I had always heard of how beautiful Bruce Peninsula National Park is, so when it was announced that all national parks would be free for Canada 150, I jumped on the opportunity to visit Bruce Peninsula.
Bruce Peninsula National Park is a true oasis just a four-hour drive from Toronto, making it an easy weekend trip from the city. The park itself straddles the Niagara Escarpment meaning there is plenty of forested area to hike. The park is also quite famous for its Grotto, a limestone cave overlooking Georgian Bay’s clear waters.
I had originally planned to go camping in the park, but it seems everyone else had the same idea as me. By the time I called to book a site, there were none left for the entire summer. Instead I ended up renting an Airbnb in Tobermory for the weekend. Valuable lesson learned, if you want to camp, you need to book way in advance.
The town of Tobermory in itself is an attraction, and where I was staying was just a short 10-minute drive from the entrance to the park and a 15-minute bike ride from Singing Sands Beach. It proved to be the perfect location to really experience all the area has to offer, and on top of that I had a chance to sleep in a comfy bed away from mosquitos.
It is hard for me to describe just how beautiful Bruce Peninsula truly was. Someone had told me that it looked similar to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Turquoise clear waters, beautiful rock formations, greenery all around you. It was the most magical place that I have ever experienced in Ontario, and one of the most beautiful places I have seen in all of Canada. It is a must experience spot with plenty to see and do. I wanted to share with you some of my highlights from the weekend in case you decided to plan a trip to Bruce Peninsula.
I made my way to the Grotto around 10 am Saturday morning thinking I was early enough. To my dismay, when I arrived I was told the Grotto was already full for the entire day and to come back earlier the following day if I wanted to see it.
I came back on Sunday at 8 am and got in without any trouble. Lesson learned, if you want to see the Grotto you have to go early because the time slots for the day fill up quickly.
The view of the Grotto was definitely worth the early morning wake up call. The waters inside were a combination of turquoise and deep blue, and there were plenty of cliffs in the area that allowed for stunning views. While some were swimming down below, the water was freezing, so I decided to stay on top and just take in the fresh air and stunning sights.
The Bruce Trail
I discovered the Bruce Trail by pure luck. I didn’t really have hiking in my itinerary, but when the Grotto was full on the first day a park worker recommended I check out the Bruce Trail. I was told the best entrance to the trail would be off Emmett Lake Road.
The hike was honestly the highlight of my trip. It wasn’t the easiest, but if you follow the white markings you will be fine. There were plenty of look out points that made for the perfect views of the crystal clear waters down below. Every stop we made, the sights got more and more beautiful. There was also a beach below the trail (be warned, this is no sand beach, but instead covered in rocks so shoes are a good idea). While the water was freezing cold, it was too beautiful not to take a swim. Go in head first, I promise it will feel great!
The Town of Tobermory
The Town of Tobermory is about a 10-minute drive from the park and it is a must during a weekend stay in the area. The town is so quaint with so much to see and do.
Food: I was told that Tobermory is quite famous for their local fish and chips and so for lunch I stopped at Shipwreck Lee’s Pirate Bistro. Their fish and chips lived up to the expectations.
Dessert: After the delicious lunch I stopped by the Sweet Shop to satisfy my sweet tooth. This was heaven on earth. I decided to stick to my weekend theme and ended up trying their Bruce Trail and S’mores ice creams.
Drinks: After eating, I highly recommend a stop at the Tobermory Brewing Company and Grill to try some local brews. My personal favourite was the Sailor’s Delight.
These were a few of the highlights from my getaway to Bruce Peninsula National Park but honestly no matter what I tell you, I am not going to do the park justice. It is truly breathtaking and the views are worth a trip. It was just one of those reminders that there is so much beauty right in our backyard.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first national park visit and cannot wait to cross another one off my list this summer? Any recommendations? Maybe I will even camp out this time!
Until I go M.I.A. again,