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Exploring Tobermory: Visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park

The area around Tobermory is well known for its beautiful natural landscape and azure and turquoise waters. Aside from visiting the town, some of the key summer attractions are the national parks.

Visiting Bruce Pensinsula National Park

During our summer day trip to Tobermory for Toronto, we headed to the new Visitor Centre at Bruce Peninsula National Park. It’s located right by Fathom Five National Marine Park.

We got lucky as July 17 was Canada Parks Day and the entrance fees into the Centre were waived for the day. Although it was free, it was also very busy.

Visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park is a must when touring Tobermory. A stop at the Visitor Centre gives you a great overview of the region.

Inside the Centre are a number of geology, flora and fauna, topography and history displays.

For kids it’s a good spot to learn a bit about the natural environment around them. For marine history buffs, there are some cool displays featuring historical items relating to the boating industry of the region.

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Replica of a local lighthouse

Hiking By the Visitor Centre

The hiking trails outside of the Visitor Centre offer great views and shouldn’t be missed.

Put on comfortable walking or hiking shoes and head around the Centre to the start of the trail system. The first thing you see is the huge tower which you can climb up to the top for some spectacular views (out comes the camera!).

Visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park Tobermory

The fire tower near the Visitor’s Centre offers a great view of the surrounding area.

For anybody who is afraid of heights, I don’t recommend the walk up the tower for three reasons:

  • You are walking on a metal mesh frame that, although sturdy, allows you to see through the cracks right to the bottom.
  • The higher you go the windier it gets if it’s a windy day
  • Once you’re at the top if you look down you can easily get vertigo. Let your friend/partner do the walk up to snap some great photos.
Visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park

The view of the Bruce Peninsula from the top

If you do decide to brave the height, once you reach the top, the view of the Tobermory area is truly spectacular. You see the islands, the super blue waters and green forest all around you.

Little Dunks Bay

Next is the trail that leads you to Little Dunks Bay which is approximately a half hour walk to a quiet lookout point. On the way you see pristine forests, untouched by campers. The occasional milk snake slithers past on the path ahead of you.

It’s fairly quiet in the woods with little noise coming in from Highway 6. If you need to take a break from city life, this is the mini-hike for you. The lookout is your destination and it leads you to a view of extremely clear and blue water with aquamarine hues.

Visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park

The view of Dunks Bay from the lookout

For the more adventurous types, you can do a 3.7 km hike along Burnt Point Loop which lets you explore more of Fathom Five National Marine Park including Dunks Point.

A weekend road trip to Tobermory from Toronto is doable if you wake up early enough in the morning, by-passing traffic. Get your favourite coffee on the go, and get exploring!

Tips For Visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park

  • Wear comfortable hiking or walking shoes for the trails.
  • Stay to the trails to avoid getting bitten by ticks and preventing Lyme disease. This also helps you protect the native plants.
  • Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you on your hike, especially if it’s a hot day. Wear a hat as well to protect from sunburn.
  • What you bring in, you bring out. If you’re snacking or eating lunch while visiting, don’t litter!
  • Be nice on the trails – they are busy during the summer period. Give way to folks who are walking faster.

What’s your favourite place to visit in Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula?

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