We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
72 posts
29 reviews
Save Topic
Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Hello! We're looking at a 3d or so side trip from Toronto and are considering the Bruce Peninsula after seeing the spectacular pictures online. However, I do have to take into consideration that we'll have our 2 girls in tow, and wonder how well they'll fare. Here are the few things I was considering doing...

- Blue Heron cruise to see the shipwrecks and stop at Flower Pot Island (at the island, anything specific to do, or just explore?)

- Sauble Beach: our girls are beach bums so I'm assuming we can make a day of it exploring here. Again, anything specific must dos?

- I saw pics of the 'Grotto' but haven't researched this yet. Are there 'tours' to the caves, or is it self-explore? Also, how would a klutzy 3 year old fare? :)

Also, a huge consideration is that we'll be there first week of May. I checked at the cruises are at least running, but should I be concerned about things being closed?

Many thanks!!!

Barrie, Canada
Level Contributor
7 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Went to Bruce 2 years ago when our boy was 3 1/2. He had a great time. Seeing the shipwrecks gave him an interest in pirates and other shipwrecks. Whenever we go on vacation he is always asking if there are shipwrecks there. Flower Pot Island is a great hike for the entire family and the kids have fun with the rocks etc.

The Grotto is an amazing place, the hike in is a great walk and you are rewarded with one of Canada's treasures. The grotto itself is hard to access with young kids as it is a climb or a swim but the views and the color of the water is something to behold. It is just unfortunate that in May it will be a little to cold for swimming. The wind coming off the lakes will be cold.

One tip that I found traveling with youngsters is that they will go anywhere if they are having fun. May I recommend geocaching (geocaching.com). This is a treasure hunt game all over the world and the kids love it. We do it every where we go. We see the sites and the kids have fun and lots of exercise.

Have fun.

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
Level Contributor
3,871 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

There are no tours of the Grotto, you can easily walk there from the Cypress Lake campground. The tricky part is scrambling down to the water to swim in the cavern, though as marlin5353 said it might be too cold to do that anyway and you'll just be enjoying the view from above (hard to say though since we're having a very early spring). The Grotto is just the most charismatic of many rock formations along the cliffs of the northeastern shore of the Bruce Peninsula in Bruce Peninsula National Park, and since the Bruce Trail follows the shore the whole way you can hike any section you want.

Flowerpot Island is just to explore, there are some nice easy hiking trails and views of the "flowerpots" (sea stacks basically).

gxp
Niagara
Level Contributor
2,150 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Just a word of caution as the shoreline of Georgian Bay is mostly cliffs. It's the Niagara Escarpment and the as other posters have mentioned, you climb down a rocky cliff to get near the Grotto. There are no gaurdrails as it is wilderness so you will have to watch the children.

Here's a description of the trail:

www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/on/bruce/activ/activ1.aspx

and map:

pc.gc.ca/pn-np/…visit6d.aspx

And on Google maps (if you drag the person on the upper left, you will get pictures of the area (blue dots))

http://g.co/maps/7udu7

Edited: 16 March 2012, 23:53
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
15,154 posts
762 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Weather is a key factor for the Tobermory area. It's very windy and the water is pretty cool. Yes it is pretty with the scenery, but I could see the area being a little dry unless you have youngsters that don't mind cool weather that can be windy. The weather can change so quickly in Tobermory, so just keep that in mind.

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
72 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Thank you all for the great advice. We will.certainly we watching the weather and packing accordingly. Pity about The Grotto bec it looks amazing but there's lots else and perhaps on a return trip when the girls are older.

Another question... We are thinking of setting up camp in Tara some 15 miles south of Sauble Beach. I've spent considerable time researching b&b's closer to Tobermory and had trouble finding one that would comfortably accommodate (or even take!) a family. Cottages are pricier and we would need to deal with linens, etc which is impractical as we are flying. Anyway, other than the 1.5 hour drive to Tibermory, can anyone think of any further drawbacks to this plan? Thanks!

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
70,800 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Hi hailbuzzy;

Tara is a small town with nothing of interest to a tourist there. No "McDonalds" or other fast food outlets. More like a village than a town - very small place.

Unless it is on the way, other than JUST a place to sleep, it would NOT be a place I would suggest to someone visiting "the Bruce".

Best Regards

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
72 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

Thanks Rescue Team. Despite the fact that the b&b looks perfect for our family, we've decided than it is a little too far from the Northern tip of the Bruce where we want to do a lot of exploring. The proximity to Sauble Beach is nice, but I do think we can cover Sauble in one day. So thanks in helping with the decision - makes it a little bit easier! :)

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
70,800 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

You're Welcome !

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
Level Contributor
3,871 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

"Pity about The Grotto bec it looks amazing but there's lots else and perhaps on a return trip when the girls are older."

hailbuzzy, despite what was said by myself and others about steep cliffs and cold waters, don't skip the grotto - just be aware that you might not be able to climb down into it. It's a short hike from Cyprus Lake campground and one of the neatest rock formations on the Bruce. Even just to view it from atop the cliff it's worth the walk, or can be incorporated into a longer hike. The grotto isn't some cave system with hours of exploring, just a neat thing to see. Just make sure the kids are careful.

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
72 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Bruce / Tobermory with 3 & 5 year old?

We're back from our vacation and wanted to say thank you all for your great advice. We did NOT skip the Grotto and it was an amazing experience. Both our girls fared well (as long as we kept feeding them! :)) on our hike and the paved roads helped. The Grotto was completely deserted off season and we were able to spend a glorious hour picnicking and exploring in blissful isolation! The next day we actually hiked even further on Flowerpot Island, which had not even had its hiking trails cleared of fallen trees and debris yet. It was an adventure for sure!