This Provincial Park has developed on the banks of the Sauble River, near the very popular Sauble Falls. There are 152 campsites here, but you must reserve far in advance.
Even if you are not camping here, you can still visit the falls. During the day and early evening it is a very popular spot for children to play in the shallow waters. If you'd like to photograph the falls without all the people in them, plan to be there before 9am.
In the spring and fall you can watch the trout and salmon as they migrate UP the falls to their spawning grounds.
I happened upon Dyer's Bay by accident, on my way to visit the Cabot Head Lighthouse. We passed by many charming cottages, some with beautiful gardens, backing up against the white cliffs of the Niagara escarpment and overlooking Georgian Bay to the front.
My favourite hike on the Bruce Peninsula is also found here in Dyer's Bay. It is a very short 3km loop that takes you up to the edge of the escarpment, overlooking some of the most dramatic scenery that I have ever seen. My intro photo is also from this hike, looking to the south.
The path then descends through a wooded forest and along a small lake with an active beaver population.
Tobermory village consists of two deep, natural harbours, or tubs. One is called Big Tub, the other Little Tub.
At Little Tub Harbour, you will find the Chi-cheemaun ferry, many quaint shops and galleries, restaurants and bakeries. You will also find many beautiful boats harboured here, and organized tours to the Flower Pot Islands. It is a nice place for a stroll or to sit and watch the activity in the harbour.
You can also stroll along the boardwalk to see the remains of a wrecked tugboat jutting out of the water. This is a popular dive and snorkelling spot. There are many shipwrecks in the Tobermory area and this photo is of a recovered anchor from an 1898 wreck. The anchor is about 5 feet tall.
The other harbour in Tobermory, Big Tub, although larger than Little Tub Harbour, is much quieter. It doesn't have the hustle and bustle of boats and ferries and shops and restaurants. Rather it is lined by beautiful cottages and the Big Tub Lighthouse stands guard at the entrance.
"In the 1870's Charles Earl, one of the first settlers in the area, hung a lantern in a tree to guide ships into Big Tub Harbour where they took refuge from storms. Grateful for this service, sailors gave Earl coal, flour and oil. In 1883 he was paid $100 for this service. A lighthouse was built on that same spot in 1885. Earl became the first keeper of the new lighthouse and remained so until his death."
Lion's Head boasts a natural harbour that has become a popular port with a full service marina. There is also a rare sandy beach here on the Georgian Bay side of the Bruce Peninsula.
At the entrance to the harbour, you can also see a small lighthouse, it is a replica of the last light that stood here in the 1960's.
Lion's Head is also the starting point for a wonderful hike south along the Niagara Escarpment to Gun Point or north to White Bluffs.
Though the Bruce Penisula offers many great activities and the park itself is a beautiful place to relax, the best way to enjoy it is to hike at least a portion of the spectacular Bruce Trail. It stretches over 700 km from Niagara Falls to Tobermory but the most impressive section is a 20 km portion within the boundaries of this National Park and the only way to see it up close is to use your own two feet.
The Georgian Bay is a diver's paradise and the Fathom Five National Marine Park is perhaps Eastern Canada's most renowned area for such activities. Even though the waters can be quite cold, it is hard to not take a small dip on a warm summer's day after hiking along the Bruce. We did and loved it.
The Bruce Peninsula must attract a large number of avid gardeners because there are several private citizens that have opened up their gardens to be viewed by the public.
We happened upon Virginia's Garden on Dyer's Bay Road on our way to visit the Cabot Head Lighthouse. Virginia was more than happy to take us on a guided tour of her beautiful garden and answer any questions that we had, gardening or otherwise.
Virginia's garden backs onto the Niagara Escarpment and she has a wonderful variety of perrenials. She has some potted up for sale or as in my case, she will dig up a particular variety for you from her own beds.
Virginia's Garden is open everyday except Tues and Thurs and a $2 donation is suggested for your tour.
This national park lies at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, 11kms south of Tobermory. There are camping facilities here, and some of the most dramatic scenery of the Niagara Escarpment. The Bruce Trail also traverses the park, and there are several short hikes that will get you onto some of the most scenic parts of the Bruce Trail, including the Natural Arch, the Grotto and Halfway Rock Point, pictured here.
The trails can become very busy since there is some good swimming here (despite the rocky beach!), so if you prefer solitude, try to hit the trail by 8am.
I will give a further description of the hikes under Sports Travel Tips.
Wiarton calls itself the Gateway to the Bruce Peninsula since it is located at the base of the peninsula on beautiful Colpoy Bay. It is a small town with only 2000 residents, but has all the amenities that you will need for your vacation on the peninsula including a grocery store, gas stations and tourist information.
Park your car at Bluewater Park near the Tourist Information. This building is an historic train depot from 1904 that was relocated to this location. I love seeing old buildings restored to their former glory and this is a fine example. After picking up your free maps and travel guides, take a walk along the water's edge to see the boats in the harbour lined up against a backdrop of the white cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment.
You can also walk a short distance back to the main street for some shopping or lunch.
We took Great Blue Heron cruise from Tobermory. This is reportedly Canada's largest glass bottom boat and can carry up to 125 passengers. Great Blue Heron departs from Little Tub Harbor, which is located at downtown Tobermory, at regular intervals. The last daylight cruise leaves at 3 pm. Our two hour cruise began with a visit to two nineteenth century shipwrecks located in Tobermory's Big Tub Harbor. The water was so clear that we could see the shipwrecks clearly (see pictures).
The newly renovated Visitor Centre surprised us by its décor and ambience (see picture). The building itself accommodates a theatre and a vast Exhibit Centre.
Here is what we did at the Visitor Centre, which caters both for Bruce Peninsula National Park and the neighbouring Fathom Five National Marine Park, although it does not sell passes / entrance tickets for the former.
1. Climbed the 20m (65') tower for a bird's-eye view of the Fathom Five National Marine Park.
2. watched a high-definition movie in a mid size theatre for unique features of the two parks and a virtual adventure to the best spots in the park.
3. Visited the exhibit gallery, with everything from a full-size lighthouse, flowerpot and cliff to black bear, rattlesnake and shipwreck exhibits.
4. And of course, shopped for national park souvenirs in the gift shop.
This is an original 1895 wooden lighthouse that has been restored by volunteers. It is hard to believe that back then, the light was actually produced by kersosene lamps and metal reflectors.
Today the light is produced automatically on a much less beautiful metal frame tower, but you can tour a small museum now housed inside of the old lighthouse. It is open daily 9am to sunset, May 1 to mid Oct.
The lighthouse is a beautiful structure that reminds us of adventure and peril on the high seas. Now, unmanned and fully automated, the Bruce County lighthouses are a part of marine history.
There are many to see along the Bruce Peninsula and you can pick up the free brochure at a tourist information, or see the website below.
The lighthouse pictured here is located at Cape Croker and was built in 1909. It has "a rare and beautiful diamond-like Fresnel lens imported from France, one of only three in Canada."
We then headed north, cutting across the Devil Island Channel and to a small Island called White Rock that is a nesting site for the Double Crested Cormorants. We took lots of pictures of the birds resting on the island. It was a beautiful site. Cormorants reminded us of another sailing expedition and that was in Orlando, where the guide had educated us on the difference between Cormorants and Anhingas.
34 Bay Street South, Tobermory, N0H 2R0, Canada
Good for: Couples
Earl Street, PO Box 35, Tobermory, N0H 2R0, Canada
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
236 Big Tub Road, Tobermory, N0H 2R0, Canada
Good for: Solo