Shallow warm waters and golden sands, one of Ontario's premier beach destinations
Sauble Beach Ontario (literally: “beach of sand”) is a name that to most local inhabitants is associated with summer, swimming and fun and it is one of the true “must visit” destinations in the Province.
For those seeking a Canadian beach experience there’s no place better than this golden stretch of sand along the eastern shores of Lake Huron.
The small town of 2000 swells up to over 100, 000 on a hot summer day as people from across Southern Ontario flock to this party fueled summer getaway. Now part of the Municipality of South Bruce Peninsula it’s not the town the people come for but the prime piece of sandy real estate that affronts it.
Stretching for 11 kilometres (7 mile) along Lake Huron is a beautiful white sand beach with warm shallow waters perfect for swimming, beach volleyball and many other summer activities. A favourite amongst the 16 -30 aged group especially on a long weekend the beach does still attract people of all ages.
While originally settled in the late 1870’s the town never really sprang up into existence until after WWII in 1948 with the development of a number of resorts in the area. A few o f the resorts still exists and while the town had a quick growth spurt most of it was over in the 1960’s and the town does have a feel of being in a place from a bygone era. This is especially true of the symbol of the town, the iconic beach sign.
A landmark for over 50 years it truly is a great sight to see when making the long journey north from places in the south, it always signified the end of the road trip and the time to have fun.
Check out this video of Sauble below:
Location of Sauble Beach Ontario
Getting to Sauble:
From Southern Ontario
Depending upon your starting location
- Navigate to Highway 401 and head East or West towards Toronto
- Exit at Highway 410 North towards Brampton
- Highway 410 ands and becomes Highway #10 North
- At Owen Sound turn left onto Grey County Road #18 (to Highway #6 North)
- Continue on Highway #6 North
- Turn left onto Bruce County Road #8 and follow right into town
From Northern Ontario
- Navigate to Highway #69 South
- Highway #69 turns into Highway 400 South
- Take exit #141 to Vasey Road/County Road #13 and heading west
- Exit at Highway #16/County Road #92
- Exit at Highway #21 South/Highway #6 North/10th St. E
- Continue on Highway #6 North
- Turn left onto Bruce County Road #8 and follow right into town
By Public Transport
Rail travel is not an option.
Air travel is not an option.
Curiously there is no public bus transportation to this holiday hot spot. You can however take a bus to the town of Port Elgin 26 kilometers (16 miles) away and take a cab from there. It will be expensive however.
Sauble Beach attractions and activities
Without a doubt the number one attraction is the magnificent beach on Lake Huron. It is the centre of all activity in the town and is the only real reason for its existence.
Claiming to be the “second longest freshwater beach in the world” after Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay many people do however prefer the softer sand and warmer waters of the beach at Sauble.
Always included on a list of Canada’a best beaches the sand is soft and seems to stretch forever. Sandbars offshore keep the shallow and warm, a fact quickly brought up when comparing the “best Beach” lists. Perfect for relaxing by the water on a hot summer day this is THE beach destination for many.
The unique sandbar system just offshore for the most part keeps the beach protected from the pounding waves of Lake Huron. The result is an ideal condition as the waters at Sauble Beach are generally warmer than anywhere else in Ontario and are thus perfect for swimmers.
The water also has a very gradual decline meaning you can wade out pretty far and still be only waist deep. The cool breeze off the lake makes the water feel even warmer and its westerly facing position means it basks in the sun all afternoon and then enjoys spectacular sunsets. It’s easy to see why it lays claim to the best beach in Ontario let alone maybe even Canada.
With maybe the best swimming conditions in the country the small town has naturally become a magnet for sun worshippers and those looking to cool off and it does get crowded during the height of the summer.
It is however quite large and conditions are ideal across most of its length so if the beach around town gets too crowded just head to one of the side roads and find a more secluded patch.
Windsurfing – Kite surfing
As with nearby Oliphant Beach these sports along with Stand Up Paddleboarding has become extremely popular over the last few years and on any given day you will see the waters filled with participants.
On any given summer day the waters off the beach may have as many water skiers on them as any in the province. If the water is calm the conditions for participants is near perfect and Sauble Beach Ontario is a hot spot for the sport.
The waters of Lake Huron are perfect for this sport and the town is a hotbed of activity.
The waters off shore and in the nearby Sauble River have long been famed as one of the best fishing spots in the Great Lakes
The Sauble River has long been famed as one of the best places in the province to fish for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead (aka Rainbow Trout). During the spawning season the river becomes choked with fish as they struggle to jump the Sauble Falls to reach their spawning grounds further upstream.
Deep-water fishing is also available on Lake Huron and in and about the nearby Fishing Islands Group just off Oliphant’s Beach.
Fishing Islands (Saugeen Islands)
Located just north of Sauble Beach and running along a part of the eastern shore of Lake Huron known as the “Huron fringe” for years these 70 various sized islands were at the heart of the Great Lakes fishing industry and their name is derived from the great schools of fish that could be found swimming through its various channels.
While overfishing eventually killed the commercial fishing industry for those with the equipment a thriving sports industry still exists with the opportunity to catch the following species:
- Chinook Salmon
- Rainbow Trout
- Lake Trout
- Northern Pike
Kayaking and canoeing are also extremely popular in the area and Sauble Beach and the nearby provincial park serve as overnight hubs for those seeking weekend or longer paddling adventures.
North of the town lies the Rankin River canoe route which eventually makes its way to Sauble Falls and finally Lake Huron.
Off shore, a paddler’s paradise is to be found traveling through the Fishing Islands where crystal clear water, shipwrecks and bird nesting grounds can be found. Quite a few of these small clusters of rock can only be reached by canoe and many of the sheltered passages between the islands provide a perfect place for less experienced paddlers.
Further south the Town of Southampton lies at the end of the Saugeen River Canoe Route, one of Southern Ontario’s best.
For the experienced paddlers, the rugged shores of the Bruce Peninsula on the Georgian Bay side are only an hour away.
Many people that visit tend to also bring their bicycles with them as the region makes for a prime cycling destination.
The small town itself is best navigated on two wheels as it does become clogged with cars especially on holiday weekends.
For those that wish to travel longer distances and get in some exercise or see some sights The Coast 2 Coast Bruce Peninsula cycling route is a 65 kilometre (45 mile) circuit that travels north along the coast of Lake Huron from Sauble Beach to Oliphant Beach. You then cross the Peninsula to touch Georgian Bay in the Town of Wiarton. You then head inland south to the village of Hepworth before heading back west to Sauble.
Sauble Falls Provincial Park
Located just 5 minutes north of town this park is set in a beautiful natural area centred on historic Sauble Falls. The falls is at the centre of the annual spring and fall fish spawns and is an angler’s paradise. Beautiful in its own right it is a must visit if in the area, visit my Sauble Falls Provincial Park page for more information.
Located just 15 minutes north of Sauble is another hidden gem of the Bruce Peninsula; tiny Oliphant Beach. With shallow warm water and soft sand similar to its more famous southern neighbor it has become more popular in recent years as it has been “discovered” by kiteboarders who seem to prefer its quieter surroundings and it is considered one of the best kiteboarding locations in the country.
There are actually two beaches here:
- Oliphant North
- Oliphant South
Both beaches offer opportunities to swimmers and boarders alike but the North beach is the preferred destination for avid participants as it is larger and more open and thus has stronger winds.
In addition to the swimming, kiteboarding and canoeing aspects of the Oliphant Beach area there are also sightseeing boat tours offered in and around the Fishing Islands themselves.
For more information visit:
Fishing Island Boat Tours
297 Shoreline Ave Oliphant
The long stretches of sand at Sauble are also home to the endangered Sauble Piping Plover. You will see sections of the beach cordoned off in an attempt to protect their nesting areas.
These small birds are a sight to see as they scurry across the sand with their skinny little legs. Humans are their biggest threat as they destroy their limited habitat and leave garbage around that lures predators.
If your looking to try something a little different when in the area how about some good Canadian CASCAR racing. Located just east of town in the village of Hepworth lies a nice little ¼ mile paves track that has been hosting racing events since 1969.
One of the most popular venues in the area races usually run every Saturday night running from may through August.
While Sauble Beach is definitely a summer destination the town does not totally shut down during the long cold winter months and the Sauble Ski club does maintain 18 kilometres (11 miles) of groomed cross-country ski trails and 11 kilometres (7 miles) of snowshoe trails.
Snowmobiling is also hugely popular as most local inhabitants own a snowmobile as a means of transportation as the strong northern winds coming off Lake Huron make this a virtual necessity.
For visitors, Sauble is connected to Ontario’s main snowmobile trails totally over 3000 kilometres (1800 miles) in length.
As one of the Province’s premier summer destinations there are accommodations in Sauble Beach to suit every visitor.
Most people that come for longer than a day tend to stay at one of the small cottages that abound in the region. The town itself is really a collection of cottages with a small seasonal downtown located near the beach itself. Even as you leave town almost every building you see in the surrounding region is a cottage or seasonal home.
It is recommended that cottages be booked in advance as many are booked every year by returning vacationers.
Camping is available at either nearby Sauble Falls Provincial Park or in the score of private campgrounds in the area. For those that prefer, motels and hotels are also plentiful in the area.
Insider Tip: If you are planning your visit during the peak summer months and especially on a long weekend, book your accommodations in advance to avoid disappointment.
For first time visitors to the Province the drive north to Sauble Beach may be too far out of the way for those wishing to see the sights of Toronto of Niagara Falls.
Yet if you do have time or are a return visitor that would like to see more of the Province than the big city a trip to Sauble Beach will open up a different way of thinking about Canada in general for here is a true beach resort community in the far northern fringes of the continent.
In reality only 2.5 hours north of Toronto it can be done as a day trip except for the fact that visitors may not want to miss the sunset, one of Sauble Beach Ontario’s main attractions. As with other communities that dot the coast of this mighty Great Lake they are treated daily to legendary sunsets that rival any in the world.
A perfect spot to spend at least a day if not a whole vacation a trip to Sauble Beach makes for great family fun. For those that wish to explore further afield the beautiful National Parks of the Bruce Peninsula are but an hour away.
For more information visit: http://www.saublebeach.ca