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5 Exceptional Places to Swim in Bruce County (other than The Grotto!)

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Exceptional Places to Swim in Bruce County
Exceptional Places to Swim in Bruce County

Summer in Bruce County promises all the sun and fun you can handle, but how can you get off the beaten path and away from the crowds? When the Grotto parking lot is packed and Tobermory is bursting at the seams, check out these 5 pristine places to take a hike and enjoy a refreshing swim.

Note: The Bruce Peninsula is bordered by two bodies of water that offer distinctly unique experiences! On the west side of the peninsula lies Lake Huron, where you'll find sandier beaches and more gradual, sloping entries to warmer waters. The peninsula's eastern shores are generally rockier, with quick drop-offs into cooler, crystalline blue waters. You'll find excellent fishing on either side and while kiteboarders typically prefer Lake Huron, the scuba divers head to Georgian Bay to explore shipwrecks, ancient coral and fossils, and more.

Check out these incredible places to dip your toes as you explore the Bruce:

1. Sauble Beach
1. Sauble Beach

You'll find the main beach at the 'T' of Main Street and Lakeshore Blvd., starting at the iconic Sauble Beach sign and stretching as far as the eye can see both north and south.

Sauble Beach isn't just the perfect spot to swim and build sandcastles, especially during Sandfest, but to get out where the waves are calling. That's right surfing is a popular sport here, onlookers can regularly watch locals catching a wave or ten after work. Just watch out, their excitement is contagious - you might find yourself wanting to rent a board! On particularly windy days, you'll see kiteboarders coming out eager to see what the wind has in store for them. While the most popular spot to see these water acrobats is Oliphant, Sauble Beach is a close second during the off seasons due to the crowds during the summer. So you've got a show on the windy days but what about the calm days? SUPing is the fastest growing water sport and on calm days where the water is like glass, it is the perfect time to hit the Stand-Up Paddleboards or test your skills when the waves are coming in.

Sauble Beach is full of water sport activities and with 11 kilometres of beach, there's always room to watch or get onto the water to test them out. Check out more to do and see in Sauble Beach here.

2. Oliphant Beach
2. Oliphant Beach

Oliphant is the perfect mixture between a natural beach and a typical Lake Huron beach. The natural beauty of this beach entices those looking for a shallow beach and aren't afraid of a little grass. Throughout the horizon you'll see specs of islands, which are part of the 70+ Fishing Islands. Within these islands lies many species of fish, including the infamous small mouth bass which can be caught and released with Fish The Bruce, where you will get to experience pro-level fishing with beginner experience.

Remember, stay on the sandy beach area - as this is a sensitive natural area, where reptiles, amphibians, birds and all manner of plant life rely on our environmental stewardship for their survival. Make sure you stay for an Oliphant sunset--they're legendary.

Oliphant is a kiteboarders paradise. The steady crosswinds and the wide open space with the warm shallow waters create the perfect combination for all levels of riders. Interested, but don't know where to start? Check in at Jack n Jills Surf Shop in Sauble Beach or book lessons with Sauble Beach Kite Surfing School.

Also see the fully accessible boardwalk between the private marina and the north beach features a 1.4 kilometre boardwalk with bumper boards. The path brings you through a fen, rich in wildflowers and other flora including lady slippers, orchids and carnivorous plants.

3. Southampton Main Beach
3. Southampton Main Beach

With views of Chantry Island and picturesque views of sand dunes and grasses, Southampton Main Beach is the ideal spot for family and friends to gather together and have some fun in the sun.

Stretching approximately 4 kms long, you will hear the gulls soaring above and the waves hitting the shoreline. Although the beach itself is sandy, the water bottom ranges from pebbly to rocky to sandy. Water shoes are recommended for the rocky sections. The water deepens quickly near the giant Canadian flag gracing the Southampton shoreline, so it is best that children and those who are not strong swimmers head to the "South Beach".

4. South Street Beach
4. South Street Beach

Further south, the sandy beaches of Southampton continue with shallow water and a sandy bottom. Swing sets dot the beach and, of course, kids (large and small) have to stop and try out each one! Family-donated benches--note the plaques on the seat backs--are conveniently placed for resting, sunset viewing, star gazing and just plain sitting. Washroom and change room facilities are located half-way between the two. There are no beach shelters along the Southampton shoreline, so remember to slather on the sunscreen several times during the day, wear a hat and tote an umbrella to the beach.

5. Port Elgin Main Beach
5. Port Elgin Main Beach

Port Elgin boasts 3 km of fine sandy beaches complete with a wheel chair accessible paved walkway. It is a delightful destination for a stroll any time of the day or you can wind your day down by relaxing and witnessing one of our world-famous sunsets.

A popular destination since the late 1800s, this beach offers summer treats and food for those that have swam the day away or played on the sand building sandcastles and fortresses. A playground offers fun for families to play the day away!

Need more beaches?
Need more beaches?

Head over to Beaches and Sunsets so you can find out all the great beaches Bruce County has waiting for you.