Ontario encompasses over one-fifth of the worlds fresh water with its 250,000 lakes. These waterways play a key part in the history and development of the province through the means of transportation for early explorers, a source of food and influencing where towns would be built. Next to the five great lakes, Georgian Bay is the largest body of water in Ontario and is often considered the sixth great lake.
One of our favourite places to explore, photograph and enjoy is beautiful Georgian Bay. With its 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, this large bay has many popular areas and hidden gems. Georgian Bay has everything from beautiful white sand beaches, hiking trails, island camping, boating, picturesque lighthouses and so much more.
Less than a two hour drive from Toronto, Georgian Bay lets you see another side of Ontario. Here you will leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and enter a place of wind-swept pines, waves crashing up onto the Canadian Shield, small and large cottages dotting the lake and the 30,000 islands.
Here’s what you’ll experience while visiting Georgian Bay!
The Cities Surrounding The Bay
Many areas of Georgian Bay along the shoreline can be accessed from the road. This includes Collingwood, Midland, Parry Sound, French River, Killarney and Tobermory to name a few. Tobermory and Collingwood have a steady stream of tourism to the areas with their great attractions such as the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Blue Mountain. Other towns such as Midland and Petetanguishene are less frequently visited by tourists, but have a lot to offer.
To drive around all of Georgian Bay it is 1285km drive including a ferry crossing at the northern end that connects you between Manitoulin Island and Tobermory. This drive can be done in as little as 2-3 days or leisurely take up to 15 days to enjoy and immerse yourself in this beautiful area. To drive to some of the destination cities or do the entire loop either way you will not be disappointed in what you see as with each new bend in the road there is a different view of the Bay and beautiful Ontario.
Boating on Georgian Bay
Although there are many great destinations that you can access around the perimeter shoreline of Georgian Bay, some of the best destinations are on the many islands throughout the bay. Most of these islands are accessible by boat in the summer and many can even be accessed by snowmobile throughout the winter months.
Our two most visited islands for both the summer and winter months are Giants Tomb and Beckwith, each of which are a short trip from Midland / Honey Harbour by boat or snowmobile. Both islands offer great day trip destinations in the summer and winter months and allow you to explore the perimeter on the water / ice or head into the island and explore the islands on foot.
Giants Tomb takes the shape of a sleeping giant and native legend has it that the giant God Kitchikewana laid to eternal rest here after creating Georgian Bay. The island is a great destination for day trips, great swimming and camping on the beach. During the winter months when the bay freezes over, a series of natural ice caves can be found on the West side and is popular amongst snowmobilers. The actual size of the ice caves can vary each year as they are caused by the waves freezing as they crash into the island.
Located just beyond Giants Tomb, Beckwith is a boater’s paradise. Thanks to it’s sandy bottom, this island has crystal clear water and long beaches. There is no development on the island except for a simple outhouse to serve boaters, campers and picnickers. The island provides you with everything you need to spend the day or night in complete tranquility. This is a popular destination for us on weekends to relax on the beach and swim in the warm waters of Georgian Bay. One of our favourite moments is when the boat pulls up to the island and the bay transforms into clear turquoise waters – This is one of the few places you will find clear water like this on Georgian Bay.
One of the best things about Georgian Bay is that it is ever changing with beautiful landscapes and new adventures around each corner. From day trips to week long adventures, Georgian Bay has something to offer everyone. If you get the change stay out late, watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out as it is a sight you will not soon forget.
Georgian Bay is beautiful in every season so if you are looking for a weekend adventure anytime throughout the year take a drive to one of the many beautiful towns along the bay.