Where to Stay on Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula

Where to stay Bruce Peninsula when seeing Flowerpot Island

Cruising to the “flowerpots” on Flowerpot Island

The Bruce Peninsula is one of the most beautiful destinations in Ontario for an outdoor getaway. Located four hours’ drive northwest of Toronto, this finger of land that juts into Lake Huron is home to two national parks — Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park — as well as Caribbean-blue water, unusual rock formations, and miles of hiking trails.

And while you might not think of Canada as a place for scuba-diving and snorkeling, you can do both along the Bruce Peninsula. It’s one of the best places for shipwreck diving, and even snorkelers can see the remains of several historic ships that met their watery end in this Great Lakes region.

Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario, Canada

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park

I’ve been lucky enough to make several trips to the area, and I can recommend several hotels in the Bruce Peninsula region when you’re looking for a place to stay.

Here’s the scoop:

Where to Stay in Tobermory

If you’d like to stay in the heart of the Bruce Peninsula’s action, sleep in Tobermory, the small summer-holiday town at the peninsula’s northern tip.To have the best place to stay, search for accommodation with cozycozy accommodation comparison site.

The National Park Visitor Centre is located here, and nearby, you can hike to the Grotto and Indian Head Cove, two of the park’s most beautiful shoreside spots (make reservations in advance, which are now required, for these popular locations). From Tobermory’s Little Tub Harbour, you can take a boat tour to Flowerpot Island to see the distinctive “flowerpot” rock formations or head out on a snorkeling or diving excursion.

Butter tart from Little Cove Bakery, Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula Ontario Canada

In Tobermory, stop for a butter tart at Little Cove Bakery.

Blue Bay Motel, Tobermory

When it comes to where to stay in Tobermory, the town doesn’t have much for “luxury” accommodations; most sleeping options are simple motels or inns. One of the nicest of these comfortable motels is the friendly, family-owned Blue Bay Motel, just above Little Tub Harbour, within walking distance to most of the town’s restaurants.

Blue Bay Motel, Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Tobermory’s Blue Bay Motel

The 16 guest rooms are basic, but they’ve been updated with new linens, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges. Half the rooms have queen beds, some have two doubles, and a couple of rooms have one king. Book a unit on the second floor for peek-a-boo water views (the first-floor rooms face the parking area).

Like many Tobermory lodgings, the Blue Bay is open seasonally from May through October. Make reservations early for weekend stays, particularly in July and August. High-season double room rates start at CAD$280-290/night.

The Bruce Anchor, Tobermory

The Bruce Anchor owns several properties in Tobermory: a two-story motel near Little Tub Harbour, and a single-level lodging with seven rooms on a quiet street, with a small collection of cottages across the road.

I recently stayed in that single-story motel building, which was previously under separate ownership and known as the “Peacock Villa.” Although there’s nothing especially villa-like about these simple, cozy rooms, they’re still called The Villa on the Bruce Anchor website.

Bruce Anchor Motel, Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula Ontario Canada

A guest room in the Bruce Anchor “Villa”

The no-frills units have everything you need, from a comfortable bed, to decent Wi-Fi, to a refrigerator and coffeemaker.

The four cabins opposite the Villa are compact, too, but two have a kitchenette and the “family cabin” includes a full kitchen.

For somewhat more modern rooms, consider their main motel building, where the king-bedded rooms have whirlpool tubs and many of the queen rooms have balconies or patios, where you can enjoy the breezes from the bay.

The Bruce Anchor is one of the companies offering boat cruises to Flowerpot Island, although at least during my stay, they weren’t offering cruise discounts to motel guests.

High season rates at the Bruce Anchor start at CAD$155/night. You can also compare rates and make reservations at Booking.com.

Lion's Head Lighthouse, Bruce Peninsula Ontario Canada

Lion’s Head Lighthouse

Lion’s Head Beach Motel, Lion’s Head

The quiet town of Lion’s Head overlooks Georgian Bay at about the midpoint of the Bruce Peninsula, which makes it a central base for exploring. Lion’s Head Beach is a peaceful sandy spot to swim, and on Saturday mornings, there’s a beachside farmers’ market. On the town’s south side, Lion’s Head Provincial Park is known for its unusual “potholes,” deep cylinders eroded into the limestone rocks.

Lion's Head Beach Motel, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Lion’s Head Beach Motel

Set right on the lake, the Lion’s Head Beach Motel and Cottages is a good choice if you’re traveling with kids or you’d like a little more space. This independently owned lodging feels old-fashioned, but the larger-than-average rooms, all with kitchenettes, give you room to spread out.

In addition to the motel units, which start at about CAD$160/night, there are several newer two- and three-bedroom cottages that would be even more comfortable for a family.

Grey Roots Museum, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Owen Sound’s Grey Roots Museum features local history.

Located at the southern end of the Bruce Peninsula, the town of Owen Sound is filled with cultural attractions. It’s close enough to the peninsula’s parks and beaches that you can find plenty to do both indoors and out.

In Owen Sound, the excellent Grey Roots Museum and Archives highlights the region’s history and culture with multimedia exhibits, radio stories, and interactive displays. The Tom Thomson Art Gallery shows work by the noted Group of Seven landscape painter and other Ontario artists, while the Billy Bishop Home and Museum was the childhood residence of William Avery Bishop, a fighter pilot who became one of the most decorated Canadians to serve in the First World War.

In the late 1880s, many former enslaved people who escaped from U.S. plantations via the Underground Railroad settled in the Owen Sound area. You can also explore several sites related to the community’s Black Heritage.

Inn at Cobble Beach, Owen Sound, Ontario Canada

While Owen Sound is well worth visiting for its historic attractions, what if you also want some time at the beach?

A stay at The Inn at Cobble Beach, set on Georgian Bay about 15 minutes north of Owen Sound, lets you pair your in-town adventures with accommodations by the shore. The property has rooms in its historic inn building, as well as a number of cottages around the grounds. See our full review of the Inn at Cobble Beach here.

For more information about planning a trip to the Bruce Peninsula, check out Explore the Bruce.

Have you stayed at any of these Bruce Peninsula hotels? What did you think?



Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller.

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