The Finest Issues to Do in Tobermory, Ontario (2023)


Listed below are one of the best issues to do in Tobermory, Ontario, one of many cutest small cities in Ontario. Touring from Toronto to Tobermory is likely one of the hottest highway journeys in Ontario because of the pure, pristine fantastic thing about the Bruce Peninsula.

Tobermory is a small city on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, situated about 300km northwest of Toronto. Drive up Freeway 6 till you primarily can’t drive any farther with out hopping on a ferry. Our Tobermory itinerary will allow you to plan the proper weekend in Tobermory, Ontario. We’ve visited on quite a few events in all seasons, so we’re specialists on the perfect issues to do in Tobermory.

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Tobermory Itinerary

Tobermory is named the “recent water scuba diving capital of the world” for its intriguing shipwrecks in Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park, Canada’s first nationwide marine conservation space. It’s additionally the gateway to Manitoulin Island, one other great trip spot that I nonetheless have to discover. I’m going to point out you the way to have the proper weekend in Tobermory.

This can be a two day Tobermory itinerary, permitting time to drive from Toronto to Tobermory, so you’ll be able to simply take pleasure in this journey with out reserving any additional trip days from work. Be at liberty to broaden your journey to a few days in Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula as there’s a lot to see and do. Add in a further hike or two across the Bruce Peninsula.

Tobermory Highway Journey Ideas

Pack up the automobile and don’t neglect the necessities! Tobermory is a really tiny city and also you’re at the least an hour’s drive away from the following city with most facilities (Wiarton or Owen Sound). Take a look at our detailed highway journey packing record to be sure you have every part you want.

Issues to Do in Tobermory Ontario: Tobermory Itinerary Day 1

Driving to Tobermory from Toronto is roughly a 4 hour drive. Even if you happen to’re making the journey from Hamilton, London, Kitchener-Waterloo or past, you’re going to be driving for at the least just a few hours. Issue this into your day and also you’ll possible arrive sooner or later within the afternoon.

First on the record, let’s discover a land part of the Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park, proper on the town. It’s probably the greatest issues to do in Tobermory that’s typically overshadowed by the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park and the well-known Grotto.

What’s Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park?

Fathom Five National Marine Park

On the standard lands of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park is a freshwater ecosystem in Lake Huron. It consists of twenty-two shipwrecks and dive websites, rocky cliffs, forests, lighthouses, quite a few islands, and historic rock formations.

At this Nationwide Marine Conservation Space, Parks Canada goals to preserve freshwater ecosystems, in addition to protect and defend shipwrecks and lighthouses inside the property. Virtually the entire islands are remoted and off restrict to vacationers, whereas guests are permitted to go to Flowerpot Island each day.

We’ll be exploring each the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park and the Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park, as each are among the many finest issues to do in Tobermory, Ontario. First, let’s go for a hike on the land portion of the Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park. That is the place you’ll discover the Customer’s Centre for each nationwide parks, an ideal place to start out your journey.

Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park Lookout Tower

Bruce Peninsula National Park Lookout Tower

First, make a cease on the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park Lookout Tower. The tower could be very near the principle car parking zone. It will get fairly windy up there, particularly on the midway level the place there’s a small touchdown. It’s a straightforward climb to the highest, so positively make your method up there.

If you attain the highest, the expansive, panoramic view is unimaginable. Excessive above the treetops, absorb the beautiful surroundings of Georgian Bay and islands within the distance. It’s probably the greatest scenic views in Tobermory.

Climbing Trails in Tobermory: Little Dunks Bay

Hiking Trails in Tobermory: Little Dunks Bay

Climb down from the tower and begin your hike on the Bruce Path. There are two trails right here: Bruce Path to Little Dunks Bay Lookout and the Bruce Path Burnt Level Loop. We hiked a smaller part of the path to Little Dunks Bay. The size of the path is 0.8km and about 10-Quarter-hour a technique. You’ll see the well-known pink Muskoka chairs by Parks Canada on the lookout level. Put your ft up, calm down, and benefit from the view.

Trail to Little Dunks Bay
Little Dunks Bay
Red Parks Canada Muskoka Chairs

When you’ve got some extra time, be happy to proceed on the following path, the Burnt Level Loop facet path. It’s accessed throughout from Dunks Bay Lookout. There’s one other good view of Georgian Bay on the midway level. On each hikes, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent view of bushes and turquoise waters. If it weren’t for the evergreen bushes, I’d suppose this view was straight out of the Caribbean.

Issues to Do in Tobermory: Little Tub Harbour

Things to Do in Tobermory: Little Tub Harbour

Little Tub Harbour, often known as the hub of Tobermory, is the place you’ll discover the principle supply of motion on the town. Right here’s the place the vast majority of the outlets, cafes, eating places, pubs, and different important spots just like the grocery retailer and liquor retailer are situated.

Things to Do in Tobermory: Little Tub Harbour
Things to Do in Tobermory: Little Tub Harbour

Within the center, there’s a small harbor the place individuals dock their boats. It’s a really picturesque a part of city and what involves thoughts principally when individuals take into consideration the village of Tobermory. For Bruce Path hikers, that is additionally the place you’ll discover the northern terminus of the Bruce Path. It’s the northernmost level of your complete 900km path that extends from Tobermory down the Niagara Escarpment.

Candy Treats in Tobermory

For those who’re searching for a candy deal with or a cup of espresso, pop by Stella’s Gelato Cafe proper on the town. They’ve vegan gelato flavors, in addition to plant-based milk in your espresso. Whether or not you pop in for an iced espresso, a milkshake, or an ice cream cone, the treats at Stella’s Gelato Cafe will cool you down on a heat day.

Have a candy tooth? Pop over to The Candy Store, an excellent standard sweet retailer on the town. Sweet, chocolate, espresso, ice cream…the Candy Store has a bit little bit of every part.

Have you ever ever had a Beavertail? It’s an iconic Canadian deal with (and it’s not an precise beaver’s tail, don’t fear!). It’s fried dough with varied toppings on it, and it’s completely decadent. BeaverTails Tobermory is barely open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so get one if you happen to’re there on a weekend.

Tobermory Brewing Co

Tobermory Brewing Co

For those who’re a fan of craft beer and microbreweries, Tobermory Brewing Co is to not be missed. Whether or not you select to dine right here for dinner or not, it’s probably the greatest issues to do in Tobermory for beer followers. Justin and I finished by to take pleasure in a pint of beer on their patio.

Tobermory Brewing Co
Tobermory Brewing Co

The beer is themed after landmarks and notable factors of curiosity in Tobermory, such because the Bruce Path Blonde Ale, Little Cove Gentle Lager, and Fathom 5 Porter. I ordered a pint of the Sailor’s Delight, a raspberry wheat beer, whereas Justin tried the Bruce Path Blonde Ale. We loved our beer out on the patio overlooking the harbour.

Tacomory Mexican Meals Truck

The Tacomory meals truck is likely one of the finest locations to dine in Tobermory. That is Tobermory’s meals truck serving up scrumptious Mexican meals. There’s one thing for each style right here. For vegans like myself, you’ll be able to strive the curried chickpea taco with a vegan cilantro lime sauce. Additionally they have vegan nachos and a vegan burrito bowl. Chips and guacamole is the proper facet dish to share.

Finest Issues to Do in Tobermory Ontario: Watch the Sundown

Sunset in Tobermory Ontario

Tobermory has some beautiful sunsets, and we had been lucky sufficient to catch one among them. We watched the sundown from a bit balcony on the Bruce Anchor Cruises constructing. Huge Tub Lighthouse stands tall, off within the distance, offering a further attention-grabbing factor to a spectacular sundown.

Sunset in Tobermory Ontario
Sunset in Tobermory Ontario

Nicely, guess what? Day one among this fabulous weekend in Tobermory itinerary is within the books. By this level, it’s time to get a restful night time’s sleep for a giant day tomorrow. Even after a prolonged drive from Toronto to Tobermory or wherever else in Ontario, Canada (or the USA), I’m positive you’re fairly happy with the journey to this point. Climbing, craft beer, gelato, tacos, a sundown…we’re off to an ideal begin!

Don’t have a automobile? Right here’s the way to get to Tobermory!

No automobile? No downside! It’s doable to take a bus tour to Tobermory from Toronto or Mississauga. The bus will take you to the nationwide park for the Grotto, after which take you to Tobermory for just a few hours earlier than venturing again residence. Ebook your tour right here.

For those who drive, it’s additionally doable to hire a automobile in Toronto or wherever else in Ontario in your Tobermory journey. I like utilizing Uncover Vehicles wherever I journey. Evaluate automobile rental costs to search out one of the best charges. Ebook your rental automobile right here.

The place to Keep in Tobermory

I extremely suggest reserving your Tobermory lodging nicely upfront, particularly in the summertime. Most resorts, motels, trip leases and residences promote out in July and August. Be ready and reserve your keep as quickly as you’ll be able to.

We stayed on the Bruce Anchor Motel, a clear and cozy motel proper in the course of city. Centrally situated, we walked into city a number of instances and walked to the pick-up spot for our boat journey the next day.

Bruce Anchor Motel Tobermory
Bruce Anchor Motel Tobermory
Bruce Anchor Motel Tobermory

Because the Bruce Anchor Motel owns the boat tour firm that goes to Flowerpot Island and the shipwrecks, we left our automobile on the motel the next day in the course of the tour with out having to pay for parking elsewhere. This was an enormous plus!

Rooms on the Bruce Anchor Motel have their very own balconies the place you might catch a glimpse of the lake. Our motel room was clear, comfy, and handy. It was an ideal place to relaxation our heads at night time and had every part we may presumably want earlier than heading out for our adventures the next morning.

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Extra Locations to Keep in Tobermory

Searching for extra locations to remain in Tobermory? There are various resorts and trip leases in Tobermory to have an incredible getaway. Right here’s a helpful map that exhibits all resorts, lodging, residences and trip leases. Enter your journey dates for extra correct info. Then, click on on every property for extra info and to e book your keep.

Issues to Do in Tobermory Ontario: Tobermory Itinerary Day 2

We saved the principle sights in Tobermory Ontario for the second day of our Tobermory itinerary. The very best issues to see and do in Tobermory are its pure wonders. Flowerpot Island and the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park are the highest highlights of the area.

Issues to Do in Tobermory: Boat Cruise to Flowerpot Island

Boat Cruise to Flowerpot Island

For any Tobermory journey, I counsel reserving your boat cruise to Flowerpot Island upfront as these excursions promote out. We booked our cruise with Bruce Anchor Cruises. From our motel, we walked throughout the road and boarded a glass backside boat with a small group of fellow nature lovers. Blue Heron Cruises is one other firm that gives excursions to Flowerpot Island.

First, we’d discover Huge Tub Harbour, which is the bigger harbour, to not be confused with Little Tub Harbour that you simply skilled yesterday. Then, we’d jet off in the direction of Flowerpot Island the place we’ll spend the remainder of the morning.

Discovering Shipwrecks on the Glass Backside Boat

Tobermory Lighthouse

To begin, our glass backside boat toured round Huge Tub Harbour to take a look at a pair of shipwrecks. Because it was an overcast (and even a bit bit foggy!) day, it was straightforward to view the shipwrecks proper from our boat, each by the glass flooring on our boat and out the window.

Shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour: Things to do in Tobermory
Shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour: Things to do in Tobermory

Two nineteenth century shipwrecks, the Sweepstakes and The Metropolis of Grand Rapids are wood ships that relaxation solely ft under the floor of the water. The Sweepstakes is likely one of the finest preserved schooners within the Nice Lakes. Again in 1885, it grew to become broken and was towed to Huge Tub Harbour. Sadly, it was not repaired in time and it sank the next month.

The Metropolis of Grand Rapids was a wood passenger ship that caught hearth in Little Tub Harbour in 1907. It was towed farther from the harbour to forestall the city from catching on hearth. Because it burned out in Georgian Bay, the fireplace ultimately burned by the tow line and the free floating ship ultimately blew again into Huge Tub Harbour the place it ran aground and sank.

Journey to Flowerpot Island

Flowerpot Island

After viewing the shipwrecks, our glass backside boat ventured by the water to Flowerpot Island. As you permit Huge Tub Harbour, take a look at the traditional white and pink lighthouse, Huge Tub Lighthouse. Then, we hit the open waters and regarded out to the neighboring islands as we cruised by.

The narrated boat journey previous the shipwrecks and out to the island took about an hour. As soon as we reached the island, we spent about an hour and a half exploring and mountain climbing round Flowerpot Island. You’ll be able to keep longer if you happen to’d like.

Flowerpot Island
Flowerpot Island

For those who’re planning to swim or have a picnic lunch, plan to remain just a few hours. We had been there to hike the paths and discover the pure wonders. All in all, plan a few half day to see Flowerpot Island with the glass backside boat journey.

Approaching Flowerpot Island, we caught a sneak peak of some key landmarks. First, we noticed the Flowerpot Island Lighthouse and the sunshine keeper’s residence. Subsequent, we noticed the 2 flowerpot rock formations from the water, a glimpse of what we’d discover nearer up quickly after.

Climbing at Flowerpot Island

Flowerpot Island map

Departing the boat, Justin and I had some free time to discover the island. There are just a few completely different mountain climbing trails, and the highlights of your journey would be the rock formations and the lighthouse. Sadly, the cave on Flowerpot Island was closed for restoration so we couldn’t test it out.

If it’s again open while you go to, let me understand how you prefer it! From the dock, head to the appropriate to stroll in the direction of the flowerpot formations and the lighthouse. There are two pure “flowerpot” rock pillars on the shore, worn away step by step over the centuries. The tops are fully flat and the jagged rock formations are apparently high heavy. Greenery miraculously grows from the pillars.

Flowerpot Island, Tobermory
Flowerpot Island, Tobermory
Flowerpot Island, Tobermory

In response to an outdated aboriginal legend, the 2 flowerpots characterize two younger lovers from opposing tribes. As the 2 lovers tried to flee their tribes collectively, their boat crashed they usually grew to become petrified on the seaside as these two pillars.

When you’ve loved the views of the flowerpot formations, maintain mountain climbing alongside the paths and all the way down to the shore. The water was an excellent shade of blue and turquoise. There’s additionally a lot of lovely wildflowers on the paths, in addition to sprawling moss and plush greenery.

Things to do in Tobermory: hike at Flowerpot Island
Things to do in Tobermory: hike at Flowerpot Island
Lighthouse on Flowerpot Island

When you attain the top of the mountain climbing path, you’ll discover a wood path from the lighthouse. Now, the unique lighthouse constructing not exists because it plunged off the sting of the cliff in 1969. It was changed with a lighthouse tower that you would be able to go to at present. There’s additionally a centuries-old gentle keeper’s home that you would be able to go to that gives drinks and souvenirs in the summertime.

Fast Tricks to Plan Your Journey to Flowerpot Island

Trail at Flowerpot Island

If you go to Flowerpot Island, put on mountain climbing footwear or trainers, costume in layers (in case it will get heat or chilly), and convey your individual water. Drinks and snacks could be obtainable on the gentle keeper’s home in the summertime months, however be ready in case it isn’t open. Most significantly, depart nature as you discovered it and don’t litter.

Squirrel at Flowerpot Island
Flowerpot Island

For those who solely wish to hike the principle path to see the flowerpots and the lighthouse like we did, plan to remain for 1.5 hours. If you wish to discover the cave (when it opens once more), plan to spend a bit bit longer on the island (3 hours). And if you wish to hike your complete loop path, have a picnic, and see the entire landmarks, plan to remain for 4-5 hours.

Issues to Do in Tobermory: Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park

Bruce Peninsula National Park trail map

Our ultimate cease on our Toronto to Tobermory journey was Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park. This is likely one of the most wonderful issues to do in Tobermory and the principle draw for the Grotto and Indian Head Cove. From the top of April to the top of October, you might want to reserve a timed parking allow to go to the Grotto. This isn’t vital if you happen to’re tenting there as you’re already on the property.

Cyprus Lake
Wildflowers at Bruce Peninsula National Park
Wildflowers at Bruce Peninsula National Park

The park will get extraordinarily busy, particularly on the weekends in the summertime. It is going to be troublesome to e book a parking allow throughout these instances. It’s even tremendous busy right here on weekdays in the summertime. For those who’re seeking to beat the crowds, go to within the spring or the autumn. It’s additionally doable to go to Tobermory within the winter for an entire new perspective. Spoiler alert: it seems to be tremendous lovely within the winter, too (and also you might need all of it to your self).

Whereas there are quite a few mountain climbing alternatives, we ventured down the principle inexperienced path to the 2 major sights of the park: the Grotto and Indian Head Cove. The path was a reasonably straightforward, flat path by the woods. It actually didn’t take an excessive amount of effort to stroll to the top of the path. Earlier than lengthy, we had been already at our first cease, Indian Head Cove.

Indian Head Cove

Indian Head Cove

Indian Head Cove is a picturesque inlet beside the Grotto. There are massive, flat rocks to climb on and quite a few scenic vantage factors. If it’s heat out, you’ll be able to go swimming right here. Please word that there isn’t a seaside, however you’ll be able to lay out your towels on the lengthy, flat rocks.

Indian Head Cove
Indian Head Cove

The water is a vivid shade of sunshine turquoise blue, very like waters within the tropics. These crystal clear waters make Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula such a wanted vacation spot.

The Grotto

The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park is a transparent, blue pool inside a cave. You’ll be able to take a peek contained in the cave from a number of spots, together with the Grotto Arch beside Indian Head Cove and the Grotto itself, additional down the path.

Grotto Arch
Grotto Arch

It’s doable to swim contained in the cave, however that is just for skilled swimmers. The waves crash up towards the rocks and it might get very uneven on the market. Method with excessive warning. I’m going to point out you a photograph of what the Grotto seems to be like within the winter, lined in ice and snow:

Tobermory's Grotto in the Winter

Extra Issues to Do in Tobermory, Ontario

My Tobermory itinerary above supplies sufficient actions to spend an exquisite weekend away. I wouldn’t strive packing in any extra actions or sights otherwise you’ll possible really feel method too rushed. If you’re searching for much more issues to do in Tobermory if you happen to plan to spend three days in Tobermory (and even 7 days in Tobermory!), listed below are some extra strategies for you.

Make a Journey to Manitoulin Island

Prolong your journey to Manitoulin Island. Take the Chi Cheemaun Ferry throughout to Manitoulin Island the place you’ll be able to proceed your journey. There are various lovely mountain climbing trails, waterfalls and extra to find on Manitoulin Island, the most important freshwater island on this planet.

Go Scuba Diving in Tobermory

Tobermory is likely one of the finest locations on this planet for freshwater diving. Greater than 20 shipwrecks, geological formations and crystal clear water present for distinctive and exhilarating experiences. You may as well go snorkeling in Tobermory, too. For extra info on the dive websites and dive firms, please take a look at the Fathom 5 Nationwide Marine Park web site.

Go to Midway Log Dump

Midway Log Dump is one other space on the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park. You have to to make a reservation to go to between June and September. Midway Hog Dump is residence to a rugged white cobble seaside.

It is usually doable to hike from Midway Log Dump to the Grotto, although this could solely be tried by skilled hikers. It takes about three hours to hike from the Grotto to Midway Log Dump in a single course, so that you’re taking a look at a six hour hike in complete. There aren’t any taxi or shuttle providers between park locations.

Lion’s Head

One other standard vacation spot within the Bruce Peninsula, situated south of Tobermory, is Lion’s Head. Lion’s Head is a cute city with a small harbour, outlets and eating places. It’s additionally residence to Lion’s Head Provincial Park, one other wonderful mountain climbing vacation spot. This one can also be fairly difficult and can take at the least a half day to finish.

Singing Sands Seashore

Searching for a seaside close to Tobermory? Singing Sands Seashore is your finest wager. Singing Sands can also be a part of the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park. There’s additionally a brief boardwalk path at Singing Sands the place you’ll be able to admire the intriguing vegetation that develop within the Singing Sands Fen habitat. You may have the ability to spot some orchids or insect consuming vegetation across the wetlands.

Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula aren’t actually identified for one of the best seashores within the province. I counsel heading all the way down to Sauble Seashore, Southampton Seashore or Port Elgin Seashore for a seaside day if you happen to’re searching for a spacious, sandy seaside. Take a look at my information to one of the best seashores in Ontario for extra particulars.

Go Tenting on the Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park

Bruce Peninsula Nationwide Park affords semi-wilderness, yurts and backcountry tenting. On the Cyprus Lake Campground, there are campsites and yurts, roofed constructions which might be much like glamping. The most effective perks of staying on the nationwide park? You’ll be able to hike to the Grotto out of your campsite, no extra reservations required.

Extra Issues to Do within the Bruce Gray Simcoe Area

Searching for extra issues to do in Bruce County, Gray County or the Simcoe County area? We’ve acquired some nice strategies for you!

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