The charming historic town of Goderich Ontario sits on the edge of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario. So charming in fact that it’s earned the title of Goderich prettiest town in Canada.
Goderich, Ontario offers visitors a great mix of history, sandy beaches, arts & culture and a vibrant downtown. It’s also close proximity to other popular small towns in Ontario like Bayfield and Grand Bend. Whether you are looking for the perfect Ontario small town getaway or a fun day trip you’ll find everything you know. Here are the 9 Goderich things to do. So, pack the car, and let’s head to southwestern Ontario!
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About Goderich Ontario
Goderich has an interesting history in Canada. After the War of 1812, John Galt and a group of investors formed the Canada Company. The British government granted the Canada Company 1,100,000 acres of land stretching from Lake Huron to Guelph. The location of the proposed town was cleared of its dense trees and a log cabin was erected. When John Galt arrived by boat on the shores on June 29, 1827, it was celebrated as Founder’s day for Goderich.
John Galt then drew up the town plan. Similar to the design of the charming village of Bayfield it includes a central square and streets fanning out from it. Very different than the usual grid patterns in most small towns in Ontario.
Things to Do in Goderich
#1 Stroll Downtown Goderich
Like any small town in Ontario, the heart of the community can be found in its historic downtown. And the downtown in Goderich is surprisingly large. At the centre sits Courthouse Square, nicknamed ‘The Square‘, which is an octagonal-shaped public space with eight streets radiating out from there. It’s the location of the County Courthouse built in 1857 and later replaced with an Art Deco style after a devastating fire.
Most of the buildings around The Square were built in the mid-to-late 1850s. There are almost 200 unique shops that line the historic downtown. Everything from antiques to art galleries to specialty stores makes shopping in Goderich a fun way to spend a couple of hours.
#2 Check out a Museum
If you are looking to learn about Goderich history and the surrounding area head to Huron County Museum. This is where I learned about a number of interesting facts about Goderich Ontario.
Did you know…
- the last public hanging in Canada took place in Goderich
- the Huron County Jail operated from 1842 to 1972. The Huron Historic Gaol is now a National Historic Site and operates as a museum which offers ghost tours.
- Goderich is home to the largest underground salt mine in the world. It sits under Lake Huron.
#3 Watch a Local Theatre Production
Goderich has a thriving arts community. It also has one of Canada’s longest-running community theatre groups that put on productions out of the Goderich Little Theatre. As well, The Huron County Playhouse offers musicals, comedies and dramas.
#4 Attend a Festival
This family-friendly community offers year-round festivals. A highlight in the summer is listening to the local highlanders’ pipe band Pipe Down the Sun every Friday evening. And, in the winter, don’t miss the Tree lighting ceremony followed by a holiday parade and festival of lights.
As well, every Saturday Goderich features a large Farmers Market in the Square. Be sure to check out upcoming events in Goderich to plan your trip.
#5 Grab a Bite
There are a lot of great restaurants in Goderich. My favourite is Cait’s Café – a Parisian-inspired eatery. A must-try is their butter croissants. For breakfast, it’s the decadent chocolate croissant and for lunch, it turns into a delicious sandwich with your favourite toppings. Their delicious croissants can stand up to any boulangerie in Paris- they are that good!
#6 Go to the Beach
There is no doubt that one of the biggest draws to Godrich is the beautiful shores of Lake Huron. Goderich offers visitors three beaches to choose from. There’s the Goderich Main Beach – perfect for families or Rotary Cove Beach – a shallow sandy Goderich beach. Then, there is St. Christopher’s Beach – a dog-friendly beach.
Walk the Menesetung Bridge that crosses over the Maitland River, or the Goderich boardwalk stretching 1.5 km along the beachfront. With the main beach on one side and green space on the other.
#7 Goderich Lighthouse
No visit to this small town is complete until you check out the Goderich Lighthouse. It is the oldest Canadian light station on Lake Huron. Built in 1847, it only stands at just over 6 metres. As it sits on a hill above the shoreline, it has a focal plane of 46 metres. Be sure not to miss this Goderich attraction, the views alone are worth it.
#8 Take a Day Trip
The entire shoreline of Lake Huron has been recognized as one of Canada’s best beach areas. And, beyond the beach, its close proximity to some other amazing small towns – explore Bayfield, Kincardine and Sauble Beach. This is becoming the new hot spot for Torontonians to come for the weekend.
If you are staying in Goderich for more than a day, here are towns near Goderich that are equally charming and worth a visit.
- Bayfield to Goderich – 18-minute drive
- Goderich to St Marys – an hour’s drive
- Stratford to Goderich – an hour’s drive
#9 Tiger Dunlop Heritage Trail
When visiting small towns in Ontario, I often bring my dog, and that means I always try and seek out the best walking trails. And, did I ever find one – right here in Goderich! The Tiger Dunlop Heritage Trail is the most famous hiking trail in Canada, and this make this one of the best hidden gems in Goderich.
It starts right from the Harbour at Lake Huron and goes above the Maitland River along the Menesetung Bridge. It’s a great way to stretch your legs, (maybe grab an ice cream) and go for a scenic walk.
#10 Catch the Sunset
The sunsets over Lake Huron are epic! Described as some of the best in the world. So be sure to stay long enough to catch one. The best location to watch a sunset in Goderich is at one of the beaches or Menesetung Bridge. Holidays in Goderich mean you’ll be able to experience both a sunrise and sunset, stay in Goderich with this list of curated cottages for rent.
What is Goderich known for?
Goderich, Ontario is known for its picturesque harbour, stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches, historic downtown, and being the “prettiest town in Canada.”
Is Goderich worth visiting?
Yes! Goderich Ontario is a charming town on the shores of Lake Huron with beautiful architecture, beaches, and outdoor activities. Don’t miss it!
Where is Goderich Ontario?
Goderich is a picturesque town located on the shores of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario, Canada – 225 km west of Toronto.
Why is the water so blue in Goderich?
The water in Goderich Canada appears blue due to the reflection of the sky, as well as the unique composition of the salt in the water in Lake Huron.
More Ontario Day Trips
If you love Ontario day trips as much as I do, check out my Canada Travel page for a full listing of places and experiences in Ontario. Places to visit like Creemore, Elora, Caledon and Norfolk County to name just a few.
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As a holidaymaker
Goderich easily earns the title of one of the prettiest towns in Ontario. With its scenic backdrop of Lake Huron and so many top things to do, it makes for the perfect small town getaway in Ontario or a fun day trip.