As fall arrives and the leaves start to turn to the beautiful reds and oranges across the Northeast there is no better way to enjoy our beautiful region than exploring the Georgian Bay Coastal Route (GBCR).
The entire route is about 1,350-km (840 miles) long and leads you around Georgian Bay showcasing some of the most impressive locations in Ontario. From crystal clear waters, to breathtaking lookout spots this road trip has it all and with the addition of fall colours it cannot be rivalled.
Below is a very useful interactive map created by Go Tour Ontario, highlighting both the route as well as the many popular places to stop for food, gas, and provincial parks along the way.
This is an extremely accessible tour no matter what the departure point. By breaking the tour into four legs or sections, it will tailor your experience by making it an easy way to plan your trip. The example here starts in Southern Ontario and follows a clockwise circumnavigation of the route. Every starting point and directions will offer a unique perspective as each stop and overnight can make a world of difference to suite your travel taste!
Leg 1: Bruce Peninsula to Manitoulin Island
This road trip has a very unique start which includes both covering the land and the water. From Southern Ontario make your way along the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory where you board the MS Chi-Cheemaun Passenger Ferry and arrive at South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island.
Once you arrive on the world's largest freshwater island there are plenty if incredible beaches, hiking trails and restaurants within minutes of touching down. The Island is home to several local craft breweries including Manitoulin Brewing Co and Split Rail Brewing Co. Both offer some awesome local brews and we highly recommend checking them out. Remember don't drink and drive and have a designated driver..
The Island has several top notch accommodations including the cozy Meldrum Bay Inn & Restaurant and the Manitoulin Island Hotel and Conference Centre book your rooms in advance as the Island is an extremely popular destination. There are multiple campgrounds and private cottages available for rent across the Island check out www.northeasternontario.com for more information.
Leg 2: Manitoulin Island to Sudbury
Once you are on the Island it is an easy drive to the biggest city in Northern Ontario and home to the iconic big nickel. The City of Greater Sudbury is full of things to do with a thriving downtown core and immersive outdoor activities minutes outside of the city.
This is the perfect spot for an extended stay with so much to do. It is definitely recommended to start by taking a look at Sudbury Tourism's website to see if there are any music festivals or cultural festivals happening around the time of your trip as they are popping up all over the place these days. One of the most popular things to do is to spend a day at Science North and while you are there enjoy a walk along the Ramsey Lake Board Walk.
Spend the night at one of Sudbury’s brand name hotels scattered throughout the city. The TownePlace Suites by Marriott, the Travelway Inn next to Science North, the Holiday Inn & Suites on Regent Street, and the new Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham on the Kingsway are all accessible options depending on your entry point to the city. Motorcyclist travellers may also want to consider the Moonlight Inn & Suites, offering quick access to the Highway 17 Bypass with motel-style suites.
Leg 3: Sudbury to Killarney
There is no better opportunity to fully experience Georgian Bay than by taking Highway 637 off of Highway 69 outside of Sudbury to Killarney. Hands down one of Northeastern Ontario's most popular tourist destination the Municipality of Killarney offers some of the best dining, hiking, and relaxing available. This small town is home to one of the most luxurious accommodations in the region which is Killarney Mountain Lodge.
We believe this quote from their website perfectly describes an experience at Killarney Mountain Lodge.
Leg 4: Killarney to French River and beyond
If you can finally pull yourself away from the gen that is Killarney you will head south on highway 69 and make your way into the French River region.
Before you exist the boundaries of Northeastern Ontario there are a few more worth while stops starting with the French River Provincial Park where you can quickly pull over to stretch your legs and enjoy some beautiful views of the famous French River.
Another stop that will make the rest of the journey more enjoyable is at the French River Trading Post which has been operating for more than 50 years. Here you can pick up some of their delicious fudge made in house as well as other locally produced treasures.
From here you will enjoy the journey back home south down Highway 69 where you can start to think of your next adventure in Northeastern Ontario.