Ontario encompasses over one-fifth of the worlds fresh water with its 250,000 lakes. These waterways play a key part in the history and development of the province through the means of transportation for early explorers, a source of food and influencing where towns would be built. Next to the five great lakes, Georgian Bay is the largest body of water in Ontario and is often considered the sixth great lake.
One of our favorite places to explore, photograph and enjoy is beautiful Georgian Bay. With its 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, this large bay has many popular areas and hidden gems. Georgian Bay has everything from beautiful white sand beaches, hiking trails, island camping, boating, picturesque lighthouses and so much more.
Many areas of Georgian Bay along the shoreline can be accessed from the road. This includes Collingwood, Midland, Parry Sound, French River, Killarney and Tobermory. Tobermory and Collingwood have a steady stream of tourism to the areas with their great attractions such as the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Blue Mountain. Other towns such as Midland are less frequently visited by tourists.
The town of Midland is set on the shores of Georgian Bay with its harbour built for small cruise ships, grain ships and recreational boats of all sizes. A must see in the Midland Harbour is North Americas largest outdoor historical mural displaying Sainte-Marie Among the Huron as it would have looked in the mid-1600’s. You can easily view this mural from the town docks.
Other destinations around Midland include Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, Martyrs’ Shrine and Wye Marsh.
Another destination that is not well known beyond the locals is the SS Keewatin, located in Port McNicoll. This early 1900’s passenger liner belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railways Great Lakes Steamship Service is now a floating a museum.
Although there are many great destinations that you can access around the perimeter shoreline of Georgian Bay, some of our favourite destinations are on the many islands throughout the bay. Most of these islands are accessible by boat in the summer and many can even be accessed by snowmobile throughout the winter months.
Our two most visited islands for both the summer and winter months are Giants Tomb and Beckwith, each of which are a short trip from Midland by boat or snowmobile. Giants Tomb takes the shape of a sleeping giant and native legend has it that the giant God Kitchikewana laid to eternal rest here after creating the bay. The island is a great destination for day trips, great swimming and camping on the beach. During the winter months when the bay freezes over, a series of natural ice caves can be found on the West side and is popular amongst snowmobilers. The actual size of the ice caves can vary each year as they are caused by freezing wave water.
Located just beyond Giants Tomb, Beckwith is a boater’s paradise. Thanks to it’s sandy bottom, this island has crystal clear water and long beaches. There is no development on the island except for a simple outhouse to serve boaters, campers and picnickers. The island provides you with everything you need to spend the day or night in complete tranquility. This is a popular destination for us on weekends to relax on the beach and swim in the warm Georgian Bay waters. It is always beautiful moment when the boat pulls up to the island and the bay transforms into clear turquoise waters – This is one of the few places you will find clear water like this on Georgian Bay.
Another great island to visit is Beausoleil Island, owned and operated by Georgian Bay National Park. This island is eight kilometers in length and is the largest island of Georgian Bay National Park. Here you can find tent and cabin camping available from spring until fall. The island is accessible by personal boat or by the National Park DayTripper which operates out of Honey Harbour. The island is filled with trails for all abilities, beautiful beaches perfect for swimming, relaxing and so much more. In the winter, Beausoleil Island is a great place to cross country ski, snowshoe or snowmobile on the trails. Of the three islands reviewed, Beausoleil is the shortest distance from the mainland and is visible from Midland and parts of Penetanguishene. While on the island on the West side you can see Brebeuf Island and it’s beautiful lighthouse.
One of the best things about Georgian Bay is that it is ever changing with beautiful landscapes and new adventures around each corner. From day trips to week long adventures, Georgian Bay has something to offer everyone. If you get the change stay out late, watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out as it is a sight you will not soon forget.
Georgian Bay is beautiful in every season so if you are looking for a weekend adventure anytime throughout the year take a drive to one of the many beautiful towns along the bay.
Chris & Nicole
About CNA Photos
Chris and Nicole are the two awesome behind CNA Photos. Both born and raised in Ontario they are weekend warriors who in their free time can be found travelling and documenting their adventures throughout Canada. Be sure to follow their adventures at www.cnaphotos.com or on Instagram @CNA_Photos