As the first snowflakes of winter fall, it’s then that you quickly realize that the cold season is approaching. And looking for new adventures or Ontario winter getaways can be discouraging with the cold front. But this guide delves deeper than just a few winter hotel deals. This guide has some unique Ontario getaways all lined up, ready to pique your interest.
A Canadian winter is notable because it’s more than just making snowmen and going skiing. Ontario has many fantastic places to see and things to do. From visiting beautiful small towns to snow tubing down the slopes. It’s up to you to pick the right winter weekend getaway, and it’s sure to be a season full of surprises.
So, get ready to explore the epic mountainous landscapes, feel the mashing of snow beneath your snowshoes, and hear the barking of energy-filled huskies. It’s time to experience winter in a new way – even the locals will be eager to enjoy an Ontario winter.
Getting Dressed For Those Cold Ontario Winter Getaways
Full disclosure Ontario winter getaways are not as popular as day trips, road trips and weekend getaways in the summer. While it makes sense that driving around in snow and ice is not ideal and turns people off – so does cold weather.
We’ve mentioned the importance of dressing for the weather, specifically when enjoying Winter Activities in Ontario. While in this post, we’ll be talking about winter getaways particularly; escaping the cold might be the plan; avoiding the cold completely is impossible.
Dressing for the weather is essential to enjoying winter to the fullest. Layering is key, and materials such as wool and thermal fabric are best. A high-performance winter coat and snow pants should also be included for outdoor activities. Don’t forget about the extremities! Gloves, a toque, balaclava, scarf, and thick wool/thermal socks are all must-haves. Lastly, winter boots that reach up to the calf will help you navigate snowy terrain with ease.
Winter Getaway In Ontario | Top Spots for Families
Winter Ontario getaways are just as fun and adventure-filled as a getaway in the summer. So, look at this list to find some of the best Ontario resorts for families and couples to enjoy for a weekend or the season.
Ironically, holidays such as the winter break, which runs from mid-December to mid-January, and March Break (the middle two weeks of March) are typically the busiest times of the year. If possible, try to plan your getaway outside these times.
Stay where you play at one of these Ontario family-oriented winter vacation resorts or lodges. Keep your little winter warriors entertained and close to ‘home.’
Blue Mountain Resort, The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains Resort has three freestyle skiing terrains and over 40 runs, where avid snowboarders and skiers hit the slopes for adventure. It is also located northwest of the historic town of Collingwood.
Head to the Hike N’ Tube hill for some old-fashioned snow tubing fun, or have the kids make a splash at the four-season indoor and outdoor Plunge Aquatic Centre. It’s a wonderful destination for family getaways in Ontario.
Tip: Use the childcare facility, The Babysitter’s Club, for kids 18 months to 12 years old. While the kids are away, squeeze in some quality time.
Horseshoe Resort, Barrie
Horseshoe Resort is home to Ontario’s longest beginner’s carpet lift, a conveyor belt that transports skiers to the top of the ski hill. Alternatively, spend the day tubing down Ontario’s longest tubing hill or try fat biking on one of the 9km trails. Bike rentals and guided tours are available for both adults and kids.
There are also ski ‘n’ stay Ontario vacation packages designed to maximize your time on the slopes with day and night lift tickets. Afterward, head into Barrie for lunch or dinner at the popular Hooligans, Halibut House Fish & Chips or The Farmhouse Restaurant.
Fern Resort, Orillia
Orillia’s Fern Resort is not far from Barrie, a popular all-inclusive ski vacation in Canada. Located along Lake Couchiching, Fern Resort has always been a welcoming Ontario resort for families.
Look out for winter family fun getaway packages in Ontario for Family Day, March Break, or last-minute family vacation specials. Creative programs and outdoor activities are offered for kids of all ages. Plus, Fern’s worry-free, all-inclusive winter getaway packages mean everything’s taken care of, so parents can relax too.
Sir Sam’s Ski Ride, Haliburton
Enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise in the fresh air—if you’re feeling adventurous, try out snowshoeing or cross-country skiing! Learn to ski with your toddler and take advantage of March Break’s Parent & Tot classes. Kids will find the covered, climate-controlled walk-on, walk-off carpet lift an exciting part of the day.
With all the breathtaking winter scenery and activities available, your Family Day, March Break, or last-minute Ontario family vacation will be unforgettable. And don’t forget to stop by one of the nearby cozy chalets for some hot chocolate and a campfire. Sir Sam’s Ski Ride makes for one of the perfect weekend getaways in Ontario for the whole family.
Winter Getaways In Ontario: More Winter Resorts in Ontario
The following winter resorts may not have on-site accommodation, but plenty of winter getaway packages and deals are on offer for a couples weekend, families or solo travellers.
Snow Valley Ski Resort, Barrie
If you are new to snowsports like skiing and snowboarding, then Snow Valley is the perfect winter vacation spot. The resort offers flexible programs for newbies of all ages and skills to learn the essentials. There’s even a ski and tube section in the Kidz Zone designed for tots.
Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Coldwater
Located North of Barrie is Mount St. Louis Moonstone resort. This is one of Ontario’s biggest family-owned ski resorts, with 36 ski slopes and eight chair lifts. Mount St. Louis Moonstone is a great place to polish up your skills on the slopes, thanks to its various winter ski and snowboard programs.
Mount Jamieson Resort, Timmins
Mount Jamieson, an extinct volcano, is already solidifying reasons to vacation here for the winter. Here you can brush up on your snowsport skills with a private ski lesson and warm up in the cozy cafeteria for some hot cocoa.
Hardwood Ski & Bike, Oro-Medonte
Hardwood Ski and Bike was voted the best cross-country ski vacation spot and facility in eastern Ontario by Get Out There Magazine. And rightfully so, because Hardwood Ski and Bike has over 40km of cross-country ski trails and 14km of snowshoe trails designed for every skill level.
The resort’s cross-country skiing technique classes are perfect for the whole family. Some amazing Family Day programs are also perfect for a winter weekend getaway in Ontario. Also, sign up for the guided, 5km evening snowshoe hike to a bonfire accompanied by a hot chocolate or cider.
More Amazing Winter Destinations Ontario Has To Offer
We bet you never imagined seeing the Nothern Lights would make an awesome winter weekend idea! You don’t have to head to the Arctic Circle; you need to head north to experience the captivating Northern Lights! Since you’ll be up late into the night, renting a winter cabin or staying in a hotel, mixed with some skiing, hiking or ice fishing, can make a magical weekend out of witnessing this famous natural phenomenon.
Gordon’s Park Eco Reserve, Manitoulin Island
Gordon’s Park is a family-owned, award-winning campground and RSAC (The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada)-designated dark sky preserve on Manitoulin Island. They have various accommodation options, including forest camping, dark sky campground in the dark sky preserve, camping cabins, tipis, hammocks, & a stargazing cabin.
Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve, Muskoka Region
Torrance Barrens, located 2 hours from Toronto, west of Gravenhurst, is a 1906-hectare area of Crown Land with unique geological terrain. Established as a conservation area in 1997, the reserve was designated in 1999 as the world’s first permanent dark sky preserve due to its total absence of light pollution.
As Ontario’s number one cottage country destination Muskoka is already well-visited in the summer; however, there are so many winter activities available. Everything from skating through the woods, skiing, hiking, ice fishing, ice climbing and more! You can add a mesmerizing, uninterrupted display of stars, planets, and constellations at night to that list!
Ice fishing is an activity with centuries of history in Canada, and it is the perfect way to relax and reset. During the winter, you’ll find ice-fishing huts on lakes across the province.
Lake Scugog, Port Perry
Lake Scugog, located in Port Perry just over an hour from Toronto, is the perfect spot for a fishing adventure. If you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, Scugog Ice Adventures has all the supplies you need, including two, four, and six-person heated huts, transportation, pre-drilled holes, bait, and fishing lines. All that’s left to do is relax and fish for a full eight hours.
If you want to make a weekend of it, you can stay at the Piano Inn in Port Perry or the Hive Centre and Stay. Ice fishing is a unique winter experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
One of the most popular activities during winter in Ontario is skating on an outdoor trail or frozen lake, and there are plenty of skating rinks to choose from. From the small man-made ice skating loop known as The Bentway situated underneath the Gardner Express Way near Fort York in downtown Toronto to the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s longest naturally frozen skating path in Ottawa.
Arrowhead Provincial Park, just outside Huntsville, is a unique option for a beautiful forested skate. The trail has an on-site winery lined with lights in the evening.
Speaking of ice skating on the world’s largest ice skating rink, the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, is an ideal place for a winter getaway in Ontario due to its cold temperatures. For an even more memorable experience, time your trip for February for Winterlude, Ottawa’s annual winter festival.
Aside from being a picturesque winter destination, Ottawa is also home to a great selection of activities, culture, history and attractions suitable for the whole family. If you’re planning a romantic weekend getaway, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or stay at one of the city’s exciting hotels, like the famously luxurious Fairmont Chateau Laurier.
Dog Sledding & Horseback Riding
If you’re looking for an exciting outdoor activity during the winter months in Ontario, why not try dog sledding or horseback riding? Ride on a sled pulled by a team of huskies as you explore snowy forests and frozen lakes. There are rides ranging from one hour up to a few days.
Experience Ontario’s wintery wonderland at a leisurely pace by going on a trail ride on horseback. Adventure Stables in Whitney is one of the many stables offering this activity. Other options include North Ridge Ranch in Muskoka, Borealis Dogsled Tours and Von Doeler’s Ranch.
Final Thoughts on Winter Vacations in Ontario
This list of winter weekend getaways in Ontario has a lot of variety. Many of these spots in Ontario are perfect for a family vacation. Others are great options for a winter weekend getaway for couples, or for a trip with friends.
But whichever getaway you choose, make sure you do some planning in advance. Nowadays, many activities require a pre-arranged reservation. Regardless of where you plan to spend your winter vacation in Ontario, it’ll be a winter wonderland adventure.