Famous for its gorgeous shoreline and emerald waters, Tobermory sits at the Bruce Peninsula’s northernmost point. Tobermory has two harbours where you can catch scenic boat cruises around the channel, rent sea kayaks or take a ferry to Manitoulin Island or Flowerpot Island.
Two area parks are perfect for exploring: Fathom Five National Marine Park and Bruce Peninsula National Park. You’ll find numerous trails, scenic viewpoints and beaches to enjoy. A few favourite stopping points include the Grotto water cave and shipwreck sites. Learn more about the area’s history with a visit to St. Edmunds and Peninsula Museum, or walk out to the Big Tub Lighthouse and enjoy the harbour views.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Tobermory, scroll down or visit the town's tourism website.
Where is Tobermory?
Tobermory sits on the northernmost point of the Bruce Peninsula. It’s about 300 km northwest of Toronto’s centre and a 3.5 to 4 hour drive from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
Things to Do in Tobermory
The top of the Bruce Peninsula is a natural oasis, famous for its abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Enveloped by Georgian Bay to the east, Lake Huron to the west, and the Cape Hurd Channel to the north, water activities are plentiful. The town’s two harbours, Big Tub Harbour and Little Tub Harbour, offer scenic boat cruises around the channel islands.
If you want to get out of the boat and explore, you can opt for a ferry to Flowerpot Island. You’ll find a loop trail that takes you out to the famous “flowerpots” (sea stacks) and the Flowerpot Island Lightstation Museum. Those who want to paddle on their own can rent sea kayaks and navigate the calm coves along the peninsula’s shoreline.
Tobermory is home to two beautiful nature parks. Fathom Five National Marine Park offers hiking routes, swimming spots and plenty of views of the sea stacks. The park features ancient rock formations and 22 shipwreck sites, including the Sweepstakes Shipwreck in Big Tub Harbour and several surrounding Cove Island and Russell Island. Snorkelling and diving excursions, or glass-bottom boat cruises, give you an up-close view of the sunken ships.
A short drive south will take you to Bruce Peninsula National Park, which hosts the famous sea stacks and rock formations, plus large sections of forests. Here you can camp or rent a yurt and enjoy various outdoor sports, such as hiking, boating, cycling, birdwatching and snowshoeing in the winter. Favourite hiking spots are the peaceful Boulder Beach, the Grotto sea cave and the Overhanging Point along the famous Bruce Trail.
The Bruce Trail is a regional favourite, stretching north-to-south from Tobermory to Niagara for nearly 900 km. It’s Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, making stops near Nottawasaga Bay and Owen Sound before entering the Bruce Peninsula. Here it weaves along the rocky coastline. Many who visit Tobermory opt to walk a portion of the trail and enjoy an overnight at a campground.
Tobermory has four lighthouses. Some are easy to access by car, while others require a ferry ride or a short hike. The town’s primary lighthouse is the Big Tub Lighthouse, but you’ll also find Cabot Head Lighthouse at the national park's southern end. If you head out to Flowerpot Island, you can hike to the lighthouse or catch a glimpse of the Cove Island Lighthouse if you take the ferry between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island.
After a day enjoying the beautiful natural scenery of Tobermory, take a stroll through the streets lining Little Tub Harbour. Check out Bay Street for cafes, restaurants, boutiques and souvenir shops. You’ll also find grocery stores, laundromats and public washrooms. If you’re looking for something to eat, try the region’s famous white fish. And to learn more about the area’s history, head south along Highway 6 and stop at St. Edmunds and Peninsula Museum.
Tobermory Neighbourhoods & Districts
Tobermory is a small town, so it has one primary neighbourhood surrounding the two harbours. But you’ll also find plenty of activities to enjoy in other parts of the area, including on Flowerpot Island and in Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Little Tub Harbour
Here is where you’ll find the buzz of Tobermory. At Little Tub Harbour, you can find boat cruises and boat rentals, ferries to Flowerpot Island or Manitoulin Island, shipwreck sites and the official northern starting point of the Bruce Trail. Restaurants, cafes, shops and grocery stores line the harbour in colourful buildings.
Big Tub Harbour
Much quieter than its neighbour, Big Tub Harbour sits just west of Little Tub Harbour. Here you’ll find one of the more accessible shipwreck sites, Sweepstakes Ship Wreckage, and the famous Big Tub Lighthouse. Many private homes and cottage rentals line this harbour.
Tobermory’s Fathom Five National Marine Park includes 20 islands to the town’s north and east, including Flowerpot, Cove and Russell Islands. Access is mostly restricted, but boat cruises will take you around the area so you can enjoy the scenery or explore the shipwrecks. Flowerpot Island is accessible by ferry and includes a hiking loop.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of the largest conserved areas in southern Ontario and protects a large portion of the Niagara Escarpment. Here you’ll find outdoor recreational opportunities like camping, hiking, bird watching, beachcombing and exploring the Grotto.
Things to Know About Visiting Tobermory
There is so much to offer in Tobermory, start your visit with some local favourites and follow the inspiration from there:
Where to go paddling
Favourite local gem
Where to go for a hike
The Bruce Trail. Hike, cycle, camp, fish, boat, or search for birds in one of the two sprawling natural parks. Walk a portion of the famous Bruce Trail and experience the geology of the Niagara Escarpment.