If the cenotes of Mexico are at the top of your travel bucket list, we’re here to tell you that the next best thing is right here in Ontario. Don’t believe us? The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park is considered one of Mother Nature’s crown jewels, and here’s why.

The Grotto is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year for its mesmerizing turquoise water and intricate cave structures, according to the local tourism site Explore The Bruce.

This destination is also one of the few underground swimming pools in the world where you can float in a subterranean body of water.

To get there, you’ll have to park in the Cyprus Lake Road entrance parking lot. Reservations are required ahead of time until the end of October, which allows you to park for a maximum of four hours.

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A stunning 45-minute hike past ancient trees, cliff edges, and wild orchids will take you right to The Grotto, a cave carved from ancient limestone and filled with the glittering aqua blue waters of Georgian Bay.

Also along the way is a gorgeous natural lookout called Overhanging Point, a massive bowl shape hollowed out of a cliff.

Explore The Bruce says that if you look closely, you’ll be able to see the layers of fossilized coral shielding dolomite and limestone, proving that these rock formations were once completely underwater.

“You can walk along a ledge inside its cavity or, if you’re brave enough, even take a swim inside,” says Explore The Bruce.


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The park itself is filled with serene rocky beaches for laying out in the sun and enjoying the expansive water views.

Among the most popular are Indian Head Cove, Singing Sands Beach, and Little Cove Beach.

Bruce Peninsula National Park is quite a long distance from Toronto and during the busy season, parking spots book up very quickly.

Reservations are required between April 30th and October 31st for access to The Grotto, and you can secure your spot online here.

Happy exploring, friends!