We answer your questions about…
- the Beach (hours of operation for children’s play area, washrooms, concession stand, BBQs & Glass, Dogs, water quality, conducting business on the beach, having an event/wedding on the beach)
- Transportation & Parking (directions to Grand Bend, accessible parking, parking costs, free parking)
- Accommodation near the Beach and other concerns
- Miscellaneous (second-hand stores; location of ATM machines; WiFi / Internet; Gas stations; walk-in clinics)
- Tourist Information Centre
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
- 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
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 $16 per vehicle.
Dog owners may also which to check out these websites for dog-friendly Ontario beach options:
Are BBQs allowed on the Beach?
The short answer is NO. Barbequing is not allowed on the Beach for safety reasons. In fact, it is an infraction of local by-law, so 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 on a daily basis 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.
For more information about beaches along Lambton County’s shoreline, visit the Community Health Services Department website at: www.lambtonhealth.on.ca/health-information/safe-water/beaches
How do I setup a business on the beach?
You don’t. 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 on the Main Street in Grand Bend – how do I do that?
You don’t. 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.
To operate a business on Main Street, 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.
No commercial event or activity is permitted on the Beach. 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 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.
Transportation & Parking
How do I get to Grand Bend by public transport?
Unfortunately, there is no regular, direct public transport access to Grand Bend. There are taxi services operating locally and by making a reservation with them you may be able to arrange for pick-up and taxi transportation from London to Grand Bend. 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).
Do people with Accessible Parking Permits or special Veterans Licence plates have to pay for parking?
People with a current “Accessible Parking Permit” or “Disabled Person Parking Permit” may park in any designated handicap accessible spot for FREE. Parking on Main Street West is also FREE, and although the 2-hour limit still applies, in practice vehicles displaying an accessible or disabled parking permit are allowed to park without limit, unless someone complains. Ensure the permit is clearly visible on the vehicle.
If you have to park in a regular parking spot, then parking fees apply.
Those with the special Veterans license plates DO NOT GET free parking. This decision is made on a municipal level, so each municipality will be different.
Where’s the FREE Parking in Grand Bend?
Parking is free in Lambton Shores, including in Grand Bend September through to April.
FREE parking is available in Grand Bend year-round on Eighty-One Crescent Street, Grand Bend Public School’s parking lot – summer only! (Gill Road), along Gill Road and in the Municipal Parking lot behind the Grand Bend Legion at the east end of Municipal Drive and on Ontario Street South (i.e. south of the Main Street & Highway 21 intersection).
There are five paid-parking lots in Grand Bend – Mid Town, King Street, North Beach and Main Beach and Huron Street. Parking tickets can be purchased by the hour from $3 to $4 depending on the lot or for a FULL DAY from $15 to $20, depending on the lot. Obviously, the closer to the Beach you wish to be the more it will cost in terms of parking. Seasonal and Over Night parking passes are available from the Municipality. Seasonal parking passes are valid from April 15 to November 1 each year.
METERED parking is available on Main Street West, Grand Bend for a maximum time of 2 hours and is in force from 10am to 6pm on Statutory Holidays and weekends. Parking is FREE on Main Street West before Noon and after 5pm on weekdays!
- Click here for information about paying parking tickets online.
- Click here for more information, parking costs by location and parking lot maps
Mobile Parking App
HonkMobile can be used to pay for parking throughout Grand Bend. The app will even alert you when you’re down to the last 15-minutes of paid time and enable you to top up your parking time. Download at: honkmobile.com. HonkMobile Support: 1-855-338-2824.
The table below show the parking lot and the HonkMobile Zone number.
|Per Hour||Daily Max.||Hours||Overnight Park with with $10 Pass||Overnight Parking with Seasonal Pass||Boat Trailer & Large Vehicle Parking|
|Main St. W. / 5724*||$2||2 hours||Holidays & Weekends: 10am-6pm. Weekdays: Noon-5pm, FREE before & after hours||No||No|
|River Rd./5730*||$2||2 hours||8am-4pm||No||No||Boat trailer in appropriate spots|
|King St. / 5722*||$3||$15||6am-3am||YES||YES|
|Mid-Town / 5723*||$3||$15||6am-3am||Yes||Yes|
|Huron St. / 5729*||$4||$20||6am-3am**||Yes||Yes|
|Main Beach / 5720*||$4||$20||6am-11pm**||No||No|
|North Beach / 5721*||$4||$20||6am-11pm**||No||No|
|Gill Rd. / 5727*||FREE||FREE||6am-11pm||No||No|
|Municipal Dr. / 5728*||FREE||FREE to 3am||6am-3am||Yes||Yes||Boat Trailer & RV|
|Ontario St. S. / 5726*||FREE||Free||6am-11pm||Yes||Yes||Boat trailer only|
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!
We have mapped our accommodation providers on an interactive map so you can view distance from the Beach to the provider. You will see there are many options to choose from and none are more than 10 minutes walk!
I’m working in Grand Bend for the summer, but having trouble finding a long-term student rental – can you help?
The Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce has a limited list of community contacts who are willing to rent to a person working in the area for the summer. The list is not published to ensure that ONLY those actually working in the area are provided with this information. Contact Susan Mills at [email protected] for more information.
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.
Are there any laundromats in Grand Bend or near the Beach?
Grand Bend has two laundromats: One is located at Best’s Restaurant, 345 Ontario Street South; the second is located at 48 Ontario Street North. A laundromat is also located at Arbor Acres Plaza at West Ipperwash Road in Ipperwash.
Grand Bend has a number of ATM machines – some are operational seasonally and others are available throughout the year. Locations include:
- Bank of Montreal / BMO
- BJs Diner – outside of
- Colonial Hotel
- Dairy Dip – outside of
- Dairy Queen – outside of
- Gino’s Pizza
- Kazwear – outside of
- Mac’s Milk Convenience Store (CIBC)
- TD Bank
- Yogun Fruz – outside of
Port Franks / Northville: Grog’s Pub & Grill and MacPherson’s Restauarant (both located inside)
Ipperwash / Kettle Point: Al’s Gas & Variety and Arbor Acres Plaza (both on West Ipperwash Road).
Major national banks and credit unions are located in Forest (TDBank, Royal Bank, CIBC), Exeter (Royal Bank, Libro Credit Union, Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, CIBC) and Grand Bend (TDBank, Bank of Montreal)
Where are nearby walk-in clinics located?
Walk-in service is available on a limited basis at the Grand Bend Area Health Centre (69 Main St. E.,) on Saturday mornings from 9am-11:30 am on a first come first served basis. Grand Bend Dental & Health Centre (72 Ontario Street South) is for emergency walk-ins only. Other walk-in clinics in the area include:
- Exeter Walk-In Clinic: 23 Huron St. West , Exeter- weekdays 4pm – 6:45pm and weekends/holidays 11am-1:45pm (519-235-3343)
- Forest Home Health-Care, 29 King St. W., Forest – Wednesday to Saturday 10am-2pm (226-520-0054)
- Strathroy Walk- In Clinic: 17 Frank St. Strathroy – weekdays 5pm-9pm and weekends 10am-2pm
- Lucan Medical Clinic: 268 Main St. Lucan – Thursday mornings 8:30am-12:30pm (519-227-1163). Please note these hours may change in July
Tourist Information Centre
Open year-round, the Welcome Centre is located just 500m from the Main Beach in Grand Bend. The Welcome Centre has information about local attractions and events, area bed & breakfasts, motels, hotels, cottages, campgrounds, restaurants, shops, galleries and businesses, directions and maps, theatre playbills and other visitor guides.
Hours of Operation
- September to May: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm
- June – Labour Day Weekend: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm / Sunday 10am to 5pm
1 Eighty-One Crescent Street, Grand Bend (south-east corner of Main Street & Highway 21) | 1-888-338-2001 | [email protected]
Gas Stations / Fuel
There are a number of gasoline stations in the area, including:
- Esso, 544 Main St. S., Exeter
- Shell, 119 Main St. N., Exeter
Forest / Ipperwash
- Al’s Gas & Variety, 9401 W. Ipperwash Road, Forest, 519-786-2267
- Esso Station – Grand Bend Convenience, Ontario Street South, Grand Bend, 519-238-5706
- Shell Station – 71146 Bluewater Highway (Hwy. 21) & Country Road 83, Grand Bend, 519-238-8542
- Co-Op Gas Bar, 51 Main St. N
Port Franks / Northville
- Goco, 8565 Lakeshore Road (Highway 21), Port Franks, 800-567-3776
- 78 Main Street, Thedford, 519-294-0600
- Petro Line, 29 Main Street, Zurich