Southampton Oldest Port on the Bruce Coast
One visit to historic Southampton, oldest port on the Bruce Coast, and visitors will know why it makes a great destination. The community has a variety of quaint accommodations (including bed and breakfasts, motels, inns, cottage courts, private cottages and campgrounds), restaurants, cafes, art galleries and specialty boutiques. The beaches are free of automobile traffic, hence the peaceful surroundings that make Southampton one of the most idyllic communities on Lake Huron. Take a stroll along the beach Boardwalk from the Big Flag to the Long Dock area. Children’s playgrounds are located at the beach and at the Jubilee Park Accessible Playground & Sensory Gardens, at 50 Victoria St. South. Kick up your heels in the clean sand and fresh water of this unspoiled shoreline. The Dunes area has raised boardwalks accessible from Island Street; the west end explores the delicate ecosystem along the dunes. Sunsets along Lake Huron are famous for their beauty and many dramatic scenes. Southampton upholds Scottish traditions every Friday during summer as a bagpiper pipes down the sunset. Hike or bike the Saugeen Rail Trail, a scenic recreational trail free of motorized traffic, located on a former railroad corridor that runs inland between Port Elgin and Southampton. The Copway Trail can be accessed via Tyendinaga Drive or Bruce County Road 13. Other popular routes include North Shore Trail and Captain Spence Path. A nature trail follows the shoreline of Fairy Lake where swans, ducks and turtles may be viewed. Southampton is the tennis capital of the region since 15 tennis courts are available. Ardent golfers will enjoy numerous local public golf courses. Denny's Dam is a productive area for fishing, as are the Saugeen River and Lake Huron.
Explore the heritage and culture of the community at the unforgettable Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre or by taking in a concert or local theatre. See the historic range lights at the river mouth or admire the new butterfly gardens along Captain Spence Path or Perkins Park. Pioneer Park, adjacent to the harbour, is a great place to have a picnic and to watch fishing boats return to port. Replica nautical storm signals are displayed in the park alongside two bronze cannons.
A local landmark has topped the Canadian Tourism Commission’s list of best hidden travel gems: historic Chantry Island, its lighthouse and restored keeper's quarters can be visited by fully escorted seasonal tours; pre-booking is advised. Tours include boat passage, historical commentary, visit to the keeper's house and a climb to the top of the massive, limestone lighthouse for a spectacular view of the shoreline. Access to the island is restricted due to the Federal bird sanctuary.
The Southampton Arts Centre is located in the Old Town Hall. The Gallery features the work of many regional artists and artisans year round through rotating exhibits, theme art shows and an annual emerging artist Juried Exhibition. The adjacent Southampton Art School teaches outstanding art classes for children and adults under the guidance of qualified art instructors.
Saugeen First Nation #29 is located just north of Southampton. Access to the Saugeen River is possible at the reserve's west end from Grant Ferris Fisherman's Park on Hwy 21, or Indian Agency Road off Hwy 21. Visitors may stroll along lovely flowerbeds of the Rock Gardens and nature trails that offer a spectacular view of the Saugeen River.