Are you coming to Visit Georgian Bay?
Many of our guests at 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast come to Parry Sound because they are touring around Georgian Bay - "Canada's Sixth Great Lake".
There are over 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, and to do the trip justice, it takes a week to see everything!
I suggest beginning your trip in the Midland area along southern Georgian Bay; through Tobermory and Manitoulin Island, along the northern stretch which covers the French River and Killbear Provincial Park, and ending in Parry Sound. The scenery is tremendous and you will find opportunities to explore the culture, history and the many activities available in the region.
I have provided links to some B&B's that my guests have highly recommended. For other locations, to find a bed and breakfast, check out Bed and Breakfast Canada and then cross reference the listings you are interested in with guest reviews on TripAdvisor. (Most B&Bs will have a button on their BBCanada page that will allow you to link directly to the reviews guests have posted on Trip Advisor) P.S. If you are visiting in July or August, it is essential to book accommodations ahead of time!
Here's my recommended itinerary and the minimum amount of timing for this route:
Travel from Toronto to the Midland area & visit St. Marie among the Hurons, which is a living history museum of the French Mission in the area from 1656 - 1658 Check into your B&B (my guests have highly recommended Tucked Inn the Harbour in Victoria Harbour).
The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre is an environmental awareness facility that is the breeding ground for some of Canada's rare birds and small animals that thrive in water (beavers, mink and ermine). Drive to the Wasaga Beach/Collingwood areas and check out the largest freshwater beach in the world. Spend the rest of the day at the beach or exploring the towns.
Visit the Scenic Caves in Collingwood which is near the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment (300 meters above Georgian Bay - yes, the same escarpment that Niagara Falls is on).There is a self-guided walking trail through the caves, caverns and to Canada's longest suspension bridge. If you don't find something to do there, check out Blue Mountain activities. Drive along southern Georgian Bay to Owen Sound and spend the night here, exploring the town.
Drive up the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory. In Tobermory, see Flower Pot Island and shipwrecks via a glass bottom boat or go diving or snorkeling. It is essential to book the MS Chi-Cheemaun for your ferry ride for tomorrow in order to get the early boat. Check out the Bruce Peninsula National Visitor's Centre, which has exhibits, movies about the area, an observation town and trails.
Manitoulin Island is one of the few places along Georgian Bay that you can find out more about the First Nations people from the Anishaabe tribe. There are a number of different Experience Packages - from horseback and canoe overnight trips adventures to sampling traditional foods and creating Ojibwa crafts. If you are staying on the Island, my guests have recommended Rockville Inn.
Drive to Parry Sound – the trip will take you approximately 5 hours if you drive direct. Along the way you might like to stop in Sudbury and visit Dynamic Earth. This attraction provides you with information on mining in Canada from the late 1800's until recently. Or, you can visit the French River Provincial Park to check out the Visitor's Centre and learn more about the history and geological features of the area and stretch your legs on the hiking trail there. Upon arriving at 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast in Parry Sound, have a short rest and then stroll along Parry Sound's waterfront ; enjoy dinner on the porch of a restaurant that overlooks the harbour and catch a magnificent sunset over Georgian Bay while getting your first look at the vast 30,000 islands with Georgian Bay Airways.
After a great breakfast, explore the main streets of Parry Sound, visit the Museum and Observation Tower and spend the afternoon seeing the 30,000 island from the deck of the Island Queen cruise boat. Spend one more night at 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast.
Parry Sound has a lot more to offer than just the boat cruise, although that is all many guide books talk about. I would suggest planning a day on the Bay by trying out a canoe or kayak at White Squall Paddling Centre (no charge on quiet Cole Lake) or even taking a lesson.
While we would love to welcome you back to 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast for another night, we understand that you must make the most of your limited time. Therefore, you could head over to Huntsville via Hwy 141 and spend the night there before proceeding to Algonquin Park.
Another option is to take your time heading south on Hwy 400 to visit Big Chute to see North America's only marine railway life lock in action.
This list does not include all the different things to see and do around Georgian Bay, but if I was going to plan a trip for a friend of mine, this is definitely what I would recommend!
For a comprehensive list of activities, top 10 things to see and do, recommendations for dining and accommodations, please see VisitGeorgianBay.com