Tobermory Ontario in the Bruce Peninsula

Best Things to Do in Tobermory: Complete Guide

The charming town of Tobermory hosts many tourists every year. It sits on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, surrounded by the blue waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. From the lighthouses, beaches and little harbours, Tobermory offers many adventures to the wandering soul. This article is a complete guide to the perfect getaway with the best things to do in Tobermory.

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Épingle de guide de visite à Tobermory

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How to get to Tobermory?

From Toronto – Head north on ON-10 from ON-410 for about 125 kilometres to Hwy 6 and then north on Hwy 6 for another 120 kilometres. This 300-kilometre trip takes under 4 hours. 

From Ottawa – Head south on Hwy 7 or the ON-416 to ON-401 towards Toronto. Once past Toronto, follow the same directions as above; north on ON-410 and Hwy 10 and then north on Hwy 6. This is a 680-kilometre trip that should take about 7 hours and 30 minutes.

How many days do I need to visit Tobermory?

Plan on spending three days in Tobermory. Spending a weekend in Tobermory will give you enough time to explore and enjoy this charming town, though this article will list enough activities to keep you occupied for a whole week. 

When is the best time to visit Tobermory?

It is best to visit Tobermory from late spring to early October. This is because, by the long weekend in October, many businesses, restaurants and stores close down for the winter.

Accommodations

Big Tub Resort and Marina are near the town centre and by the water.

Adventure the Bruce Inn offers rooms and cabins.

The Escarpment Heights Motel is located within one kilometre of all amenities.

The Tobermory Village Cabins are cute and allow pets.

Where to eat in Tobermory

Tobermory Brewery Company and Grill has good food and crafty beer. You can also bring back a souvenir as they sell their beer and cocktail glasses with their logo. This brewery is on Bay Street facing Little Tub Harbour.

Tobermory Brewing co and Grill logo on a beer glass

Coconut Joe’s Harbour Bar and Grill has the perfect ambiance for a night out on a terrace by the water. Plus, the food and drinks are tasty! This restaurant sits on the water farther down Bay Street at the end of Little Tub Harbour.

Crowsnest Pub and Restaurant is great for families and couples. They get busy, but there is plenty of room. Their menu has something for every taste. You will find this restaurant near the corner of Highway 6 and Bay Street.

Things to Do in Tobermory


Walk to Big Tub Lighthouse and Big Tub Harbour 

Take a walk on the rocky shore of the harbour to the white lighthouse looking over the bay. It is an easy and short hike full of views. This harbour is where the Sweepstake ship wreckage still lies after it sank in the clear shallow waters of the port over a hundred years ago. 

Big Tub Lighthouse on the shore of Georgian Bay in Tobermory, Ontario

Spend time at the Little Tub Harbour. 

Smaller than Big Tub Harbour, although much busier, this is where it all happens. Shops and restaurants surround this harbour. You will probably see a few seabirds, including ducks paddling on the water. 

ducks swimming in Little Tub Harbour near Tobermory's marina

You can watch the ferry depart and arrive from the harbour. It is a huge boat and is quite impressive to see. 

Shopping on Bay Street and its Gift Shops

There are a few shops along Bay Street near Little Tub Harbour. You will find souvenirs, clothes, books and miscellaneous items in the shops. This is where most restaurants are. This street is alive with tourists during the day and all evening. 

View the shipwrecks

A boat tour is likely the number one activity for anyone in Tobermory. The glass bottom boats will bring their passengers to see the shipwrecks at the bottom of the bay and stop at the famous Flowerpot Island. 

Blue Heron Cruises offer different cruises on a glass bottom boat with or without a drop off on Flowerpot Island, a sunset or jet boat cruise.

Bruce Anchor Cruises has a fleet of four glass bottom boats to view the shipwrecks and stop for drop-off on Flowerpot Island. 

A shipwreck lying at the bottom of the sea viewed from the boat with one of Tobermory's boat tour compagnies
credit: Mélanie Desmarais

Go Kayaking

The calm water of Big Tub Harbour is perfect for paddling. Kayaking along the shore of the Bruce Peninsula is a different way of admiring the astounding coastline and rocky cliffs high above the water. 

When weather permits, experienced kayakers can make their way to the islands offshore and explore. 

Big Tub Harbour Resort rents kayaks. I recommend their transparent kayak to explore these shallow clear waters fully. Make sure to paddle to the shipwreck for a unique view of the ship. 

Go Snorkelling or Scuba Diving

Of course, as far as water activities go, snorkelling and scuba diving are also very popular in Tobermory. Tobermory is considered Canada’s scuba diving capital. The bay’s clear waters have many treasures for scuba divers to explore.

Hike to Dunks Bay

A 10-minute hike to Little Dunks Bay Lookout is a must if you are in Tobermory—a fantastic view of Lake Huron. Make the fun last longer to complete the Burnt Point Loop for a 5-kilometre hike.

rocky shore of the Georgian Bay in and around Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula

Spend time at the beach.

There are many coastlines in and near Tobermory. Lounging in the sun or playing in the water on a hot summer day is a perfect way to enjoy a vacation.

  • Singing Sands Beach
  • Dunk’s Bay Beach
  • Little Cove Beach
  • Indian Head Cove
sandy beach deserted in the fall but usually busy in summer

Little Cove Adventure Tours 

The aerial park at Little Cove Adventures Tours is a fun, exciting outdoor activity for the whole family. Overcome the challenges of walking on high ropes, climbing or traversing the obstacle course.

logo of the Little Cove Adventures

Visit a Museum

  • St. Edmunds Bruce Peninsula Museum
  • Circle Arts Gallery
  • Golden Gallery Tobermory

Enjoy an ice cream or a beaver tail by the water

You can enjoy both these treats in Little Tub Harbour, sitting by the water and enjoying the view—a treat for the tongue, the eyes and the soul.

Don’t Miss these Things to Do near Tobermory

Flowerpot Island and Fathom Five National Marine Park

If you plan on taking a boat tour to see the shipwrecks, visit Flowerpot Island. Most boat tours will allow for a few hours to explore the islands, its amazing rock stacks and the beautiful rocky shores. Hiking trails will lead you to fantastic lookouts. There is also a possibility to spend the night camping on the island. You can find more information and make reservations on the Fathom Five National Park’s website.

A rock stack that gave the island its name Flowerpot Island in Georgian Bay off the shore of Tobermory
credit: Mélanie Desmarais

The Grotto and Indian Head Cove in Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Grotto and Indian Head Cove are two of the most popular day-use area in Bruce Peninsula National Park, and with reason. Visitors can explore the cave and swim in the waters of the bay. The scene can be compared to any beautiful southern waterside attraction. The park can get very busy on lovely summer days, so plan and reserve your parking or be ready to wait for a parking space.

For more information on this exceptional park, check out this complete guide to camping and hiking in Bruce Peninsula National Park.

The Grotto, a cave on the shore of Georgian Bay in Bruce Peninsula National Park
The Grotto
Visitors swim in Indian Coveon on a sunny day in Bruce Peninsula National Park near Tobermory.
Indian Cove

More adventures around Georgian Bay

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