When was the last time you spent time in nature, not just passing through, but really immersed in the natural world? Spending time away from the hustle and bustle of modern life gives you a new perspective on this complex and beautiful environment.
From the early morning calls of songbirds to the sound of the wind rustling through the trees or the soft and haunting calls of an owl, the wilderness invites you to come and stay a while. Find your next natural immersion on one of these five Ontario’s Highlands’ staycations.
Tiny Cabin, Big Wilderness Experience in Haliburton
What if you could spend a couple of days surrounded by towering trees and adjacent to a pristine lake, but still be catered to at the end of the day? In Haliburton Highlands, Winterdance offers a guided hike to remote cabins tucked into backwoods of Haliburton Highlands, while taking care of all your meals. Sleep in a cozy tiny cabin by night and then explore hundreds of acres of wilderness by day.
Where to Eat: Breakfast is delivered right to your cabin, and end of a long day in the wild a chef prepared meal will magically appear in the screened dining area outside your cabin.
What to Do: Adventure is at your fingertips with this experience! Explore the area on foot or paddle the nearby lake by canoe.
Lakeside Forest Retreat at Pine Brae
Deep in the wilds of Lanark County you’ll find two remote and minimalist cabins tucked away on a 100-acre parcel of lakeside property. Pine Brae is a peaceful and private spot that nature enthusiasts seek, but may rarely find. Fully equipped, off-grid cabins offer stunning views of the rugged countryside and Pine Brae Pond. Guests have access to private hiking trails, kayaks, and swimming, to ensure you get maximum bang for your nature buck. When not drinking in the beauty of your surroundings you’ll find the small town of Perth just a short drive away.
Where to Eat: CCs on the Rideau in Rideau Ferry is the closest restaurant, and with a waterfront location on Big Rideau Lake the view will be worth the drive.
What to Do: Make the short drive to Rideau Ferry Conservation Area for paddling and swimming or Murphys Point Provincial Park for hiking, cycling, or swimming on Big Rideau Lake.
Ottawa River Serenity at Anupaya Cabin Co.
Did you know that spending time near a body of water is not only a stress buster, it’s actually good for your health? In the Ottawa Valley, the mighty Ottawa River is a demonstration of the power of nature, and a reminder to sit back and drink it all in for a while. At the minimalist and Zen-like Anupaya Cabin Co., you can spread your blanket on the 1,200 foot white sand beach and drink in the view of the water rushing past on the Ottawa River. Feel the wild waters soothe your soul.
Where to Eat: All the fresh air from river watching will get you ready for a homecooked meal from Plan B Restaurant & Grill in Deep River. Try their Mediterranean Power Bowl for a good-for-you dish that will fill you up.
What to Do: Located between the Upper Ottawa River and the eastern border of Algonquin Provincial Park, Anupaya Cabin Co. is surrounded by all the inspiration you need to get moving in nature. And if all you want to do is sit and watch the water, that’s okay, too.
Remote Tiny Cabin Escape at Cabinscape
Perfect for a truly private wilderness staycation, the tiny cabins at Cabinscape are tucked away on wild and rugged landscapes, yet close enough to trails and parks for you to explore the region at your leisure. Spend your days out on the trail or water, then relax in one of 20 cabins situated in Haliburton Highlands, the Ottawa Valley, or Lanark County.
Where to Eat: Depending on what cabin you are staying in, you can pick up some wholesome, good for you food stuffs (prepared or otherwise) at Abbey Gardens in Haliburton Highlands or how about a delicious handmade pizza from Centennial Restaurant in Pakenham or Neat Café in Burnstown.
What to Do: Hike on the cabin property or depending on your location chances are good Algonquin Outfitters has an outpost near you to rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard to explore a nearby body of water.
Camping Getaway at Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo Provincial Park is arguably one of the most beautiful in Ontario, and best known for its stunning natural wonders. The scenic Mazinaw Rock was so inspirational that Indigenous peoples painted their story on its surface, many of which are still visible today. Rent a campsite or roofed accommodation and explore the wealth of natural beauty at your doorstep.
Where to Eat: You’ll have to stock up before arriving at the park – skip the cooking for a night and take a daytrip to the nearby Shamrock Bakery to pick up a frozen meal to go (pro tip: their mac and cheese is worth the drive!).
What to Do: You can’t leave the park without visiting the famous pictographs! Experienced paddlers will love the Kishkebus canoe route (six hour round trip loop) to see the pictographs up close, or you can also take the guided boat tour coordinated by park staff.