Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail An Epic Ontario Road Trip

The Lighthouse Trail along the shores of Lake Huron is an epic Ontario Road Trip

Your Summer is incomplete without a road trip exploring the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail. The drive offers stunning views of the majestic Lake Huron, as well as a glimpse into the rich maritime history of the Region. This is only a portion of what makes the Lighthouse Road Trip Trail one of the best road trips in Ontario.

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The trail consists of several lighthouses and small towns that dot the coastline of Lake Huron, each with its own unique story and charm. From the Point Clark Lighthouse in Huron-Kinloss to the Big Tub Lighthouse in Tobermory, the trail takes visitors on a journey through time, showcasing the role lighthouses played in guiding ships safely through the choppy waters of Lake Huron.

The Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail Road Trip passes through small towns and beach towns along Lake Huron from Grand Bend to Tobermory

The road trip also provides ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in various activities such as hiking, cycling, and beachcombing. The pristine beaches along the trail are perfect for a relaxing day out, while the scenic hiking trails offer breathtaking views that will leave you in awe. All of this arguably makes the Lake Huron Lighthouse trail one of the best road trips in Ontario.

Map for Lighthouse Trail road trip from Grand Bend to Tobermory

The lighthouses themselves are a treat to explore, with many offering guided tours that take visitors back in time, providing a glimpse into the lives of lighthouse keepers and how they operated the light stations.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a scenic drive, the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail is a must-do road trip for anyone exploring the scenic routes of Ontario. So pack your bags and grab your road trip essentials, hit the road, and venture out on an adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.


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As you travel along Highway 21 to Highway 9 and finally to Highway 6 (fondly known as God’s Country), you will be taken through many small tourist towns, cottage towns, and beach towns in Ontario. You will have the excitement of travelling along Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes of Ontario, to the breathtaking waters of Georgian Bay.

If you only have a couple of days, this road trip can be done, however, rather than only enjoying two days in God’s Country, I recommend splitting the Lighthouse Trail into two separate road trips.

My hometown is located along the Lighthouse road trip route, which has provided me many opportunities to drive the highways along Lake Huron. If you have the time, I recommend setting aside a full week to explore the entire Lighthouse Trail, so that you can enjoy all of the sights along the way. There are many!

Lighthouse Trail Road Trip Itinerary


  • Grand Bend
  • Bayfield
  • Goderich
  • Point Clarke
  • Kincardine
  • Port Elgin
  • Southampton
  • Sauble Beach
  • Lion’s Head
  • Tobermory


  • beach life and over-night stay
  • shopping
  • wandering the pretty main street
  • pinicing
  • beach, shopping, over-night stay
  • beach, over-night stay
  • beach and history
  • beach and water sports
  • hiking
  • diving, exploring, hiking, over-night stay

Best Time to do the Lake Huron Lighthouse Road Trip

The best time to embark on the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail would be during the summer and fall months. This is when the weather is warm and pleasant, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and beachcombing. The summer months also provide longer days, giving visitors plenty of time to explore the lighthouses and take in the stunning views along the trail. The only caveat when choosing to do this road trip throughout the Summer months, is that there are a lot of tourists and it is busy. With beaches in every town you pass on the Lake Huron road trip tril, many tourists hit many of thes Ontario beach towns, and tourist towns which dot the coastline of Lake Huron.

Just One Tip: This Ontario road trip is not recommended during the Winter, as many of the highways along Lake Huron close due to weather conditions.

However, if you’re interested in seeing fall foliage, then the months of September and October would be the ideal time to visit. The changing colors of the leaves provide a picturesque backdrop, making it a sightseeing experience like no other. So plan your road trip accordingly and enjoy the beauty of Lake Huron and its lighthouses in all their glory.

How Much Time is Needed to do the Lake Huron Lighthouse Road Trip

The Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail is a 236-mile stretch that boasts of breathtaking views, historic landmarks, and charming towns to explore. The amount of time required to complete this road trip depends on your pace and the number of stops you make along the way.

If you plan to take your time and enjoy all the attractions along the trail, you may need to allocate at least a week to complete the journey. However, if you’re short on time, you can still enjoy a part of the trail by selecting a favourite segment of the route, and driving for one or two days.

For a more adventurous experience, consider spending the night in one of the charming local towns that dot the trail. This way, you get to fully immerse yourself in the local culture, relax, and recharge before continuing your journey.

Ontario's Lighthouse road trip along Lake Huron begins in the beach town of Grand Bend.

Where to Begin the Lake Huron Lighthouse Ontario Road Trip

The Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail is a popular road trip in Ontario that spans across the shoreline of Lake Huron, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich history of the region. If you’re planning to embark on this epic adventure, you may be wondering where to begin.

My recommendation for road trippers from the Toronto area is to begin their road trip in Tobermory, whereas, road trippers in South-Western Ontario would be best to begin their journey in Grand Bend.

Both Tobermory and Grand Bend are beautiful Ontario towns that offer an abundance of activites. I would suggest arriving the day before you plan on beginning the drive through the Lighthouse Trail so that you can enjoy everything that these bustling towns have to offer.

History of Grand Bend Lighthouse

One of the best places to begin this amazing Ontario road trip is by visiting the Grand Bend Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Ausable River. This iconic landmark in Grand Bend, Ontario was originally built in 1907 and has since undergone extensive renovations to preserve its historic charm.

The Grand Bend Lighthouse serves as a beacon for ships navigating Lake Huron’s treacherous waters. While the lighthouse no longer operates to signal passing boats, it serves as a picturesque backdrop for travellers seeking to explore the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail. From here, you can follow the trail as it winds its way along the coastline of Lake Huron, taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding forests and waterways.

Just One Tip: Arrive in Grand Bend the night before you plan on setting out on the road trip. Spend the day at the beach or play a rounds of golf at the Oakwood Inn. If you’re not a fan of the beach, don’t worry, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this Ontario beach town.

For the non-beach lover, Grand Bend has a plethora of alternative activities, such as:

  • shopping
  • drive-in movies
  • a large market on the weekends
  • golf
  • indulge at a spa
  • mini-putt golf
  • hiking at the Pinery Provincial Park

For more things to do in Grand Bend that aren’t the beach, you will enoy this article

Begin the Lighthouse Trail road trip in Brand  Bend, one of Ontario's best beach towns.

Shopping in Bayfield

After Grand Bend Lighthouse, the next stop on the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail is Bayfield. While there’s no lighthouse in this Ontario tourist town, it’s a stop that needs to be made on every Lighthouse Trail road trip.

Bayfield boasts picturesque streets that are lined with historic homes and buildings, many of which have been converted into unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and other water activities at nearby beaches such as Bayfield Main Beach and South Beach.

Overall, Bayfield offers a unique combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions that draws tourists from near and far.

Just One Tip: Arrive early, or visit during the off-season to avoid the crowds

Just One Tip: Bayfield is an amazing small Town in Ontario, as well as a popular tourist destination. Take some time to browse the quaint shops and check out the culinary scene.

History of Goderich Lighthouse

Continuing along the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail, the next stop is the Lighthouse in Goderich (also known as one of the prettiest towns in Ontario). This lighthouse was built in 1847, making it one of the oldest lighthouse on the Ontario side of Lake Huron. Its original purpose was to help guide ships carrying goods to and from the bustling port of Goderich.

The Goderich Lighthouse is a stunning example of early Canadian lighthouse architecture. Its white, octagonal tower stands tall and proud against the blue sky, and the surrounding gardens and grounds are meticulously maintained.

The lighthouse in Goderich is the oldest lighthouse on the Ontario side of Lake Huron

** Goderich has repeatedly been named as one of the prettiest Towns in Ontario **

History of Point Clark Lighthouse

Moving further along the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail, the next stop is the Point Clark Lighthouse. Built in 1859, this lighthouse was also an important beacon for ships navigating through the treacherous waters of Lake Huron. Its original purpose was to guide ships to the mouth of the Saugeen River, where a busy commercial fishing port thrived.

The Point Clark Lighthouse’s design is also noteworthy, as it was one of the first towers in Canada to use a new type of construction technique known as “screwpile.” This involved drilling iron piles deep into the lake bed, upon which the structure was then built. The unique design of the lighthouse allowed it to withstand the strong winds and waves that are common on Lake Huron.

Throughout the Summer months, visitors to the Point Clark Lighthouse can take a tour of the interior and climb to the top of the tower for stunning panoramic views of the lake and surrounding landscape. The lighthouse also has a small museum that showcases artifacts and exhibits that reveal the rich history of the area, including its maritime past and the significant role played by lighthouses in guiding ships safely to and from their destinations.

NOTE: Next stop Kincarcardine Lighthouse. When leaving Point Clarke, rather than driving back up to highway 21, drive along the road that runs as close to the lake as you can. This will bring you directly to the Kincardine Lighthouse. In addition, the views are beautiful!

Just One Tip: Point Clarke is the perfect spot to cool off in the Lake. Bring a picnic and stay for a bit.

History of Kincardine Lighthouse

Another fascinating stop on the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail is the Kincardine Lighthouse. This lighthouse was first built in 1881 and is located in the charming town of Kincardine, Ontario. The original structure was a wooden tower that stood 45 feet tall, but it was replaced in 1907 by a taller steel tower that still stands today.

The Kincardine Lighthouse was also an important beacon for ships traveling on Lake Huron, and its light could be seen for up to 13 nautical miles. In addition to its crucial role in maritime navigation, the Kincardine Lighthouse has an interesting history. During World War II, the lighthouse was used as a lookout post by the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the surrounding area was used as a training ground for anti-aircraft gunners.

Today, visitors to the Kincardine Lighthouse can climb to the top of the tower and admire panoramic views of Lake Huron and the town of Kincardine. The lighthouse is also home to a museum that showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the history of the area, including its role in maritime navigation, the shipping industry, and more.

Just One Tip: If you have the time, and are taking the Lighthouse Road Trip during the months of July or August, I recommend visiting the lighthouse again as the sun sets on beautiful Lake Huron. Visitors can enjoy the sound of bagpipes playing by the Phantom Piper.

Kincardine boasts two fabulous beaches, Station Beach and the Tiny Tot Playground beach. I prefer the beach at the Tiny Tot Playground as a short 2 minute walk down past the pavillion, you will discover Lover’s Lane.

Stretch your legs and take a stroll down the Kincardine boardwalk when visiting Kincardine during your Lake Huron road trip

History of the Chantry Island Lighthouse

Next stop on the Lighthouse Trail road trip you will come to the popular cottage town of Port Elgin. While Port Elgin no longer has a lighthouse, you will be able to get a view of the Chantry Island Lighthouse which appears to project out of the water of Lake Huron.

This majestic structure was built in 1859 and operated for 127 years until it was decommissioned in 1980. Despite being closed to the public for many years, the lighthouse has now been restored to its former glory and serves as an important historical landmark in the region.

The Chantry Island Lighthouse has played an important role in the maritime history of Lake Huron, guiding ships through the perilous waters and protecting them from the dangers of the surrounding rocks and cliffs. Visitors to the lighthouse can explore the museum, which features exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the surrounding area.

Tours are available to the Chanty Island Lighthouse from Port Elgin, Ontario

One of the unique features of this historic lighthouse is that it sits on an island, which can only be accessed by boat. Visitors can take a tour of the island, getting a glimpse into the life of a 19th-century lighthouse keeper and exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

The Chantry Island Lighthouse is a must-visit destination for anyone planning a road trip along the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail. With its rich history, stunning views, and unique location, it’s a true gem of the Great Lakes region.

I came across this old lighthouse while driving the road along Lake Huron between Port Elgin and Southampton.

The McNab Point Lighthouse is no longer in operation, is currently in a poor state of repair, and appears to sit on privately owned land.

The McNab Point lighthouse can be found along the shores of Lake Huron between Port Elgin and Southampton

Just One Tip: I recommend spending 1 night in either Port Elgin or Kincardine to break up the road trip

Just One Tip: For avid canoers/kayakers, the Saugeen River is located at this point of the Lake Huron Lighthouse Road Trip. The Saugeen River is known as one of the best canoe routes in Southern Ontario, hence, there are many access points throughout this road trip. Check out Paddling the Saugeen River for everything you need to know, including access points.

History of Southampton Lighthouse

Moving further along the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail, visitors will come across the historic Southampton Lighthouse. This lighthouse stands tall as a testament to the vital role that it played in safeguarding ships navigating the treacherous waters of Lake Huron. The lighthouse was built in 1858 and has been well-maintained over the years, including a renovation in 1998 that ensured its continued preservation.

The Southampton lighthouse is no longer in use, however, it remains standing as a symbol to it's important role during historic times

With its classic design, the Southampton Lighthouse has become a popular tourist attraction in the area, with visitors drawn to its rich history and stunning views. Though no longer in operation, the lighthouse still stands as a symbol of the strength and bravery of the sailors who traversed Lake Huron during its earlier days.

Relax at Chantry Beach in Southampton for a spectacular view of the Chantry Island lighthouse.

Saugeen First Nation | An Ojibway Community

Once departing from Southampton, you will pass through the native land of the Saugeen First Nation.

The Saugeen First Nation is an Ojibway Community located 2 miles northeast of Southampton and 18 miles west of Owen Sound.

Just One Tip: This is the best area to gas up

Take a Small Detour Towards Sauble Beach

For road trippers who have an ample amount of time to explore, I recommend taking a small detour away from the highway towards the beach town of Sauble Beach.

Sauble Beach is known to have one of the nicest beaches in Ontario, making it extremely busy throughout the Summer months. There is plenty to occupy kids and teenagers and it’s the perfect spot to visit and take a break from the Lighthouse Trail road trip.

Aside from enjoying the sun and sand on the beach, there are plenty of activities and attractions to explore in Sauble Beach. For water sports enthusiasts, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular options, and there are several rental shops in the town. For those interested in history, the Sauble Falls Provincial Park is just a short drive away, where you can learn about the Indigenous and settler history of the area. Additionally, the town has a variety of restaurants and shops to browse through, making it a great place to grab a meal or souvenir.

Sauble Falls has an excellent campground, however reservations are required well in advance.

History of Lion’s Head Lighthouse

Continuing along Higway 9 to Highway 6, on this Ontario road trip along Lake Huron, visitors will also come across the Lion’s Head Lighthouse. Located in the charming town of Lion’s Head, this lighthouse has a rich history that dates back to 1903. Originally built to guide ships through the dangerous waters of Lion’s Head Bay, the lighthouse later served as a critical signal station during World War II.

Today, the Lion’s Head Lighthouse is a popular stop for visitors on the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail. The lighthouse has been fully restored and its bright red and white striped exterior is a picturesque sight to behold. Visitors are invited to explore the museum inside the lighthouse, which showcases the town’s fascinating history.

Lion's Head lighthouse is one of the most beautiful lighthouse's  in Ontario.  Explore the museum when visiting this iconic lighthouse

The Lion’s Head Lighthouse also boasts stunning views of the bay and the surrounding landscape. And for those looking for a unique experience, the lighthouse offers nighttime tours during the summer months, allowing visitors to take in the breathtaking views under the stars. It’s no wonder that the Lion’s Head Lighthouse is considered one of the crown jewels of the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail.

Just One Tip: Lion’s Head is well known for it’s many hiking trails. Whether a beginner or advanced hiker, you will find a trail suitable to your fitness level in Lion’s Head.

History of The Big Tub Lighthouse in Tobermory

Last, but not least on the Ontario Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail is the Tobermory Lighthouse, better known as the “Big Tub”, located on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. This lighthouse was first established in 1885 with only a light on a post, but was later replaced with a brick structure in 1897.

The Tobermory Lighthouse has seen its fair share of historical events, from guiding a British naval convoy during World War II to being the first lighthouse in Canada to use radio communication to guide ships. Today, the lighthouse is a beloved attraction for tourists and locals alike.

Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse to take in breathtaking views of Georgian Bay, or explore the accompanying museum which houses artifacts and displays about the lighthouse’s fascinating past. And for those looking for a bit of adventure, the Tobermory Lighthouse is just a short walk away from the world-renowned Fathom Five National Marine Park, making it the perfect starting point for a day of hiking and exploration.

The lighthouse in Tobermore, also known as the Big Tub is full of history

The Tobermory Lighthouse may have played a crucial role in the region’s history, but today it stands as a symbol of beauty and wonder, inviting guests from all over the world to experience the magic of this stunning destination.

While Big Ben is worth the trip to Tobermory on its own, there are many more reasons why you’ll want to stay for a day or two. Tobermory is known as the dive capital of Canada, making it a popular destination among tourists. With an abundance of activities for solo travellers as well as families, Tobermory is the ultimate destination for a Summer getaway in Ontario.

For road trip enthusiasts, you don’t have to end your trip in Tobermory. The Chi Chee-Maun, meaning the Big Canoe, will whisk you and your vehicle across Georgian Bay to Manitoulin Island during the months of May through to October.

The Chi Chee-Maun, meaning the big canoe carries passangers and vehicles from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail road trip is considered one of the best Ontario road trips worth experiencing. This historic and scenic route offers visitors a chance to explore the fascinating history, natural beauty, and cultural richness of the region. So pack your bags and hit the road, as the Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail awaits you!


Kelly XO

Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.


Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. Kelly’s passion lies in exploring Canada and other parts of the world and sharing her experiences with others.

As a senior traveller, Kelly aims to inspire others to live their best life and not be afraid to venture out into the world on their own. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.

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21 thoughts on “Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail An Epic Ontario Road Trip

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  7. Jennifer Record

    Stunningly beautiful! This post comes at a great time as I just booked a trip throughout Michigan and am ending on the East side, which looks an easy drive to Lake Huron…. love on the historical sites highlights…

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Ashton

    The little towns the lighthouses are in sound so fun to explore also! I love a good lighthouse and when you add in wine tasting and cute shops it sounds even more fun!


  12. shafinah.jaafar

    i love that there’s such a good mix of things to do – it’s always sign of good times when you have places like these on your itinerary !


  13. deirdrewood05

    Great guide! I love lighthouses so much. I remember visiting Sauble Beach as a teenager. Brings back great memories


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