Traveling always brings along happiness and new learnings, no matter what time of the year it is. There are times when you just feel like getting away from your routine life but you are not sure where to go, considering the weather conditions, especially during peak winters. Ontario welcomes you to a charming winter wonderland from cross country ski, romantic weekend getaway to festivities. So, here’s presenting the top Ontario winter getaways to embark on this year.
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Table of Contents
Ontario Winter Getaways to explore this year
- Blue Mountain Resort
- Bayview Wildwood Resort
- Hockley Valley Resort
- Arrowhead Provincial Park
- Algonquin Park
- MacGregor Point Provincial Park
- Manitoulin Island
- Rideau Canal
- Bon Echo Loop
- Rice Lake
- Trent-Severn Waterway
- Niagara Falls
- Hamilton City
TOP WINTER GETAWAY RESORTS IN ONTARIO
For laid-back travelers, resorts offer all-in-one packages, promising something for every age group. Although there are several resorts in Ontario, three of them are more popular than the rest.
Blue Mountain Resort
As the name suggests, Blue Mountain Resort Village Suites is located in a mountainous area – making it perfect for nature lovers. Passionate hikers should find it a joy to experiment with diverse trails.
There is something for the novice, as well as for the experienced too. The strong-hearted may even try rock climbing and the high ropes.
Other activities include Hummer tours, mountain tours, aquatic sports and events, etc. At the same time, sedate games, such as golf, tennis, etc., are also available. Suffice to say that you should have a fun-filled stay!
Bayview Wildwood Resort
A wonderful pick for family vacations! The Bayview Wildwood Resort is an excellent choice for an amazing winter staycation.
You are welcome to choose accommodation close to the lakeside if you wish to enjoy breathtaking views all the time. Also, you have access to breakfast and dinner every day of your stay.
For entertainment, the Resort offers horse-drawn wagon rides, evoking memories of the olden days. Ice fishing is also popular and the resort supplies the necessary equipment. Winter sports include tobogganing, skating, cross-country skiing, etc.
However, if you prefer to stay at home, there is a games room, which is fitted with a billiards table, ping-pong table, etc. Finally, you may end a day of strenuous activities with a soak in a hot tub or a heated indoor pool. Saturdays offer more jazzy entertainment.
Hockley Valley Resort
Hockley Valley Resort is the best place to be if you are planning a winter wedding for self or for someone else in the family. The resort’s staff takes care of everything, making the event a memorable experience. Hockley Valley resort is also the place for arranging girlfriend getaways, corporate events, etc.
The resort is quite popular among corporate companies as they can arrange for large-scale meetings, with a relaxed atmosphere. Spas, golf courses, on-site restaurants, etc., are all part of the package.
BEST PARKS IN ONTARIO FOR WINTER BREAKS
You would love to come back for more, once you experience the beauty that Ontario’s provincial parks have to offer!
Around 31 of them are open to visitors during the winter season. You may skate and ski to your heart’s content at these places. Even the trails are unique, delighting novices and experts alike!
Additionally, you may opt to link up with other hikers and explore Ontario’s natural heritage in the wild countryside. The trips may prove highly thrilling or relaxing – take your choice! Of course, the staff at every park takes measures to ensure that every individual is safe and does not fall prey to any kind of hazard.
Three well-known parks attract large numbers of visitors.
Arrowhead Provincial Park
Located in the central region of Muskoka, this park is lush green with large trees and private camping sites. There is even a lake nearby, bordered by beaches filled with soft sand. No noisy motorboats ply on these waters, ensuring perfect tranquility.
Whenever you feel adventurous, you may hit the hiking trails, which cover around 15 km of the surrounding area. One of them even leads to a sparkling waterfall. Along the way, you can view the ruins of olden-time homesteads.
Whatever you chose to do, your stay should restore your energy and vitality, enabling you to return to your day-to-day life, full of vim and vigor!
Algonquin Park Ontario Winter Getaways
If you wish to comprehend the very essence of this park, you must travel on foot. In other words, you must use the diverse hiking trails. Alternatively, you may take recourse to a canoe to explore the numerous lakes spread across its interior. You will also get to admire plenty of rocky ridges and hills dotted with maple trees.
If you wish something tamer, you may opt for setting up camp at any of several camping grounds. Other attractions of Algonquin Park include the Art Center, the Visitor Center and the Logging Museum. You may also educate yourself about the natural heritage of Ontario by attending various programs.
Apart from these, you can spend some time listening to the program on wolf ecology – known as the Public Wolf Howl as you may learn to howl like this creature in the wild too! If you are lucky, you should be able to spot moose and winter birds too.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park
Bordering Lake Huron, this park boasts of marvelous ecological diversity, and that’s why they call it the all-season park. Covering around seven kilometers of area, it lies to the south of Port Elgin.
The park is home to several migratory birds and carnivorous plants. This is because MacGregor Point comprises ponds, bogs, marshes and fens.
If you are here during Thanksgiving, expect to have a splendid view of witches and forest creatures. Everything is so natural and delightful! The other attractions are the usual winter sports, such as skating, skiing, etc.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN ONTARIO IN WINTERS
You will regret it, if you miss visiting this beautiful tourist spot – Manitoulin Island!
You may avail of the ferry services operating between Tobermory (300 km from Toronto) and South Baymouth, and reach the Island within two hours. Astoundingly, the Island has over 100 lakes encompassed within its borders. Several of these lakes have small islands in their midst too!
The water is fresh, and in fact, Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest sweet water island. It is dotted with rivers, lakes, shorelines, boreal forest, meadows, and escarpments across the island, prompting people to set up small settlements wherever comfortable.
The populace maintains good harmony with Mother Nature and with God.
The land is ideal for organic farming. Other occupations include trapping, hunting, aquaculture and perm culture. In fact, the hunting grounds are excellent and provide plenty of entertaining sport.
The populace is very friendly and welcoming. Additionally, it ensures that the local culture seeps into the island’s artworks, entertainment, recreational activities and sporting events. It is no wonder that the locals refer to the Island as the Heart and Spirit of the Great Lakes of Canada.
Rideau Canal Ottawa winter weekend getaways
Ottawa itself is a glorious city. However, with the arrival of the Rideau Canal or the Ottawa Ice Skating Rink, its beauty has gone up several notches!
The canal, and everything else linked to it, displays something of the Canadian heritage. When the canal came into being, the Canadian Government only looked upon it as a route for transferring war supplies. Using a slack water system, intelligent engineers constructed locks and dams.
Although everything is as it was before, the Rideau Canal is no longer a military construction. Instead, it is a well-known tourist spot. Best of all, the locks are functioning well even today.
Tourists refer to it as the Rideau Waterway. There are several parks that permit people to put up camps. Visitors may go in for hiking and boating, and there are certain areas that are reserved for families. Find hotels in Ottawa Ontario
READ: More winter destinations in Canada
Bon Echo Loop
You should be able to see it easily if you travel to the Highlands in Ontario. The Loop is excellent for riding. It does not matter if you arrive early or late in the season. Conditions remain favorable throughout the year.
The Loop’s design enables you to go through it in just one day, or even a couple of days. It all depends upon how enthusiastic you are!
The loop displays high-quality access roads, rail lines (abandoned) and dense forests lining the lakeside.
One never-to-be-missed spot is the lookout high above Mazinaw Lake. The view from there is stupendous! The lake itself is the second deepest lake of Ontario. A rock rises out of the water, prompting people to go in for rock climbing. The extremely high escarpment is famous for its native pictographs.
Rice Lake is under the benevolent charge of the Rice Lake Tourist Association, which comprises local business owners, other hosts, restaurants and shops. With the aim to make Rice Lake a much-sought-after sightseeing spot, the Association has gone all out to offer entertainment in the form of hiking, agricultural fairs, fishing, exploration of historical towns, golfing, etc.
Apart from this, the views of the surroundings are magnificent. As a result, many visitors insist on long driving tours. Many even take long treks in the forests and conservation areas. The place is a dream for cyclists, hikers and naturalists!
Finally, the shops offer wonderful antiques and artwork.
It refers to a conservation area, which in 1999, was declared as the very first Dark Sky Reserve. A permanent Reserve comprising 4,700 acres of wetlands, rocky ridges and badlands, the area offers a magnificent view of the night sky. It is also a glorious place for adventurous hiking.
Torrance Barrens is also the region of the glacial lakes, such as Lake Nipissing and Lake Algonquin. You may also get lucky to spot rare birds, such as Cooper’s hawk and Eastern Bluebird, and Ontario’s rare lizard, the five-lined Skink, in the Barrens.
A National Historic Site, Trent-Severn Waterway comprises several other historic sites and national parks along its lengthy route. The Parks Canada office at Peterborough oversees everything to do with the Waterway. Parks Canada is an offshoot of Environment and Climate Changes Canada.
This Waterway begins at the Bay of Quinte and ends at Port Severn. The route is wonderfully scenic, although winding in nature. You may have to have around two weeks of your time to complete the journey by boat, canoe or kayak, but of course, you have an option to use land transport if you wish to avoid traveling along the actual Waterway.
The Waterway is a link between Lake Huron and Lake Ontario. As you traverse the aquatic path, you can view the amazing lock stations. You can even watch the Big Chute Marine Railway in operation, and admire the beauty of several farm villages, cottage country sites, and lumbar towns, which enhance the charm of the area.
Winter Activities in Niagara Falls
If you thought that you could visit Niagara Falls only in the spring and summer, you are mistaken!
The area is worth a visit in the winter too, despite the drastic drop in the mercury. Thanks to the skillful arrangement of lights, Niagara Falls appears as a cascade of glittering and sparkling icicles. You could well believe that you were in Fairyland!
The Falls do not stop roaring even in the winter! Therefore, your walk along a pathway just parallel to the waterfall should prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Up close, the icicles seem to have acquired beautiful shapes of their own. They display Mother Nature’s artwork!
To top it all, there is a wonderful display of fireworks too, every night. Best of all, you may take a ride in the Niagara Falls SkyWheel. Just settle down in a warm, enclosed gondola and hover over the splendid waterfall! You should find it an exhilarating experience.
Less than a couple of hours drive away from Toronto is the Niagara-on-the-Lake village. Belonging to the 19th century, the village is as perfect as a picture postcard!
If you are visiting Niagara Falls, you might pay a visit to this area too. In case you are present here in January, you will have the added joy of participating in the Ice Wine Festival too. Approximately 40 wineries initiate food-themed and wine-themed events throughout the month.
If you have not had your fill of a frozen waterfall at Niagara, you might consider traveling to Hamilton. There are more than 100 waterfalls here, and all of them are frozen into bewitching ice sculptures during the cold season!
In fact, they look like landscapes that Mother Nature has created! However, this is not all. You should be able to find something interesting in the arenas of shopping, history, outdoor adventures, culture, art and music, too.
The highlight of Hamilton is the winter fest, various sponsors and a managing committee come together to host numerous entertaining events. Held during the months of January and February, the Fest comprises art exhibitions, displays of antique pieces, tours of colorful botanical gardens, performing artists putting up their own shows, night photography events, enjoyable musical concerts, etc.
The Joys of Skating in Ontario from Muskoka to Ottawa
Ontario is a great place for the athletic/adventurous mindset too. You may skate and ski to your heart’s content here. For instance, though Muskoka is generally popular as a summer destination, it has plenty of sporting thrills to offer in the winter too.
To illustrate, it boasts of four wonderful trails, which are excellent for ice-skating. The best amongst them is the Arrowhead Provincial Park trail, which covers an area of 1.4 km. It takes on a magical appearance during the nights, thanks to the hundreds of torches lighting up the trail!
Additionally, the thick forests lining the trail take on mysterious and exciting hues in the darkness. The evergreen trees display boughs weighted down by snow. It is why the name of the trail – Fire & Ice – seems perfect for it!
Another thrill awaiting you in the Muskoka region is the Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh skating trail. The ice-covered pathway goes on for 1.2 kilometers. While there are acres of cranberry beds on one side, there are thick forests on the other. This indicates the presence of wineries nearby. Therefore, when you are through with your adventures for the day, you might make your way to one of them and request a refreshing glass of wine!
Apart from Muskoka, Ottawa also has great facilities to offer visitors. One of them is Chinguacousy Park. The ice skating rink here permits approximately 500 skaters to occupy its 2000-sq. meters space at any given time.
The shape of the rink resembles that of a canal. Naturally, skaters find it easy to negotiate the natural bends in the trail, and show off their skills! In case, you prefer to be a watcher, rather than a skater, just settle down on any of the seats placed along the borders and relax!
Cross Country Skiing in Ontario
Avid skiers make their way to Ontario during the winter, just to sample the beautiful cross-country experiences. The people in charge of the diverse trails maintain them wonderfully well throughout the winter.
In case, you are inclined to tackle the more dangerous backcountry paths, you may do so safely, and with able guidance. Several resorts display ski trails beginning almost from their doorsteps!
The Niagara Escarpment offers the Highlands Nordic ski trails. They cover over 24 km, offering splendid views of the Georgian Bay. There are even separate lanes for sledding and tobogganing.
If you wish to explore the slopes more than once, you might opt to stay at the Highlands Lodge. It has rentals, meeting rooms, a cafeteria, shops, etc.
We hope you enjoyed this list of winter getaways in Ontario, we highly recommend adding them to your Ontario itinerary.