You might ask why Lion’s Head Canada would be the perfect location to stay in while you decide to explore North Bruce Peninsula. Let me share with you my experience, after that, the decision is yours….
A few days ago we decided to visit Ontario’s breathtaking Bruce Peninsula. Our main goal was to explore the Grotto, located in the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Since it was our second attempt this summer to visit the Grotto, we decided to stay overnight in the area to make sure that we wouldn’t have any issues getting into the National Park (over 10,000 visitors this year have already been turned away, due to limited parking availability). After an extensive web search of hotels, motels and B&B’s in the area, for a fraction of the cost comparing to Tobermory, we decided to stay in a Cat’s Pajamas B&B in the small town of Lion’s Head.
Lion’s Head is situated in Bruce County, Ontario, approximately 40 minutes by car from the main entrance to the Bruce Peninsula National Park, and one hour from Tobermory. This charming little village on the coast of Georgian Bay grows from about 500 residents off season to about 5000 during the summer and fall.
Amazing Options For Spending Your Time
Since this was our first time visiting this this village, we didn’t know what to expect, but to our pleasant surprise we found this place to be charming and very well situated, with many options for active travelers and for those who are just looking for peaceful serenity.
On our first day, my husband and I were looking forward to a hike on the Bruce Trail, so we were very happy to find out how close from the town’s marina, the access to the Trail started. We decided to take a hike toward the William’s Caves and return along the stony beach – approximately 40 minute hike (trail starts to the west of the marina). For visitors planning to go on a longer hike, the possibilities are endless….you can explore Greig’s Caves, go rock climbing, enjoy spectacular views of the limestone rock formations and Georgian Bay from the numerous lookouts along the Bruce Trail.
For those who prefer water activities, you won’t be disappointed. The crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay offer a spectacular opportunity for swimming, kayaking, paddling, boating, fishing, and scuba diving or snorkeling.
For boaters, Lion’s Head marina is a great place to dock your boat while visiting the village or just going to sample the delicious Fish and Chips in the local Pub.
Enthusiasts of snorkeling and scuba diving can truly enjoy themselves in North Bruce Peninsula, which is well known as offering one of the best environments in North America for those activities.
There is even something for astronomy fans, whatever your age and experience. In the summer, every Friday and Saturday evening at dusk, you can gaze at the stars, admire the beauty of the heavens through the provided telescopes, and learn about the moon, planets and constellations. This is a free of charge program offered by Bayside Astronomy. To take part in this very special experience, just show up near the Lion’s Head Marina on the designated evening.
Where For Dinner?
After a day of hiking, sunbathing on the town’s sandy beach, exploring the marina and village’s little shops, it was time for dinner. The Lion’s Head Inn drew our attention, offering the option of dining on the outdoor patio overlooking the Port, or enclosed patio inside the restaurant. The restaurant has the traditional English Pub look, good menu and rooms to rent. That night the Fish and Chips and Falafal Burger were the winners!!!
After a very tasty dinner, there was just enough time for ice cream….this time we picked Cindy Lou’s Ice Cream and More shop, and let me tell you, we were so happy that we did. The shop offers premium quality ice cream, delicious Latte (almost as good as the one I had in Italy) and small variety of lunch meals. We enjoyed ice cream and coffee so much that we went back to the cafe the next day.
The Grotto adventure
The famous Grotto is situated inside the Bruce Peninsula National Park and overlooking Georgian Bay. To reach this cave, allow yourself about 45 minutes to walk from parking lot #1. The Grotto is a limestone cave with incredibly clear water inside it. Next to the Grotto there is an indentation in the shoreline, called Indian Head Cove, very beautiful place with very dangerous waters….beware . Both are great for a refreshing (means COLD swim). The natural beauty of the entire area is overwhelming. I could spend an entire day enjoying what this Park has to offer.
The entrance to the Grotto is very small and probably not very appealing to those of you suffering form claustrophobia, but the ones that dare to climb down the steep rocks all the way down to the cave, will not be disappointed.
For those of you that decide to skip climbing around inside the Grotto, but would like to go for a swim, walk down to the stony beach and submerse yourself in the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay. Word of advice, be aware and very cautions of the slippery stones. Many of them don’t look slippery but that can be deceiving, believe me, I know… (<<< look left)
Hike Around Cyprus Lake
After the refreshing, but unintentional swim, we decided to follow the beautiful and not very strenuous Cyprus Lake trail. There are two access points to the trail around this lake. I recommend taking the one marked for campgrounds. This trail is well maintained, not boggy and much easier to walk on. If you start feeling tired, you can sit down on one of the benches overlooking the lake, or enjoy a relaxing time on one of the small beaches.
Watch out for Rattlesnakes while exploring this area. Snakes are timid, but can attack when cornered. Rattlesnakes are venomous, so it’s a good idea to stay away from them.
Safety and Other Tips
- Be cautious and stay on the path when walking on the Bruce Trail, the terrain is rugged and in places comes very close to the edge of the cliffs.
- Wear appropriate footwear.
- Familiarize yourself with Poison Ivy and stay away from this plant if you can.
- Some rocks on the Bruce Trail and in the water are very slippery, so caution is recommended.
- Always take water and some snacks with you when going on the trails…but remember not to leave your garbage behind.
- Bring a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, binoculars and camera with you. Walking stick might also be a good idea.
- Don’t forget a life jacket while enjoying certain water activities.
- The waters of Georgian Bay are gorgeous but can also be very dangerous, so be very cautious.
- If you are planning to get in to the Bruce Peninsula National Park, make sure that you are at the gate at 7 am to ensure your entry or time booking slot. The new parking system was introduced for 2017. I encourage you to find out details before you plan your trip, so you don’t get disappointed as we did during our first attempt to visit the Park. I encourage you to Visit www.pc.gc.ca/grotto for entry and parking pass details.
- Bringing a pair of water shoes is an excellent idea, since some of the beaches are stony and stones can be slippery.
- Towel and change of clothes are a good idea.
- Cliff jumping in Tobermory can be very dangerous, many people have died from cliff jumping in this area. I recommend staying away from this activity.
- Plan your trip when the weather is nice. There is not much to do in the Park on a rainy day.
- You won’t be able to buy food or drinks around the Grotto or Cyprus Lake, so come prepared. A cooler with some food, water and snacks would do. We witnessed a couple of Quebec tourists cooking their breakfast on the portable hot plate, at 7 am at the Park’s parking lot…..that bacon smelled sooooo good!
I thoroughly recommend visiting this part of Ontario. Enjoy the beauty of nature, respect the environment and be cautious whatever you end up doing. Have a wonderful time visiting North Bruce Peninsula. I wish you an unforgettable and safe time. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or would like to share your personal experience about visiting North Bruce Peninsula, please leave a comment below. Till next time…