For Ontario travellers, this summer has been an opportunity to enjoy local experiences and scenery. Many are finding that the activities and adventures they’d normally seek at faraway destinations, can be found close to home. Just in time for Labour Day, we’ve put together a list of some of the coolest trips to take around the province that rival any exotic vacation.
1. Cranberry Marsh at Muskoka Lakes Winery
A visit to the cranberry bogs at Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery is a fun-filled day trip for the whole family. The marsh and surrounding woods feature over 10 km of scenic trails and 27 acres of cranberries, with specials activities available for the kids. For the grown-ups, you can relax on a Muskoka patio while you sip cranberry wine and cider. Or take in the whole wine-making experience with the Bog to Bottle Discovery.
The winery and farm are open year round, but you may want to visit again in the fall when the harvest season begins and visitors can wade in amongst the cranberries during the Cranberry Plunge.
2. Surfing the Great Lakes
While most people venture south for a surfing trip, would you believe you can catch a wave right here at home? For those new to the sport, Surf The Greats offers introductory surf lessons at Cherry Beach, as well as surf safaris around the Great Lakes for more advanced students. For those looking to try their favourite vacation activity at home this year, joining the local surf community can give you the inside scoop on conditions, gear and the best locations to catch a swell.
3. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving on Georgian Bay
Depending on where you’re starting your trip, this one is likely a longer drive, but well worth it. The town of Tobermory sits on the Bruce Peninsula, surrounded by the towering cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, and is home to Canada’s first National Marine Park. In addition to swimming, kayaking and hiking, the waters offer incredible sights for divers and snorkelers. Divers may think they’ve been transported to the Caribbean as they explore the underwater canyons, forests and shipwrecks of Georgian Bay.
4. Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Surround yourself with the beauty of nature and interact with over 2000 species of tropical butterflies and moths at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. While the summer guided tours are suspended until September 2nd for health and safety reasons, visitors can still explore the sanctuary, learn about butterflies, and have lunch at the Chrysalis Café.
5. Tubing at Elora Gorge
Every summer, many Ontarians flock to the Elora Gorge for an exciting day of swimming at the splash pad. While the swimming area remains closed this season, adventurous travellers can still enjoy the thrills of tubing down the white waters. While you’re there, check out the walking trails around the conservation area which offer stunning views of the gorge.
6. Beach Day at Long Point Provincial Park
Long Point is recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and features sand dunes and beaches, Carolinian forests, marshes, wetlands, creeks, and an abundance of wildlife. Among the many conservation areas and parks within the biosphere, visitors to the area can spend the day at Long Point Provincial Park. The park includes 1.5 km of sandy beach situated on Lake Erie, along with grassy sand dunes for you to explore.
7. Boat Tours of the 1000 Islands
The communities of the 1000 Islands make for a perfect day trip destination, with plenty of options for all travellers. Boat tours of the St. Lawrence River are popular, and still running at reduced capacity. Visitors to Brockville can catch a cruise and then spend the afternoon exploring the town and relaxing at the local craft brewery.
8. Pick Your Own Fruit and Vegetables Around Ontario
No matter where you are in Ontario, odds are locally grown produce isn’t far away. As we approach fall, blueberries, blackberries , tomatoes and peaches are in season, with many farms open to visitors looking to pick their own fruit. One of our favourites is Barrie Hill Farms in Springwater, but you can find a “pick your own” farm close to you, wherever you are in the province!
Before you head out on your trip, be sure to book your tickets, tour or visit ahead of time, as most locations are requiring reservations to manage crowds. And wherever you’re headed, look out for ONroute on your journey for food and beverage options, gas, and every other amenity you need to make your road trip experience the most enjoyable.