Conquering Ontario’s Blue Coast by Bike

Cyclist cycling along rural road with blue skies

Summer is just around the corner, and the perfect active adventure may be closer than you think. Less than three hours’ drive from Toronto, southwestern Ontario’s Blue Coast offers some of the best waterfront cycling in Ontario. Discover two internationally renowned Blue Flag beaches as well as awe-inspiring natural scenery, impressive local art, and sumptuous local food and drink.

From scenic Grand Bend to Sarnia and back, this spectacular route totals 70+ kilometres each way, and is ideal for adventurous cyclists with experience and comfort in riding longer distances. Swap city streets for lakeside trails on this three-day adventure and enjoy plenty of sun, sand, and scenic routes. Here’s how to get the most out of your cycling journey along Ontario’s brilliant Blue Coast:

Day 1 

Leg 1: Grand Bend to Kettle Point

Aerial view of azure waters on Grand Bend's Main Beach

Get your pedals in motion and head south toward Kettle Point, enjoying 25 kilometres of beautiful scenery along the way.  If you happen to be riding during the second weekend of July, be sure to catch Kettle Point’s annual Pow Wow and take part in a magnificent cultural and traditional celebration. Need a break from cycling along the way? No problem. Throughout your cycling route, you’ll have plenty of access to cafés, restaurants, grocery stores, and attractions.

Leg 2: Kettle Point to Sarnia

Aerial view of azure blue waters of Lake huron at the mouth of St. Clair River with the Blue Water Bridge

Journey another 25 kilometres to Sarnia, where the south shore of Lake Huron empties into the St Clair River. Be sure to explore Canatara’s shimmering Blue Flag Beach. Located in Sarnia’s Canatara Park, this immaculate beach earned its world-renowned Blue Flag eco-certification for supreme water quality, safety, accessibility and environmental protection. Go for a relaxing dip in Canatara’s clear turquoise waters, relax on the sandy shoreline and take in the park’s beautiful scenery. Canatara Park has 200 acres of green space to explore via trails and bike paths, and it’s an excellent place to spot warblers, sandpipers, ducks and falcons.

Jet skiing along the Blue Flag Beach at Canatara Park

Must-Sip Stops

Alternate Grounds Dockside

Patio overlooking Sarnia Bay at Alternate Grounds Dockside

This dockside restaurant in the Sarnia Bay Marina might just have the best patio in town. Watch the sun sink into the water as you dig into much-loved dishes like delicious fish and chips, hearty burgers, and cajun and creole inspired feature items.

Refined Fool Brewing Co.

Samples of different brews at Refined Fool Brewing Co in Sarnia

This hidden gem located downtown Sarnia offers carefully crafted microbrews in a trendy and welcoming atmosphere. Relax in the friendly taproom and sample fresh cream ale, vanilla porter, German wheat beer, grapefruit IPA and much more!  Visit the Refined Fool retail shop and grab some growlers or bottles to go.

Judith & Norman ALIX Art Gallery

Judith & Norman ALIX Art Gallery at night in downtown Sarnia

No trip would be complete without stopping at the JNAAG. Discover contemporary art exhibits featuring the finest Ontario artists in downtown Sarnia. The permanent collection showcases paintings by iconic Group of Seven artists, as well as Canadian national treasures.

Where To Stay

Rest your head at one of Sarnia’s reliable, quality hotels located along Venetian Blvd. Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, and Best Western are the best tried-and-true hotel picks.

Day 2
Leg 1: Sarnia to Camlachie

Aerial view of the azure water in Brights Grove, Ontario

Jump back in the saddle and head north along the scenic cycling route through the bedroom community of Brights Grove. This tiny town was once a dance hall destination that drew stars including Louis Armstrong and Guy Lombardo. Dig into a hearty lunch at Camlachie’s Sawmill Creek Golf Resort & Spa, which offers a cozy dining lounge with wood-burning fireplaces, big screen televisions, and panoramic golf course views.

Leg 2: Camlachie to Grand Bend

Family overlooking a busy Grand Bend beach

You’re in the home stretch now! This quintessential beach town comes alive in the summer, and the sumptuous stretch of sugar sand beaches is the true star of the show. Grand Bend’s clear, turquoise waters and powder white sands make many visitors feel they’ve discovered a slice of the Caribbean in Lake Huron country. Grand Bend has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s best beach towns, and its Blue Flag certified beach draws people of all ages. The main strip, anchored by the town’s large beach, is buzzing with patio restaurants and friendly bars to choose from. Enjoy a scenic lakeside dinner at Smackwater Jack’s Taphouse or indulge in flavourful Japanese cuisine at Midori Sushi, set right in the heart of the village. Swing by Grand Bend’s new beachfront stage and catch some live weekend entertainment as the sun sets.

Must See Stops

River Road Art Galleries

Painting of a bicycle on the Grand Bend Marina

Lambton County is home to a thriving community of incredibly talented artists. River Road hugs the Ausable River and it’s here that you’ll see original works from the area’s most established artists. Discover award-winning local photography, painting and sculpture at Sunset Arts Gallery, as well as the Castaway Gallery located right next door.

Where To Stay

Grand Bend has a range of friendly, family-owned hotels, motels and resorts to choose from. In the warmer months, be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment. The Pine Dale Motor Inn and Oakwood Resort offer the best accommodations in town.

Day 3 (Optional)

Birds-eye view of lush green Carolinian forest at Pinery Provincial Park at sunset

Grand Bend is teeming with attractions to discover, and if you visit during the summer months you’ll definitely be spoiled for choice. If you have time during or after your cycling tour, be sure to explore the pristine Pinery Provincial Park. Just down the road from the village, you’ll find 21 magnificent square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes. Hike one of ten gorgeous nature trails, explore the Old Ausable Channel by canoe, kayak or paddleboat, and sink your sand into the ten kilometres of sandy lakefront beach. Sunsets here are ranked by National Geographic as among the “Top 10 Best in the World” so don’t forget your camera.

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