Where’s the beach?
Grand Bend’s Main Beach is located 0.5km west of the intersection of Main Street (aka Highway 81) and Ontario Street (also known as Highway 21). The Municipality does not allow usage of the beach between 11pm and 6am.
Just 5-minutes from Grand Bend’s main intersection is Port Blake Conservation Area beach. Pinery Provincial Park has 9 day-use beaches, two of which are dog-friendly. Ipperwash Beach is accessible from Ipperwash Road and Army Camp Road. Bayfield’s beach is accessible from Long Hill Road (turn onto Short Hill Road from Highway 21 and then onto Long Hill Road). Find out more about area beaches.
Other Beach Info:
- No littering
- No creating or causing a public nuisance on the beach or parking lot
- No discharging of fireworks on the beach or parking lots
- No open fire for any purpose (includes use of BBQs)
- No glass bottles/containers
- No defacing of property
- No operating a motor vehicle on the beach
- No parking, mooring, anchoring, leaving or operating a vessel/boat in a designated swim area
- No using the beach for sale or display of goods
- No dogs on the beach at any time
- No tents or canopies – only the classic sun umbrella is allowed (due to swimming safety)
When is Grand Bend’s Beach House Observation Deck Elevator in full operation?
From Victoria Day Long Weekend to Labour Day Long Weekend, 9am to 9pm. After the Labour Day long weekend, the elevator is still operational on a daily basis until the Thanksgiving long weekend. Remaining open in October is weather dependent – if it snows, then Municipal Works will shut down the elevator.
When is the Splash Pad open and operational?
Grand Bend’s Splash Pad is open and operational from Victoria Day Long Weekend to Labour Day Long Weekend, 9am to 9pm. After Labour Day the Splash Pad is operational but weather dependent. When it becomes too cold, Municipal Works will shut the system off for the winter. Other Splash Pads in the area are located in Parkhill (176 Broadway), Exeter’s McNaughton Park, Forest’s Rotary Square (Victoria Street) and Arkona’s Community Centre Park (16 Smith Street).
When are the public washrooms open?
The Beach House washrooms (Main Beach Grand Bend) are open 24-hours a day from Victoria Day Long Weekend to Labour Day Long Weekend (after that point, temperatures drop and can freeze water lines, so the Municipality shuts off the water). The Albert Street and River Road Launch Ramp washrooms are open 8am to 8pm from Victoria Day Long Weekend to Labour Day Long Weekend. After Labour Day the washrooms remain open until after the Thanksgiving long weekend and as long as the weather is good.
NOTE: the Beach House facility offers showers as well, so you don’t need to take home sand if don’t want to!
Is the beach dog-friendly?
Grand Bend’s Main Beach is not dog-friendly. As a Blue Flag Beach, Grand Bend’s Main Beach MUST adhere to certain criteria, including “Criterion 22: Access to the beach by dogs and other domestic animals must be strictly controlled” and has been clarified by Blue Flag representatives to mean that dogs are ONLY “allowed in parking areas, on walkways and promenades in the back beach area.” Starting in 2017, dogs are not allowed on the beach at any time.
The Pinery Provincial Park has two dog-friendly beaches, although you must pay a day-pass fee to access it. A Day-Pass gives you access to the park and all its facilities from 8am to 10pm, as well as park in-out privileges (meaning you can leave the park and re-enter later at no additional cost). The current day-pass costs $17 per vehicle.
Dog owners may also which to check out these websites for dog-friendly Ontario beach options:
Are BBQs allowed on the Beach?
Barbequing is not allowed on the Beach for safety reasons. In fact, it is an infraction of local by-law, please exercise safety, courtesy and respect when enjoying the Main Beach.
There are plenty of places to get food of a variety of types and prices an easy, short walk from the shoreline. From healthy salads, sushi, pita wraps and full meals to summer favourites such as slushies, ice cream and frozen yoghurt, burgers, dogs, fries, poutine and pizza can all be found on the 500-metre Main Street West strip from the Beach to the main intersection.
In addition to NO BBQs, glass items are also not allowed on the Beach for safety reasons. Broken glass hidden in sand is a medical danger to children playing – so please be mindful and careful not to bring any glass items to the beach.
What is the Beach Water Quality?
Grand Bend’s Main Beach is a designated Blue Flag beach. This means the beach satisfies an international standard for a clean, safe beach and adheres to a code of conduct concerning environmental responsibility, clean water and established and well-practiced management. The water is tested weekly by volunteers from Grand Bend’s Rotary Club.
Although VERY infrequent, at times after heavy rainstorms, it is possible for the water quality to be negatively affected. Rainwater can wash bacterial contamination from poorly maintained and located domestic septic systems and from agricultural activities, particularly livestock operations. Bacteria may enter streams from manure and feedlot runoff, livestock access to streams and the disposal of milkhouse wash water to nearby drainage ditches and streams.
To get a report on the water quality at Grand Bend’s beach, call the Water Quality Hotline at 519-383-3816 or 1-800-667-1839 ext. 3816.
How do I setup a business on the beach?
No commercial activity is allowed on the Beach. Grand Bend’s Main Beach is owned and maintained by the Municipality of Lambton Shores for the benefit of the entire community. A bylaw/policy is in place that ONLY allows organized activity-based use of the Main Beach by local not-for-profit and community service clubs (i.e. Rotary of Grand Bend, Grand Bend Optimists Club etc). Refer to the Grand Bend Beach Policy (PDF).
I want to start a business and have a kiosk/power cart/retail cart/food truck on the Main Street in Grand Bend – how do I do that?
All business in Grand Bend is regulated by the Municipality of Lambton Shores. There is no provision in local Bylaws to permit temporary or mobile kiosk-type retail locations. All business is conducted within designated commercially-zoned permanent physical structures.
Food trucks are not allowed in Grand Bend and are restricted to only 6 in Lambton Shores in designated locations (Forest, Thedford, Port Franks/Northville, Ravenswood/Ipperwash, and North of the Canada Cut bridge). Previous licencees are given first opportunity to re-apply for a licence.
To operate a business on Main Street West, you would need to rent/lease/buy a permanent building. We suggest contacting one of the local real estate agents or walking Main Street (in April and early May) to see what property is available and obtaining phone numbers for follow-up.
How do I plan an event or wedding on the beach?
Grand Bend’s Main Beach is owned and maintained by the Municipality of Lambton Shores (www.lambtonshores.ca) and its use is regulated by the Grand Bend Beach Policy, which determines who can hold an event on the Beach and what type of events are permitted. It is important for event planners to understand the Main Beach is a community asset not a venue.
Special events and Community Events are permitted through an application and fee-for-use process, as long as the event meets criteria outlined in the Beach Usage Policy and such applications, permit fees and deposits are received no less than 120 days prior to the event for minor events and by October 31 of the previous year for major and non-community events. Event planners must provide due consideration to event length, public address systems, event parking, temporary structures, security, SOCAN fees, monitoring and control and insurance.
Wedding Ceremonies – are permitted ONLY on the Beach House Observation Deck and in the Pavilion (not on the beach itself); receptions are not permitted. Application, deposits and fees are required prior to the ceremony. Rental fee is charged by the hour. Contact the Municipality to determine the appropriate security/damage deposit.
Download a copy of the Grand Bend Beach Use Policy, Application, Fee & Deposit Schedule.
For more information and to submit an event application, contact Community Services at 519-243-1400 / 866-943-1400.
How do I get to Grand Bend by public transport?
On December 14, 2020, Huron Shores Area Transit (HSAT) launched serving towns, villages and hamlets in the municipalities of Lambton Shores, Bluewater, Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, North Middlesex and South Huron.
Four transit routes support local residents moving within the region as well as connecting the region to Sarnia and London. Individual bus stops based on resident and business needs support area shopping, leisure, medical, and social activities. The core routes run daily Monday to Sunday and Monday to Friday; accessory routes run two days per week. Bus fares are affordable and depend on a passenger’s starting point and destination, ranging between $5 for local routes and $10 to $15 for long distance routes.
Voyago, the selected bus operator, is experienced and familiar with providing quality public transit services to many Southwest Ontario rural areas. The two new 26-foot, 18-passenger buses are wheelchair accessible and meet Accessibility for Ontarions for Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements.
Visit HuronShoresAreaTransit.ca for up-to-date route, schedule and bus fare information.
There are also taxi services operating locally. For more information, contact Star Taxi at 519-238-STAR (7827) or visit their website at www.startaxi.ca/grandbend_rates.html or call That Girl Taxi Services at 519-238-1080 (www.transportationservicesgrandbend.ca).
Accommodation near the Beach and other concerns
What places to stay are located a short walking distance to Grand Bend’s main strip/beach?
Grand Bend is a small town covering 1.83 square miles (4.74 square km) with about 1,100 people – any place to stay with a Grand Bend street address is going to be – at a maximum – a 15 minute walk to the action!
I’m working in Grand Bend for the summer, but having trouble finding a long-term student rental – can you help?
In recent years budget-friendly places to stay for seasonal workers has become more and more of an issue. If you’ve got a summer job lined-up in Grand Bend, ask your employer for any personal contacts they may have who might be interested in renting a room out for the summer.
Are there any second-hand stores in the Grand Bend Area?
Yes – there are two. Blessings (519-236-4376), run by several local churches and volunteer staff, can be found at 45 Main Street (County Road 84) in Zurich, just 15 minutes from Grand Bend. Go north on Highway 21. Turn right onto County Road 84 and drive about 6km east to Zurich.
Ark Angels Thrift Store (519-237-3774), run and staffed by volunteers with proceeds going to South Huron Community Living, is located at 146 Main Street (County Road 83) in Dashwood, just 10 minutes from Grand Bend. Go north on Highway 21. Turn right onto County Road 83 and drive for about 3km east to Dashwood.
Habitat for Humanity Restore (519-235-1010) is located at 309 Main St. S, Exeter, just 20 minutes from Grand Bend. Go north on Highway 21. Turn right onto County Road 83 and drive for 20.8km to the London Road (Exeter’s Main Street / Highway 4). Turn south onto the London Road and travel 1.5km to the intersection of London Road and Gidley Street. The Re-Store store is located on the south of the intersection on the west side of the street.