How To Get To Flowerpot Island

Flowerpot Island is a stunning island that is part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park. At the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, you will find Flowerpot Island 6.5km off the coast of Tobermory, Ontario. The island is known for its turquoise waters, rugged coastline and famous rock pillars, known as “flowerpots”. During the summer, people flock to the Flowerpot Island as a day trip to get a glimpse of its serene beauty.

The “flowerpots” are giant rock pillars that have formed after many years of harsh weather conditions. Elements such as wind, ice and waves repeatedly thrashing against the coastline, have caused the limestone to erode, leaving the remarkable rock pillars. Many people believe that the remaining rock formations resemble flowerpots, hence the name Flowerpot Island.

You are here:

  • Please contact local tour boat operators to reserve your space.
  • Refreshments are not available on the island. Bring your own water.
  • The camper dock is out of service due to winter damage.
  • Please observe directional signs and warnings.

A trip to Flowerpot Island is one of the best experiences in Fathom Five National Marine Park! The island is famous for its natural “flowerpot” rock pillars, caves, historic light station and rare plants. Most visitors take a tour boat from the town of Tobermory to spend a half or full day on the island hiking the trails, viewing the scenery, picnicking or swimming.

Flowerpot Island is 6.5km from Tobermory harbour and reached only by boat. Two private tour boat companies operate return trips from Tobermory to the island from mid May to mid October, weather permitting. Check with them for schedules and rates:

Kayaking or canoeing to the island is recommended for experienced paddlers only.

  • 1.5 Hours: see the flowerpots and cave
  • 3 Hours: see the flowerpots, cave & lightstation
  • 4-5 Hours: see the flowerpots, cave, lightstation, picnic, hike the entire loop trail
  • hiking trail (loop)
  • picnic shelter
  • composting toilets at Beachy Cove (main dock) and the lightstation
  • historic lightstation maintained by the Friends of Bruce District Parks
  • sturdy footwear (hiking shoes or boots)
  • sunscreen & hat
  • carry water; no tap water is available
  • during summer, drinks & snacks may be available at the lightstation
  • There are no garbage facilities on the island. Please take back everything you brought with you.

    Check our fees page for daily admission fees. Admission fees are included in private cruise operators rates.

    Valid for the same day as your cruise, the fee includes entry to the Parks Canada Visitor Centre in Tobermory.

    Note: Tour boats are privately operated; fees apply.

    Most visitors start at Beachy Cove and hike to the flowerpots. From there it is a short hike to the historic lightstation.

    Most visitors return to Beachy Cove dock by backtracking on the same section of trail.

    For a more rugged and adventurous hike continue around the full loop which passes through rocky terrain and has steep stairs.

    There is a picnic shelter on the shoreline next to Beachy Cove (towards the flowerpots) and picnic tables at the lightstation.

    Popular areas include the picnic shelter near Beachy Cove or at the flowerpots. Be careful! The shoreline is rocky, the water is cold and there are deep drop-offs. There is no sand beach on the island. Use the washrooms at Beachy Cove to change.

    Volunteers maintain the historic lightstation which gives a sense of a lightkeepers lifestyle. When volunteers are on site, you can purchase a cold drink. Enjoy the view from the deck!

    Learn more about the lightstation and volunteers who maintain it at:

    6 campsites are located near Beachy Cove. A reservation can be made using the Parks Canada Reservations System, or by calling 1-877-RESERVE.

    As you explore the island you may notice caves in the rock. Flowerpot has many caves, some of which are accessible, and others that are not. These caves were formed after the last ice age approximately 12,000 years ago when the glacial Lake Algonquin completely covered Flowerpot Island. As the lake levels fell in stages, the cliffs were exposed the eroding effects of the lake for varying durations of time. This phenomenon caused numerous caves to form in the cliffs in various sizes and locations throughout the island.

    Many visitors like to bring lunch with them and have a picnic on the island. There is a picnic shelter on the shoreline near Beachy Cove and picnic tables at the lightstation. If seating is not of concern, eating lunch on the shoreline near the flowerpots is a lovely scenic option as well. Tap water is not available on the island so make sure to pack your own. During the summer months drinks and snacks may be available at the lightstation.

    The Flowerpots are a type of sea stack, formed over many years as wind, rain, waves and ice hammered away at the cliff that once stood alongside the water’s edge, the softer rock eroded more quickly, leaving the harder rock remaining in the shape of our Flowerpots. If you look closely at the cliffs near the water, you will notice the beginning of new flowerpots currently being forged from the shoreline by the elements.

    The Ottawa’s legend of how the Flowerpot rock formations came to be. This story was printed in the Owen Sound Sun Times in 1944.

    During the summer months those who visit the island may journey to the lightstation via Flowerpots trail system. The volunteers are usually there to greet you and sell you refreshments if you need one, there is no fee to enter the homes to explore although donations are welcome.

    Hiking on Flowerpot Island

    Given that the island is small in size, you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground. Hiking around Flowerpot Island is the best way to see the main points of interest. If you’d like to see all the main attractions on the island, the 4.3km trail is the one you’ll want to follow. The trails are classified as moderate as some spots are rocky and can have a bit of an incline. Overall, the trails are easy to navigate.

    If you’re arriving by tour boat, you’ll start your day at the Beachy Cove main dock. From here you can follow the hiking trail to take you to past the “flowerpots” and their lookout points, which are incredible! If you keep carrying on, you’ll stumble across a cave and eventually end up at the historic light station. The trail provides you with many opportunities to peek out and look at the alluring water and scenery around the island. Hiking around Flowerpot Island is certainly a highlight for many visitors.


    How long is the boat to Flowerpot Island?

    The total trip there and back, with boarding and getting off is about 2 hours. The ship also takes a turn onto a nearby Bay for maybe half hour. so I would say trip to Flowerpot island is about 45 minutes.

    How much time do you need on Flowerpot Island?

    To scope out all of the beauty on the island, it is recommended to plan for 5 hours. Bring water and food, and wear running shoes or hiking footwear as there is rugged terrain ahead for the adventurous.

    Is it worth going to Flowerpot Island?

    The interior of the island has some really good hiking trails that are worthwhile doing. The main attraction is the croppy outgrowth of rock that is the “Flowerpot”. The walk to there is well worth it.

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