We’re always looking for places to go that are close to Toronto, and the crystal clear waters of Tobermory caught our eye. In this neat area you’ll find sunken shipwrecks, spectacular landscapes and an adorable little town. We decided to head up for a spontaneous long weekend, tackling the 4 hour drive on late Friday afternoon. If you’re looking for other Ontario wanderlust inspiration, check out our posts on Grey County and Norfolk County.
One of the biggest attractions in Tobermory is The Grotto, part of The Bruce Peninsula National Park. The Grotto is a big open cave with a shallow pool inside – you can climb down from the rock face, or swim to it from shore. It’s filled with that incredibly clear, blue-green water which is super refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
The best thing about The Grotto is that there are timed parking slots, so it helps limit the amount of people that are around. For the first time ever, you’re allowed to book a slot online – we chose one of the earliest slots, so we could get there before all the crowds.
One of the biggest things to note about this part of The Bruce Peninsula National Park is that most people only come for The Grotto. If you have time to explore other areas of the park, you’ll find that it’s really peaceful – you may not see anyone for quite a while. You should totally check out Overhanging Point, an epic view and we didn’t see a single person in the area!
You might work up an appetite after all the fresh air and exercise, luckily Tobermory has the cutest harbour town in the world – Little Tub Harbour! There’s a bunch of places to eat – we recommend grabbing a bite at Tobermory Brewing Company & Grill, and trying a flight of local brews.
And as for where to stay? There are plenty of cabins, B&Bs, cottages and hotels to choose from. We rented a cozy cabin at Little Cove Adventures and loved it. It was close to all of the attractions, had a private fire-pit and it wasn’t too pricey!
The national parks are not the only adventures to be found in Tobermory. It’s also known as one of the best freshwater diving spots in the world, and it’s famous for having a multitude of sunken shipwrecks. We’re not qualified divers, but plenty of the wrecks are in shallow areas – so snorkelling is also a great alternative!
Of course, we’re still in Canada – so while the waters look simply tropical and inviting… it’s FREEZING. No matter what time of year! We took a 4-hour snorkel tour with Diver’s Den, and we have never been more grateful for full body wetsuits in our entire life.
We really jam-packed the outings in Tobermory into our long weekend. On our last day we took a boat ride to Flowerpot Island. There are multiple ‘Flowerpots’ on the island – they’re big sea stacks that line the island.
On the island there’s plenty to do – you can walk the shoreline, visit the Lighthouse, have a picnic and take a dip! The water is never warm, but on a hot summer’s day it’s crisp and refreshing.
There’s so much to do in Tobermory and it’s a perfect long-weekend getaway. It’s the closest Ontario has to tropical waters (they look like the Caribbean…minus the warmth) and there’s an activity there for everyone. Delicious food, friendly people and beautiful landscapes. Add it to your list!