Manitoulin Island is a must-see location when you’re travelling in Ontario, Canada.
Manitoulin is a 2-hour drive from Sudbury, Ontario and is the largest freshwater island in the world. If you are visiting Manitoulin Island, here are the top must-see attractions on Manitoulin, starting in Little Current, where you will start your journey if you are driving and not taking the MS Chi-Cheemaun.
Think of this as your Manitoulin Island Bucket List!
Little Current Swing Bridge
The Swing Bridge is the gateway to Manitoulin Island and is a cool attraction to see. In the summertime, the bridge swings every hour to allow large boats to sail through the channel. Although you don’t want to get ‘caught’ at the bridge when you’re in a hurry, if you’re on vacation, it’s fun to watch.
While you’re in Little Current, make sure to check out the great restaurants and some of the cool local shops:
Manitoulin Brewing Company
While you’re in Little Current, take a moment to check out the Manitoulin Brewing Company, located just off Highway 6 at 43 Manitowaning Rd.
Not only will you find Manitoulin-themed beer like their Cup and Saucer English Ale, Swing Bridge, and Haw Eaters’ Brew, but in the summertime you will be able to take a seat for a drink and something to eat. Definitely a cool place to check out.
Cup and Saucer Trail
For an activity with some exercise, plus a picturesque view, the Cup and Saucer Trail is the thing to do.
Located just outside of M’Chigeeng, this 12 km trail is great for kids and adults. There are different sections with varying degrees of difficulty. The Cup and Saucer Trail is a tourist (and local) favourite.
If you want more Cup and Saucer Trail information, visit the Ontario Trails page.
M’Chigeeng Ojibwe Culture
Approximately 30 minutes from Little Current is M’Chigeeng, one of the native reserves on Manitoulin. M’Chigeeng hosts a variety of art galleries, native shops and the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation.
The Ojibwe Cultural Foundation was created to preserve and revitalize the language, culture, arts, spirituality and traditions of the Anishinaabe People of the Mnidoo Mnising. If you want to stop by, they are located at 15 Hwy 551 in M’Chigeeng.
Central Manitoulin Historical Society Pioneer Museum
Located in Mindemoya at 2197 Highway 551, the Central Manitoulin Historical Society Pioneer Museum showcases old farm equipment and pioneer artifacts and also offers a short guided tour and souvenirs.
The museum is open every day in July and August from 9:00am to 5:00pm or by appointment.
While you’re in Mindemoya make sure to check out:
- The Grill and Chill for a fast and delicious meal
- Mum’s Restaurant for a baked treat (highly suggest the Apple Fritters, but get there early!)
- Island Home Outfitters for home decor, clothing and souvenirs
- 45-82 for clothing and souvenirs
- Williamson’s for all your hardware needs
- Cindy’s Clothing
If you’re looking for pet supplies, stop into Kat’s Pet Supplies.
Wagg’s hiking trail is a shorter hiking option, and offers a short accessible trail as well.
For 2023, Mindemoya has a large inflatable water park located at the Government dock.
Providence Bay Beach
One of the most beautiful spots to visit, the sand beach stretches out for miles. This is an ideal location for kids too as there is a big, fun playground at the beach. Providence Bay beach is perfect to see during sunrise/ sunset for a stunning view.
Not only is the beach a must-see, but take the time to walk along the boardwalk that is located along the beach. Grab an ice cream or something to eat from Huron Island Time, located in the pavilion, along with the Discovery Centre.
Another great option is the shoreline hike from the marina at Providence Bay to the (former) lighthouse.
Make sure to grab a coffee and check out the artwork and cool items available at the Mutchmor.
Hungry? Don’t forget to stop in to get fish and chips from Lake Huron Fish and Chips!
Bridal Veil Falls
When you’re driving to the west end of the island from M’Chigeeng to Gore Bay, Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong is on your way.
Bridal Veil Falls is a beautiful spot to stop and take some great photos, and there is a walking trail that takes you into Kagawong where you definitely need to check out Manitoulin Chocolate Works, a chocolate factory in Kagawong.
Other things to check out in Kagawong:
- Grab ice cream at Buttercup Creamery
- Stop into Boo-Bah-Lou Candy Corner
- Check out the cool pottery at Jack Olive, Feather and Fern Studio, Richard Edwards Gallery, and the Artisans by the Bay
- The Farmers market each Wednesday
Gore Bay Bluff
The East Bluff Lookout in Gore Bay offers a spectacular view and location to have lunch. Located at 131E Bluff Road, the bluff gives you a view of Gore Bay and North Channel.
Split Rail Brewing Company
The Split Rail Brewing Company located in Gore Bay has a Retail Store and Tasting Room for you to try out their locally-brewed beer.
They often have fun patio events, long weekend events, and special holiday parties, so check in before you go to see what they’re up to.
Gore Bay also has an inflatable water park available, splash pad, market each Friday, and plenty of shopping in their downtown.
Misery Bay Provincial Park
Misery Bay Provincial Park is located in Evansville, past Gore Bay. The park has several walking trails available, as well as a cool visitor centre that is great for both kids and adults.
If you’re travelling from Southern Ontario, you might be travelling to Manitoulin via the Chi-Cheemaun. Or, maybe you decide to take the Chi-Cheemaun home. (Or you just walk on for a trip!)
The Chi-Cheemaun starts boat trips starting in May.
While you’re in South Baymouth, visit the shops including The Wigwam Gift Shoppe & Motel and grab Fish and Chips from Bigmouth.
Debajehmujig Storytellers is multi disciplinary arts organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Anishnaabek culture language and heritage. They feature an Indigenous Craft market every Friday in July until August 11.
Ten Mile Point Trading Post
When you’re heading towards Little Current from Manitowaning, Ten Mile Point is right off the highway in Sheguiandah. The great thing about this spot is that you get a great view, perfect setting for a quick photo op, plus it can be a quick stop for anyone catching the ferry or driving home.
We mentioned the Cup and Saucer and Wagg’s Park in Mindemoya, but there are plenty of hiking trails around Manitoulin!
- Bebamikawe Memorial Trail Head in Wikwemikong
- Billings Connections Trail- Find the amazing sculptures and read the new historical plaques that can be found throughout.
- Nimkee’s Trail in Sheshegwaning
- McLean’s Park Trail in Manitowaning
- Fossil Hill outside of Manitowaning
- Lewis Twin Peaks Trail, 10835 Hwy 6, Sheguiandah
- South Baymouth Lookout Trail
- Kagawong River Trail
- McLeans Mountain Lookout
- Noble Nature Trail, 57 Kinney st, Gore Bay
- Misery Bay Park
- Dewar Shores Trail, 4077 Government rd, Providence Bay
Manitoulin Island features many pow-wows over the summer:
Manitoulin Island Pow Wow’s
Having a chance to attend a Pow Wow as a respectful guest is a special way to experience Indigenous culture. Anishinabek Nation has a wonderful 2023 Great Lakes Pow Wow Guide (page 33 starts the list) filled with cultural information as well, or read Northern Ontario Travel for a full list of powwows.
- Aundeck Omni Kaning June 3&4
- Sheshegwaning June 10 & 11
- Sheguiandah July 1 & 2
- Wikwemikong August 5-7
- Zhiibaahaasing August 26 & 27
- M’Chigeeng September 2 & 3
We did mention a few art spots on the island, but check out the Manitoulin Art Tour map for more!
What is your favourite spot on Manitoulin Island? Where did we miss? Let us know in the comments!