August 17, 2018 9:00 am
Updated: August 17, 2018 9:42 am

Road trip Ontario: Feel the small town comfort of Bayfield and Goderich

A couple sit in chairs along the shoreline of Lake Huron in Goderich.

Mark Spowart / The Canadian Press File

Along the shores of Lake Huron sit a picturesque pair of Canadian destinations separated only by a 20-km stretch on Highway 21.

The bigger of the two, the town of Goderich, holds a population just above 7,500. Bayfield, incorporated as a village in 1876, houses around 1,100.

If the sunsets and beaches aren’t enough, Goderich’s tagline, being recognized as “Canada’s prettiest town,” is certain to drag people in.

With Goderich known as Canada’s prettiest, Bayfield definitely has a shot of being the country’s most charming.

Filled with vibrant colours and surrounded by hiking trails, Bayfield offers visitors the warm comfort of a small community.

READ MORE: Road trip Ontario: Let’s all go to the drive-in

Along with their small size, the similar designs of Bayfield and Goderich make them easy to navigate. Both have a central square with streets radiating outwards.

Getting there

Bayfield and Goderich sit alongside Lake Huron, north of Grand Bend.

It takes a little over an hour to reach Bayfield from London and directions are simple: travel north on Richmond Street (Highway 4), take a left on Mill Road (Highway 3) and keep going until you see the small village nestled on the shore.

Once you’re in Bayfield, Goderich is just 20 km north on Highway 21.

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Those driving from Kitchener won’t find much difficulty either. Travel west on Highway 7/8 through New Hamburg, Stratford and Mitchell. Once you arrive in Seaforth, take a left on Main Street (Highway 12), then a right onto Mill Road (Highway 3) until you reach Bayfield.

Remember, Goderich is just a 20-minute drive north.

Where to stop on the way

If you’re coming up from London, you’re bound to run into Lucan. Voted Kraft Hockeyville 2018, the small rural town will play host to a preseason game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators this September.

READ MORE: Road trip Ontario: Summer crowds flock to Grand Bend’s beaches, gardens and sunsets

From Kitchener, Hamilton or Toronto, drivers will have a chance to make a stop in Shakespeare. The hamlet offers crafts and artisan foods at The Best Little Pork Shoppe, Shakespeare Pies or the British Touch. There are also several stores offering antiques and vintage decor.

And for those feeling extra Shakespearean, the Stratford Festival is just a 15-minute drive west.

Where to shop

Goderich’s Court House Square offers clothing through Something Irresistible and Winston’s Men’s Wear.

You can catch the Goderich BIA Farmers and Flea Markets on weekends at the Square.

A collection of unique handmade items from over 70 local artisans can be found at the Goderich Makers Mercantile on West Street.

An aerial view of Goderich in autumn.

Getty Images

In Bayfield, you can get your hands on furnishing finds at The Bayberry Shoppe. On the south side of the city, D.L. Creations offers housewares made from reclaimed pieces of wood.

You can grab some artwork at Main Street Gallery and Martens Arts Gallery, both separated by a seven-minute walk down Bayfield Main Street.

READ MORE: Road trip Ontario: Collingwood region ideal spot for those who want active getaway

And if a long day of shopping has you aching for a bite to eat, Thyme on 21 in Goderich offers casual dining with vegan-friendly options.

In Bayfield, the Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro and the Ashwood Bourbon Bar are another pair of hot spots that accommodate many dietary needs.

Where to visit

Bayfield is home to five beaches, as well as the Hay Township Park Beach Lookout which provides a breathtaking view of Lake Huron.

Just east of Bayfield sits the Windmill Lake Wake and Eco Park. You can tee up for nine holes at the Bluewater Golf Course and Campground, seated less than five minutes north on Highway 21.

If you’re in town between August 17 and 19, the 162nd Bayfield Fair takes place at the Bayfield Agricultural Society Grounds.

READ MORE: Road trip Ontario: Merrickville offers scenic shopping in the summertime

The town of Goderich offers a look back in time with the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol.

The Tiger Dunlop Trail offers a wheelchair-accessible hike that is safe for families, pets and bicycles.

Goderich’s three beaches offer free parking, picnic shelters and playgrounds, as well as a 1.5-km boardwalk stretching along the beachfront.

The Folmar Windmill that sits north of Bayfield.

Darlene Munro / Getty Images

Where to stay

Don’t let their small populations fool you, both Bayfield and Goderich are well-equipped to handle an influx of tourists.

The best places to rest your head in Goderich come in a variety of forms, according to Trip Advisor:

Colborne Bed and Breakfast

Cedar Lodge Motel

Dreamz Inn

Samuels Hotel

Trip Advisor shows that Bayfield offers popular accommodations to match any preference:

The Little Inn of Bayfield

The Ashwood Inn

Bayfield South Suites

Bayfield River Cottage Colony

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