Lake Huron is the second largest, of the five Great Lakes found in North America, spanning almost 60 000 square kilometres. Geographically, Lake Huron rests between Ontario, Canada and the state of Michigan. Lake Huron is a fresh water lake, known for its turquoise waters and stunning shoreline.
Ontario’s Lake Huron
In Ontario, the shores of Lake Huron stretch from Sarnia to Tobermory, measuring in around 325 kilometres. In addition to shoreline destinations, Lake Huron is also home to a number of islands. The shores of Lake Huron are popular, especially during the summer months. With a combination of lovely sanding beaches and rugged escarpment, Lake Huron becomes a hotspot in Ontario. Between Sarnia and Tobermory, there are a number of popular towns and destinations to explore. The following map shows destination along Lake Huron’s shores that are worth a visit.
Along the shores of Lake Huron, you will find bustling beach towns, historic villages and breathtaking landscapes. The destinations around Lake Huron are all different, offering visitors a unique experience. You can find water sports such as boating, parasailing, surfing or diving. Sandy beaches to lounge on. Bustling towns offering a number of dining and shopping options. As well as, hiking trails and the great outdoors to adventure in.
Whether you’re planning a road trip around Lake Huron, or just spending a few days by the lake, the following are places you must explore on the shores of Lake Huron!
Road Trip Around Lake Huron
If you are planning to take a road trip around Lake Huron, give yourself at least two to three weeks to properly explore each area. Lake Huron’s shoreline is just over 300 kilometres, making it an easy road trip route. Conveniently, Hwy 21 runs all the way from Sarnia to Tobermory, making directions very simple. You basically just drive straight the entire way. You’ll also find that driving times between each town are minimal, meaning you don’t have to spend all day in the car. It is best to either start your road trip in Sarnia or Tobermory and work your way along Lake Huron’s shoreline.
The following is a suggestion to get you started on planning your road trip. Starting on either side of Lake Huron is great and you can easily reverse this itinerary. To learn more about each destination, click the links below. Happy Road Tripping!!
Sarnia –> Grand Bend –> Bayfield –> Goderich –> Kincardine –> Port Elgin –> Southampton –> Sauble Beach –> Waitron* –> Lion’s Head* –> Tobermory –> Flowerpot Island* –> Manitoulin Island
*Lake Huron Detours
Sarnia is a border community that sits on the shores of Lake Huron, close to the American border. This small city is known for it’s beautiful waterfront and easy access to the American border. In Sarnia, you will find a number of lovely parks and places to explore along the shoreline.
Grand Bend is located on the sandy shores of Lake Huron and is the ultimate beach destination. Here you will find long stretches of sandy beach and a downtown that takes you back in time. Arguably, Grand Bend is considered one of the best beach towns in Ontario. Grand Bend offers a number of water sports, including parasailing, jet skiing and boating. In addition to the great beaches, water sports and downtown area, Grand Bend is also home to a Motorplex, hosting a number of drag racing events each year.
Goderich is a small coastal town nestled on the shores of Lake Huron. This small beach town is known for its breathtaking shorelines and historic downtown. With so much charm and beauty, Queen Elizabeth coined Goderich, “the prettiest town in Canada”. In addition to the town being absolutely stunning, there are plenty of attractions to check out. In town, you will find a historic gaol, a lighthouse, the Menesetung Bridge, parks and a salt mine.
Bayfield is a small beach village found on the shores of Lake Huron. With a quaint and historic downtown, Bayfield instantly transports you back in time. In addition to the old time charm, Bayfield offers stunning views over Lake Huron’s turquoise waters. You can find shopping, beautiful parks, a lovely harbour front and beaches in the charming village of Bayfield.
Kincardine sits on the shores of Lake Huron and turns into a bustling lakeside destination each summer. Known for it’s annual Scottish Festival, Kincardine takes pride in celebrating it’s Scottish roots. Kincardine is also home to both rocky and sandy shorelines, making some areas great for a day at the beach. Uniquely, the shores of Kincardine see a high volume of wind, making it one of the best places for surfing and kiteboarding in Ontario.
Port Elgin is a small beach town on the shores of Lake Huron. This little town becomes a haven for beachgoers every summer. Port Elgin has a lovely stretch of sandy beaches and great swimming locations. In town, you’ll also find parks and trail systems, plus a variety of restaurants and shopping options downtown.
Southampton is another charming beach town on the shores of Lake Huron, located only 10 minutes from Port Elgin. Although Southampton sits close to Port Elgin, both towns offer a much different feel. Southampton is known for it’s small town charm, two lighthouses, and sandy beaches. Uniquely, Southampton is also home to the Saugeen River. While in Southampton, you might want to explore Chanty Island.
Sauble Beach sits on the shores of Lake Huron and is a popular beach destination. This small town sees a number of campers, cottages, as well as day trippers every summer. Sauble Beach measures in at 11kms, holding the title of Second Longest Fresh Water Beach in the World. You’ll also find a small series of water falls outside of town, in addition to restaurants and shops lining the main street.
Slight Detour from the Shores of Lake Huron
Both Wiarton and Lion’s Head are located on the Bruce Peninsula and will take you on a slight detour from the shores of Lake Huron. While a detour might seem inconvenient, both towns are on the way to Tobermory and deserve a visit. These small towns sit on the Bruce Peninsula, but over look the waters of Georgian Bay and Colpoy’s Bay, rather than Lake Huron. While you’re visiting the area, I would highly recommend that you make time to explore both Wiarton and Lion’s Head.
Wiarton is best known for its famous groundhog, Wiarton Willie, who predicts the anticipation of springs arrival each year. In addition to Wiarton Willie, Wiarton offers nature lovers a number of outdoor adventures. Wiarton sits at the base of the Bruce Peninsula and has stunning views over Colpoy’s Bay and the rugged escarpment in the background. In Wiarton, you will find a number of hiking trails, caves to explore and camping on the waters edge.
Lion’s Head is one of Georgian Bay’s best kept secrets. This small town is surrounded by turquoise waters and rugged limestone cliffs. In Lion’s Head, you’ll find a quaint harbour with a rocky shoreline, a small stretch of beach and a beautiful lighthouse. When visiting Lion’s Head, hiking the trails surrounding Georgian Bay will give you epic views and is by far the highlight of visiting this lovely little town.
Tobermory is one of the most popular destinations on the shores of Lake Huron. This small village sits at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and is surrounded by both Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Tobermory is most famous for its rugged coastline found in the Bruce Peninsula National Park.
In addition to the beautiful coastline, Tobermory is also the diving capital of Canada, with crystal clear waters and many shipwreck to explore. Tobermory is the gateway to both Manitoulin Island and Flowerpot Island. Tobermory sees a high volume of visitors each year and you’re required to purchase visitor passes in advance if you wish to visit the National Park.
While Flowerpot Island is technically surrounded by Georgian Bay, it’s very close to Lake Huron and is worth a visit. Flowerpot Island sits 6.5km off the coast of Tobermory. The island is fairly small and makes for a prefect day trip. Flower Pot Island is surrounded by turquoise waters, rugged shoreline and is home to two “Flowerpot” formations. On the island, you’ll find hiking trails and places to swim in the cold waters of Georgian Bay. To reach the island, you will be required to take a ferry service from Tobermory.
Manitoulin Island rests in the waters of Lake Huron and is classified as the largest fresh water island in the world. As Manitoulin Island, is an island, your trip here will require a little planning. You can reach the island by either taking a highway from Northern Ontario, or hitching a ride on the famous Chi-Cheemaun from Tobermory. Manitoulin Island is surrounded by stunning coastlines, home to a epic hiking trails and a beautiful waterfall. Nature lovers will quickly fall in love with the charm of Manitoulin Island.
The shores of Lake Huron are absolutely magnificent and deserve to be explored. Whether you’re looking for a sandy beach, a trail to hike or a small town to explore, Lake Huron has it all. I hope this post helps inspire you to get out and see some of the beauty that Ontario has to offer!
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3 thoughts on “Road Tripping the Shores of Lake Huron: Sarnia to Tobermory”
Lake Huron doesn’t end at Tobermory! It continues all the way to Sault Ste Marie!
That is correct, but this post focuses on stops from Sarnia to Tobermory 🙂
Tobermory looks beautiful. I also want to visit there one day. Keep posting!