The main strip is the centre of activity in the town, with shopping during the day and night life venues during the evening drawing crowds. The atmosphere of Grand Bend has given the town a reputation of being Florida north.
Grand Bend acts as a regional cultural centre, boasting art galleries in the town and the Huron Country Playhouse on the outskirts.
Grand Bend's year-round population of 2,100 people swells to about 50,000 in the summer months on holiday weekends.
The settlement began in the 1830s when a group of English and Scottish settlers bought lots from the Canada Company, a land development firm. The villagers were mainly the families of the millhands and fisherman. Their homesteads were built on the south side of the present village.
For 20 years, the settlement, then called Brewster, was an isolated lumbering community. Until the opening of the highway to Goderich in 1850, people and provisions had to travel by water. Once road connections were complete, the village was no longer solely dependent on the forests for its livelihood and opportunities for new businesses emerged.
Early French Canadian settlers in the area referred to the present location of the village as "Aux Croches", 'at the bends'. Grand Bend survived as a name, perhaps because it was the most appropriate—the tight hairpin turn in the original Ausable River where mills were established.
Improved roads and the arrival of the automobile near the turn of the century had the greatest influence on the growth of Grand Bend. Businesses were established to serve visitors and travelers along the highway and with the beach, "The Bend" became a summer destination.
Grand Bend is 68 km from London, Ontario, north on Highway 4, west on County Road 4, then north on County Road 81.
- Grand Bend Taxi +1 519-238-8790
- That Girl Taxi Services +1 519-238-1080
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- 1 The Lambton Heritage Museum, 10035 Museum Road (7 km south of Grand Bend), ☏ . Mar 1 – Oct 31: M-F 10AM–5PM, Sa Su and holidays 11AM–5PM; Nov 1 – Feb 28: M-F 10AM–5PM. In the Main Exhibit Centre, you can study the human and natural history of Lambton County and browse through one of the largest collections of pressed glass and local County furniture. Thete are 7 outdoor buildings and gardens to explore. Adults $5, students (13+) $4, seniors (65+) $4, children (4-12) $3, ages 4 and under free.
- Huron Country Playhouse, 70689 B Line, ☏ . 650 seats in the mainstage auditorium and 300 seats in the Playhouse II auditorium. Free parking is available. Infrared hearing and wheelchair access are available to patrons who require special assistance.
- Grand Bend Motorplex, 70292 Bullock Line, ☏ . A dragstrip that hosts an International Hot Rod Association race and the IHRA Canadian Nationals, Canada's longest running and largest drag race.
- Hike the marked and maintained hiking trails.
- 1 The Pinery Provincial Park, 9526 Lakeshore Road (7 km south of Grand Bend), ☏ . A 2500-ha park with 10 km of sand beach on the shores of Lake Huron. Extremely rare and fragile Oak Savanna and Coastal Dune Ecosystems with extraordinary biodiversity – over 800 vascular plants, over 300 bird species. Sunsets here are ranked by National Geographic as among the “Top 10 Best in the World”. Excellent year-round outdoor recreation in rare forests and rolling dunes. 10 walking trails, a 14-km bike trail and 38 km of groomed ski trails. Rent a canoe, hydro bike, paddleboat or a kayak to explore the Old Ausable Channel wetland. Riverside Campground is open year-round beside Old Ausable Channel and has electrical, non-electrical and pull-through sites. Burley Campground, open from May to September, is the furthest away from the main gate. Its sites are nestled between older pines and within close walking distance of the beach. No electricity or pull-through sites. Dunes Campground is within easy walking distance of the beach, outdoor amphitheatre and Visitor Centre. Electrical, pop-up trailer and tent sites from May to September. $8.50.
- Pinery Market, 10163 Lakeshore Rd, ☏ . May to late Oct: Su 8AM-4PM. Antique Flea and Farmers Market is a place to shop, eat and relax while listening to live entertainment. Traditional flea market, handicraft vendors, food vendors, and a farmers market.
- Paddingtons Pub Eatery, 18 Ontario Street North, ☏ . M Tu 3PM-10PM, W-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 1PM-9PM. British pub
- F.I.N.E. A Restaurant, 42 Ontario Street South (south of the main intersection on highway 21), ☏ . Tu-Sa 11:30AM-2PM, Tu-Su 5PM-close. Regional cuisine with daily specials, using local fresh ingredients. Open year round, with off-season hours. Lunch $25_21, dinner mains $28-35.
- Schoolhouse Restaurant, 19 81 Crescent St, ☏ . W-F 11AM-8PM, Sa Su 9AM-8PM. Homestyle meals in a former schoolhouse with a patio.
- Dark Horse Estate Winery, 70665 B Line, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. daily 11AM to close. Wine by the glass on the patio with charcuterie and cheese boards. Public wine tours & tastings (at 2PM): 45 minutes, includes a guided walk though grounds and facility while sampling three of wines - $15 per person. Available most days - call or email to confirm.
- Oakwood Inn & Resort, 70671 Bluewater Hwy, ☏ , toll-free: . 124 rooms, suites and cottages; 18-hole par 70 golf course, driving range & putting green; dining room & pub; private beach access; indoor pool, sauna and hot tub; children’s play area; fire pit; games room.
- Bonnie Doon Manor-on-the Beach, 16 Government Rd. The only motel in Grand Bend that is right at the beach. Child-friendly and pet-friendly. Its buildings are smoke-free. June 15-early Sep: double $280-295, suite $425.
- Rock Glen Family Resort, 8685 Rock Glen Rd, Arkona, ☏ , toll-free: . Family resort destination with cabins, campsites, indoor/outdoor pools. Year-round RV resort with free Wi-Fi, dances, and concerts. River access is nearby and planned activities are available for all ages (most are also free). $75 per night.
- Sawmill Creek Golf Resort, 3790 Lakeshore Rd, Camlachie, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Seven suites. 18-hole golf course, restaurant, a spa & a heated saltwater pool. Single/double one night with two days of golf $220/$340, two nights with three days of golf $380/$560.