Motorcycle touring on Manitoulin Island
Tour it like you’d enjoy a gourmet meal, savouring the nuances of each bite's flavour, texture and gastronomical sensations. Enjoy Manitoulin Island’s roads, landscapes, waterscapes, lighthouses, outdoor activities, museums, culture and history the same way. You’ll find locals welcoming, friendly and eager to share their love of Manitoulin through intriguing stories and warm hospitality.
Like embarking upon an ocean voyage to a faraway place, boarding a ferry to go moto-exploring feels more adventurous and worldly than simply cruising up the highway. This is how your tour will start if you decide to reach Manitoulin Island from Tobermory on the MS Chi-Cheemaun passenger ferry. Keep in mind that you’ll need to arrive at the ferry an hour early. Also, depending on the season, you may want to check with the Owen Sound Transportation Company to see if a reservation is required.
The trip from the South Baymouth Ferry Terminal, around the central loop on Manitoulin Island and back to the terminal, is about 200 km or approximately two and half hours of ride time. Sure, you can do this and be on and off the island in one day, but you’ll have missed some of the island’s best roads, sights and landmarks, and you won’t have the full Manitoulin Island experience.
Things to do on Manitoulin Island
Here’s a sample of some of the things you can do while visiting Manitoulin Island.
Take a hike, or three
Manitoulin Island has some of the best hiking in Ontario.
The Cup & Saucer Nature Reserve
Nestled between Little Current and M’Chigeeng off of Highway 540 are about 15 kilometres of family-friendly trails that lead up the Niagara Escarpment to a number of lookouts with exquisite vistas.
The Bebamikawe Memorial Trail
Located in Wikwemikong at the end of Beach Road, this 14 kilometre trail covers easy to intermediate terrain and leads to spectacular views.
Misery Bay Provincial Park
Four hiking trails, ranging from two to eight kilometres snake into a bio-diverse area that includes glacial features, alvars and mixed woodlands. Follow the boardwalk to a viewing platform ideal for birding. The nature reserve is known for its flora and wildlife.
Do a lighthouse tour
Manitoulin Island is home to several historic lighthouses.
Manitowaning Lighttower, Manitowaning
While in Manitowaning visit the S.S. Norisle, a former ferry and cargo ship (built in 1946), which is berthed at the town’s heritage park. And learn about Manitoulin’s early settlers at the Assiginack Museum, which includes a pioneer home, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse and barn.
Mississagi Lighthouse, Meldrum
Built in 1873, this is the oldest lighthouse on the island. According to the official release at the time, it was built “to guide vessels through Mississagi Straits”. While in the Meldrum area, visit the Net Shed Museum and hike some of the trails along the shoreline.
South Baymouth Range Lighthouses, South Baymouth
This lighthouse was built by J. Candlish Kennedy for the Department of Marine in 1898. You will see it from the ferry as you travel from Tobermory. In South Baymouth, take the time to visit the Little Schoolhouse and Museum.
Janet Head Lighthouse, Gore Bay
Built in 1879, this site is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building due to its historical and architectural significance. Its dual function as a dwelling and lighthouse was unique, as this combined use was mainly limited to remote locations.
Kagawong Marina Lighthouse, Kagawong
Explore Bridal Veil Falls, the Old Mill Heritage Centre (an art gallery and museum) and the Manitoulin Chocolate Works in the Kagawong area. There is also another lighthouse, called the Kagawong Marina Lighthouse, easily seen and photographed from the Old Mill Heritage Centre.
Experience unique arts and culture
Home to several First Nations communities, explore Manitoulin Island’s unique arts and culture.
Select from an array of authentic Indigenous cultural tours and land-based learning experiences.
Visit a craft brewery
There are two craft breweries on Manitoulin Island.
Manitoulin Brewing Company, Little Current
Delicious brews and cool Island vibe merchandise make this a must-stop.
Split Rail Brewing Co., Gore Bay
Pick up a few cans of quality small-batch beer and soda to enjoy around the evening campfire.
Places to stay
Choose from a selection of hotels, cottages or campground accommodations on Manitoulin Island.
The longer you stay, the more incredible things you’ll discover on Manitoulin Island. It’s the reason why visitors come back year after year to this very special place.
Last updated: September 19, 2023