my family went on vacation one year and went to a beach in ohio we left and came home and thought we could go the next year but could not find any info on it so i wanted to ask u if this place is called penny nickle beach it looks the same and sounds right but i wanna make sure and if so do u know if there are any rental homes for vacation there if so could u please let me know thank you !

CannedAm 7:29 AM  

Hello Courtney :) I think what you're looking for is Nickel Plate Beach in Ohio. here's a link for the beach: and here's some info for cottage rentals:

Hope that helps!

swimfreak 2:54 PM  

Does anyone know if the water is checked for toxic heavy metals and industrial wastes or pesticides ? It seems to me these things are not being told to us.

CannedAm 3:10 PM  

That's a very good question, swimfreak. I'm going to chase down an answer...

swimfreak 3:22 PM  

tHAT info seems hard to find .We all should be asking that question and should be more concerned with that. People forget that the Niagara river has been dumped in for many years and has love canal leaking into it before and maybe still now and many more toxic waste dumps along the river .Niagara river empties into lake Ontario which empties into lake Erie. also nickel beach had a nickel smelting industry right near it and was leaking into it for years, also the factory contaminated the air and land around it .check the web

Anonymous,  9:57 AM  

Lake Erie dumps into Ontario via Niagara river to Niagara Falls. Due to the difference in elevation and the force of gravity it would be impossible for lake Ontario to flow into Erie

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About This Blog

Saving money. Saving graces. Raising children, husbands and, sometimes, cats. Laughing. Living. Thinking. Doing. Life in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

About Me

I am a happily married woman with four children and various cats and kittens (fosters). I love to read and my favourite authors are George RR Martin, Thomas Hardy, Raymond Carver, PD James, Kurt Vonnegut, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Atwood. I know there are only three women in that list (and none of them American), so if you'd like to suggest some I'm willing to give them a shot! And yes, I am an American living in Canada. (Hence the nick -- CannedAm.) I like it here. There are things about the states that I miss, but my love is here and this country has things to offer that my own does not. Things that make my quality of life much better than it ever was in Ohio. Guess I'm stuck here. Though there's a nice spot in the Appalachian hills where I'd love to spend my retirement.

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