Discover Sarnia-Lambton: Ontario’s Blue Coast
Published: Monday, February 5, 2018
Looking to explore some of the bluest crystal water this side of the equator? You’ve come to the right coast. Located two and a half hours southwest of Toronto and one hour north of Detroit, find out what has thousands of boaters setting their sails for Sarnia-Lambton.
Home to the largest Canadian city on Lake Huron, here you’ll find everything you’ll need for the ultimate water playground; two internationally renowned Blue Flag beaches and marinas, a buzzing craft beer and wine scene, and enough extreme water adventure to keep even the most voracious of thrill-seekers’ adrenaline pumping.
Blue Flag Proud
What does it mean to be Blue Flag? Blue Flag is a world-renowned eco-certification trusted by millions around the globe. In order for a beach or marina to be considered Blue Flag, it has to meet and maintain a stringent set of environmental, educational, safety-related, and access criteria. When you see a Blue Flag flying, you know a beach or marina is clean and accessible, has great water quality, meets high safety standards, and is working hard to protect local shorelines and ecosystems. Catch these flags flying at both Canatara Beach located in Sarnia and Main Beach in Grand Bend.
“Canatara” is an Aboriginal word meaning “blue water”. The park now covers over 200 acres with a sample of the Carolinian forest that once covered part of southwestern Ontario. With 3,000 feet of sandy Lake Huron shoreline, this serene beach, located a stone’s throw from the city centre, offers the perfect escape without sacrificing urban amenities. An animal farm, BMX park, and paddleboard and kayak rentals offer more than enough to keep kids of all ages happy, while the miles of white sand offer the perfect quiet escape for those simply looking for some peace and quiet.
Grand Bend Beach
Often referred to as “Miami North”, Grand Bend Beach is a highly popular summer tourist destination with thousands flocking north each year to enjoy summer on Lake Huron’s sprawling sandy shoreline. Families will love the on-site splash pad, playground equipment, and easy access to shops and eateries on Main Street, while those looking for something a little more fast-paced can get connected with a local outfitter to try everything from parasailing to flyboarding.
One of the largest, full-service marinas in the Great Lakes, Bridgeview Marina is located in Point Edward, Ontario, directly across from Port Huron, Michigan, at the mouth of Lake Huron. With over 35 acres of land and 700 boat slips, they offer every amenity needed to enjoy your summer home away from home; including an outdoor pool and lounge deck and open grass areas for picnic and walks.
Sarnia Bay Marina
Offering spectacular views of the Blue Water Bridges, Sarnia Bay Marina includes over 350 boat slips for both seasonal members and tourists. Specializing in offering first-rate, friendly Canadian hospitality, take advantage of full-service amenities like the onsite restaurant and complimentary shuttle service during your stay.
Sarnia Yacht Club
Formed in 1930, the vibrant sailing community at the Sarnia Yacht Club located in Point Edward, Ontario, has since grown to over 380 full members and 200 associate members. The club’s signature Sailfest Regatta takes place every summer, part of Ontario Sailing’s Grand Prix Development Regattas for Youth Sailors.
Port Franks Marina
One of only 8 Blue Flag marinas in all of Canada, the Port Franks Marina boasts 90 seasonal docks and 2 transient slips, as well as a community park and picnic area, and a public boat launch. Boaters are more than welcome to experience the natural beauty of Port Franks through the Harbour's free 'Loan-a-Bike' program. The Port Franks Harbour is home to beautiful sand dunes as well as various rare species of birds, fish, reptiles, and insects including the Queen Snake, Map Turtle, the Eastern Sand Darter, and the Greenside Darter.
Grand Bend Marina
Another Blue Flag marina, this highly active facility offers 35 transient and 30 seasonal boat slips, and is located right beside Grand Bend’s Main Beach. The marina also provides a gas dock, launch ramp, public washrooms, and other services to the boating public. Once docked, patrons can explore the vibrant town of Grand Bend on two wheels through the marina’s free 'loan-a-bike' program.
Situated on the same latitudinal plain as northern California, Ontario’s Blue Coast is home to the rapidly expanding Huron Shores Wine Region. Wine lovers can sample their way through the lush green countryside making stops at both Alton Farms and Dark Horse Estate Wineries.
Here, you’ll also find Munro Honey - Ontario’s first commercial meadery offering eight different types of mead wines. Not a fan of wine? No problem. Hard cider fans can try out the award-winning cider collection at Twin Pines Orchards and Cider House, while craft beer lovers can head for a tasting at the hipster-haven microbrewery Refined Fool Brewing Co. for a taste of their colorfully-named brews like Ripsnorter and Illiterate Librarians.
Grab A Bite
After a day on the water, there’s nothing like relaxing on a patio and watching the sunset melt into the horizon. Here, you’ll find no shortage of water-top patios boasting a front row seat to some of the best sunsets in the world. Enjoy southern-inspired bistro cuisine at Alternate Grounds Dockside perched atop the Sarnia Bay Marina, offering some of the best views in the city, or take in the National Geographic-ranked sunsets in Grand Bend from Smackwater Jacks Taphouse located next to the Grand Bend Harbour.
Marvel at the Mackinac Boat Race
Spanning over nine decades, every year hundreds of boaters from near and far take part in the prestigious Bayview Mackinac Boat Race, one of the longest fresh-water races in the world. Thousands of viewers line up under the Blue Water Bridge on race day for a front-row seat to catch the spectacle. Annual festivities are offered each year including weekend-long concerts and the famous Mackinac pancake breakfast under the bridge.
Head to a Concert
Country music fans won’t want to miss Bluewater BorderFest, a weekend-long concert series boasting some of the biggest names in country music from Chase Bryant to Brett Kissel, located right near Sarnia Bay Marina. New in 2018, the event will be rocking Sarnia Bay with an all-new lineup of rock music performances in addition to country performers. For a different pace, set your sails to Grand Bend beach for the Summer Sunset Sounds Concert Series, offering free weekly concerts right on Main Beach in Grand Bend.
Considering making a trip up the coast? We can’t wait to welcome you! For more information and to begin planning your trip, visit www.ontbluecoast.com.
April 26–May 6: Bluewater Anglers Salmon Derby
July 1: Canada Day Fireworks
July 14: Mackinac Boat Race
July–September: Summer Sunset Sounds
August 5: Bluewater International Granfondo