Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario

Plan A Day Trip To Sauble Falls And Sauble Beach

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Much To Enjoy On A Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron

We enjoyed a mid-week getaway to Port Elgin on Lake Huron in Ontario.  Along the way to and from Port Elgin, we found great road trip stops to enjoy.  One day we headed out and enjoyed the beach and waterfalls at Sauble Beach.  A day trip to Tobermory let us explore Flowerpot Island.  And every day ended with a lovely sunset.  

Heading For Ontario’s West Coast

We plotted our road trip to Port Elgin on Lake Huron across the heartland of Ontario.  Our first stop was in the charming town of Stratford.  We visited Stratford before.  So with a dull grey sky, we did not hang around for long.  

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On our last road trip to Lake Huron, we visited the beach town of Grand Bend.  A quick stop at the beach in Grand Bend was a good reminder of how great the beaches were along the coast.  Even if we knew the water was cold! 

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Grand Bend - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

We planned one stop along the way at the Dark Horse Estate Winery.  After we wandered around outside, we went in and checked out the wines.  Craig informed us that this winery was one of the largest on Ontario’s West Coast.  And he was very helpful with some suggestions for wines to try.  

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We settled on two versions of rosé and two red wines for our flight.  Settled in on the patio we tasted our wine choices.  The younger rosé wine proved that my taste buds might like sweeter rosés.  While we expected to like the recommended Baco Noir red wine, we instead found the Marquette red wine more to our taste.  We learned this winter-hardy, pest/disease-resistant varietal did well in this part of Ontario.  But it was our first Marquette tasting.

Dark Horse Winery - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg
Dark Horse Winery - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg
Dark Horse Winery.jpg

We left with our 2 wine choices and were back on the road again for Port Elgin on Lake Huron.

Lighthouse Stops Along The Way

Whenever we travelled along a coastal route, we always looked for water and lighthouse views.  Our first discovery on Lake Huron was at Point Clark.  We got a good look along the shore.  And saw the interesting Point Clark Lighthouse.  In other years, this sight acted as a museum and tourism information centre during the summer months.

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On our drive to Port Elgin, we planned a stop in Kincardine.  We found the Flagpole Garden at the Kincardine Trails and parked.  The boardwalk went down along the beach.  And when we went the other way we saw the historic Kincardine Lighthouse at the mouth of the Penetangore River.  We walked along the harbour and saw several different water tours offered.  But on this visit to Lake Huron, we did not get back to try one of the tours.

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Kincardine Flagpole Garden.jpg
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When we stayed in Port Elgin, we visited the charming town of Southampton a few times.  We drove along the shore and saw the Southampton Range Light at the mouth of the Saugeen River.  Off in the distance we just made out the lighthouse on Chantry Island.  Further up the river we discovered the Heritage Lighthouse up on a hill.  This set of lights helped sailors line up to enter the harbour.

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Southampton Heritage Lighthouse - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

We were not surprised we found so many interesting lighthouses on our road trip to Port Elgin on Lake Huron.

Our Stay In Port Elgin On Lake Huron

We were still chasing the hotel nights needed to renew our Platinum Elite status with IHG Rewards.  So we booked 3 nights at the Holiday Inn Express Port Elgin.  The hotel was located on the north end of town which worked well for our day trip plans.  The hotel included free breakfast.  And we got the best breakfast we ever had at a Holiday Inn Express anywhere in the world! 

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We shopped at the grocery store and did a picnic each day for one of our meals.  Sometimes we took a packed lunch with us.  And on other long travel days, we happily ate a light dinner in the room.  

Several times we went in search of local fish and chips.  We had no luck finding what we wanted in Port Elgin.  But when we visited the charming small town of Southampton just north of Port Elgin, we found the Duffy’s Fish And Chips.  While their fish selection was limited the day we visited, we were both quite happy with the cod and perch options we picked.

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On our travels on this road trip to Port Elgin, we found many stores and restaurants suffered from staff shortages.  We learned not to expect smaller places to be open early in the week.  And many had restricted hours.  Even in the peak of summer tourist season!

A Day Trip To Sauble Falls

On one day we headed north up along the coast of Lake Huron.  Our first planned stop was at Sauble Falls.

We found two ways to visit Sauble Falls.  Coming north on the Sauble Falls Parkway, we saw the signs for the Sauble Falls Provincial Park.  To park for the falls in the park required a day permit.  This was a cheap option for us with David’s military discount.  But we were directed to go further up the road.  Over the river we found the parking lot with a ticket machine.  The cost to park was $12.

As we walked from the parking lot to the viewing platform we saw colourful kayaks for rent above Sauble Falls.  We wondered about kayaking so close to the falls.  But soon saw the buoy lines that blocked the falls off. 

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We stopped at the top and looked out over the falls.  With low water levels and from the top, they did not really look like waterfalls at all.  But we saw lots of people frolicking in the water.  

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Sauble Falls.jpg

We followed the rough path down and several times took the rocky opening towards the falls.  At the bottom we got a full view of the falls.  It was much more impressive from the below.

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Sauble Falls - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

After we climbed our way back up, we crossed the bridge to the other side.  We went down the stairs and wandered along the walkway for a different perspective on the Sauble Falls.

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Sauble Falls - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

We were sure glad we planned a visit to Sauble Falls on our stay in Port Elgin on Lake Huron.  This was the first of many waterfalls we saw on this road trip.

Wandering In Sauble Beach

No visit was complete without a visit to the water at Sauble Beach.  From Sauble Falls, we came down the shore from the north.  We found many lake access points from the road to quieter parts of the beach. Parking was available all along the road.  Most of the parking was paid with a mobile phone.  But there were a few spots that actually took a credit card and issued a parking ticket.

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We got lucky and found one of the few 2-hour free parking spots on the main street in town.  From there we headed to the beach for a walk along the water.  When we kept walking, we found a less crowded spot on the sand and spent some time lounging on the sand.

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Sauble Beach.jpg

Before we got burned, we walked back into town in search of lunch.  There were many options along the beach and the main street.  We finally settled into Beach Burger and had a massive two-handed burger!

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As we strolled around Sauble Beach, we saw so many different things to keep people entertained.  The Ascent Aerial Park looked fun and was a great spot for a view of Sauble Beach from above.

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We were glad we did not miss Sauble Beach on a day trip from Port Elgin on Lake Huron.

Exploring Flowerpot Island From Tobermory

One day we headed north to Tobermory and visited Flowerpot Island.  We booked our trip to the island with Bruce Anchor Cruises.  The cruise got us a view of the Big Tub Lighthouse and shipwrecks under the water before we headed out to Flowerpot Island.

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Tobermory Big Tub Harbour Wreck.jpg

We cruised out through the Fathom Five National Marine Park. Flowerpot Island was one of the few islands you can visit.  We got our first view of the interesting rock structures known as flowerpots as we cruised along.  When we got off the boat, we had about 3 hours to explore Flowerpot Island.  The path along the beach got us out onto the rocky beaches and gave us a wonderful view of the flowerpots from the shore.

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Tobermory Flowerpot Island - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

We hiked to the Lightstation at the end of the island.  And headed out along the path to the lighthouse.  We got stunning views of the coastline and the crystal clear waters.  At that point we re-traced our path back to the boat dock.

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Tobermory Flowerpot Island Coast.jpg

We were so happy we planned a day trip to Tobermory and explored Flowerpot Island on this visit to Port Elgin on Lake Huron.

Every Day Ended With A Colourful Sunset

Port Elgin was on the east coast of Lake Huron, so we knew we would get awesome sunsets.  And we were not disappointed.

One night we drove the North Shore Road towards the Port Elgin harbour.  We parked by the waterfront path and wandered along the shore.  As we walked, the sun sunk in the sky.  And provided an amazing sunset show.

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North Shore Sunset - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

We had a lovely walk for the sunset.  But were delighted when we found interesting carved wooden art all along the path.  

North Shore Wood Carvings - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg
North Shore Wood Carvings.jpg
North Shore Wood Carvings - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg

On another night, we drove along the south shore and then came back to the Main Beach and the Port Elgin Breakwater.  We got an equally colourful sendoff for the day.

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Main Beach Sunset - Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron In Ontario.jpg
Main Beach Sunset.jpg

Every day ended with a colourful sunset on our stay in Port Elgin on Lake Huron.

Chasing Waterfalls Around Owen Sound

After our stay in Port Elgin, we headed for a one night stop in Collingwood.  The direct path to Collingwood was 90 minutes.  But we knew it would take us much longer with several waterfall stops around Owen Sound planned along the way.  

Our first planned stop was at Jones Falls.  We took the short path from the side of the road.  And struggled over some rock and root-covered ground for a view of the falls.

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After we back-tracked to the other side, we found an easier path.  But all we found was a slow trickle of water over the Jones Falls.  This was not the wide cascade we hoped for.  

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The second waterfall stop was at Harrison Park.  In the park we followed the sign that led to the Weaver’s Creek Nature Trail.  We found the boardwalk to the Weaver’s Creek Nature Trail.  But from the boardwalk we saw only a slow moving creek with small sections where the water tumbled over the rocks or logs.  

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Undeterred, we kept walking when we heard loud water splashing.  And were delighted when we found a much bigger waterfall.  

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Our last stop for waterfalls around Owen Sound was at the Inglis Falls Conservation Area.  From the viewing platform we got our first full view of Inglis Falls.  

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We kept scrambling down and got other angles on the falls.  But we never got to the bottom of the falls.

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We were  so glad we chased the waterfalls around Owen Sound after our visit to Port Elgin on Lake Huron.  There were many other waterfalls in the area that we missed on this trip.  A great reason to head back one day.

We Enjoyed On A Road Trip To Port Elgin On Lake Huron

We arrived in Collingwood as the pouring rain started.  It kept us in for the evening. We had a very busy agenda on our road trip to Port Elgin on Lake Huron. So when the morning was grey and overcast, we decided to head straight back home to Toronto.  

We made a short coffee stop at Creemore Bakery.  And were delighted to fill a box with fresh fruit and veggies at a market stand on the roadside.

Our road trip to Port Elgin offered such a great range of sights and activities.  We started with lighthouses and wine tasting.  Day trips to Sauble Beach and to Tobermory for Flowerpot Island provided great adventures.  Detours on the road trip home brought interesting waterfall sights around Owen Sound.   And we were delighted when each day ended with a colourful sunset.

Have you done a road trip to Port Elgin on Lake Huron?  Did we miss something on our visit?

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72 Comments

  1. Actually this is the first time I have read about Port Elgin on Lake Huron – but it looks awesome. I love winetasting and lighthouses! And the beaches look nice too – not too crowded and beautiful colors. Did you rent a canoe as well?

  2. Some really interesting formations on Flower Pot Island. Of course, I would have to visit that winery and sample some of that delicious looking food.

  3. The scenery in Grand Bend is spectacular. At Dark Horse Estate Winery, both the red and rosé wines appear delectable, and I’d like to sample them. The Duffy’s Fish and Chips likewise look flavorful. The Inglis Falls Conservation Area in particular is one of those amazing waterfalls. I must also admit that your photographs of the strikingly pink sunset are fantastic. What a wonderful journey!

  4. What a fantastic road trip! You had me at the wineries and lighthouses, but then to see the rugged beauty of Flowerpot Island…very cool! I thought the island’s name was curious, and I can now see how the rock structures inspired the name. Plus, I love all the scenic beauty with the sunsets, waterfalls in the area. (It would be fun to hunt for wood carvings, too!) I definitely need to make a trip to Port Elgin.

  5. Ontario’s West Coast really is our province’s best-hidden gem isn’t it- charming lighthouses, small beach towns like Port Elgin, Lake Huron with its amazing sunrise and sunsets- just such a great area to explore. And, explore you did! Looks like you had some great food, to know that you enjoyed the best breakfast at the Holiday Inn, that’s great news for that hotel chain. You’ve shared such a great itinerary spreading from Stratford to Tobermory that it makes me want to do it again!

    • We were glad we planned our road trip to Port Elgin and managed to see so much. But left other gems to explore on a return visit. We have not spend much time on Ontario’s West Coast. So now know we need to return.

  6. The Point Clark Lighthouse looks tall. I bet the view from above is spectacular. Sauble looks like the place, I would visit. Knowing the fact that it has the Lake Huron, Sauble falls, and Sauble beach. Kayaking around Sauble Falls would be an amazing experience to enjoy.

  7. This road trip to Port Elgin on Lake Huron looks delightful! You visited so many picturesque places on your trip and the food had me drooling. That day trip to Flowerpot Island looked so nice – the water color and rock formations were beautiful.

  8. Not only are the sceneries just amazing, it also looks like a great playground for the young and the older kids 😉 I love all these fun sculpture-like decorations. Do you know if they sell this wine glass holder? It looks very posh 🙂 What a wonderful place for fun as well as relaxation Port Elgin seems to be – just what I’d need right now 😀

  9. On your road trip to Port Elgin, I love that you stopped off at a winery to sample some wines of the region, sounds like you got some great recommendations at Dark Horse Estate Winery, I thought the Southampton Range Light was a beautiful structure. The Holiday Inn Port Elgin sounds incredible especially the breakfast!

  10. It’s a beautiful area and it seems like you were able to do do much! Bummer that so many of the waterfalls were drier than normal but they still look pretty 🙂

  11. What a gorgeous landscape. Being able to visit different beaches and towns like Kincardine along the way. It looks like a really fun road trip. Sauble falls reminds me of Pollet river and gordon falls in Elgin, NB as well. It’s like seeing double. Love the flower pot island too.

  12. Wow, this made me want to go to Ontario! The lighthouses on the way to SaublecFalls and Sauble Beach, the Flowerpot Island and the National Park. And everything around Owen Sound!

  13. Your pictures are enough provoking to take a trip to Ontario super soon. Really Loved the post and thoroughly enjoyed the guide. So much information about Port Elgin. Thanks for sharing.

  14. It seems that your little break to Port Elgin on the Lake Huron was very relaxing. I have never tried Canadian wine even if I’ve been to Toronto, so the idea of having a tasting flight at the Dark Horse Estate appeals to me very much. I like that you included a lot of nature walks in this itinerary. I’d love to see the lighthouses but also chase waterfalls on a weekend away.

    • We were a bit surprised to find a winery in this part of Ontario but liked the chance to try a few new wines. A perfect way to start our road trip to Port Elgin. Every day we found a new sight.

  15. Visiting Lake Huron seems to be a perfect weekend getaway. Especially with wine tasting and lighthouse stops along the way. Holiday Inn Express Port Elgin seems to be a perfect stay for me, as the rooms are spacious and with desks. Flowerpot Island looks amazing, I would love to see those rock formations!

  16. Great post with lots of useful information! I was in parts of this area 10 years ago, but didn’t know that there are so many cool things to do 😃 I’ll definitely refer to your post if I ever visit again!

  17. Another enticing post about beautiful Canada. Loved it as always. I loved those wooden sculptures. So clever.

  18. This looks like a lovely little getaway! I love the rocks at Flowerpot Beach. Also, the burger at Beach Burger looked great, but THOSE FRIES!!! They looked especially delicious!

  19. I haven’t done a road trip to Port Elgin yet, but I’d love to. You covered a lot of ground while exploring! Visiting South Hampton would be right up my alley and sampling those tasty fish and chips would be a must for me as well.

  20. Every time I read your posts I am just about drooling! And not just for the food. So many places to explore and enjoy in Port Elgin and on the Lake. Love it!

  21. This sounds like such a lovely trip! And it seems like there is so much to do in the area. I’d be most interested in visiting Flowerpot Island and the waterfalls—so beautiful!

  22. I’d never heard of Port Elgin but it looks lovely. There are loads of elements I would enjoy, from the wine, to Sauble Falls, to Flowerpot Island & those gorgeous sunsets. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Having yet to visit Canada, it certainly looks like Ontario’s West Coast has a variety of choice, from lighthouses, winery’s, scenic coastal towns, waterfalls and a very unique island day trip with unique natural formations and equally unique name.

  24. Wow, this looks rich in activities. I was waiting with baited breath for your wine choices, of course, lol! Did you buy some to take on the road? 🙂 Those giant rock formations look amazing, how long have they been there?

    • We did indeed buy some wine to take with us. Great to have to watch those sunsets. So many fun things to do on a road trip to Port Elgin. So glad we visited Tobermory and saw Flowerpot Island.

  25. This looks like such an awesome area, and one I wouldn’t have thought to visit! The falls look like a great swimming spot and how cool are the animals carved in the wood

  26. Your road trip to Port Elgin on Lake Huron looks quite interesting with beautiful light houses on the beach and the cascading Sauble waterfalls with a scenic view. Duffy’s Fish and chips looks so delectable and worth trying. And the rock formations at flowerpot islands are so bizarre vand beautiful! The waterfalls at Owen sound was beautiful too and the Dark Horse wine estate looks interesting one.

  27. That’s definitely a wonderful trip. Love the idea of checking water and lighthouse views. Will suggest that during our next road trip. A trip to the Flowerport Island is worth it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

  28. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I live right on the border of Michigan and Canada so I will be popping over to Ontario for a long birthday getaway this weekend. I’m totally gunna check out that winery and Sauble Falls! Thank you for sharing!

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