There’s the beach and the BBQ, of course. Luxuriously lazy days playing board games and watching the sun set over the lake. But some of the best summer resort memories are made when we get out of our comfort zone, seek out unique experiences, and discover unexpected adventure. A wilderness trek in which there’s the distinct possibility of a moose sighting is a good start. Canoeing and kayaking are no-brainers, too. And a mountain bike trek through the naturally beautiful and rugged Ontario landscape is guaranteed to give you a rush. But have you tried water-skiing? How about horseback riding? Sight-seeing tour in an actual FLOAT PLANE? Ontario resorts offer numerous options to make this summer an unforgettable one, whether you’re going with friends, family, or that special someone. So while the following resorts all offer plenty of comforts and amenities, this post is for those who want to get their hands a little dirty and experience the thrilling side of the Ontario wilderness.
Hiking, Paddling, and Moose Watching on a Couples Getaway
Couples Resort allows visitors to balance adventure with luxury to suit their definition of romance. Located on the shores of Algonquin Park's Galeairy Lake, Couples Resort offers a combination of boutique luxury accommodations and bold adventure-seeking in a couples-only setting. A romantic getaway doesn’t have to be confined to spas, candle-lit dinners and a roaring fire, though these amenities are all readily available here. Couples can explore Algonquin Park through hiking, wildlife spotting, paddling canoes, portaging or riding on horseback and return to the resort grounds for plenty of jacuzzi time.
One of the highlights of this resort is its adjacent horse ranch located a short drive away from the main grounds. Horse rentals can be arranged on-site and visitors can book guided trail tours or explore the stunning wilderness of Algonquin Park. The forests, lakes, and rivers, as well as the park’s many trails, offer unique opportunities for exploration and adventure.
Did I mention the moose? Algonguin park is home to thousands of them. The moose are often spotted grazing along the highway 60 corridor. In May and June, the winter road salt washes into culverts lining the highway attracting the moose who enjoy a salty treat mixed with their day-to-day diet of foliage. Visitors to the resort can hike on the Mizzy Lake Trail for a chance of viewing one of these uncanny and majestic beasts.
The resort’s selection of canoes and kayaks allow visitors to explore Algonquin Park by way of pristine Galeairy Lake. Couples Resort offers a 4-hour paddle boat round trip that includes a visit to the local waterfall. The lake is 11 km long and borders Algonquin Park, including its many secluded coves, which are only accessible by canoe or kayak. Loons, beaver, and otter can be spotted from the water and couples can picnic on the shore and swim in one of these natural enclaves. Couples can also enjoy exceptional fishing opportunities at Galeairy Lake, since its nutrient dense waters allow many sport fish species to flourish. The resort will even supply all fishing equipment, rods, nets, and lures needed.
For two-wheel adventure, Couples Resort offers biking on the Madawaska River trail, which follows an abandoned railway bed. The abandoned railway line will take cyclists into Algonquin Park, while the Lobster Lake Trail allows cyclists to explore an old loggers road. There are four trails accessible to visitors and while each trail has been rated easy for all to enjoy, hardcore cyclists can return from the Madawaska River via Highway 60 to complete a 40 km loop—the hills on the highway will provide additional challenges to those who prefer to tough it out.
After exploring the wild outback of southeastern Ontario, couples can enjoy the amenities of this five-star resort and its spacious accommodations, which are designed in opulent Old European and natural Algonquin style. After a day of exploring the backwoods on horseback or hiking through the winding Algonquin trails, visitors will appreciate the five-course dinner and award-winning wine service in the resort’s dining room.
Ontario Water Sports for Kids, Parents, and the Young-at-Heart
Lumina Resort has offered Muskoka vacations for adventure-seeking families since 1921. A family owned business, the resort is currently celebrating its 95th vacation season. Lumina is the largest resort on the Lake of Bays with over a mile of shoreline and 350 feet of sandy beaches. A paradise for swimmers, boaters, fishermen, and all manner of water sport enthusiasts, Lake of Bays is named for the many smaller sheltered bays which make up its borders offering miles of shoreline and sparkling waters.
The variety of water sports will accommodate every member of the family, from laid-back paddle boarders to thrill-seeking Poseidons: paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, tube rides, fishing, swimming (both a beach and a pool!), sandcastle competitions, a slick and speedy water slide, and a water trampoline. Daily water skiing lessons will teach visitors and their families new skills and a novel way to enjoy the scenic waterfront. Kids can enjoy supervised tube rides, and on windy days you can take advantage of sailboats and windsurfing boards. Motor boat and equipment rentals make water skiing and wake boarding with the family convenient and allow visitors to explore the Lake of Bays, which also offers Bass and Lake Trout fishing. The resort chefs will even prepare and cook your catch of the day upon request.
Younger family members will get a kick out of Space Mountain, an inflatable mountain floating a safe distance from the shore. In addition to taking a break from cooking and household chores with the inclusive meal plans and maid service, Lumina Resort’s child directors at the Petticoat Junction will ensure children of all ages are kept busy and active with games and crafts supervised by the staff. Older children, including preteens and young adults, can enjoy supervised water sports and competitions. Additional possibilities for adventure at Lumina Resort include a trip up the Oxtongue river, horseback riding at nearby stables, and mountain biking on the surrounding country roads.
Hike, Swim, or FLY Over Old Logging Routes
Severn Lodge allows visitors to discover the Gloucester Pool with a range of different water craft, including kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, jet skis, outboard fishing boat and motor rentals, as well as water skiing, tubing, sea wasps, and boat cruises, on their uniquely vintage 37’ mahogany motor launch. Lock 45 opens onto Georgian Bay, which is a part of Lake Huron. As a result, there is a wide array of different fish species to catch in Gloucester Pool including Large and Small Mouth Bass, Northern Pike, Perch, Crappie and Walleye. Local Muskie can measure around 2 to 5 feet and weigh up to 70 pounds.