Explore our beautiful sand beaches, world famous hiking trails and our crystal clear waters. To help you make your vacation action packed, we've higlighted the top 25 things to do in Bruce County!
It is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year. It is one of Mother Nature’s crown jewels. The turquoise pool of water is mesmerizing! I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Yep, that’s right; it’s the Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park. The Grotto is located at the Cyprus Lake Entrance to the Park. By the way, you heard us correctly; this is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year, so it’s busy. We recommend that people who are here during July and August arrive before 10am or after 4pm since the park reaches capacity early. This is a definite must see. Oh and I forgot to mention that it was named Canada’s Best Hidden Travel Gem in the 2009 Local’s Know Campaign. It’s pretty awesome.
Since the beginning of time, people have been drawn to water. This is a good thing for us since there is over 850km of shoreline in the Bruce. So surely you would think there would be at least one beach. Boy, are you in luck! The sand beaches along Lake Huron are some of the best in the world. No, seriously. They were just named among the best beaches in the world in the Toronto Star. First there’s Sauble Beach, the second longest freshwater beach in the world. It’s tons of fun and is a hot spot for stand up paddle boarding. Southampton and Port Elgin have some seriously awesome sand beaches too. These are terrific spots to bring your family and both have delicious French fries and ice cream. Then there’s Kincardine. The Scottish flare of the town brings a whole new dimension. The giant beach chairs provide a perfect photo op. Oh and I forgot to tell you that Kincardine Beach was named one of the best places to surf in Canada! Surfs up dude
The Canadian wilderness is something that everyone should experience at least once. We think the best way to do this is to go camping. Here in the Bruce, we are all about camping. In fact, we have over 14,000 campsites. Don’t share our passion for the crackling campfire and toasted marshmallows? You think camping involves struggling to pitch a tent, being eaten by mosquitoes and inhaling smoke from a campfire? Picture this; arrive and unload your bags into a pre-built tent, take a nap on a comfortable mattress beside a gas fireplace then wake up to cook dinner on a Barbeque. Its not a dream my friends. We call it GLAMPING, in a Yurt. It’s not a far stretch from the comforts of your living room and there are 26 of these in the Bruce. If you really love camping like we do, there are tons of campgrounds for you to enjoy. Some are family friendly, some are great for trailers, some are all about fun on the long weekend. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, even if your tent doesn’t!
Canada’s oldest and longest footpath outlines the edge of the Niagara Escarpment on the Bruce Peninsula. For most of the 240km it travels from Wiarton to Tobermory, a lot of it is literally on the edge so you might want to not look down! I think these are the most spectacular spots. If you have never hiked on the Bruce Trail, it’s for the most part, in the wilderness. So here are a few guidelines.
1. Get a map.
2. Learn how to follow the blazes. White blazes are the main trail and blue blazes are the side trail.
3. Wear proper clothing, especially footwear. Flip flops and high heels are NOT recommended.
4. Bring water and maybe a snack for longer hikes.
5. Think about when you are leaving for your hike. Ensure that you have adequate daylight to get back your point of origin.
By the way, it really is cool. Put it on your bucket list.
People have been fascinated with shipwrecks long before Jack sang to Rose as the Titanic suck. Let’s face it, this is one cool part of history. Fathom Five National Marine Park located in Tobermory is amazing. There are 22 shipwrecks and various islands including the most famous, Flowerpot Island. If you are a scuba diver, this is like your Mecca! There are two boat tour companies that provide guided tours of Fathom Five. They will sail you over two of the shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour, the Sweepstakes and City of Grand Rapids. You also will see the three lighthouses in the Park, Big Tub, Cove Island and Flowerpot Island lighthouses. You can get off the boat at Flowerpot and spend the day exploring. There are some cool trails and caves out there as well as some wildlife and cool plants. So move over Titanic...Here comes Fathom Five! We are accepting offers for movie deals.
This quiet little beach is a fantastic spot for families. There are a handful of campsites, a farmers market, events every Friday and Saturday night, and the stars at night are amazing! The best part, its right downtown!
The twisty, turning, one lane road is all part of the adventure when you head out to Cabot Head. It’s located between Dyer’s Bay and Wingfield Basin so there are some awesome views of Georgian Bay. Try the Lighthouse keepers Dinner, Dine with a View!
Whoever said that you can’t tame Mother Nature mustn’t have been a trail builder at the Lindsay tract. There are over 10 km of single and double tract trails available to ride. Forget your lunch on purpose and ride over to Harvest Moon Organic Bakery. It can only be described with one word....Delicious.
Located 3km south of Tobermory is the Bruce Peninsula’s newest attraction, Little Cove Adventures. They offer a series of high and low ropes courses. Challenge yourself on their high ropes course that is 20-30 feet in the air. Talk about exciting!
He’s Canada’s most famous weather prognosticator, Wiarton Willie. Although he only works one day a year, he does welcome visitors year round. Willie’s house is located in Bluewater Park.
6. Sandy Beach
If you’re one of those people who avoids crowds, then you will fall in love with Sandy Beach. Located in Black Creek Provincial Park it is, well, exactly as its name says, a sandy beach. Only it’s peaceful, quiet, serene. Ahhhh.
I know it sounds cliché, but the Peninsula just inspires creativity. I think there is something in the water. There are 8 different galleries on the Peninsula alone! Grab a copy of The Art Map become immersed in the local artisan culture.
Don’t be scared. This isn’t in a fiery inferno. Just like its more famous sea stack cousins on Flowerpot Island, Devils Monument is located on the mainland at Cape Chin. This is a cool hike along the Bruce Trail and is definitely a hidden treasure.
Who doesn’t like local food? There are three farmers markets located on the Peninsula. Wiarton runs on Fridays from 10-2 downtown, Lion’s Head on Saturday mornings from 9-12 at the Beach and Tobermory on Sundays from 10-2 at the Meeting Place. We grow delicious.
This giant scavenger hunt involves finding 12 hidden stops across Bruce County, punching your card and returning it to try and win some great prizes. There are geocaches hidden at some of the stops and all the stops from the previous years are posted online so the fun can continue until October 31.
Such a funny sound, and makes every Scottsman beam with pride.
Imagine being able to show off your pride while marching with a pipe band? Well you can every Saturday night on Queen Street in Kincardine. Trust us, it’s big!
The 102 km from Hanover to Southampton, this is a perfect family paddling experience. You can pick to paddle from one access point to another making it as short as a few hours to as long as 2 days. Shuttle service is available from Thorncrest outfitters.
Hoity Toity Cellars is located on highway 9 between Walkerton and Mildmay. See how they make their snob-free award winning wines and ciders including Kicked out of the County Club and 66 Pickup. Ask about the Bruce County Black Eye...It’s delicious!
It’s the only train ride left in the whole county and it’s so much fun...especially for the kids and the young at heart. This 15 min ride will take you through North Shore Park and around the Port Elgin Harbour. Stop in at the station for some delicious ice cream.
We know, we know...museums can be dull and boring. So with all the other great things that we’re telling you about, trust us, we definitely wouldn’t send you to a dusty old place. There are lots of hands-on interactive exhibits, and they have new things all the time. It’s the drive to Southampton.
Unleash your inner thespian at 2 local playhouses. Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton is an attraction all by itself. They host fantastic musical and theatre artists all year long. Bluewater Summer Playhouse in Kincardine has shows 5 nights a week in July and August.
Ahh listen to the rush of the stream as you cast your line back and forth on the mighty Saugeen. This river has been rated as one of the best spots for smallmouth bass in North America. Some of the best spots are on the most southern parts of the river by Walkerton. Fish ON!
Giant pumpkins draw giant crowds. This annual festival consistently draws 50,000 people plus to see the giant veggies and the beautiful antique cars. Port Elgin hosts Pumpkinfest the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October.
Bruce County has tons of energy. Go see how power is made at Bruce Power. There are more than 30 exhibits and displays to teach you all about it. The 100 seat theatre shows a variety of videos about how Bruce Power got to be the biggest nuclear facility in the world.
Bruce County has built 3 amazing trail properties; Carrick Tract Trails by Mildmay, Brant Tract Trails by Paisley and the Kinloss Tract Trails by Lucknow. These multi-purpose trails are wicked for Mountain biking but are also available to hike. PS. They’re free!