Treat yourself by visiting the delightful village of Bayfield, Ontario. Situated on the shores of Lake Huron, this charming place is oh so quaint. From the historic downtown with its lovely shops and eateries to the beautiful parks and beaches. This village is tiny in size, but big in appeal. About 2.5 hours west from Toronto, this makes for a great family, couples or friends getaway. Let’s discover the top things to do while visiting this historic village.
What to Do
Wander the Main Street
Find the heart of this tiny village by wandering the historic Main Street. This is where you will find all of the unique shops, eateries, and galleries. Experience the warm welcome by the locals who are just waiting to share their love of this tiny village with you.
My absolute favourite is The Village Bookshop. There is an entire section on local authors from southwestern Ontario, you might even luck out and find a signed copy. Wander out the side door to the private tranquil garden. Under massive tree canopies you might find some art suspended from the trees on a fair-weathered day. Follow the path that will lead you to an artist’s studio in a small barn.
Other favourites…you’re bound to find something at The Gravy Boat, a kitchen shop that is well-stocked in gadgets and culinary essentials. And, Hive, the eclectic shop full of clothing, accessories and home décor.
If you love art, be sure to check out the Bayfield Art Gallery, showcasing a collection of local artisans works under one roof. A couple more of my favourites are Patina, a fine art and fine crafts by local artists, as well as, Marten Arts Gallery full of unique and contemporary designs.
Picnic in the Park
Relax in Bayfield’s most beautiful Pioneer Park. A privately owned park that overlooks Lake Huron. It’s a large open green space with large shade trees is the perfect spot to relax and take in the sweeping lake views. We are always travelling with our dog, Henry. This is always one of our first spots to go to burn off some energy while he is bound to run into some other dog friends too.
Head to the Beach
The most popular beach is Bayfield’s Main Beach. It’s a family friendly sandy beach with drive up access, parking and public washrooms. Watch the sailboats come and go as the village’s Marina and pier is located right beside this popular spot.
Then there are Howard, Houston Heights and Pioneer Park beaches, all can be reached by way of a wooden staircase of about 80 steps or so. Our favourite is Pioneer Park, a mix of rock and sandy beach where usually there is not a lot of visitors and so our dog is free to roam.
Stroll the Residential Streets
There are many attractive homes and cottages in this village. Why not venture off Bayfield Main Street and stroll along the quiet, tree lined streets and gaze upon the homes, cottages and beautiful gardens. In particular, Catherine Street to Chiniguy Street to Colina Street are quite scenic, and they happen to be along the way from the downtown to Pioneer Park.
Support the Farmer's Market
The best way to feel the community spirit of a small town is to plan your visit the Farmer’s Market. For Bayfield, they have timed theirs for arriving for a weekend. The market runs every Friday from 3pm to 7pm from May to October. Head to Clan Gregor Square to support the local vendors.
Where to Eat & Drink
Restaurants and Pubs
If you like laid back, casual eateries, then there are a lot to choose from in Bayfield. Here are a few that I recommend.
The Little Inn, which is one of Ontario’s Finest Inns, offers two dining options. The Willow Room – perfect for a weekend brunch or dining experience. Or, the Four in the Hand Taproom – the Inn’s pub open for lunch and dinner. You don’t have to be a guest of the Inn to dine here, but reservations are a must.
Black Dog Village Pub is located in the village’s General Store building from 1850. This long standing restaurant is a local and tourists’ favourite offering up your typical pub style menu with a large selection of beer and cocktails. It’s a popular spot in town, so be prepared to wait, especially for a seat on their patio.
The Lake House of Bayfield Bistro serves up a seasonal menu – traditional dishes with a bit of a twist. Aside from the delicious food, dine al fresco on their pretty front porch with either a view of the Main Street or the private garden.
And, if it’s Italian that you are craving check out Olio and Olio Too for their homemade pizza and pasta.
Ice Cream Shoppe
Yes, ice cream gets their own section! Expect to see a line-up of eagerly awaiting ice cream lovers at these two shoppes.
First, there’s the popular Rosie’s Ice Cream Shoppe. The small white building with its bright pink, turquoise and purple awning. She serves up hard ice cream from London Ice Cream Company, as well as a smaller selection of gelato and frozen yogurt.
Next, there is Copenhagen’s – which is also well known for its fish and chips and tacos – as well as their ice cream.
Coffee Roaster and Bakery
For the coffee lovers, there really is only one place to get your coffee in Bayfield – Shopbike Coffee Roasters. Aside from getting your coffee, you can stock up on their own branded merchandise – everything from coffee mugs to tee-shirts, as well as bag of freshly roasted coffee beans.
And, I saved the best for last, The Pink Flamingo Bakery & Boutique. This little bakery offers up daily selection of fresh cupcakes, cookies, squares and more. My absolute favourite, and worth-the-drive treat are the scones. Trust me, you can’t stop at one so you might as well get a couple for the ride home. I spoke with Sharon, the owner and baker and she told me that it is her grandmother’s recipe. Aside from baked goods, this little shop offers up specialty tea, coffee and their signature drink – pink lemonade.
Where to Stay
For most of us, visiting Bayfield will likely be an overnight stay and not just a day trip. So here are the recommended places to stay.
The Little Inn of Bayfield offers travellers a refined experience, with its classic décor through its rooms and dining rooms. Watch for their themed weekend stays, perfect for couples or girlfriends’ getaway. Or, if you would prefer to rent a house or cottage, check out the 10 Best Airbnb Properties in Ontario’s West Coast.
As a holidaymaker…
The village of Bayfield is definitely one of my favourite places to visit. It offers up more than just a charming historic downtown. Lake Huron is simply incredible. With its clear turquoise water, this is such a relaxing and beautiful place to visit.