Sarnia: A Weekend Getaway

We took a 3 hour drive from Toronto to the small city of Sarnia on the coast of Lake Huron.

***This post was sponsored by Choice Hotels® Canada but the views and content are that of Travel & Style Magazine and the author. 

The bridge at sunset in Sarnia
The bridge at sunset in Sarnia. All photos by Justin Harrington.

This is the year to explore all those places closer to home! And it’s actually quite fun. You end up finding hidden gems, quaint shops and great vistas–all worthy of a return visit. For us, travelling outside of our home base in Toronto has been the name of the game this summer. And we plan to continue it through the fall months. First up is the small city of Sarnia. Just three hours outside of Toronto, Sarnia has always been known as a spot where you can also cross the border into the US. These days crossing the border is a no-go, but that’s totally ok, because Sarnia has so much to offer for a quick weekend getaway. 

To make it even easier to explore Sarnia (or anywhere in Canada for that matter), we partnered with Choice Hotels® Canada. Choice Hotels’ Choice Privileges® points make booking super easy–first by earning points fast. We booked our rental car with Avis to collect points. And when you refer a friend, you also get bonus points to use towards any of your future stays. Win-win for everyone! And by using our Choice Privileges points we booked an adorable boutique hotel, the Insignia, right downtown, and upgraded our room for some extra space.

The lobby at the Insignia was chic and cool.
The lobby at the Insignia was chic and cool.

The Insignia is part of Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection of boutique hotels, and the rooms were bright, airy and decorated with the city in mind (we had a map of the city above our bed). One step in the lobby and you can tell that it’s a hip spot to be with cool pops of colour and a great bar area. Thanks for the points that allowed us to book our stay, Choice Hotels Canada! If you’re looking to make a last-minute escape, try using the Choice Hotels® mobile app no matter where you are, you can plan out your next getaway right on your phone (which is something we’re always a fan of!). 

The room at the Insignia in Sarnia had a map of the city above the bed.
The room at the Insignia in Sarnia had a map of the city above the bed.

To get a little inspiration on what we should see and do in Sarnia and in Southwest Ontario, we checked out Travel Top 6™  a travel inspiration website powered by Choice Hotels Canada on their top destinations, making it a great resource for any city with a Choice property!). Here are five reasons why we loved Sarnia. 

Sarnia top 5: The river walk

Sarnia sits on the mouth of Lake Huron and a river that runs by, separating it from the American side and the city of Port Huron. The river walk is a pretty perfect afternoon stroll. You get glimpses of the impressive Blue Water Bridge, you can stop by one of the pubs near the dock for a quick pint (drink responsibly!) and nibbles, you can wonder at the MacPherson Fountain, or just sit and sip on your coffee. 

Sunsets on the beach in Sarnia.
Sunsets on the beach in Sarnia.

Sarnia top 5: The beaches

Even in the fall the beaches around Sarnia and the nearby Lambton area are pretty spectacular… mainly because in the fall you could possibly have one of the beaches to yourself. We happened to really love the beaches at Canatara Park not too far from the Bridge, especially at sunset for a pretty pink-hued, golden picnic and photo opportunity.

Sarnia top 5: The sunsets

Speaking of sunsets… Sarnia has some of the prettiest you’ll find thanks to being on Lake Huron. The sun hits right on the Blue Water Bridge, so head to Michigan Ave. about half an hour before sunset to get a great view and some amazing photos. The beaches also provide soft, pretty pink sunset vibes–perfect for an Instagram picture, or a romantic stroll!

Checking out the street art in Sarnia.
Checking out the street art in Sarnia.

Sarnia top 5: The street art 

We weren’t expecting to find so much great street art in Sarnia, but we did! The main downtown street, Christina Street, has great little shops and restaurants along the main strip. But walk down any of the side streets and you’ll find some interesting street art along the buildings and in alleyways. Have your camera ready! 

Christina Street has great cafes and shops to visit.
Christina Street has great cafes and shops to visit.

Sarnia top 5: The food and shopping

Sarnia’s small downtown section comes with the ideal amount of shops, galleries and cafes to keep you happy and satisfied for an afternoon. 

***This post was sponsored by Choice Hotels® Canada but the views and content are that of Travel & Style Magazine and the author.