Tobermory is the home of some of the most beautiful natural areas in Ontario. Known for hiking, boating, and diving in its many shipwrecks in Georgian Bay, this town cannot be missed on your summer vacation. This town truly has something for everyone.
Keep reading for all you need to know to plan your trip to Tobermory.
This lakeside town can’t wait to welcome you! Colourful quaint houses surround crystal clear waters. There are stunning views, great places to eat, and even some amazing camping opportunities. Let’s learn a bit more about the town and what it has to offer.
Tobermory is situated at the tip of a rocky peninsula, jutting out into Lake Huron. The area is covered in sturdy trees, such as cedar, fir, and spruce, which provide a great home to all sorts of animals and wildlife.
The peninsula itself is primarily on an ancient limestone bedrock called dolomite. This rock was carved by the water over thousands of years, and now the peninsula is covered in caves and jagged cliff
Getting to Tobermory
Tobermory is located at the very tip of the Bruce Peninsula, right in the heart of Lake Huron. Not only is the drive full of scenic views, getting there is a breeze!
How Far Is Tobermory From Toronto?
Toronto is a great starting point for this road trip. Just under four hours from Toronto, this road trip can get you to Tobermory in just an afternoon. The entire drive is just less than 300 kilometres or a 600-kilometre round trip.
Tobermory would be great for a weekend getaway or a family vacation. Best of all, the route couldn’t be simpler.
Take ON-10 to ON-6, and then drive straight North until you get to Tobermory.
Getting Around Tobermory
Tobermory is best seen by car. Because many of the must-see destinations in Tobermory are somewhat remote, a vehicle is needed to really get the most out of your trip. Consider making a road trip out of it and really seeing this beautiful locale.
What to Do in Tobermory
There is so much to see and do in Tobermory! Home to several parks and recreational areas, there is an abundance of hiking trails, boating, paddling, exploring to do.
Bruce Peninsula National Park will showcase all of the beauty that Tobermory has to offer!
There are many things to see and do here. Hiking, swimming, paddling, and bouldering are all popular here. Visitors can hike to the Grotto and Halfway Log Dump shoreline in the park, but parking is required, so plan ahead!
For a family vacation, be sure to check out the Bruce Peninsula Parks Canada’s Xplorers program for kids ages 6-12. The Xplorers program is free, included with the cost of your park entry. The booklets are packed with activities and experiences that your whole family is sure to love.
Located within Fathom Five National Marine Park, Flowerpot Island is a must-see destination on your trip to Tobermory.
This island is named for its famous flowerpots-shaped natural rock pillars, and visitors to Tobermory can choose to visit for a half-day or a full day. Tour boats transport visitors from the mainland.
One of the island’s most popular activities is hiking. The most popular route takes visitors from Beachy Cove to the famous historic lighthouse. Dedicated hikers can continue on a full loop of the island.
Be sure to check out the caves on the North end of the island. The caves are available for exploring and provide 360° views of the island’s unique limestone structures.
Swimming and snorkelling are also popular on the island, particularly at the cove. The underwater rock formations make the perfect playground for scuba. This is the perfect spot for people who love a picturesque rocky shoreline and crystal clear waters.
There are also six campsites available on the island, but reservations go quick! If you are confident you will want to camp on Flowerpot Island, consider booking when reservations open in April.
Tobermory offers you the perfect opportunity to explore one of Canada’s wonders. The Bruce Trail is both Canada’s oldest and longest trail, and it reaches its end in Tobermory.
The Peninsula portion of Bruce Trail is a challenging but beautiful hike. The hike offers unbeatable views of the waters of Lake Huron and its coastline cliffs. Hike past waterfalls, rock formations, rivers, and dense forests.
The Tobermory portion of the trail is considered some of the most difficult hiking on the trail, so be sure to come prepared. For hikers looking for a challenge with incredible views, this is the hike for you!
Carved into the natural rock on the Georgian Bay coastline, The Grotto is the most popular attraction in this region. This sea cave is magnificent in beauty and makes the perfect gateway to the pristine, blue waters.
This cave can’t be missed. The Grotto is an iconic land mark of Bruce Peninsula National Park. The natural sea caves are surrounded by the sturdy trees of the area, and the water below is crystal clear and glows bright turquoise in the sunlight.
Because this is one of the most popular attractions in Tobermory, strongly consider visiting The Grotto on a weekday or early in the morning to avoid peak traffic. Parking is limited, so plan to reserve in advance to make sure your visit proceeds without hitches.
The Grotto itself is a thirty-minute walk from the parking area. The walk takes you through the beautiful wilderness of Bruce Peninsula National Park and gives incredible views of the water.
While you are in the area, there are several other incredible hiking trails you can take. Try out the Cyprus Lake Loop or Halfway Log Dump.
Fathom Five National Marine Park
As you stand on the shores of Tobermory, you will enjoy unbeatable views of the bright blue water. But beneath the surface of the water, a scuba diver’s paradise awaits.
At Fathom Five National Marine Park, the clear water and the calm of the bay make for incredible snorkelling and scuba diving. The impressive rock formations above ground become only more impressive below the water. Underwater caves, structures, and scars from glacial movement cover the marine park.
Even more interesting, the park is packed with more than 20 shipwrecks that can be explored. The shipwrecks are often relatively shallow and can be seen with ease from the surface.
For those who don’t want to get in the water but want to experience everything that Fathom Five Marine Park has to offer, take a boat cruise! Blue Heron Cruises offers glass-bottom boat tours over the shipwrecks, so you can see the sites without getting wet. They also offer a sunset cruise of the area for the perfect ending to a perfect day.
The marine park is also a popular location for kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. Enjoy the beautiful rock formations and shipwrecks from the comfort of a canoe! On the Water Kayaks offers rentals right from the shores of the Georgian Bay, so there is no need to transport your equipment anywhere else.
An unforgettable trip to Tobermory isn’t complete without seeing Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Located in the heart of Bruce Peninsula National Park, this lake is just as pristine and blue as Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay.
Cyprus Lake is the perfect spot for families with younger kids, as the lake itself is a bit shallower and a bit warmer than the bay. Camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park will situate you perfectly to enjoy this lake.
The lake also has a loop trail surrounding it, so visitors can enjoy every side of the lake and the beautiful forest surrounding it.
Camping Experiences in Tobermory
This area has some of the best camping in Ontario. The dense woods and many water access points create the perfect camping experience for any type of camper. Read on for some of the best camping in Tobermory.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
For access to it all, plan to stay at Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Hike to the Grotto from the campground, with no dealing with the hassle of the parking lot. You can also hike out earlier in the morning, which gives you a chance to beat the crowds! This campground is situated on Cyprus Lake, offering ideal water access for your convenience.
This campground offers 3 styles of camping:
Frontcountry camping at Cyprus Lake: your traditional tent camping, with showers and picnic tables provided
Yurt camping: hassle-free, fully furnished, right against the lake
Backcountry camping: your more rustic style of camping
Whatever your preferred camping style is, this campground has something for everyone!
This park is one of the most popular areas of Tobermory to camp, so reservations are required. If you plan to travel during peak season or holiday weekends, be sure to plan in advance.
Land’s End Park
Perfectly situated at the end of the land by Hay’s Bay on 90 acres of natural forest, this quiet campground has something for everyone.
Land’s End Park offers a more private camping experience- the park strives to keep nature at the heart of the experience. The campground offers all levels of camping, from unserviced to rentable camping cabins.
The campground has on-site hiking, a playground, volleyball courts, docks, and bike and boat rentals. For a serene camping experience, consider a stay at Land’s End Park.
Miller’s Family Camp
Looking for a quieter, family-friendly campground in Tobermory? Miller’s Family Camp may be the best campground for you.
Located on Miller’s Lake, this campground has unserviced and serviced sites available. Quiet hours are enforced after 11 pm, so your family can get a great night’s rest after a long day exploring.
The campground has all sorts of activities going on for guests, including shuffleboard, sandcastle contests, and boat tours. Check out this campground for the perfect family adventure!
Where to Stay in Tobermory (If Camping Is Not Your Thing)
Not a big fan of camping? No problem! Tobermory has several great hotels to choose from.
Tobermory Princess Hotel
This hotel is located in the heart of downtown Tobermory and is one of the oldest buildings in the town.
After a long day of seeing the parks, rest and relax in your room, with views of either Little Tub Harbour or the Georgian Bay. The Tobermory Princess Hotel also has first-rate dining, with a full patio and views of the bay and the sunsets.
Big Tub Harbour Resort
Located right on Big Tub Harbour, this resort has everything you need to make your visit to Tobermory enjoyable.
Big Tub Harbour Resort has amazing dining, amazing views, and amazing activities. Rent water equipment directly from the hotel and get right in the water. The rooms are air-conditioned and cozy, perfect for relaxing after a day in the bay.
Blue Bay Motel
For a quaint hotel experience, stay at the Blue Bay Motel. Located against Little Tub Harbour, this hotel has great access to downtown Tobermory.
There are just 16 rooms in this cozy hotel. Bikes are available for guests, and the hotel is near everything you need.
Right next to a local coffee shop and several restaurants, the Blue Bay Motel is the perfect spot to get some much-needed rest and relaxation, without having to wander far for dinner.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Tobermory?
The best time of year to visit Tobermory is the peak season- May to September. You will want to come during the warmer months to be sure you get to see the water attractions that Tobermory is so well known for, particularly Fathom Five Marine Park.
To avoid heavy traffic, consider coming during the week so you can miss the weekend rush.
Pack Your Bags and Get Road Tripping to Tobermory Today!
Tobermory is an incredible place to visit in Ontario. The waterfront town has access to the best National Parks, incredible rocky coastline, and amazing underwater activities. Plan ahead and visit Tobermory this summer!
Once you have your perfect Tobermory vacation planned, be sure to protect it. To read more about travel insurance and protecting your trip, contact Insurdinary today.