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Fun Things To Do In Durham Region | Activities & Cool Places to Explore

road trip from toronto

There’s an endless list of fun things to do in Durham Region. Explore the region during its fall season, bursting in reds, oranges and golden hues or get your winter warmers on and head out to discover Durham’s snowy period –– if you dare. Located east of bustling Toronto lies the Durham Region, the economic centre of Ontario. Also, part of the Golden Horseshoe extends from Oshawa to the famous Niagara Falls. 

It’s an area with quaint towns, beautiful countryside, rolling hills and a series of major lakes. From exciting things to do in Oshawa and Pickering to Beaverton and Uxbridge, you’ll find an array of activities to enjoy. 

Things To Do In Durham Region

Head off on an apple or pumpkin-picking adventure in the fall, or find hiking and cycling trails through lush forests. This region boasts plenty of conservation areas and waterside activities to explore. 

Durham has eight municipalities, each with something unique and exciting to discover. Let’s look at some cool places in the Durham Region and what to do there.

The Top Durham Region Activities

Explore the Durham Regional Forest, Uxbridge

One of the top things to do in Uxbridge, Ontario, is to visit the Durham Regional Forest. It’s located at the top of the Oak Ridges Moraine and consists of 1,473 acres (596 ha) of plantation forests established over 90 years ago. 

The forest is renowned for its outdoor activities, such as cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding throughout the Oak Ridges Moraine. Immerse yourself in nature and embark on a moderate 6-mile (10.1 km) hiking route through the woods to explore these beautiful surroundings.

things to do in durham ontario - durham regional forets

Visit the Applewood Farm & Winery, Scugog

The Applewood Farm and Winery has produced wines and ciders for over 20 years in Scugog. It’s also a great place to escape to the countryside, explore the farm, and enjoy seasonal pickings such as Apple Picking.

Visit the farm during fall in mid-September, pick your very own pumpkin in the pumpkin patch, and create your Jack-O-Lantern. There’s also a small animal barn, wagon rides, and playhouses for your little ones. And, if you’re keen on pickings, strawberry and mulberry picking opportunities are available here too.

apple picking ontario
halloween farms ontario

Challenge Yourself at Treetop Eco-Adventure Park, Oshawa

The Treetop Eco-Adventure Park is perfect for outdoor lovers and adrenalin enthusiasts. If you’re trying to figure out what to do in Oshawa, Ontario, why not get a blood-pumping rush as you sweep through the treetop’s zip lining? Or challenge yourself on one of the various obstacle courses. 

From wobbly swings to Tarzan ropes and suspension bridges to swinging logs, there is something for the whole family to enjoy at this park.

durham region activities - treetop eco-adventure park
durham region activities - treetop eco-adventure park

 Walk or Ride on the Waterfront Trail, Oshawa

The Waterfront Trail stretches from Niagara-on-the-lake to Brockville and passes through Oshawa. If you’re an avid walker or cyclist, grab your water bottles and hit the trail. 

The extending pathway hugs the edges of Lake Ontario, and parts of the trail become off-road past the city. You’ll find a few car parks and washrooms along the way. There are also two lookout points along the way. This part of the trail falls on one of the most significant wetlands in the area, the Second Marsh. 

The Second Marsh is the largest remaining coastal wetland between Niagara and Presqu’ile. Here you’ll see abundant fauna and flora species from the viewing decks. The wetland is particularly important for the vast number of migratory and breeding birds using it as a stopover.

oshawa activities - waterfront trail
things to do in oshawa - oshawa activities - waterfront trail

Trek Through the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve, Oshawa

The McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve boasts 4.3 miles (7 km) of walking and cycling trails. There are 11 offbeat treks to choose from, and along the way, you’ll find paths of all sorts, from gravel, wood, and grass-mowed paths. There are three entry points into the reserve. You’ll also find viewpoints and picnic areas to relax and enjoy within the reserve. It’s the perfect space for families, friends, solo travellers and nature enthusiasts.

Discover the Darlington Provincial Park, Oshawa

Located east of Oshawa, on Lake Ontario, Darlington Provincial Park is a small park that attracts visitors from far and wide. Gentle hills and beautiful panoramas dominate the park. It’s teeming with wildlife, including white-tailed deer, grey wolves, coyotes, and beautiful monarch butterflies. There are so many butterflies in the park that it’s part of a conservation program. 

If you’re keen on spending more time here, the park offers three campground areas. There’s also a beach, picnic facilities, and hiking trails available.

cool places in durham region - Darlington Provincial Park

Visit Lakeview Park Beach, Oshawa

Suppose you’re looking for some fun Oshawa activities; what better place than to head to Lakeview Park Beach on a sunny day? Spend your day frolicking in the waters of Lake Ontario, or have a delightful picnic at the designated area. There are washrooms available and lifeguards on duty between 11:30 am to 6:30 pm during the summer months. 

Some fun nearby facilities include the pier overlooking the Oshawa Harbor, the splash pad, the Jubilee Pavilion, and the Oshawa Museum. It’s the perfect getaway for solo travellers, romantic couples, and families looking for relaxation in the sun. 

Go Bird Watching in Altona Forest, Pickering 

The Altona Forest is a large urban forest in the City of Pickering and forms part of the Petticoat Creek watershed. 

It boasts over 100 bird species, 130 wildflowers, and 35 distinct vegetation varieties dotted throughout the 102 acres (53 ha) area. It’s an Environmentally Significant Area due to its historical and ecological importance. 

The Altona Forest provides visitors 2.6 miles (4.24 km) of breathtaking trails. It comprises two loop trails in the north and one leading to Strouds Lane. Explore hardwood forests, wetlands, and meadows as you trek through this beautiful green space. 

things to do pickering - bird watching

Frenchman’s Bay East Beach, Pickering

If you’re into fun things in Pickering, visit Frenchman’s Bay East Beach. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in the Durham Region and the perfect spot to soak up some sun and swim in Lake Ontario. The beach is a hot spot for families and includes a splash pad, washrooms, and a fountain. 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, food trucks, an ice cream parlour and shops are available along the beach. If you’re keen on fishing, Hydro Marsh sits north of the beach and is great for angling fanatics.

Cultural Things To Do In Durham Region This Weekend

The area between Lake Ontario, Lake Scugog and Lake Simcoe offers many attractions, including artist studios, galleries, music venues, and museums. There is no single cultural center but an array of unique, independent establishments.

Art Galleries

Station Gallery, Whitby

SG is a creative hub, public art gallery and a registered charity in the community showing art exhibitions of emerging, mid-career and established artists. In addition, they bring art and culture to kids, youth, adults and families of all ages and abilities through programs, classes and workshops, performances and special events.

They have four main gallery spaces. The Jill Dyall Community Gallery is reserved for community exhibitions, while the other three may feature a single artist or group collection.

Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG), Oshawa

In 1967, William Caldwell of Oshawa saw a need for a permanent home for the arts. So with the help of architect Hugh Allward of Allward & Gouinlock, Ewart McLaughlin and his wife Margaret (painter Alexandra Luke), put their money together along with works from their private collection.

This led to the construction of the RMG, an impressive, 6000-foot square, stone, modernist building. It allowed for exhibition areas, storage, and offices. Since then, it has become a landmark of the City of Oshawa.

The Visual Arts Centre Of Clarington (VAC), Bowmanville

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, a public art gallery and educational institution, has been serving the Clarington Community and surrounding areas since its incorporation in 1976.

The VAC is a not-for-profit organization devoted to providing contemporary art to the public and connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to the creative world of artmaking and learning.

Scugog Arts, Port Perry

Over at one of our favourite little corners of Durham, the beautiful and quaint town of Port Perry. you’ll find Scugog Arts.

Scugog Arts host monthly exhibitions, workshops for artists and visitors, and meet-up space for gatherings. They also organize and hold various cultural events, literary programs, festivals, and tours throughout the year.

META4 Gallery, Port Perry

META4 Gallery is also located in the heart of Port Perry and is considered the area’s top source of incredible artwork and exciting studio courses for people of all ages.

Since 2005, the establishment has been run by three enterprising artists: Jennifer Hardie, Birgitta MacLeod and Bonnie Thomson.

Final Thoughts on Things to do in Durham, Ontario

Your list is endless when you’re on the hunt for Durham Region things to do. You’ll find many recreational trails and activities dotted throughout the region.

It’s home to the beautiful panoramas of the Oak Ridge Moraine, diverse city parks with incredible paths, and iconic conservation areas. There’s no shortage of spectacular getaways in this beautiful part of Ontario.

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