Planning a visit to the Bruce Peninsula National Park needs some prior arrangements so your trip goes smoothly. It’s not an easy day trip from Toronto so staying in Tobermory for the weekend is helpful. I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about visiting the Bruce Peninsula National Park so you can visit the Grotto, many hiking trails and the charming town of Tobermory.
How to get there from Toronto:
The drive from Toronto is around 4 hours one way to get to the National Park and another 15-minute drive north will bring you to Tobermory.
There are a couple bus companies that will bring you to the Park, for example Parkbus.ca however it will be rushed and not leave you a lot of time to explore the region.
How to book a ticket to visit the Bruce Peninsula:
This park is maintained by Parks Canada and to visit you need to register online before you travel here. Go to the government website for all the fees, regulations and hours of operation. This is the website where you will have to pick your travel date, group size and vehicle type.
There are only a certain amount of tickets sold for specific time slots daily, so I suggest you book well in advance, especially in the summer months.
Parking for a 4-hour time slot costs $17.70 CAD and you NEED to print out your confirmation slip and bring I.D. the day of. You can pick one 4-hour time slot, for either the morning, afternoon or evening. If you overstay your time you will be ticketed.
You cannot book multiple time slots, visitors are only allowed in once a day at their designated time.
Best time of the year to visit:
Unless you want to be swarmed by locals and tourists in the summer months, it’s best to visit during shoulder season.
I suggest visiting April – May or September – October. The park seems to be busy most of the year, however if you want photos with no people, I suggest buying the 8 am time slot and getting to the park at 7:45 am.
If you want to swim, come in the summer months yet it will be super busy, but you will be able to enjoy the park from a different perspective by exploring the grotto’s.
Where to stay?
There are 2 camping grounds, back country camping and yurt camping grounds that are close by and you have to obtain a permit ahead of time.
We stayed at Escarpment Heights Motel and it was super clean and nice facilities, plus it was a close walk to the main strip of restaurants. It’s about a 15 min drive to the entrance of the Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Look at Airbnb’s (here’s my code to get $45 off your first stay!) in the area, this is a great option for groups since most will be cottages! There are a bunch of hotels and motels but they sell out quick! Once you know your dates book ASAP and at least a few months in advance.
- There’s so much more to see than just the Grotto in the Bruce Peninsula. Take the 4 hours to explore Boulder beach (caution it’s very hard to walk on), it does lead to overhang point and it’s a great trail to escape the crowds.
- There are many lakes and trails to discover in the park and they are all well marked.
- There are no bathrooms or trashcans along the trails so please do your part in keeping the area clean!
Don’t come all the way to the Bruce Peninsula National Park and miss exploring the adorable town of Tobermory! The little town is full of shops and restaurants on the harbor.
If you want to visit a beautiful spot for sunset visit the Big Tub lighthouse and then drive over to the parking lot for Bruce Anchor Cruises and follow the hill to the left of the dock and it will lead you to rocks where you can sit and enjoy the sun going down.
Another popular trip is to flowerpot island, which can be booked online. It’s another great little trip to explore and swim at in the summer months.
I hope all this information helps plan your trip to the Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory a successful one! Ontario is so beautiful, and this is one of my favorite places!