Goderich Ontario
Credit: Flickr/RichardBH (CCby2.0)

These aren't Caribbean waters - they just look like them. 

Located about two and half hours from Toronto, Goderich is nestled along the shores of Lake Huron. 

And how did "Canada's prettiest town" come to boast dreamy blue waters? Goderich is home to Canada’s largest salt mine, and the salt content of the water has been credited for this strand's blue hue.

Whatever the cause, it might be the closest Canadians get to Caribbean blue without stamping their passport. 

Goderich's charms aren't just surface-deep, either. Turn inland and you'll find a quaint town steeped in historic charm. Meet friendly bakers and artisans at weekend farmers' markets, and let the handsome storefronts transport you to what feels like a pretty-as-a-picture movie set. 

Here are 15 reasons urban-dwellers might seek lake-shore reprieve in Goderich this summer:


Hit the shore:

Goderich's 3 beaches

Goderich BeachHuron Chamber of Commerce

Goderich has three main beaches: St. Christopher's, Main, and Rotary Cove. All three are threaded together by a 1.5-kilometre boardwalk and flush with free parking. That's music to the ears of city-dwellers: free and ample parking.

Travelling with the kiddos? Rotary Cove Beach offers summer lifeguard supervision, refreshment stands and washroom facilities, making it an ideal family destination.


Wrap up a summer day:

Where to catch a "double sunset"

Goderich SunsetHuron Chamber of Commerce

In Goderich, you don't get one sunset - you get two.

The town's beaches are cradled by a cliff backdrop, which creates the opportunity to witness a unique "double sunset."

The sunset can be viewed once from the shore and then again atop the cliff. The clifftop vantage is a quick drive from the beach. If you'd prefer to walk, it can be accessed by a set of stairs that lead you from beach to cliff in minutes. Be sure to ready your camera; Goderich is well-appreciated for its dramatic sunsets.

Every Friday night during the summer (weather permitting), the Celtic Blue Highlanders Pipe Band “pipe down the sun.” They begin their performance about an hour before sunset at Rotary Cove. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy charming music while watching the sun drop behind the horizon.


Lake-shore dining:

Where to dine in Goderich

Beach Street Station Goderich OntarioYour Life In Stills

A great spot to dine is Beach Street Station. The name harkens to the building's original purpose - it was a train station that serviced the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1907 until 1988. After months of planning and preparation, the station was moved to its present location in 2013. Two years later, renovations were completed and Beach Street Station opened to the public. Today, it serves a menu inspired by the beauty and history of the building and its surroundings.

Click to see a complete round-up of Goderich dining


Meet the bakers and candlestick makers:

Weekend markets

Goderich ShoppingHuron Chamber of Commerce

During the summer, Goderich hosts a farmers' market on Saturdays and a flea market on Sundays. Both are held in the historic town square.

The farmers' market is where you can find fresh grown fruit and vegetables, naturally sourced meats, locally harvested honey and maple syrup. Arrive hungry to snack on fresh-baked goods and so much more.

The flea market similarly offers produce and baked goods, but also vends antiques, crafts, collectibles, curio and more. 

Both markets operate from Victoria Day weekend through Thanksgiving weekend.


Get pedestrian:

Galleries, shops and doughnuts - oh my!

The downtown Heritage Shopping District is home to several local artisan and art studios, as well as numerous art galleries. There are over 200 retailers, including antique shops, specialty gifts, bookstores, sporting goods and home-and-garden. 

self guided walking tour goderich ontarioHuron Chamber of Commerce

A visit to the District would be incomplete without sampling fresh-baked treats at the legendary Culbert's Bakery. Established in 1877, Culbert’s is notorious for their doughnuts, which are made the old-fashioned way from a closely-guarded secret recipe. Patrons are encouraged to call a day ahead to order doughnuts as they sell out regularly. Locals also love Culbert's cream puffs, birthday cakes, cookies, tarts, homemade chocolate and well, plainly put, everything really! 


Discover tales of the past:

Huron County Museum

Goderich is also home to the Huron County Museum, which houses the County archives. The museum is in the old Central School, which was built in 1856. The original collection was curated by Joseph Herbert Neill. In 1948, he sold it to Huron County under the condition that he could remain curator and that the museum could become public. The museum officially opened in 1951. Today, it consists of over twenty-five thousand square feet of gallery and visitor space. It boasts both permanent and seasonal exhibits, with the permanent exhibit focusing on the early settlement and subsequent development of Huron County.

Huron Historic Gaol

Another must see is the Huron Historic Gaol. The Gaol is a striking building, shaped in a unique octagonal form. It served as the Huron County Jail from 1842 until 1972. The former jail was also the site of the last public hanging to occur in Canada, when Nicholas Melady was hung in 1869 for the murder of his father and stepmother. The Gaol is now a National Historic Site, albeit a slightly ominous one!

Self-guided heritage walking tours

self guided walking tour goderich ontarioHuron Chamber of Commerce

Goderich offers four self-guided heritage walking tours. The tours are roughly an hour in length and showcase the architectural beauty and history of the town. Printable maps are offered for free on the town’s website.

Take a hike:

3 trails that will get you into nature

Goderich trailHuron Chamber of Commerce

If nature is more your thing, there are also several gorgeous hiking trails to explore. The Tiger Dunlop Heritage Trail offers stunning views of the harbour, lake and river valley. The Maitland Trail offers hikers trails of varying difficulties to meet their needs. The Maitland Trail Association encourages recreational uses of its trails, including hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.


With its beautiful beaches, intriguing history, stunning architecture and small-town charm, Goderich is the ideal destination for a sunny summer weekend getaway.


Ready to plan your Goderich getaway? 
Let Tourism Goderich lend a hand

Restaurants | Where to stay | Things to do


Related content on Canadian Traveller: