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Fruit picking with kids

18 Off The Beaten Path Scenic Spots in ON!

From the beautiful forests of the north to the provincial parks of the south, Ontario is home to plenty of scenic destinations for those willing to explore.

Here are 18 destinations near 20 Best Westerns offering year-round fun:


1. Explore the oldest provincial park in Canada when you pay a visit to Algonquin Provincial Park near Huntsville in Northern Ontario. A year-round destination, this outdoor wonderland combines culture with numerous activities. Start with a visit to the Algonquin Visitors Centre, which details the park's natural and cultural history, before diving into miles of hiking, mountain biking, and cross country skiing or diving into the park's numerous lakes. 

2. Head a little ways southward to visit Lake St. Peter Provincial Park, a charming preserve situated on the banks of Lake St. Peter. Located northwest of Bancroft, the park offers delightful photo opportunities of the lake and surrounding hills and forests. Be sure to test out your fishing skills, seek out peace with a rented canoe, and read a good book on the sandy beaches.

Provincial Park

Enjoying a Provincial Park Picnic

3. Go west and visit the northern Ontario town of Dryden. Home to Max the Moose, Dryden celebrates the seasons and the outdoors with the annual Moosefest Festival. Experience a variety of family-fun activities out in the sun before heading down to Wabigoon Lake. With over 114 miles of shoreline, the lake is a popular, top-flight destination for fishing game and swimming and boating.

4. Take a tour of the world's animals with a visit to Elmvale Jungle Zoo near Barrie. You'll forget you are in northern Ontario once you see numerous species of more than 300 animals. Specializing in animals from warmer, tropical climates, the zoo's inhabitants range from exoitc birds, lizards, and lemurs, to monkeys, tigers, and lions. Don't miss the kid-friendly petting zoo or the live reptile presentations.

5. After visiting the animals, make your way south to see Canada's most famous collection of shrubs and trees. The University of Guelph Arboretum, found in Guelph near Toronto. A popular university in Canada, the institution is home to the 408-acre arboretum. Lose yourself exploring over 1,700 different trees and peaceful plants and gardens. Don't forget to check up on the arboretum's numerous annual events and special workshops and programs. 

6. Travel to western northern Ontario and spend a night in the charming city of Kenora, home to the Lake of the Woods Museum. Spend a day browsing the exhibits of what has been called "one of the coolest little museums" in Canada and view more than 25,000 artifacts. Afterwards, relax with a refreshing dive into the Lake of the Woods itself, one of the most popular aquatic recreation sites in Canada.

Horseback Rides

Horseback Rides

7. See for yourself thousands of unique plants and animals with a trip to Ball's Falls Conservation Area. Located near St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, this ghost town is subject to many ghost stories, myths, and legends. When not browsing the unreal, take the time to appreciate the beautiful waterfalls, hike up scenic Twenty Mile Creek, and see species of Chokecherry and Wild Yam out in the wild.

8. Make your way to tip of the Bruce Peninsula and Bruce Peninsula National Park, which reaches out to the middle of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Found north of Owen Sound, the park offers postcard worthy shots of the Great Lakes and great hiking trails. Check out the limestone cavern "the Grotto" and climb the visitors' centre's viewing tower for outstanding views of the park and incoming migratory birds. 

9. Drop by one of Ontario's notable farmers' markets with a visit to Andrews' Scenic Acres. Found on the southwest peripherals of Toronto, the farm offers plenty of classic family fun. Browse a real farmers' market, take part in pick your own berries celebrations, and taste wines at the Scotch Block Winery. Don't forget to let the kids enjoy a free hayride.

10. Experience more of northern Ontario's agritourism with a visit to Egli's Sheep Farm & Animal Park. Found north of Dryden, Egli's offers its visitors a self-guided tour through its 80 acres of farmland, allowing visitors to get up close with local and exotic farm animals. Don't miss a trip to the Bird Aviary, Lambing Barn, or the retail store, which sells handcrafted goods.

Zoo

Visiting an exotic animal farm

11. Take the off-beaten path to visit the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, an excellent alternative to Niagara Falls. Home to more than 2,000 tropical butterflies, the conservatory is the largest glass-enclosed conservatory for butterflies in North America and is located in the charming Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens.

12. Continue enjoying hidden outdoor destinations near Lake Ontario and at Niagara On The Lake. Take a horseback ride with a visit to the Niagara Riding Stables and enjoy a guided trail ride among Canadian lakeside wildlife. After the ride, take part in tasting the region's finest at Southbrook Vineyards.

13. Explore the peaceful Lake Huron shoreline of southern Ontario with a trip to the remarkable Point Clark Beach. Home to several historical lighthouses, the Point Clark Lighthouse offers stunning views of the shoreline and beyond. Afterwards, relax with a good book at the beach's warm sands.

14. Bring the whole family to Gammondale Farm Family Fun, found southwest of Thunder Bay. This northern Ontario destination brings old-fashioned fun no matter the season. Feed farm animals, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, and celebrates seasonal events like Pumkinfest, Christmas Nativity, and the Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Sailing

Sailing in one of Ontario's many lakes

15. Visit White Meadows Farms near St. Catharines and view the production of Canada's most famous export: maple syrup. Enjoy delicious meals during Pancake Weekends and be sure to visit during the winter when the farm hosts ice skating and sledding activities.

16. Head out to the Sibley Penisula in Thunder Bay and visit Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Offering beautiful views of Lake Superior, the park's scenic terrain acts as a natural escape so close to a major city. Enjoy 100 kilometers of hiking trails, a variety of wildlife, and guided nature walks and fishing and boating trips.

17. Take a trip up to Conestogo River Horseback Adventures near Kitchener, where you have the option of choosing from 45 minute, one hour, two hour, and four hour horseback rides. Families can also enroll kids in week-long summer camps or partake in horseback riding lessons.

18. Revisit history with a visit to Petroglyphs Provincial Park, the site which features Canada's largest collection of Aboriginal rock carvings. Explore over 900 carvings and the Learning Place Interpretive Centre before taking a trek through southern Ontario's forests and wetlands.

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Best Western Hotels Along the Way:

1

Best Western Barrie

35 Hart Drive, Barrie ON L4N 5M3
Phone: +1 705-721-4848  |  Fax: (705) 722-3688  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

2

Best Western Plus Dryden Hotel & Conference Centre

349 Government Street, Dryden ON P8N 2P4
Phone: +1 807-223-3201  |  Fax: (807) 223-5647  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

3

Best Western Plus Muskoka Inn

86 Howland Drive, Huntsville ON P1H 1M3
Phone: +1 705-788-3345  |  Fax: (705) 788-0892  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

4

Best Western Plus Governor's Inn

791 Durham Street, Kincardine ON N2Z 1M4
Phone: +1 519-396-8242  |  Fax: (519) 396-8524  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

5

Best Western Kitchener-Waterloo

2899 King Street E, Kitchener ON N2A 1A6
Phone: +1 519-894-3500  |  Fax: (519) 894-1562  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

6

Best Western Plus Cairn Croft Hotel

6400 Lundy's Ln, Niagara Falls ON L2G 1T6
Phone: +1 905-356-1161  |  Fax: (905) 356-8664  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

7

Best Western Fallsview

6289 Fallsview Boulevard, Niagara Falls ON L2G 3V7
Phone: +1 905-356-0551  |  Fax: (905) 356-7773  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

8

Best Western Colonel Butler Inn

278 Mary Street Box 642, Niagara On The Lake ON L0S 1J0
Phone: +1 905-468-3251  |  Fax: (905) 468-5844  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

9

Best Western Inn On The Bay

1800 2nd Avenue E, Owen Sound ON N4K 5R1
Phone: +1 519-371-9200  |  Fax: (519) 371-6740  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

10

Best Western Plus Otonabee Inn

84 Lansdowne Street E, Peterborough ON K9J 7N9
Phone: +1 705-742-3454  |  Fax: (705) 742-3454  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

11

Best Western St Catharines Hotel & Conference Centre

2 North Service Road, St Catharines ON L2N 4G9
Phone: +1 905-934-8000  |  Fax: (905) 934-9117  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

12

Best Western Thunder Bay Crossroads

655 Arthur Street W, Thunder Bay ON P7E 5R6
Phone: +1 807-577-4241  |  Fax: (807) 475-7059  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

13

Best Western Plus NorWester Hotel & Conference Centre

2080 Highway #61, Thunder Bay ON P7J 1B8
Phone: +1 807-473-9123  |  Fax: (807) 473-9600  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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