This is the 12th year Bruce County Tourism has run their popular Explore the Bruce Adventure Passport. The promotion encourages visitors (and locals) to get out and see places around the beautiful county we affectionately refer to as “the Bruce”.
I might be bias (okay, I am) but 2016 looks to be one of the best passport programs yet. While I tend to consider the entire county home, several of the passport stops take you to my backyard, almost literally!
You can’t do the entire passport in a day, but you can group several together for a nice day trip. I took my 3-year old nephew and 6-year old niece to the stops below last weekend. It took us 6 hours, including a few hours at Sauble Falls. We also packed snacks and didn’t stop for lunch. Save yourself some time with these Explore the Bruce passport hacks and you’ll fit in lunch!
Explore the Bruce Passport – Arran-Elderslie Stops
Tara Rotary Park is mere miles from our farm. It’s also becoming a popular spot for family gatherings and my nieces and nephew love playing there. The passport stop is a quick one so you can grab it if you’re coming from the south or east heading towards the other stops below. Or, come for the Arran-Tara Fall Fair (September 13-14) or the Festival of Crafts (October 14-15) this fall!
Between Tara & Port Elgin, just off Bruce Road 17, you’ll find a gravel side road which takes you to Arran Lake. I remember going here as a kid on hot summer nights for a swim or a boat ride when we were done milking cows. It’s also a popular fishing spot for locals. This is another quick one.
You will need your running shoes on for the next passport stops!
Growing up, I visited Port Elgin or Southampton weekly for either church, soccer or the beach. A little quieter and perhaps more “local” than Sauble Beach, many of the charming shops and restaurants stay open year-round, including The Southampton Market. The Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre was also one of my favourite spots to visit. The wooly mammoth tooth on display was found on our neighbour’s farm!
For some good eats in the area, check out The Wismer House (referred to by locals as “the Wiz”) or my personal favourite, Saffron. Outlaw Brew Co. in Southampton is also gaining in popularity for their craft beer and live music on weekends.
Explore the Bruce Passport Hack! If time is limited or your traveling companions aren’t up for a long walk, you can park closer to the junction of the Saugeen Rail Trail and the Bruce Rail Trail. Park off Wellington Street and the punch is about ten minutes down the trail near the old rail bridge. Pay attention coming back from the bridge to take the right path!
Finally, you can make your way up the Lake Huron coast, through Sauble Beach to find Sauble Falls. Funny enough, I’ve never really spent much time here in the summer and am more accustomed to seeing the ice jams and snow buildup in winter, from the seat of my snowmobile. It’s a hot spot in the summertime though!
This was the hardest passport stop to find. You need to go into the campground and walk to the very back, where you’ll find a trail. Follow the yellow markers to the left trail and the punch is about a 15 minute hike. If you go the wrong way (like we did), it’s a 2.5km loop. If you have the time (and bug spray), it’s a nice hike.
If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by Sauble Beach on your way home and enjoys the world’s second largest freshwater beach! It’s not on this year’s passport, but it’s worth a visit. And if you want a snack, grab some yummy churros from Casera taco bus!
This is the first of my series of Explore the Bruce Passport Hacks. Stay tuned for more this summer and get out and “explore the Bruce”!