A Day Trip To Flowerpot Island – Everything you Need To Know

A Day Trip To Flowerpot Island – Everything you Need To Know

Flowerpot Island is an island on Georgian Bay and is about 5km from Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory. This area of Ontario has gained much popularity in the last several years. A part of Ontario that resembles the Carribean, it is no wonder it has become one of the most visited places in Ontario.

Why is it called Flowerpot Island?

The island which is approximately 2km in size is known for the large pillars that stand on its own in the water. These large pillars or also known as sea stacks were formed due to erosion over the years. It is believed that there once stood a cliff right up against the shoreline. Harsh weather, waves and ice have eroded the rock and pushed back the shoreline. The erosion of the limestone eventually formed the current sea stacks that resemble flowerpots. Hence the name Flowerpot Island. 

How do you get to Flowerpot Island?

Day trip to Flowerpot Island

Since it is an island, naturally the only way to access it is by boat. The most popular way to get to the island is by tour boats. Blue Heron Cruises and Bruce Anchor Cruises are the two tour boat companies that shuttle tourists to and from the island. Tours usually operate from mid-May to October. 

Both companies offer drop off and stay aboard, scenic tours. If you are planning a drop off tour, you can choose between the glass bottom boat or a speed boat. The glass bottom boats detour to Big Tub Harbour to view the two famous shipwrecks. 

Tips: Pre-book your tour boat tickets to ensure you secure your preferred day and time, especially if you are visiting during peak season. 

If you choose the glass bottom boat to view the shipwrecks, be aware that sitting by the glass is not necessarily advantageous. The water is so clear that you get a better view of the wrecks from the top or sides of the boat, especially for pictures. 

Although not as common, experienced paddlers can kayak or canoe over to the island as well. 

What can you do on the island?

Hiking:

Day trip to Flowerpot Island

The island is not very big, spanning approximately 2km around. There are two trails and the frequently explored one is the Loop trail. Tourists are dropped off at Beachy Cove and will immediately set off along the Loop trail. The trails go through the woods and are quite rugged. 

The Loop trail will take you to the two flowerpots, a cave, light station and the lighthouse museum. Many visitors usually backtrack once they reach the light station. The area by the light house has picnic benches, muskoka chairs and beach area. It gives you the opportunity to rest your feet, have a quick snack and enjoy the view. One of two restrooms can also be found close to the lighthouse. So, this is a great pit stop and resting point. If you decide to continue along the loop trail be aware that it is rocky with some steep stairs. It is definitely a more adventurous trail heading back to Beachy Cove. 

The trail from Beachy Cove runs along the shoreline. Climb down the rocks to get a closer look and explore the flowerpots and the surrounding areas. The picturesque shoreline is rocky, but it is definitely worth the climb down. The turquoise waters and the beautiful scenery definitely makes for some insta-worthy pictures.

Caves:

Day trip to Flowerpot Island

The only cave that is open is found along the Loop trail and is accessible by a set of stairs. While there are many caves on the island, all but one have been closed off to the public due to safety reasons. Entry into the cave is not allowed, you can only view the cave from a large platform. 

Swimming:

Day trip to Flowerpot Island

Being on an island, you can find many spots to swim. The water in the area is generally very cold, even during the hottest Summer months. If you are up for a polar bear dip, the areas by the lighthouse, Beachy cove or the flowerpots are usually ideal for swimming or dipping your feet. Swimmers and divers need to be wary of the rocky shores and deep drop offs.

The clear, turquoise waters make it ideal for those who like to snorkel. If this is something you enjoy, you will also be able to take in the underwater beauty of this area. 

Light Station and the Lighthouse Museum:

The historic light station is maintained by volunteers known as the “Friends of the Fathom Five”. The museum showcases the lightkeeper’s lifestyle. There is also a small store where you can buy snacks and souvenirs. The store is only open when the volunteers are available. Although at the moment the lighthouse, museum and store are closed due to the pandemic. 

Picnic:

Day trip to Flowerpot Island

If you are heading to the island for a few hours, bring a picnic with you and enjoy your lunch with a stunning view. There is a picnic shelter close to Beachy Cove and picnic benches near the lighthouse. 

Camping:

Many tourists head over to Flowerpot Island for the day. However if you want to spend the night on the island, there are six campsites to give you a true wilderness experience. The camp sites are away from the “tourist” area for privacy. And staying on the island gives you the chance to explore the island without any crowds. If you like star-gazing, being away from the lights of the town will give you an opportunity to get a good look at the Milky Way. Visit Parks Canada for more information and to book your site. 

What should you bring?

Like any other hiking or day trip, pack what you think is necessary for you and your family. The lightstation usually sells water and snacks, but it is not always open and it is currently closed due to Covid-19. 

Here is a list of things we recommend.

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Food and water (bring enough for everyone in your group as there is no water on the island)
  • Sunscreen 
  • Bug repellent
  • Hat
  • Bathing Suit
  • Towel
  • Water shoes (not required, but it will be helpful when on the rocks near the flowerpots)
  • Camera
  • Snorkel gear 
  • Bag for trash- there are no garbage bins, so you need to take back all of your trash
  • First aid kit – which includes bandaids, anti-bacterial creams, afterbite, allergy medication
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Flushable wipes
  • Sanitizing wipes

What type of wildlife can you find on Flowerpot Island?

Snakes, red squirrels, chipmunks and lots of pesky insects are the most you will find on the island. While some of the nearby islands are known to have black bears, there are no bears on Flowerpot Island. 

What should you know before you go?

A few things you should know before you decide to venture out to Flowerpot Island.

  • There is no running water on the island. This means there are no water fountains, flush toilets or taps. 
  • No garbage disposal. You will not find any garbage bins, so you need to pack up your garbage and take it back with you. 
  • Strollers are not recommended. The rocky terrain and steep stairs make it very difficult to navigate a stroller. 
  • Climbing down to the shoreline to view the flowerpots can be tricky, especially for younger children. 
  • Look out for poison ivy. After all, you are in the woods; so keep an eye out for poison ivy if you are climbing around or when you have to go through the trees to make your way down to the shore. 
  • The snack bar, museum, cave and lighthouse are currently closed.
  • Arrive at the tour boat departure point well in advance. With the added screening, it takes a little longer for boarding. 
  • At this time masks are required and need to be worn during the entire journey on the boat.
  • If you are being dropped off on the island by a tour boat, there is also an admission fee as the island is a National park.

To get the full experience, plan to spend 4-6 hours on the island. There are lots of spots for the kids to climb around and explore. Take your time to take in the beauty and what Mother Nature has to offer.

Given the current circumstances with the pandemic, please be safe and responsible when visiting any attraction. Please practice social distancing and be mindful of the visitors around you.

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The Nallawangsa Family

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