A Day Trip To Explore Georgian Bay From Owen Sound To Wasaga Beach
We headed out on a day trip and explored Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach. Our trip north took us along country roads with stops in small towns along the way. Once we hit Georgian Bay, we travelled along the shore. Stops in Owen Sound, Meaford, Thornbury, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach gave us different waterfront views.
It was a great escape from home in the city of Toronto. We found wide open spaces and safely explored on a day trip during Covid-19. We did not plan an overnight stay on this trip. Even though we had a successful first overnight stay when we visited Lake Huron. So that limited how far we travelled. This just left more to explore on return trips.
Heading North From Toronto
We had many options to travel north from Toronto. We ultimately took the smaller roads through the country (Hwy 10). Exhausted after a long day, we came back home down the major highway (Hwy 400).
We enjoyed the country scenery as we drove. We climbed up the Niagara Escarpment as we drove. The escarpment was formed millions of years ago after the lakes receded. The ridge of sedimentation has eroded unevenly over time. Niagara Falls actually lies on the ridge line. The maximum height was around 335m (or ~1,000 ft). At one point when my ears popped, I checked my altitude app to see how high we were.
As we passed through small towns, we looked for a small local bakery for our coffee stop. Finally in Shelburne we found the perfect spot on the classic small town Ontario street.
Jelly Cafe had a good selection of homemade treats. We eyed the butter tarts. On our road trip to the Kawartha Lakes Region, we followed the butter tart trail. And I must admit that spoiled me a bit for perfect butter tarts! Once we got our coffee and treats, we sat at one of the small tables outside and watched the small town action.
Shelburne was a great stop to re-fuel us on our trip to explore Georgian Bay.
Owen Sound On Georgian Bay
Owen Sound was located at the beginning of the Bruce Peninsula that separated Lake Huron from Georgian Bay. We got our first view of Lake Huron on a recent overnight trip. We debated heading south along Lake Huron from Owen Sound for areas we missed on our first trip. But stopped when we hit Owen Sound.
As we usually did, we checked out our offline map and GPS and meandered to the water. We parked and wandered along the waterway path. The signs along the path provided interesting tidbits about Owen Sound.
Docked along the waterway was a large ship. When we visited Sarnia on Lake Huron, we got our first view of the commercial nature of the Great Lakes. This tanker was yet another view of the large ships that moved products over water.
Lunch By The Water In Owen Sound
We were delighted when we found the Mudtown Station Brewery with a large patio right on the waterfront.
The Mudtown Station Brewery used to be a railway stop. When we went inside with our masks on, we saw a colourful stained glass window that reflected the building’s past. And displays inside expanded on this theme.
There was a small brewery on-site. A good selection of beers were offered each day. And flights were offered if we wanted to try a number of the beers.
We enjoyed our lunch on the patio. It was great to sit out in the sunshine with a healthy lunch, a beer and a view.
Our lunch break was a perfect way to begin our travels on Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach.
Missing Out On The Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory
When we looked at the map, we were really tempted to head up the Bruce Peninsula towards Tobermory. The peninsula offered two National Parks – Fathom Five National Marine Park and the Bruce Peninsula National Park. The Niagara Escarpment ran right up the Bruce Peninsula.
Tobermory was the small lakeside town at the tip of the peninsula. It was surrounded by the waters from Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Flowerpot Island was a great day trip, accessible only by boat.
Tobermory was also a diving mecca for scuba diving. Although these days, we really preferred scuba diving in the warm Caribbean waters.
There was so much to see and do on a visit to the Bruce Peninsula. We ultimately decided we wanted to enjoy it at a slower pace. And we left it for a future overnight trip.
Enjoying The Water Views In Meaford
As we drove along the shore of Georgian Bay, we followed the same strategy as other trips along the shores of the Great Lakes. We moved off the larger roads and found the small roads that followed the shore whenever possible. Every time we caught sight of water, we stopped if we could. We saw the signs for the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail we followed on our road trip to Lake Huron.
When we hit the small town of Meaford, we were delighted when we found a large park on the water. We wandered around the park and enjoyed the water and flower views all around us. There was a small uncrowded beach that the locals enjoyed.
On our travels on Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach we stopped often for water views.
Ice Cream With A View In Thornbury
When we planned our trip north to Georgian Bay, we asked a friend for recommendations for good stops for food and snacks. It was suggested we check out the ice cream shop in Thornbury. Luckily Thornbury was small and we easily found the Pom Pom ice cream shop.
We avoided the crowded park in town and headed to the harbour. Large Covid-19 signs and contactless payment for parking ensured a much better quieter option as we enjoyed our ice cream.
We found a bench and watched the water. The local beach was again quiet. It was a tranquil stop on the waters of Georgian Bay.
Watching The Weather Change At The Collingwood Port
Collingwood and the Blue Mountains are a major winter sport destination. When we looked at the hills, we still saw the ski trail areas. In normal years the Blue Mountain Village offered a host of activities in the summer months too. But many things were closed this year. We drove around and did not stop.
From there we headed to the Collingwood Port. The large grain silos at the port were another reminder of the large commercial areas along the Great Lakes. Although we learned that these ones were now shut down.
We continued past the silos along the spit to the water. We iconic waterfront signs – a small lighthouse and a giant buoy. The weather had started to turn. Out on the horizon we saw rain. And the park was split in sun and shade. Far in the distance we saw the ski runs on the Blue Mountains.
There were a couple of interesting food trucks set up in this area. The Indian restaurant was not busy. But the SoCo wood fired pizza drew line-ups the whole time we were there.
We made just a quick stop at the waterfront in Collingwood on our day trip along Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach. But we had one more stop. And we wanted to miss the coming weather.
A Final Beach Stop At Wasaga Beach
Growing up in Toronto, we both had memories of Wasaga Beach as the white sand beach escape from the city. When we got close we left the main road and drove along the small roads at the water. When we travelled along the shores of Lake St Clair, it was hard to find public beach access points. But at Wasaga Beach we found several spots with access to completely empty beaches.
We wanted to see the main beach at Wasaga Beach. It was after 5pm. But unlike our visit to Grand Bend Beach, we found the main beach nearly deserted. But then, the clouds were moving in.
We were glad we made it to the end stop on our day trip along Georgian Bay. It was still several hours to drive home. So we put the GPS on “fast route” and headed for the highway. This was not our day for a view of the sunset over the water.
Fun Art Everywhere We Stopped
We were always on the lookout for fun street art and murals when we travelled. As we went through the small town of Markdale on our drive north, we pulled over to look at the classic train station mural.
After our lunch in Owen Sound, we wandered along the main downtown street. A colourful mural welcomed us to town. We also found a pretty tile bird mosaic. And a peacock tail that decorated a store wall.
In Collingwood, we stopped when we saw a colourful display. A mosaic of 400 tiles was created to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday.
It was always fun when we stopped at the colourful street art we found on our day trips around Ontario.
A Safe Day Trip During The Summer Of Covid-19
We were always happy when we escaped our small Toronto condo and headed for the vast areas of open space around Ontario. We always went out mid-week when the summer crowds were smaller. And we were always prepared to turn back if we felt unsafe during local travel in the summer of Covid-19.
Throughout out travels along Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach most of the stops we made caused us no concern. The Covid-19 precautions were well displayed. And people in the small towns seemed prepared to do what was necessary to keep the pandemic numbers in check. People wore their masks – properly!
As we travelled around Ontario in the summer of Covid-19, we found many of the beach areas closed. On this trip we were happy we found them open. And being used responsibly.
We were happy and refreshed after a great day trip. And a safe day trip meant we already started our plans for the next one.
Explore Georgian Bay From Owen Sound To Wasaga Beach
There were many stops on our day trip along Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach. Some we planned in advance. But many were pauses made on a whim.
We assessed our risk of local travel and proceeded with caution. Much as we found on our other day trips around Ontario, travelling mid-week gave us wide open empty spaces. And some wonderful spots to enjoy.
Have you explored Georgian Bay from Owen Sound to Wasaga Beach? Did you have a favourite stop along the way?
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