Hit the beach in a classic vacation destination
If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. That could be the motto for the time-warp enclave of Sauble Beach. This beautiful stretch of Lake Huron coastline looks pretty much the same as it did in the 1950s, which is precisely the appeal for the nature-loving visitors who come here to get off-the-grid and partake of old-school family fun.
Stretching for 7 miles along Huron’s western shore, Sauble Beach ranks as the world’s second-longest freshwater beach (Wasaga Beach, also in Ontario, takes the top spot) and with its gorgeous sunsets and wild coastline, it summons romance and adventure in equal measure. Sauble Beach is part of the Bruce Peninsula, a wild, 70-mile expanse of craggy shorelines fringed with mystical woodlands. Within striking distance of Sauble, there’s outdoor recreation galore and stunning scenery at Bruce Peninsula National Park. And just a short drive away, Owen Sound, with its lively historic district and cultural attractions, provides all the amenities of an outdoorsy regional hub while the charms and scenery of Tobermory work its magic on visitors to the peninsula’s northern tip.
Sauble Beach has been named one of the “Top 10 Beaches in the World.” With its warm, crystal blue water rippled with multiple sand bars, this safe swimming beach is a big hit for families with young children. The west-facing beach also delivers phenomenal sunsets, which adds to the town’s romantic aura. Recreational activities include swimming, windsurfing, kite-boarding, water-skiing, fishing, golfing, beach volleyball and dune surfing,
Just three miles north of Sauble Beach, Sauble Falls Provincial Park is an idyllic setting for hiking, fishing and picnicking, with a series of picturesque falls, trails, a playground and picnic shelter. The 1.5-mile Sauble Trail meanders along the Sauble River before traversing ancient sand dunes and red pine plantations. You can rent canoes and kayaks and paddle 7 miles downstream through farmlands and sand dunes from Sauble Falls to Country Road 8 (around three to four hours). Sauble Falls is a popular birding area, and Osprey are often sighted at the mouth of the Sauble River.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Less than an hour’s drive from Sauble Beach, Bruce Peninsula National Park forms the core of UNESCO’s Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. Opportunities for outdoor recreation abound with hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing and wildlife spotting amidst a pristine wilderness of craggy oyster gray cliffs, dense forests and gorgeous turquoise waters that feel more Caribbean than Canadian. This glorious park is famed for its superb hiking trails, which range in difficulty from novice to advanced and connect to the Bruce Trail, a wild 586-mile path that ends in Tobermory.
The most popular (easy) hikes include the three-mile jaunt to Flowerpot Island — named for the 35-foot-tall wind-carved columns that resemble giant vases — and the 2-mile Georgian Bay Trail to Indian Head Cove, a small, secluded cove framed with giant boulders. It’s a perfect outdoor gym for kids. Bruce’s crowning jewel is Cyprus Lake Grotto, where crystalline waters in shades of blue and green and intricate cave structures lure strong swimmers (and those with no aversion to the cold) or travelers looking to revel in the area’s serene beauty.
Bruce Peninsula National Park preserves an incredible ecosystem of uninterrupted forest that features 850-year-old gnarled trees (stunted by wind and cold) and the oldest white cedar forest on the continent. The park is home to a mind-boggling array of creatures, including black bears, lynx, red squirrels, porcupines, chipmunk, white-tailed deer, snakes, frogs, long-eared bats, northern flying squirrel, rattlesnakes and yellow-spotted salamanders.
At the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, quaint Tobermory exudes an end-of-the-world aura (with a whiff of the eccentric), despite the growing numbers of tourists who use the town as a base for exploring the wild and beautiful lands of the Bruce Peninsula. Beyond the small town with its stores, bars, live music venues, waterside restaurants (the sunsets here are incredible) and hotels that dot Little Tub Harbor, Tobermory caters to active travelers who are always looking to raise the bar.
Five National Marine Park, Canada’s first National Marine Conservation Area, is one of the finest freshwater diving destinations in Canada, with excellent visibility allowing for prime viewing of submerged geological formations and more than 20 historic shipwrecks. For a culture fix, the St. Edmunds Township Museum, housed in a 1898 building, provides a chronological sweep of the region with a keen focus on maritime history and cultural artifacts related to the area’s First Nations tribes. Tobermory’s historic lighthouses — Big Tub, Cabot Head, Cove Island and Flowerpot Island — now provide visitors with stunning panoramas of Bruce Peninsula’s dramatic forest, coastline, massive cliffs and lakes.
Sauble Beach Events
Visitors with good timing might arrive in Sauble Beach during one of the area’s annual festivals. In August, the city celebrates Sandfest, which features live music, children’s activities, a classic car show and sand sculpting galore. Unleash your inner artist and create a sand masterpiece for a prize. Or simply sample some of the eclectic food on offer.
In June, owners of classic rides show off their prized possessions at the Sauble, Classic Car Show. Chat with the owners who are happy to shed light on the history and design behind their masterpieces on wheels. To add to the atmosphere, live bands play music that was popular during the golden age of auto travel.
For More Information
Sauble Beach Tourism Office