Ontario Winter Destinations You Can Reach by Car

By Lori Straus

Winter needn’t be a time when you lock yourself up in your house and wait for the snow to melt. Ontario boasts so many gorgeous destinations for winter travel that it’s almost a shame to spend the season at home. Perhaps even more of a shame would be to spend thousands of dollars to fly away when you can spend half that amount of money and visit somewhere in Ontario. You save yourself the time and aggravation of flying and cross-border travel, not to mention a good deal of money.

Vacation for Two: Romantic Getaways

Whether it’s the long nights or the cold weather outside that keeps you inside, winter is the perfect season for a romantic getaway with your partner. You can try the Couples Resort just outside Algonquin Park, in Whitney, or drive to Collingwood on Georgian Bay and rent a cottage or stay at a resort. Both destinations offer many outdoor activities, and Blue Mountain in Collingwood is a renowned ski resort.

Want to go rustic? Then rent a yurt or cabin in a provincial park or try winter camping  or overlanding .

Hiking and Snowshoeing: Ontario Trails

The Bruce Trail is perhaps the most well-known hiking trail in Ontario. The main trail is about 900 km long, with side trails adding another 400 km of possible hiking and snowshoeing fun. But don’t be afraid to look in your own backyard. There’s a good chance you’ll find lots of hiking trails that are a 15 or 30-minute drive away.

Winter Festivals

You don’t have to be a winter sports fanatic to travel somewhere during the winter. Many cities and towns have their own winter festivals full of activities, warm drinks, and lots of fun for the kids. You could try the Bon Soo, a 10-day-long festival in Sault Sainte Marie. One of the main events is the polar bear swim and 2020 marks the swim’s 50th anniversary.

Of course, what would an Ontario winter be without the Winter Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls? The festival runs roughly from November to January and attracts over 1 million visitors from around the world every year. It includes light art, interactive illuminations, the Fallsview Sound and Light Show, and many events. Visitors will see over 3 million lights displayed along the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands, and Niagara Falls.

Remember: Plan Ahead and Stay Safe

Whatever your winter destination in Ontario this year, remember to include safety in your pre-trip planning. Pack your winter emergency kit  and know where you can refuel.

Ontario is rich with winter vacation destinations you can reach by car. Brainstorm your own winter destination ideas, jump online to find others, and get recommendations from friends. In no time you’ll have a shortlist of winter destinations you can drive to for a fraction of the cost of a plane ticket.

[LS1]Link to article on winter overlanding

[LS2]Link to article on overlanding tents

[LS3]Link to blog post on winter emergency kit