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Sauble Beach, Ontario

Spotlight: Sauble Beach

Sand, sun and stunning coastlines make this a standout slice of Ontario

The official motto of Sauble Beach, Ontario, is “Live Life Slow.” Once you’re here, it’s easy to take that advice to heart. Great parks, a small-town atmosphere and picturesque beachfront placement combine to make this an attractive spot to relax, unwind and escape.

Perched on the eastern shores of Lake Huron, the Sauble Beach community is a small one, numbering less than 400 year-round residents. But that number can swell to upwards of 30,000 on gorgeous summer long weekends, as throngs of big city escapists from nearby Toronto and Niagara Falls rush to the edges of the sparkling Bruce Peninsula. Such is the life of a buzzing beachside resort town.

No matter what the population is at any given time, however, Sauble Beach manages to retain (and proudly display) all of its small-town bonafides with classic, casual charm. Mom-and-pop shops line Main Street, which looks as if it’s been pulled from the pages of a 1950s catalogue. There’s also a healthy mix of trendy surf shops and youthful skateboard shops. The town is one part retirement community and one part youthful retreat, resulting in a fit-for-all-types pace that makes this one of the friendliest and most welcoming vacation destinations around.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Hitting the Beach

The crown jewel of Sauble Beach is the waterfront itself. At just over 7 miles in length, this is said to be the second longest freshwater beach in the world, sitting behind only Wasaga Beach—which just so happens to sit about 70 miles away to the east. It’s also buffered with a spread of ancient sand dunes that are part of eastern Lake Huron’s dune system. They’re under attack from intense erosion, and part of a widespread conservation effort, but you can still climb to the top of the “Giant Sand Dune” and then throw yourself down from the top, tumbling and rolling as fast as you can.

A few miles north of the beachfront you’ll find Sauble Falls Provincial Park. Flanking the shores of the Sauble River, this is a great place to set up camp for the duration your Sauble Beach stay, or simply to steal away a day or two of hiking, camping, fishing or kayaking. The Falls themselves are small and easy to splash around in, even for kids. Canoe and kayak rentals are available to explore the length of the river, and an Adventure Playground is available for those with children.

Don’t miss taking a hike on the Sauble Trail, which offers incredible views of the Sauble River. The trail route begins on the eastern end of the park and winds through a red pine plantation to the sand dunes further west. If you’re an angler visiting in spring or fall be sure to pack your rod and reel. Rainbow trout and Chinook salmon burst from the waters of the Sauble River in abundant supply. Portions of the river are closed to fishing across all seasons, so be sure to seek out a designated area.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Park at the Peninsula

Further north still—about an hour’s drive from Sauble Beach—sits Bruce Peninsula National Park, which clings to cliffs that rise from the waters of Georgian Bay. The park is filled with old growth forests, curious black bears, rare reptiles and incredible hiking trails. Stop in at the park visitor center in the town Tobermory for up-to-date information on the status of certain trails and activities.

Hop on the Bruce Trail (the longest and oldest footpath in Canada) for a chance to explore the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Or hop on the Georgian Bay-Marr Lake Trail for the quickest and easiest access to the park’s dramatic lakeside cliffs. For easy-on-the-knees and back hiking, head for the Singing Sands Day Use area—it’s home to a variety of trailheads that provide lower difficulty casual day hikes.

For more adventurous types, Bruce Peninsula is also one of the best caving and spelunking areas in the country. Ancient holes and crevices that were carved out of the Niagara Escarpment more than 7,000 years ago during the last ice age are ripe for exploration. Greig’s Caves, the Grotto, Bruce’s Caves and a loop trail on Flowerpot Island are among the most popular.

The community of Sauble Beach and the surrounding area is a rewarding and highly relaxing spot to set up camp and enjoy the great outdoors. You’ll have plenty of company if you’re visiting in the summer, but the pace and vibe of this charming small town handles the influx with ease.

For More Information

Sauble Beach Tourism Office
Ontario Travel