Flowerpot Island is a stunning island that is part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park. At the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, you will find Flowerpot Island 6.5km off the coast of Tobermory, Ontario. The island is known for its turquoise waters, rugged coastline and famous rock pillars, known as “flowerpots”. During the summer, people flock to the Flowerpot Island as a day trip to get a glimpse of its serene beauty.
What are Flowerpots?
The “flowerpots” are giant rock pillars that have formed after many years of harsh weather conditions. Elements such as wind, ice and waves repeatedly thrashing against the coastline, have caused the limestone to erode, leaving the remarkable rock pillars. Many people believe that the remaining rock formations resemble flowerpots, hence the name Flowerpot Island.
Getting to FlowerPot Island for a day trip
In order to visit Flowerpot island, you must take a boat, as it is an island after all. The most popular way to visit Flowerpot island is to prebook a seat on one of the tour boats that shuttle visitors back and forth from Tobermory. Normally, tour boats operate from mid-May until October as long as the bay is safe to cross. Blue Heron Cruises and Bruce Anchor Cruises are both reputable tour operators in Tobermory that make day trips to Flowerpot Island possible.
Both companies allow visitors to choose between a glass bottom boat and a speed boat. The glass bottom boats are much larger in size and are significantly slower. Having taken both boats to Flowerpot Island, I’d recommend taking the speedboat to make the most out of your day trip. The speedboats are much quicker and are often a smoother ride. With such clear water in the area, you won’t miss anything not having a glass bottom. Also, the speedboats slow down where there is something of interest to see.
Tip: Boats make multiple trips to and from the island throughout the day, but can get busy. It is recommended to book your preferred times in advance.
Shipwrecks on the Way to Flowerpot Island
On the way to Flowerpot Island, your tour operator will stop by Big Tub Harbour. Once at Big Tub Harbour, you’ll get the chance to admire the Big Tub lighthouse and the shipwrecks that remain below the water. Both shipwrecks, The Sweepstakes and The City of Grand Rapids are visible from your boat through the clear waters of Georgian Bay. This area of Georgian Bay has been known to be ruthless to many boats in the past. With over 20 shipwrecks in the area, Tobermory has become a popular scuba diving location during the summer months.
Things to do on Flowerpot Island
As your boat approaches Flowerpot island, you’ll start to see the “flowerpots” and beautiful coastline. While cruising around the island you’ll quickly notice that Flowerpot Island is an outdoor enthusiasts playground. The “flowerpots” are a huge draw to the island, but there are plenty of other things to do as well. The island offers a great trail system, beautiful lookout points, a cave, swimming, a historic light station and a good ole dose of fresh air. To be able to see and do everything Flowerpot Island has to offer, I suggest spending 4-6 hours.
Hiking on Flowerpot Island
Given that the island is small in size, you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground. Hiking around Flowerpot Island is the best way to see the main points of interest. If you’d like to see all the main attractions on the island, the 4.3km trail is the one you’ll want to follow. The trails are classified as moderate as some spots are rocky and can have a bit of an incline. Overall, the trails are easy to navigate.
If you’re arriving by tour boat, you’ll start your day at the Beachy Cove main dock. From here you can follow the hiking trail to take you to past the “flowerpots” and their lookout points, which are incredible! If you keep carrying on, you’ll stumble across a cave and eventually end up at the historic light station. The trail provides you with many opportunities to peek out and look at the alluring water and scenery around the island. Hiking around Flowerpot Island is certainly a highlight for many visitors.
Swimming and Snorkelling Around Flowerpot Island
The water around Flowerpot Island is the most stunning shade of turquoise, making you feel as if you’ve been transported to the Caribbean. The water here looks very inviting, but it generally stays quite cool, even during the summer months. If you can brave the cool temperatures, there are some nice swimming spots around the island. It must be noted that swimming locations are rocky and can drop off quickly, so be mindful of where you are. Since the water around the island is so clear, many people enjoy bringing their snorkel gear to explore the under water world.
Camping on Flowerpot Island
Flowerpot Island is often visited as a day trip, but camping on the island is possible. If you’re interested in camping, you need to make your reservation well in advance as there are only six campsites on the entire island. With only six campsites, you’ll be given the unique experience to spend the night in almost solitude. Visit Parks Canada for more information on camping on Flowerpot Island.
What to bring to Flowerpot Island
When visiting Flowerpot Island, the basic rule of thumb is to bring whatever you think you’re going to need for the day. The light station does sell water, snacks and some smaller items for cash only, but it isn’t always open.
It is important that you bring enough water with you because the island isn’t equipped with safe drinking water. The island also isn’t equipped with garbage facilities, so you will be required to take everything with you off the island.
Things you’ll want to consider bringing on your day trip to Flowerpot Island:
- Sturdy shoes
- Food and water
- Sunscreen and bug repellent
- Snorkel gear
- Water shoes (Optional)
A day trip to Flowerpot Island is a great way to stay active and explore the great outdoors. Between the coastal views and “flowerpots”, Flowerpot Island is sure to impress you. If you’re interested in visiting other islands from Tobermory, Manitoulin Island is a great spot to explore for a weekend or a few days.
Since you’re thinking about Tobermory and Flowerpot Island, I recommend you dig a little deeper and explore some other jaw dropping locations Bruce County has to offer.
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