The game is on to make the most of summer and the winner gets to spend the summer soaking wet and grinning from ear to ear. Are you up for the challenge?
It goes without saying that the best warm-weather activities centre around the most awesome of summertime experiences – water. Whether it’s dipping your paddle in a lazy river or lake, floating on your back and watching the clouds drift past, or riding the current down roaring rapids, we have the perfect day already planned for you, from quiet start to epic finish.
So if you believe a bathing suit is the only real clothing you need between July and September, read on for these one, two, or three-day water-based itineraries where the fun has been curated for you, and the river or lake awaits.
- Camera or cell phone (tag us at #ComeWander or @onhighlands)
- Mask and hand sanitizer
- A sense of adventure!
SUP Yoga Daytrip
You don’t need to be a yogi to enjoy this water experience. If you find being around water relaxing, you may just fall in love with Stand-Up-Paddleboard (SUP) yoga. Take a daytrip to Haliburton Highlands and do your best downward dog on the water.
- Begin Your Trip: At Wolf Flow SUP Yoga in Haliburton Highlands. Plan ahead and register for a class to reserve your spot.
- Eat Here: Fill up at McKeck’s Tap & Grill if you’re SUPing in Haliburton, or on Boshkung Social’s ‘perfect patio’ if you’re SUPing in Minden.
- If You Have Time: Once you’ve dried off, book a tee time at Pinestone Resort Golf & Conference Centre and if you still have some room in your belly, dine at the on-site restaurant, Stone 21 for some post-golf tidbits.
- End Your Day: Don’t feel like heading home when the sun sets? Extend your stay at the historic Dominion Hotel in Haliburton.
Spiritual Waterfall Experience Daytrip
This water experience is unlike nothing you’ll find anywhere else. Karen Moon Beam from Spirit of the Waterfalls offers visitors a unique and intimate guided shamanic journey to a private waterfall on horseback or by foot. Book this experience or get more information by calling 705-448-1346.
- Begin Your Trip: Start your day at Gaia’s Den at Spirit of the Waterfalls. Contact Karen to book your visit.
- Eat Here: Grab something to eat at South Algonquin Diner. Tip: Box it up and bring it with you for your waterfall hike.
- If You Have Time: Plan your day correctly and you could leave time for another activity involving water – parasailing. Book ahead of time with Ski-Mazing to cap off an unforgettable day.
- End Your Day: Don’t feel like heading home? Book one of the cabins at nearby Sandy Acres Resort or bring your gear and book a campsite at Algonquin Park.
48 Hrs of Whitewater
There are so many options for whitewater experiences in the Ottawa Valley you may have a tough time picking just one. Whether you choose to go rafting with OWL Rafting or Wilderness Tours, you will be in good hands. For the full experience, book a two-day adventure and extend your trip with an added day before or after.
- Begin Your Trip: In the Ottawa Valley at OWL Rafting, Wilderness Tours or River Run Rafting.
- Eat Here: Depending on where you will be having your rafting trip there may be food options available, but if the day is over and you’re feeling a little peckish Whitewater Brewing Co. has a seasonal menu that will hit the spot. Pro tip: their pizzas won’t disappoint – try the ‘Garburator’ if you’re feeling adventurous.
- If You Have Time: You may be too tuckered out to do much more than hit the sack each night, but if you have a little bit of energy left, or are adding a day, book a cycling daytrip with Valley Cycle Tours and see the valley from a landlocked perspective.
- End Your Day: End your day in one of the accommodations offered at the resorts, of you can also make the short drive to The Whitewater Inn for a little more luxury. The inn also happens to be the home base for Valley Cycle Tours, so you can combine two outdoor activities in one trip.
3 Days on the Madawaska
Did you know the Madawaska River is a haven for whitewater paddlers, and home to one of the premiere whitewater paddling schools in North America? If you have a few days to spend here, you won’t be bored and you’ll for sure end up wet and loving it.
- Begin Your Trip: At Madawaska Kanu Centre in Hastings County. Book one of their weekend or two-day courses and discover the joy of whitewater paddling by canoe or kayak.
- Eat Here: MKC has an amazing meal plan we recommend, but if you’re looking for a little something extra at the end of your day, make the short drive to Barry’s Bay and load up on calories at Charlie D’s. Pro tip: their poutine is a-maz-ing!
- If You Have Time: After being inspired to dive into the paddling world, visit Mad Outdoors in Barry’s Bay and gear up for your next trip.
- End Your Day: MKC offers on-site accommodations with everything from tent camping to cabin rentals, but if you’re not quite ready to head home at the end of your whitewater training, you can extend your visit at Pinewood Inn or Ashgrove Inn
Bonus: Unscripted Water Play
Not every water experience needs to have a beginning and end, sometimes the best itineraries are the ones that have a starting point and the rest is up to you. When it’s hot out and you’re looking for a place to paddle, swim, or just cool off, Ontario’s Highlands can’t be beat.
- Discover our hottest local swimming spots and cool off with a dip in the lake or river, and see where the day takes you.
- If you’re looking for a multi-day paddling adventure, read our story highlighting seven of the best paddling routes in Ontario for some inspiration.
Looking for more inspiration for paddling and water play?
Click here to watch and learn more about connecting with the water in Ontario’s Highlands.