tobermory harbour, things to do in tobermory with kids

Things to Do in Tobermory with a Baby (2023)

Based on a lot of personal experience visiting Tobermory over the years, a lot of the attractions in Tobermory are more suited to adults and older children – this is because there’s not a lot of sand and the shoreline is mostly rock. However, during my visits, I came up with several things to do in Tobermory with a baby or toddler. Heading to Tobermory with older children as well? Check out things to do in Tobermory with kids.

Tobermory, often called the Canadian tropics, is a small community on the Bruce Peninsula of less than 4,000 people. Every summer, Tobermory welcomes close to 400,000 tourists, (100 x their population!) Once May or June rolls around, people from all over Ontario start flocking to Tobermory to see the impressive, unique rock formations and the clear blue waters. Tobermory is a popular scuba diving and snorkelling destination, as well as cruises, hiking and camping.

Indian Head Cove, Tobermory
Bruce Peninsula National Park and the Bruce Trail

Tobermory has many activities and sights that are safe for babies and toddlers. I’ve compiled a list of all the popular things to do in Tobermory with a baby or toddler, and if necessary, how to modify the activities so that they’re safe and doable for this age group. So, let’s dive in!

Things to do in Tobermory with A Baby or Toddler

1. Walks along Little Tub Harbour

Little Tub Harbour (also known as Tobermory Harbour)  is the main harbour in town. There’s a marina, dive shops, several restaurants, ice cream places, cafes, and shops that sell Canadiana and beach items, and even a Foodland for grocery shopping. 

 You can spend a lot of time walking around the Little Tub harbour with a stroller or baby in a carrier. I spent several hours doing this with my 1 and 2-year-old children while my husband was scuba diving and vice versa.

Tobermory Harbour
Walk along Little Tub Harbour

It’s worth it to mention that not all of the shops are accessible with a stroller, so its almost easier to walk around with a baby carrier if you want to be able to visit all the shops. Based on my summer 2022 visits with a one-year-old, I would say that you can do Little Tub harbour in a baby carrier or a stroller; you just have more options of stores to go into when you don’t have the stroller, as some of them are tricky to get into with their stairs.

FYI:The town of Tobermory is currently redoing their sea wall (as of 2023) which is exciting news for us stroller parents, as it might make the accessibility of the businesses even easier at Little Tub – I will update this as I find out more.

Duck in Tobermory harbour, tobermory with babies and toddlers

Aside from shopping and grabbing coffees and ice cream, here are my favourite Little Tub harbour activities with a baby:

  • Watch the boats at the boat docking area (pictured above.)You might also be lucky enough to see and feed some ducks in the boat docking area.
  • Walk along the seawall .If you keep walking along Little Tub Harbour past Coconut Joe’s (about a 5-10 minute walk) you will find yourself on a breathtaking scenic route with some beautiful views of the lake.  If you keep going along the seawall, there is a dock to your left. This dock is often used by scuba divers to get into the water. At the top of that dock is a compost-style washroom. It’s pretty well maintained, but there are no change tables.
Tobermory ferry, tobermory with babies and toddlers
Watch the ferry come in

Be prepared to cover your little one’s ears if the boat comes in from Manitoulin island, from across the harbour. The horn is quite loud when you hear it from this side.

Some logistics for exploring Little Tub harbour with a Baby: Change tables in Little Tub harbour can be found in the public washroom by the Mariner Chart Shop. Parking at Little Tub harbour fills up pretty fast during the day. There’s usually a maximum 3-hour time limit.

Pro Tip: There’s additional parking for Little Tub Harbour at the Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre, which is about a 10 minute walk away.

2. Singing Sands Beach

Singing Sands is just a short car drive (10 km) south of Tobermory. The water is extremely shallow, and perfect for very young children. Even if you walk out 500m into the water, it will still only go up to your knees! Its not a great beach for people who want to actually swim but it’s perfect for little ones who aren’t yet swimming independently. You can relax as a parent knowing that there’s no real ‘deep’ end.

singing sands beach
Wade in the shallow waters at Singing Sands Beach

There is also a walking trail along a wooden boardwalk which passes by orchids and other plants that are unique to the Great Lakes region.

There is a large washroom building on site at Singing Sands with change tables, and there are several picnic tables.

Pro Tip: Similar to other destinations in Tobermory, it’s crazy busy to get here on summer weekends. Parking is first-come first-serve, and by mid-day on a weekend in the summer, it’ll be full. Make sure you’re up early and ready to go to get a parking spot. If you can arrive before 9 am, you should be able to get a spot, even on a summer weekend.

I went on a Monday morning in mid-July with my 1-year-old and was shocked to see not a single soul at Singing Sands except for us. We were the only car in the parking lot which made me wonder if I was even in the right place!

Singing Sands parking lot, tobermory with babies and toddlers

It turns out that Mondays are much less busy at Singing Sands, since most tourists spend their weekends in Tobermory.

Since it’s a first come first served basis, you pay for your parking when you arrive – $11.70 per vehicle. This can be done at the automated machine, and you display your ticket in your dashboard.

It was an overcast day at Singing Sands, but my toddler still enjoyed walking through and playing in the shallow water. I got some gorgeous photos of her exploring the water’s surface.

3. Take a boat cruise

There are two main boat cruise companies in Tobermory: Bruce Anchor and Blue Heron. Both of them run daytime cruises to the Sweepstakes Shipwreck in Big Tub Harbour, and Flowerpot Island, as well as sunset cruises. 

Sweepstakes in Big Tub harbour, tobermory with a baby or toddler
Take a boat cruise to see the shipwrecks

For both of their daytime cruises to Flowerpot Island, you have two options: Get off at Flowerpot Island, or stay on the boat for a round trip to Tobermory. With either one, you’ll have opportunities to see the famous ‘flowerpot’ rock formations, and get beautiful photos of the lighthouse, shipwreck and other rock formations you’ll see.

With children younger than four, I’d generally recommend a stay-on cruise with Blue Heron or Bruce Anchor. Click here to read more about Tobermory cruises with babies and toddlers, including costs, suitability to babies and toddlers, and customizable options to fit your itinerary.

4. The Grotto and Indian Head Cove

The Grotto is probably the top attraction in Tobermory, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ontario, so expect it to be busy. Indian Head Cove was also just listed as one of the top beaches in North America. To visit the Grotto or Indian Head Cove anytime between April 30th to October 31st, you need to book a parking pass through Parks Canada here.

Indian Head Cove, Tobermory
Visit Indian Head Cove

Once you’re in the Grotto parking lot, it’s about a 20-minute walk to the Grotto. This is assuming you’re going at a regular pace (so it may be a bit longer than that with a walking toddler). The walk from the parking lot to the grotto is quite pleasant and stroller friendly, and will take you through a forestry area. Some parts of the walk are on the shoreline so you have a nice view of the lake.

However, once you get to the Grotto itself, with young children, its probably best to take some photos from there and then turn back to the parking lot. You’ll be able to see the Grotto from the end of the trail you walked on, and you can even get pictures in front of it. The view will look somewhat like this.

The Grotto, tobermory with a baby or toddler
Look down into the Grotto from the Bruce Trail

The photo below should show why I don’t recommend climbing down into the grotto with a toddler, or baby carrier, and certainly not a stroller. You need to use your whole body to climb down rocks that are large and uneven. The hike down to the area where you swim is also very slippery as the rocks are wet. 

The rocks at the Grotto, tobermory with a baby or toddler
The rock climb down to the Grotto is not advised with a baby

As far as an age requirement for being able to climb down into the Grotto? We’d probably say 7-10 years old, but this will depend on your child, their abilities and comfort level with this sort of hike.

I wouldn’t let this discourage you from visiting the Grotto with a baby at all. A walk to the edge of the trail will give you a scenic hike, and a picturesque view at the end to get photos in front of the Grotto. (And I know many who have done that.) I just wouldn’t recommend going any further than that until your children are big enough to climb down themselves.

5. Halfway Log Dump

Don’t let the name put you off! Halfway Log dump is a beach along the Niagara Escarpment. Like anywhere else in Tobermory, it looks onto a view of beautiful turquoise waters out into the horizon. It’s less crowded than the Grotto and Flowerpot Island, but reservations to park there are still needed.

Halfway log dump
Walk along Halfway Log Dump beach

Similar to the Grotto, you need a reservation from Parks Canada in order to park here anytime between June17 and September 5th. Dropping people off isn’t recommended; you need a valid permit in order to enter the park at all. It’s a pebble beach, so water shoes or sandals are needed for anyone who’s walking. Bring a mat or something for you and baby to sit on comfortably.

6. Play at the playground

The small playground located at Nicholas street and Highway 6 is one of my favourite things to do with little ones in Tobermory. Its close enough to walk here from Little Tub Harbour (5-10 mins) and it also has plenty of parking along the street. 

tobermory with a baby or toddler
Play at the local playground in Tobermory

There are swings, and a play structure. I advise footwear for walking kids, as there are rocks on the ground instead of sand. I’ve brought both my kids (of 1 and 2 years old) to play here when I found they were restless and wanted to kill some time. Also, right across from this playground is Las Chulas restaurant. You could grab breakfast, eat it at the picnic table in front of Las Chulas, and then come over here to play.

The playground is often empty, and serves as a nice break for children who’ve been in their stroller or baby carrier for a while.

7. Watch the most stunning sunset

If you go to the boarding area of Bruce Anchor Cruises, you will see a beautiful view of the lake, with a lighthouse. This is pretty during the day, but at sunset, its even more breathtaking.

Sunset in Tobermory , tobermory with a baby or toddler
Watch the Sunset at Bruce Anchor Cruises dock

The exact address is 7480 Hwy 6, Tobermory. It would be a 5-10 minute walk from Little Tub Harbour. You will see other people gathered here to watch the sunset too, but there’s plenty of room. The stairs leading down to the boat boarding area provide a lot of space for people to sit and watch.

The platform at the top of the boat cruise area is where you’ll stay if you have a stroller – you can safely watch the beautiful sunset and get great photos from here!

8. Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park Visitor Centre

This visitor centre is a government building near town, and sells some souvenirs. Parking is first come first served. If you park here, there is a short hike to Little Dunks Bay Lookout, with a beautiful lookout. The walk is easy and stroller-friendly.

9. Little Cove Beach

Little Cove Beach
Walk along Little Cove Beach

Little Cove Beach is less than 10 mins drive from Little Tub harbour. Like the visitor centre, you do not need a reservation. The parking is first-come first serve. Its safe enough to swim with close supervision with an adult. It’s still rocky, so I’d recommend water shoes to prevent slipping, and definitely lifejackets and floaties.

Places To Stay in Tobermory with a Baby

Tobermory has lots of family-friendly accommodation options. There are hotels, motels, cabins, cottages, Airbnbs and campgrounds – depending on your preference, and availability (as everything does book up fairly quickly) you should be able to find something that suits your preferences.

Here are some recommendations that I have personally stayed at with a baby in Tobermory:

  • Bruce Anchor Motel Just 5 minute walk from Little Tub Harbour, restaurant options and Tobermory cruises, as well as the lighthouse sunset viewing area, The Bruce Anchor is a safe and quiet motel to stay in with a baby. We enjoyed being able to sit outside in the courtyard after our little one went to sleep.
  • Cedar Vista Motel. Close to several restaurant options, Cedar Vista has a everything you need, as well as a courtyard for you to spend time outside. Its a short drive (3 minutes) to Little Tub Harbour, and right across the street from restaurant options, such as Las Chulas, Tacomory, and the Hungry Hiker.
  • Tobermory Village Campground If you want to camp, this is the best place to do it with kids. There’s a small playground, splashpad, and lots of outdoor space, plus its only a 5 minute drive to Little Tub Harbour

Pro Tip: Summer weekends in Tobermory are very popular. If you’re planning to stay in Tobermory on a summer weekend, I would book accommodation as far in advance as you possibly can in order to grab the best family-friendly options

Check out other other good family-friendly accommodation options in Tobermory.

Bruce Anchor Motel

Conclusion: Things to Do in Tobermory With a Baby

There are plenty of things to do in Tobermory with a baby. One HUGE benefit of going to Tobermory with a baby or toddler? You’ll be up before the crowds and able to make your way to most of the attractions early, before the crowds!

I only live a few hours from Tobermory, and go almost every summer, mainly for diving. Whether I’m alone or with kids, I love the walks along the seawall, the little beach-themed stores and the patio restaurants. The harbour and clear turquoise-coloured waters give it the tropical vacation feel that tourists love, and its a beautiful location for a vacation with a baby or toddler.

Final Thoughts: Things to Do in Tobermory with a Baby

Finding things to do in Tobermory with a baby isn’t as difficult once you do the research. We hope that this article, Things to Do in Tobermory with a Baby, helps you plan a fulfilling, fun and safe trip to Tobermory with your little ones!