Grand Bend, Ontario, is a popular summer destination for those looking for a beach getaway and good time.
Located roughly 3 hours west of Toronto, the charming beach town sits on the eastern shores of Lake Huron, boasting long white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water.
The lakeside town is also known for its party atmosphere and vibrant nightlife, with a number of lively pubs, bars, and outdoor patios hosting live music performances and events.
Here are some of the best things to do and see in Grand Bend.
Head to the beach
Grand Bend’s main draw is its stunning beaches, with soft white sand stretching as far as the eye can see along the shores of Lake Huron. The crystal-clear blue water is typically calm, perfect for swimming and watersports.
Main Beach is the busiest and most popular beach to visit, which boasts a Blue Flag rating for water quality and safety. It also features lifeguards, picnic spots, and recreational activities, making it an ideal spot for families.
Stroll down Main Street
A walk down Grand Bend’s bustling Main Street is a must when you’re in town. It’s lined with restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, galleries, and more.
Stop by Archies Surf Shop, which has called the strip home since 1989, for brand-name beachwear, accessories, and souvenirs. You’ll also want to grab a cone from The Dairy Dip and Pizza Place, a retro-inspired ice cream and fast food joint offering a range of flavours.
Get an adrenaline rush
For anyone looking for some heart-pounding fun, there are plenty of options to take advantage of. Several local outfitters by the beach offer water skiing, tubing, and parasailing, as well as jet ski rentals.
Not exciting enough? You can jump out of a plane at Skydive Grand Bend for the ultimate thrill, or head to the Grand Bend Motorplex which features multiple outdoor tracks for motocross, drag racing, and karting. It also hosts music events and offers on-site camping.
Catch the sunset
National Geographic once named Grand Bend’s sunsets as one of the “Top 10 Best in the World,” and it’s not hard to see why with its west-facing views over Lake Huron, the town often experiences some of the most vibrant colours over the water.
Take a hike
A short 10-minute drive away will bring you to Pinery Provincial Park, a gorgeous destination with scenic wooded trails, rare plants, and wildlife. It’s also home to a 10-kilometre sand beach and one of the largest freshwater coastal dune ecosystems in the province.
You can also paddle down the Old Ausable Channel that runs through the park, or spend the night and book a campsite.
Experience local nightlife
It’s no secret to locals and those familiar with southwestern Ontario that Grand Bend is a party town – so much so, it even once had a brief reality TV stint on a show called Grand Benders, which featured party-goers at the since-shuttered beach bar Cocos and its eccentric owner.
The Big Kahuna Riverbar and Grill often hosts live music performers on the patio, which guests can enjoy while sipping on margaritas and tropical-inspired cocktails. Willie’s Beach Bar is mere steps away from the beach, and your place to go to for tacos, cheap drinks, and DJ’s spinning tunes.