Do more things that make you forget to check your phone!
Grand Bend Sport Parachuting Center
Since 1982, the centre has operated as the only skydiving facility in Southwest Ontario. Qualified professional instructors assist beginners to advanced skydivers with freefalling. Whether you're a freefalling expert or this is your first jump, there's something for everyone at the parachuting centre. Instructors recognize a first jump can be frightening, so they offer new skydivers a freefall skydive with two instructors assisting until the parachute is activated, which is when the beginner steers the parachute with instructions via radio. skydivegrandbend.com, 1-800-363-5867.
Great Lakes Helicopter
Enjoy spectacular views of the Lake Huron shoreline and marvel at the pattern created by the area's agricultural crops. Combine a scenic return trip from Grand Bend's launch pad with dinner at Cowbell Brewing Co. in Blyth, Eddington's of Exeter or Langdon Hall in Cambridge. Call ahead to book your sightseeing flight. greatlakeshelicopter.ca, 519-650-4542.
Enjoy a unique experience with a scenic flight from their grass farm runway near Seaforth or a scenic flight from Goderich Airport. Get a birds-eye-view of the lakeshore, beautiful countryside, and picturesque towns - or even your own home or cottage. Details, prices, and online booking are available on the website: pappleAviation.ca or text/phone at 519-319-4224 or 226-378-9268.
Are you looking to rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and dinghies? You can rent canoes, corcls (double-hulled, extremely buoyant, polyethylene boat), stand-up paddleboards, and single and double kayaks for use in the Pinery Provincial Park (519-243-2220) from the park store. In Bayfield, head to the Marina Office (519-565-2233) beside the public washrooms to rent a canoe or kayak. In Grand Bend, River Adventures Grand Bend (519-868-RAGB) rents electric and gas-powered inflatable dinghies, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and tandem kayaks by the hour. They also offer multiple, week-long, half-day camps for kids to learn about open water safety, navigating waterways using a variety of self-powered vessels (kayaks, canoes, paddleboards), and how to tie marine knots. Adult lessons include kayaking and paddleboarding. They even host a glow-in-the-dark group kayak along Parkhill Creek in Grand Bend. Westcoast Beach Store (416-836-8706) on Main Street West offers daily standup paddleboard rentals and lessons. In Goderich, rent single and tandem kayaks and stand-up paddleboards by the hour or up to two days from 360 Bikes ‘N Boards (519-524-7171).
Grand Bend Sailing School
Ken Otte, holder of a Sail Canada certified Basic Cruising Instructor and an RYA Yacht Masters Offshore Certificate of Competency, can teach you the sailing skills and knowledge you’ll need to operate a 30 to 35-foot sailboat safely. With 28 hours of direct sailing and classroom instruction, you’ll be ready to take the Sail Canada Basic Cruising exam. Perhaps you’re more interested in a sailing sightsee. Ken can accommodate a family or group of up to four people on his 36-foot sloop for a 3-hour sailing experience. grandbendsailingschool.com, 519-854-5478
Chris Thatcher and Lorraine Foster have 30 years of combined sailing experience and are members and instructors of the Canadian Power & Sail Squadron. Join them for a sail out of Bayfield on “Stir Crazy”, a 34-foot Beneteau sailboat. Chris and Lorraine can host your group for a 3-hour sail during which you can relax on the deck, enjoy a lake dip, or watch the sunset. They also provide non-accredited sailing instruction on boat and sail handling. Custom sail packages are available. Sailhuron.com, 519-878-4141 or 519-868-4507
Why not whip around on the waves in a seadoo, launch into the lake off a 20-foot water trampoline, try out a tube or water ski? Experience the latest adrenaline-rousing water thrill called flyboarding, which lets you ride water pressure to dive and jump out of the water. Or relax with their exclusve jet boat charter service, so you and up to eight friends can sit back and enjoy a lake cruise. Add tubing, wake boarding, water skiing or kneeboarding to your cruise for extra fun. xtremewatersports.ca, 519-319-4864.
Splash Water Sports
Offers seadoo, jet-ski and pontoon boat rentals, as well as flyboard, jetpack and jetovator rides with experienced instructors to help you out. Or take a bowrider boat charter for a simple cruise on the lake and add tubing, wakeboarding and waterskiing action. splashseadoos.com, 519-671-4865.
DID YOU KNOW?
You need to be over the age of 16 and pass an exam before you head out on the water to operate a water craft. Be sure to get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You can take the boater education course, pass the exam and print off your temporary card - all online - at boaterexam.com/canada.
Horse riding is a great family activity and a wonderful way to relax. Horse riding can include trail rides, horse-drawn wagon rides and structured skill development.
All About Horses
Located in Thedford, All About Horses is not just a friendly boarding facility or place to learn to ride, they offer team building events, birthday parties and trail rides. allabouthorsesthedford.info, 226-678-1471.
Home on the Range Frontier Town
Located in Londesborough, Home on the Range offers 100 acres of trails throughout some of the area's most spectacular scenery. frontiertown.ca, 519-523-9478.
Grace Farms Horseback Riding
In Brucefield, Grace Farms offers year-round Western and English-style riding lessons to riders of all ages and skill levels. Day and week camps for kids are available. gracefarms.ca 519-233-3165
Maybe you would rather place a bet on a horse rather than your buttocks! Head to Clinton Raceway for an exciting day of harness racing. The facility offers families a picnic area, swimming pool, and slots. The 2022 racing season highlights are the $50,000 Kin Pace, Annual Driver’s Challenge, and multiple Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events. clintonraceway.com, Slots: 519-482-7540, Race Office: 519-482-5270
According to Cycling Canada, the number of competitive and recreational riders has grown 10 per cent annually in recent years. No surprise then packing the family’s bikes along with the swimsuits is becoming a more frequent vacation plan.
Mountain bikes, coaster bikes, tandems and classic bikes, including kids bikes, trailers and strollers, can be rented in Pinery Provincial Park (519-243-2220) by the hour, day or week. The bike rental is open daily 9am to 9pm and is located beside the park store.
In Goderich, look for 360 Bikes ‘n Boards (519-524-7171) where you can rent bikes by the hour, day or longer. They also offer bike repairs and sales of bikes, scooters, skateboards, longboards, paddleboards, apparel, and snowboarding accessories. They also special order parts, snowboard and ski waxing, bike rentals, and SUP rentals.
Need something fixed? Grand Bend Bikes Service & Repair (519-494-0304) are open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm within the town's core at 23 Main Street, just off of Queens Avenue.
Ramp it up! Zurich is home to Ontario's largest indoor skatepark, a 40,000-square-foot indoor skatepark facility, not just for the Tony Hawks of this world! It provides the opportunity and inspiration for kids and adults to learn the sport. Riding rookies benefit from training on courses with foam pits and padded ramps. Whether biking, skateboarding or testing your scooter skills, safety equipment and appropriate course levels ensure injury free fun. Packed with wall-to-wall incredible courses and features, All In hosts professional competitions. Kids summer camps give young riders a chance to work with some of the pros that compete in advanced competitions. Equipment rentals available - bring your own helmet, guards or pads. allinactionsports.com, 519-236-7203.
Grand Bend Motorplex
Home to Ontario’s largest drag race events and popular race series, Grand Bend Motorplex is one of Canada’s major motorsport facilities. It welcomes 60,000 fans of heart-pumping action annually. This multi-purpose motorsports facility boasts a quarter-mile dragstrip, a quarter-mile, high-banked paved oval track, and a multi-circuit road course for cars, bikes, and go-karts. The facility has ample parking, unobstructed seating, a rough camping area, paved roads throughout the pit area, washrooms with showers, and a licensed trackside food and beverage court. Events include the Ontario Nostalgia Drag Racing (ONDR) Series, Stratford Spectacular, Windsor Weekend, Sportsmen Nationals, Thunder by the Beach, Berlin Klassik Euro Car Show, and IHRA Canadian Nationals, the largest and longest-running national event in Canada. grandbendmotorplex.ca, 519-238-7223.
Grand Bend Speedway
Located in the Grand Bend Motorplex complex, the Grand Bend Speedway includes a drag strip and road course track for racing enthusiasts. The quarter-mile tri-oval track boasts a 10-degree banking corner, making it the fastest and trickiest track for its size. Considered a “driver’s track”, it was formerly dubbed “the Bull Ring” by former promoters, staff, and racers. The front straightaway behind the start-finish line features a 400-foot long natural amphitheatre hill capable of seating 4,000 spectators, and the track has an additional 684-seat grandstand. This summer, the National Compact Touring Series heads to Canada to host “Battle at the Border 50” featuring drivers from Canada and the United States. Races are on Saturday nights, so families can enjoy the beach during the day and head to the evening races. grandbendspeedway.ca, 519-369-6969.
GTA Exotic Cars
Ever wanted to take a Ferrari or Lamborghini or other exotic car for a drive? The GTA Exotic Cars (gtaexotics.ca) track experience program lets drivers select their dream car and take it for a spin. Choose from more than 10 exotic and super cars. Hopeful drivers must be at least 17 years old with a valid driving licence. Instruction is provided, all cars are automatic and paddle-shift and instructors accompany drivers. Motorplex hosts two track days, July 9 & 10, 2022. Track days normally sell out, so plan your visit and book early. gtaexotics.ca, 905-815-1300.
Racer 5 Motorcycle Training School
This motorcycle training program is offered weekends and their level 1 to 3 stages running seamlessly, they can enhance a rider's skills from one day to the next. Whether you're looking to build your street skills or interested in more advanced racing abilities, Racer 5 can get you there. In 2022, the Introductory Program runs May 20-22, June 3-5, July 15-17, and the Endurance Series takes place September 17 and 18. racer5.ca, 416-225-5000.
Looking to take it easy after an action-packed day or seeking rainy-day activities? Hit the lanes at Town & Country Bowling Lanes in Zurich. Family-friendly 5-pin bowling can include glow-in-the-dark-fun! townandcountrybowling.com, 519-236-4923.
Maintain your fitness routine away from home at one of the area’s gyms.
Birch Bark Trailer Park (36501 Dashwood Rd., Grand Bend): passes and memberships available to non-park visitors, com, birchbarkcamping.com, 519-238-8256, 36501 Dashwood Rd. (County Rd. 83).
Grand Bend Gym (37 Ontario Street North, Grand Bend): 4am to 10pm daily, secure carded entry, passes and memberships, 6,200 square foot gym facility, grandbendgym.com, 519-238-6093.
Jolt Fitness (Unit 4 - 182 Elgin St., Centralia): Offers personal training services, fitness classes, yoga and open gym hours in renovated 2,000-sq-ft facility. joltfitness.ca, 519-614-4594.
My Fit Room (7 King Street West, Forest): From low level and circuit training to Sweat & Sculpt and Boot Camp. myfitroomstudio.com.
Oakwood Resort (70671 Hwy. 21., Grand Bend): Drop-in, monthly and seasonal gym, pool and fitness class passes, oakwoodresort.ca/pool-fitness-oakwood, 519-238-2324.
South Huron Fitness (190 Thames Road E., Exeter): 24-hour, 4,000 square foot gym facility; passes and memberships, southhuronfitness.com, 519-235-4555.
YMCA Fitness Centre (7883 Amtelecom Pky., Forest): Inside the Shores Recreation Centre. Adult and student priced day passes available, ymcaswo.ca, 519-786-9622.
YMCA Fitness Centre (190 Suncoast Dr. E., Goderich): Inside the Maitland Recreation Centre, ymcaswo.ca, 519-524-2125.
YMCA Fitness Centre (225 McLeod St., Parkhill): Inside the North Middlesex Arena & Fitness Centre, ymcaswo.ca, 519-524-2125.