Nestled in the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, Tobermory is a special vacation spot for Ontarians and visitors alike in the summer months. There is a plethora of things to do up here in Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Hikers can enjoy the world-famous and best stretch of the Bruce Trail.
The National Park has such a variety of terrain – jagged edged rocks, amphitheater like overhangs, caves, and your choice of boulder or sand beaches. Visitors can ride a car-bearing ferry, the Chi-Cheemaun, across to Manitoulin Island or a speedboat out to Flowerpot Island and along the way take in the bay floor which is littered with ship wrecks of a different era.
In the main town of Tobermory is a cute collection of quaint restaurants, art galleries, shops and adventure outfitters. Want to scuba dive? Tobermory has that too! It is truly the jewel of the north!
Here's what we're covering:
Getting away from the big city
Bruce Peninsula and the famed Tobermory is one of the most spectacular places in Ontario. What will impress you the most about this region are the rock formations and the clarity of the water.
It's not a trick of the lens. You can literally see straight down to the rock floor which is something you'd only expect to see on tropical beaches of the south.
While Tobermory feels like it's a long distance from Toronto, it's actually possible to make a trip of it in a weekend.
Personally, the best way to do this trip is to drive up later on Friday afternoon and book 3 nights at a Cyprus Lake campsite at Bruce Peninsula National Park. Alternatively, you could come up Saturday morning as well.
Don't believe the nay-sayers, Tobermory can be totally done on a 2 day weekend!
How to get to Tobermory from Toronto
The map below shows that it takes roughly 4 hours and 17 minutes from downtown Toronto to get up to Tobermory and Bruce Peninsula.
To maximize your time here, try to head out as early as possible.
Photo Essay of What A Weekend in Tobermory Looks Like
Day 1 – Flowerpot Island
Whether you're coming to Tobermory Friday night or Saturday, you can officially kick things off with lunch in the town of Tobermory where you can't miss The Fish & Chips Place.
After a tour around town, booked our tickets with Blue Heron Cruises and their tour which is a round trip trip to Flowerpot Island with stops to two 19th century shipwrecks, and excellent views of Big Tub Lighthouse.
To close things off, return to camp such as the one at the the Poplars Campgrounds of Bruce Peninsula National Park which wraps around Cyprus Lake.
End off the day with a nice fire and of course s'mores!
Day 2 – The Grotto And Bruce Peninsula National Park
After a lazy morning around camp and making breakfast, we spend the rest of the second day exploring Bruce Peninsula National Park where we're already in.
The beauty of a campsite at the park is that you can easily walk to many of the highlights including The Grotto, Boulder Beach, and various trails including Marr Lake Trail.
On a hot summer's day, there are plenty of chances to jump into the water and enjoy the crisp clear waters.
We spend the night at our campsite and head back to Toronto early the next day.
Tobermory Trip Costs
A lot of people ask about the costs for trips so trying to be more diligent about capturing this info. This is the cost per person.
- Gas – $20
- Camp food – $20
- Drinks – $15
- Camping supplies – $10
- Flowerpot Island Tour – $45
- The Fish & Chips lunch – $10
Total Costs: $120
Tips & Tricks
- Reserve early – We booked really late and there were literally only 1-2 campsites left for us to pick from. If you want your pick of sites or a chance to book yurt huts, I would do it as soon as bookings are available. Remember that this is not a provincial park so you'll be doing reservations with Parks Canada instead of Ontario Parks.
- No showers – Keep in mind that there are no shower facilities in the park so just a heads up.
- Gets cold – This is after all the north and when we were there in late June, nights dropped down to 10C. Water temperatures were ice cold at 3C. We talked to a few locals and they said at most the water only gets to 10C in late August. Packing wise, be prepared to layer up at night.
- Down the rabbit hole – There's hidden rabbit hole that can get you down into the Overhanging Point amphitheater down below. It's easy to miss and a little daunting but totally worth the detour.
Places to stay near Tobermory
If you're thinking about heading up to Tobermory and looking for an alternative to camping, there are a ton of properties available that are great for large groups, families, and couples.
CLOSE TO TOWN
This property is more of an inn but with its proximity to the town of Tobermory, it makes a great stay from a convenience point of view.
While this is further south and located right by Lions Head Provincial Park, this is a comfy place to stay that comes with breakfast included. This os more of a traditional bed and breakfast type of place. It is also cheaper than staying inside Tobermory.
What you should read next