We just returned from our amazing one-day trip to Northern Bruce Peninsula. Destination, known as Caribbean waters of Canada. Due to a high level of questions about how was it I made a decision to compile an easy trip plan.
It contains our own experience, some valuable tips that actually saved our trip from a total fiasco and some “must see” and “must do” points.
My article will contain two parts. Ready to be followed Plan for one-day trip and TIPS for the perfect trip.
Easy to follow one-day trip Plan:
It is Extremely important to plan your route stops before you leave. Especially, if it is a one-day road trip when every minute counts. But please, at the same time, keep an open mind and expect that some things may go differently.
For this trip we had 2 main destinations of interest:
Cyprus Lake Trails to Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park and Grotto.
Park is located at Cyprus Lake Road, Tobermory, ON
There are few hiking trails available:
- Georgian Bay Trail (easy walk, a bit rugged at the end)
- Bruce Trail (generally rugged),
- Horse Lake Trail (1 km to Georgian Bay shore),
- Mars Lake Trail (1 km to Georgian Bay shore, has rugged sections),
- Cyprus Lake Trail (5 km easy walk around Cyprus Lake).
We took Georgian Bay trail which is a 1 km to Georgian Bay shore, starts at P1 and is a direct trail to the Grotto. Total trail time is around 30 minutes. It’s an easy trail, that anyone can navigate.
Map with Cyprus Lake Trails to Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park is here (printer friendly).
The hike took us through a beautiful forest, then up and down some rocky cliffs and showed us an incredible view of Lake Huron. We did climb and sit on the top of a cliff, swim in sapphire blue waters, captured amazing views.
Tobermory. What you can do here:
- It is a must to eat some White Fish visiting Bruce Peninsula. There is a great all you can eat bistro with unlimited white fish and fries for $15 per person (tax and tips to be added). The place name is Shipwreck. It is located at 5 Bay Street in Tobermory and not even a block from Little Tub harbour. Waiters are dressed as pirates and even have parrots sitting on their shoulders. Atmosphere is amazing and staff is fun! Children’s menu available as well. Food is delicious, Landshark beer served in a bucket with ice to keep it cold in such a hot and sunny day.
Little Tub Harbour
Is a nice place to walk. In plus there are two cruise operators available to choose from: The Flowerpot Express operated by Blue Heron Cruises or a glass bottom boat for even better views by Blue Anchor Cruises. Trip price is around $50. We didn’t take cruise this time and saved it and for our next trip. Instead we had a nice walk around Little Tub harbour, stared at luxurious yachts, visited souvenir stores and enjoyed an amazing warm evening.
TIPS for the perfect trip to Cyprus Lake and Grotto:
- Do come early during the day as the parking lot fills up and you might not get into the park AT ALL. Summer season obviously is considered the busiest one. Parking fee is $11.70 per day.
- If possible: HAVE A Plan “B” – BIKE! If there will be no Parking spots available anymore bike will save you.
We went during Canada Day Long Weekend and there were 600+ cars trying entering campground but returned due to a no parking availability. Our car was one of them. We drove 4+ hours from Keswick, Ontario to see famous and beautiful blue marine waters and our trip almost fail.
The distance from the Park entrance till P1 (where the trail starts) is 5km. Meaning, that hiking from the campground main entrance till the starting point of Georgian Bay Trail is a way too long walk even for some brave adults.
In our case there was a 4 years old kid involved. Luckily, we had our bikes with us. We parked across the park at one of the local businesses for a friendly $20 fee, unleashed our bicycles and adventure started. To be honest, we were extremely happy at the end of our trip that healthy cycling was involved that much.
- Wear the right shoes for the trek into the Grotto. You need to climb rocks and some of them can be slippery.
- Have your swimwear, towel, sunscreen and head cover with you. Crystal clear waters are cold, but still great to be in.
- Grab snacks or even lunch with you.
- Beautiful Bruce Peninsula Guide Book can be found here (download the PDF or you can also request a FREE paper copy!)
- Bruce Peninsula Calendar of Events is here.
Visiting Tobermory TIPS:
- Park your car for free at Visitor Center parking.
- Picnic area is available nearby Visitor Center in case you are not planning to dine out.
- Blue Anchor Cruises is considered the best if you decide to choose a glass bottom boat. Their glass bottom vessel actually has a glass bottom that you can walk on top of and see the shipwrecks right under your feet.
As a conclusion, just want to say that Northern Bruce Peninsula is a must go destination. We are extremely happy that we did this trip and we already plan our return there and list of activities for the trip #2. Tobermory offers lots of other activities: snorkeling, diving, cruising, camping, canoeing and lots of different trails to explore.
Please share your Bruce Peninsula trip experiences, places to go and places to stay over night.