Continuing our adventures in Cottage Country, this week we are exploring an area pretty familiar to us at Thornbury Village, the counties of Bruce-Grey-Simcoe. This beautiful area encompasses the eastern shoreline of Lake Huron and the south-west reaches of Georgian Bay. This is one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario, with long sandy beaches, rocky escarpments, forests, and luscious farmland drawing visitors from around the world. Collingwood, Thornbury, The Blue Mountains, Meaford, Owen Sound, Saugeen Shores, Southampton, Port Elgin, Lion’s Head, Tobermory, Sauble Beach, Wasaga Beach, and all the small towns in between offer amazing opportunities for a fun day, weekend, or week out. Whether you are an outdoors-person or a lover of shopping and culture, the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay have something for you.
The area boasts two of the largest fresh-water beaches in the world (yes, world!), Sauble Beach and Wasaga Beach. Both destinations offer kilometres of pristine sandy beaches for sunbathing, swimming, and beach sports. Not to mention, the stunning sunsets on Lake Huron offer magical moments in the evening. Both towns offer great shopping and dining with a small town feel. Station Beach in Kincardine and Christie Beach between Meaford and Thornbury are both great beaches for families with tiny splashers. Those looking for Wasaga and Sauble Beach activity with smaller crowds should check out Port Elgin. Just down the road from Port Elgin, Southampton offers a little more tranquility on its rolling sandy dunes, but still lots of things to see and do. Northwinds Beach is the windsurfers, kiteboarders, and SUP lovers dream. The strong lake winds will keep you moving all day long. Everywhere you go along Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, there is a perfect spot for you to spend time by the water.
Some of the best beaches and spots for water fun can be found at the many Provincial and National Parks in the area. Awenda Provincial Park boasts four beaches, each with unique features. Extra bonus, Fido can come along too at the pet-friendly beach. Craigleith Provincial Park’s rocky shorelines don’t make swimming the main attraction here. Instead, spend your day digging for fossils buried in the shale rock. If you’re in the Sauble Beach area, but want a change from the traditional sandy beach, Sauble Falls may be your solution. You can splash around in the falls or rent canoes or kayaks and go exploring. The Bruce Peninsula National Park is an experience not to be missed. Often compared to the Caribbean, the crystal clear water and natural rock formations around Tobermory, the Grotto, and Indian Head Cove create an atmosphere unlike any other in Ontario. Visitors to the area need to be prepared as the parking lot fills quickly.
Those who love hiking should experience The Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath. The trail runs 890km from Niagara to Tobermory, providing the only continuous public access to the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The path from Wiarton to Tobermory offers extraordinary views of Georgian Bay. With 400km of associated side trails, and great maps and guides, finding a hike perfect for your skill level is easy.
For those who love the indoors or want to experience the history and culture of the area, there are plenty of museums, art galleries, and shopping destinations to discover. One of the best fun, yet educational, places families should explore is Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland. This re-creation of one of the first european communities in Ontario gives visitors a first-hand look at the way the pioneers of Ontario would have lived. Discovery Harbour is another attraction that takes you back in time. Situated on the scenic Penetanguishene Bay, visitors can explore the replica ships H.M.S. Bee and H.M.S. Tecumseth. Fun and interactive tours educate visitors on the British naval and military base built after the War of 1812. Enjoy a show at the King’s Wharf theatre, enjoy a walk along the shoreline, and don’t forget to visit the gift shop!
End your explorations of Bruce-Grey-Simcoe County with a stop in Thornbury, the place where our Premium Apple Cider was born. A centre of local agriculture, particularly apples, Thornbury is a great place to indulge in local produce. The Apple Pie Trail has seven stops in Thornbury, including the Thornbury Farmers’ Market and the Thornbury Bakery Cafe. The main street offers great shopping, Thornbury Beach and Thornbury Harbour are great for a day of fun, and our trails are some of the best. Come September, you can stop by Thornbury Village Brewery & Cidery for a tasting and a tour. Stop by our town and enjoy everything Thornbury and the surrounding areas have to offer.
It may take a few road-trips to explore all the great things the Bruce-Grey-Simcoe Counties have to offer, but when every route is the scenic route, it’s well worth the drive.