When I saw this awesome post by my friend Vicki over at Florals & Teacups about her summer bucket list, I couldn’t resist making one myself! Ontario is full of so many amazing adventures, and I just have to explore as many as I can. While it may be a little ambitious to attempt all of these in one summer, it’s a great starting point to enjoy many of the wonders an Ontario summer can offer you! Follow along as I complete these myself, and you’ll see first hand how much there is to discover.
Go For a Hike in a National Park ✓ Completed July 10, 2016
Ontario is home to three national parks, all of which have their own unique natural beauty. All three are located on the shores of the Great Lakes, meaning you know you’re in for a treat. If you could only pick one activity from this list, this would be my top choice… hence why it’s at the top of the list!
Bruce Peninsula National Park has been on my list for a while. The beautiful waters of Georgian Bay are absolutely mesmerizing, and being surrounded by nature is good for the soul. After unintentionally hiking in Fathom Five National Park the day before, I made the trek back to Tobermory to explore more of Georgian Bay’s coast! Took more than a lackluster Airbnb stay, two back to back 4 hour drives, and a full parking lot to stop me! By the way, if a baby black bear crosses your path – is it bad luck like it is when a black cat does? If you can’t make it in the summer, it’s also a great place to hike in the colder months.
Visit More of Hamilton’s Waterfalls ✓ Completed July 16, 2016
Known as the waterfall capital of the world, Hamilton is a hidden gem in Ontario. You can spend countless hours exploring the city and its surrounding area while enjoying all of the natural beauty the city has to offer!
Had an absolute blast exploring both Albion and Buttermilk Falls with a fabulous rag-tag group of gals, including Steph from The World As I See It and Lauren from Justin+Lauren! I’m slowly making my way to all of Hamilton’s waterfalls, so check out my progress so far here!
Visit A Local Conservation Area ✓ Completed July 17, 2016
In Canada, we’re distracted by our beautiful national parks that we often forget about the natural beauty close to home. There are so many conservation areas scattered throughout Ontario that are much easier – and occasionally free – to access. Heading to a conservation area is a great day trip for some quality nature time!
After living in Kitchener-Waterloo on and off for 5ish years, I finally made it to the Elora Gorge Conservation Area! I’m planning on checking out more conservation areas that are nearby, but this one’s been on my list for a long time. It’s definitely a hot spot for summer weekends – there were tons of people!
Break Out the Tent & Go Camping ✓ Completed July 21, 2016
Roughing it with a camping trip is a reminder of not to take the creature comforts of home for granted. This might not be for everyone, but it’s a great way to get a change of scenery – and roast some marshmallows on the fire!
While this wasn’t an ‘enjoy nature and get away from it all’ type of camping, we got some good use of the tent at WayHome! With some air mattresses and a memory foam buffer, we sure slept like babies when we did sleep!
Attend a Music Festival ✓ Completed June 4-5, July 22-24 & July 30-31, 2016
Summer means it’s festival season! There are so many festivals across the country, that no matter if you’re a hard rocker, country swinger or all-night raver – there’s a festival out there waiting for you to sing your lungs out or get your dance on!
This was the summer of festivals for me as I attended not one but THREE. I had a blast at Ever After, WayHome, and Veld, but I’m definitely still catching up on sleep from the last two being on back to back weekends. Find out what I learned at WayHome as it was my first festival where you also camp overnight!
Take A Scenic Cruise ✓ Completed August 6, 2016
With plenty of fresh bodies of water here in Ontario, it would be a sin not to enjoy the view from it. A boat cruise is a great way to get a new perspective on a place you’ve visited before, or to learn about an entirely new area of the province. It’s also great for a date night – what girl doesn’t love a romantic dinner cruise at sunset?
As for me, it was an early wake-up call I didn’t mind as I enjoyed views like these from the Rockport Cruise. I highly suggest booking a cruise of the 1000 Islands when you visit as it’s a great way to see the beauty of the area! Don’t go for the 10am or 11am cruise though as it will be packed with buses of tour groups. Ours at 9am was fantastic, or I’d suggest a later one around 3pm or 4pm.
Hit the Water with a Kayaking Trip ✓ Completed August 6, 2016
Kayaking is such a fun way to enjoy this beautiful province in the summer months. The cool breeze that comes off the water as you enjoy the summer sun is the epitome of the season. Not only that, but it’s a great workout too! Although I highly suggest doing a guided tour unless you know the area well. It can be easy to get turned around when Google Maps isn’t there to save you!
After seeing the 1000 Islands from a distance, it was time to hit the water and explore them close up. Our half day kayaking excursion was absolutely fantastic. Great for beginners like myself, our guide was fantastic at keeping us together as well as educating us on the area – there are so many little areas to see and enjoy!
Visit a New County in Ontario ✓ Completed August 7, 2016
Take a chance and visit a brand new area of Ontario! There are so many beautiful little counties, each with their own unique charm. Whether it’s a 20 minute drive to a neighbouring county or a few hours away, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much amazing local charm the province has to offer.
If you’re not sure where to go, Prince Edward County is a great suggestion. It’s absolutely adorable and has a similar feel to that of the Niagara Region. This makes sense as PEC is another of Ontario’s fruitful wine areas! It was fantastic to explore a few of the wineries as well as a surprise sculpture garden. One day to explore was nowhere near enough though, so I’d plan a weekend for it!
Spoil Yourself with a Spa Day ✓ Completed August 20, 2016
The hustle and bustle of everyday life can make us neglect ourselves. Take some time away from your responsibilities and enjoy a mental health day… and I’d say a spa day is a perfect way to do so!
After some very busy weekends, it was time to unwind a little with a little downtime at the Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain! I had heard a lot of good things about the spa, however it still took my breath away. The area is so tranquil (with absolutely no technology allowed in the baths!) and you’re fully immersed in the relaxing atmosphere. They suggest the sequence of hot soak, cold plunge and then relax. Robin and I did this a number of times to fully enjoy each of the baths and boy does it do wonders to your body!
Get the Adrenaline Pumping with an Adventurous Excursion ✓ Completed August 21, 2016
Those of you who say Ontario is boring – think again! With plenty of bold activities like treetop trekking, ziplines, aerial parks and more, you’ll be sure to have an adventure you’ll never forget!
My pick was Scenic Caves Nature Adventures as it’s a fantastic spot for an adventure. I highly suggest their eco adventure tour where you admire the ground from above with some treetop trekking, fly like a bird with some ziplining, and explore their beautiful caves. Unconvinced? Read all about my experience & you’ll be signing up for the next tour!
Explore More of Your Home Region ✓ Completed August 27, 2016
When we think of travel, it’s often as an escape from our old stomping grounds. If you don’t have a lot of time to get away, this is the perfect opportunity for a staycation! Pick an area of your city or region that you’ve never been to before, and see where the day takes you. You’d be surprised at what you’ll discover!
I lived in St Catharines for 20 years of my life and I’m JUST getting to see the Niagara Rapids now! Better late than never though, right? With 2016 being the centennial for the Whirlpool Aero Car, I had to hop on for a ride – and an amazing view – of the Whirlpool Rapids! Then Robin and I got a bit closer with Niagara Parks’ White Water Walk. Both are fantastic attractions for getting a glimpse of just how powerful the Niagara River can be!
UPDATE: As you can see, I was able to have the ultimate summer by crossing off all of these adventures! While working a 9-5 job can make travelling difficult, with a little bit of planning you can have a great summer full of fun and memories. I’d say this list is perfect for those feeling stuck in the everyday routine as all of these make easy weekend trips!
Who says you have to get out of the province for a great summer adventure? Ontario is full of amazing adventures, and these will keep you busy all summer long. Are there any summer activities you think should be on this list? I’d love to hear in a comment below!
You can save on many of these adventures with some great discounts from Attractions Ontario! While I travelled, I received discounts as my employer is a member of their program. Be sure to visit their website for more information! All reviews and opinions are my own.
Pin this to your Pinterest board for later!