Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – “WOW – What a Ride!” -Hunter S. Thompson
Add heart-revving adventure to your vacation with local outfitters who offer everything from skydiving, parasailing, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, flyboarding, seadoing, skateboarding, motor sports, horse riding, fitness classes and more.
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. Local bike routes vary from eight kilometres to 40 kilometres and cycling guides are available from the Welcome Centre. 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. Outside Projects (519-955-1729) in Bayfield provides repairs and equipment sales, full bike inspection and servicing. 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. See related websites: Grand Bend Bike Club, mapmyride.com/ca/goderich-ontario, waterfronttrail.org.
DECKS, RAMPS, BOARDS, BMX & SCOOTERS
Ready to ramp things up? The quaint village of Zurich is home to Ontario’s largest indoor skatepark. All In Action Sports & Skatepark (519-236-7203, allinactionsports.com), a 40,000-square feet indoor skatepark facility, is not just for the Tony Hawks of this world, it provides opportunity and inspiration for kids and adults. 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, including the World Championships. Kids summer camps enable 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.
Join more than 60,000 racing fans who annually attend heart-pumping action at one of Canada’s largest motorsport facilities, Grand Bend Motorplex (grandbendmotorplex.ca, 519-238-7223). The Motorplex offers drag racing, road racing, oval-track racing and motorcross competition. It’s the location of the largest drag-racing event in Eastern Canada, the MOPAR Canadian Nationals, and now also the MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship, which is televised on TSN. This year, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) announced the addition of a “sportsman no electronics” class to the Summit Super Series program.
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. Maybe you’d rather throttle it out on a motorcycle. The Racer 5 Motorcycle Training School (racer5.ca) is offering weekend training from introductory to pre-race levels for aspiring motorcycle racers.
Of course, crowd favourites like the Ontario Nostalgia Drag Racers Weekend, Stratford Spectacular, Windsor Race Weekend and Thunder by the Beach are all back for another year
MOTORCYCLING ROUTES & GUIDES
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. The Greater Grand Bend Area is nestled between two regions that publish motorcycling route guides – Cruise the Coast and Ride Perth County. Motorcycle tour itinerary maps are available at the Welcome Centre, located south-east of Grand Bend’s main intersection. Handy Motorcycling Websites: cruisethecoast.ca, ridegreybruce.com.
FREEFALLING & PARASAILING
Since 1982, the Grand Bend Sport Parachuting Center (skydivegrandbend.com) 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.
Skydiving not your thing? Try parasailing with Grand Bend Parasail (grandbendparasail.com) through the skies at heights of up to 1000 feet from the pier. There are several qualified instructors and operators who provide instruction to all participants, no matter their experience level. Deal can be had. Take advantage of early bird flights, which run from 9am to 11am daily; sunset loads where you can enjoy one of Canada’s best sunset destinations from a bird’s-eye view above the main beach; and group rates and specials for groups of eight or more people.
Head over to Xtreme Water Sports (xtremewatersports.ca, 519-319-4864) where you can whip around on waves in a seadoo, launch into the lake off of a 20-foot water trampoline, try out a tube or water ski. They even have the latest innovation in adrenaline-rousing water thrill ride flyboarding, which is essentially a “water jet pack” that uses water pressure to let the user rise into the air, dive, and jump out of the water. Xtreme also provides an exclusive jet boat charter service and quality seadoos, jet skis and three-person waverunners for rent. Other providers of seadoo and waverunner rentals include Deep Wave Rentals (deepwaverentals.com, 519-615-7333) and Splash Water Sports (splashgrandbend.com, 519-671-4865).
Before you head out on the water, 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.
Bayfield’s Windmill Lake Wake & Eco Park (windmill-lake.ca, 519-524-0636), an eco-friendly outdoor recreation park, offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced cable wakeboarding, as well as stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boating. Windmill Lake is the only straight-line cable park in Huron County and the first bi-level wakeboarding park in Canada. There are adventures for the whole family with programming like PaddleFit, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, SUP Yoga and guided nature tours that wind through 200 acres of forest.
Great Lakes Helicopters (greatlakeshelicopter.ca, 519-650-4542) offers scenic helicopter rides over the Grand Bend Area. Papple Aviation (pappleaviation.wordpress.com, 519-318-4224) offers daylight scenic flights from Goderich and Centralia (Exeter) year round. Seeing countryside from the air is a great way to experience Southwestern Ontario in all seasons, especially during the Fall. Lake Huron’s shoreline changes daily and is so clear you can see individual rocks under the water.
A great family activity or just a way to relax, horse riding can include trail rides, horse drawn wagon rides and more structured skill development. Home on the Range Frontier Town (frontiertown.ca, 519-523-9478) in Londesborough, offers 100 acres of trails throughout some of the area’s most spectacular scenery. All About Horses (facebook.com/allabouthorsesthedford, 226-678-1471) in Thedford offers skills development that includes beginner riding lessons, riding trails, dressage, jumping, hunter and western disciplines.
Looking to take it easy after an action-packed day or seeking rainy-day activities? Hit the lanes at Town & Country Bowling Lanes (Main Street, Zurich). Family-friendly 5-pin bowling can include glow-in-the-dark fun! Call 519-236-4923 or visit townandcountrybowling.com.
Maintain your fitness routine away from home at one of the area’s gyms.
- Birch Park Trailer Park (Grand Bend): passes and memberships available to non-park visitors, com, 519-238-8256, 36501 Dashwood Rd. (County Rd. 83).
- Grand Bend Gym (Grand Bend): 4am to 10pm daily, secure carded entry, passes and memberships, 6,200 square foot gym facility, grandbendgym.com, 519-238-6093, 37 Ontario Street North.
- Oakwood Resort (Grand Bend): Drop-in, monthly and seasonal gym, pool and fitness class passes, oakwoodresort.ca/fitness-oakwood, 519-238-2324, 70671 Hwy. 21.
- South Huron Fitness (Exeter): 24-hour, 4,000 square foot gym facility; passes and memberships, southhuronfitness.com, 519-235-4555, 190 Thames Road E.
- YMCA Fitness Centre (Forest): Inside the Shores Recreation Centre. Adult and student priced day passes available, ymcaswo.ca, 519-786-9622, 7883 Amtelecom Pky.
- YMCA Fitness Centre (Goderich): Inside the Maitland Recreation Centre, ymcaswo.ca, 519-524-2125, 190 Suncoast Dr. E.
- MOPAR Canadian National Superbike Series – June 8 & 9, 2019
- ONDR Nostalgia Weekend – June 28-30, 2019
- Bayfield Vettefest – July 5 & 6, 2019
- BaconFest – July 13, 2019
- MS Bike Tour – July 27 & 28, 2019
- MOPAR Canadian Nationals – August 2-4, 2019
- Wind & Waves Outdoor Eco Festival – August 3-5, 2019
- Thunder by the Beach – August 31 – September 2, 2019
- Volkfest, Bayfield – September 29, 2019
Grand Bend ParasailGrand Bend ParasailContact: Lee Marcoux
Established in Grand Bend Ontario, Canada in 2012. Parasail over beautiful Lake Huron, Grand Bend Beach. Our staff have a combined 15+ years experience in Parasailing and watersports.
Captain – Lee Marcoux is a Canadian born avid water sportsman mainly growing up in the Caribbean. Working on yachts and living aboard his sailboat with his young family. Lee is versed in the safety aspects and can easily read the wind, wave, weather conditions that can be fast changing. Worked as a “Rigger” (inspection and repair of gear) in the Skydiving industry for many years inspecting parachutes, maintenance and packing chutes. An accomplished B.A.S.E. Jumper with over a 1000 jumps to date and many students over the 12 year period. This gives Grand Bend Parasail the leading edge in safety and the ability to instruct passengers and Crew professionally & check Parachutes and gear for wear. Captain Lee has acquired the regulated Commercial Captains license’s through Transport Canada’s required courses.
Captain Carlos Ramos- An avid Skydiver and Videographer and years of experience working parsail boats here and in the Caribbean. Carlos has been with Grand Bend Parasail from near the beginning and has accumulated a huge amount of experience and has gone through his Transport Canada Regulated courses. When not at work, you’ll always find Carlos on the water, sailing and living the life aboard his sailboat. Or possibly at the Drop Zone in Grand Bend skydiving!
Crew/First Mates- Andrew Puerto and Callum Rollings were an perfect fit and match with Grand Bend Parasail. With a few seasons of training and experience, their knowledge of parachutes and parasailing have excelled and are able to understand the demands of different chutes used for various weights/wind conditions of the day. Great energy and fun at all times on board! They also have a great eye for Photo’s/video which makes for an invaluable part of this operation.