Tucked away along the shores of Lake Huron, you’ll find Grand Bend – one of Ontario’s most popular beach towns. It became a town in the 1880’s and has been growing into the famous Grand Bend that we know and love today. Grand Bend is a popular tourist attraction for visitors of all kinds – there is something there to please all ages. From delicious snack stops and restaurants, to shops selling beachy essentials, and even candy stores, mini-putt and ax-throwing cages, everyone will be entertained. Not to mention, the beautiful Grand Bend beach – although often jam-packed with sun-worshippers, there’s a spot for everyone. We do suggest arriving early if you want a spot close to the water, though!
Grand Bend is mostly known for its beautiful 25 mile beach and tourist-heavy main strip. Having been visiting for as many years as we can remember, we’d like to think that we know the town pretty well, and want tell you all about what Grand Bend has to offer. Having been recently renovated to offer visitors the best experience, we’re going to focus this post mostly about Grand Bend’s main drag and the beach, but if you’re interested in some great places to experience away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, follow this link to Grand Bend’s official website!
Now, without further ado, here is our experience at Grand Bend over the Canada Day weekend for Canada’s 150th birthday!
First off – this goes without saying – Grand Bend was packed. We actually made an effort to avoid the downtown area of Grand Bend on Canada Day this year. We knew that there would likely be more tourists than ever before coming down to spend the day at the beach and enjoying the firework celebration over Lake Huron. We held off until the next day, and it was still busy, but definitely manageable.
Walking down the strip, the first thing you’ll see at the top is Grand Bend’s welcome sign – a pleasant greeting for what’s to come!
Right away, there are motels, restaurants, pubs, and shops of all kinds lining the street. Grand Bend definitely has something for everyone! We have a couple of favourite shops that we like to check out, including Archie’s Surf Shop and Sea Jewels. There are other pop-up shops that are there only for summer and then disappear depending how business went for the season.
At the bottom of the strip, you’ll find the beautiful beach on the shores of Lake Huron. Recently, the town of Grand Bend built a 2-Storey observation deck with a concession stand and washrooms for the convenience of beach-goers. An incredibly smart idea, coming from someone who has experienced the before and after. The views provided from the observation deck on a sunny day are quite excellent. See for yourself:
As previously mentioned, Grand Bend has a gorgeous beach, especially considering that it isn’t located in the Caribbean. During the summer, it does have life guards patrolling, and also has flags signalling if the water is safe for swimming on any given day. When it comes to water sports, the vendors have you covered. You can rent jet skiis, go wake boarding or water skiing, rent flyboards, or even go parasailing! It’s all up to how adventurous you’re feeling!
After visiting the beach, everyone is always hungry. Fortunately, Grand Bend’s most popular patio restaurant, The Growling Gator, is located just steps from the sand. You should definitely eat here if ever you’re in town – decent prices and delicious food!
And of course, room for dessert can be made, so it would only make sense to stop at the famous Dairy Dip Ice Cream for your choice of tasty frozen treat!
Now, before heading home, listen to this: Grand Bend has possibly the best sunset in all of Ontario. You don’t want to miss that, do you? We’re lucky enough to experience it from our private beach at our cottage, but I guarantee the view from Grand Bend’s main beach is just as gorgeous. If you have time, you should definitely stick around. The sky turns into a work of art over the water. You have to experience it with your own eyes!
Grand Bend’s summer months are obviously going to be the busiest, but that’s the same with any beach town. Grand Bend’s main strip is fully accessible for those who have accessibility needs, with minor exceptions here and there (main storefronts with steps, etc). There are places to park – some are free and some are at cost. You need to get there early in the day if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg. But overall, Grand Bend is a lot of fun – a family favourite with something to do for all ages.
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