Come Wander

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.

Why sleep in a boring old hotel when you can turn your overnight into an experience all its own? We love discovering new places to lay our heads and the more unique the better.

These are the places that are so fun they just make the experience so much better. Whether it’s a super cute retro camper, a Zen-like cabin or a geodesic dome, these accommodations are so much fun you won’t want to sleep in a regular old bed again.

Super Cute Retro Campers – Pakenham

If you have dreamed of sleeping in a Barbie camper from the 80s, this is your chance. Located next door to Cartwright Springs Brewery, Astrid Park offers off-grid renovated campers that are so cute you won’t ever look at a camper the same way again. And when you’re done with the selfies you can make the short walk to the brewery to sample their brews made with spring water. Choose between the Stevie the Hasta camper, Billie the Bluebird bus, or Winnie the Winnebago (see, even the names are fun!).

While You’re Here: Pick up a pizza to go from Centennial Restaurant in Pakenham, and if you’re gluten free, don’t miss a visit to 3 Apples Bakery and try their gluten free sourdough breads and baked goods.

Go Geodesic – Eagle Lake

Geodesic domes are so cool, we love them! Spend the night in a forest near Eagle Lake in Haliburton Highlands. Called “The Canopy,” this dome Aribnb has a panoramic window and is set up on a deck platform overlooking the forest setting. It’s off grid, and just minutes to three lakes and a public beach. There’s still some availability for September and October!

While You’re Here: Stock up on locally grown produce and ready made meals at Abbey Gardens in Haliburton. While you’re there, why not pick up a few brews at Haliburton Highlands Brewing, on site.

Anupaya’s Cabin Retreat – Deep River

These beautiful cabins have such a calm and peaceful vibe you may not want to leave after staying here. Located north of Deep River, Anupaya Cabin Co. uses natural materials to bring the small pieces of the wild into your room. The result is an airy, light, and Zen-like environment that will soothe your soul as you rest.

While You’re Here: Pick up some groceries in Deep River, or skip the dishes and order from Plan B Restaurant, also in deep River. Try their Vegan Burger or Mexican Power Bowl for something different.

Glamping Farm Stay – Minden

If you aren’t able to live on a farm, why not stay on one and try out the lifestyle for a weekend or longer? This Airbnb “Belle tent” is similar to a yurt and overlooks 215 acres of trails and farm fields. Waken in the morning and gather eggs from the chicken coop and veggies from the garden, then spend some time petting the arm animals like horses, pigs, chickens, and even an emu (you don’t see that every day!).

While You’re Here: A Kawartha Dairy ice cream cone from the long-running dairy farm in Minden will be a nice, old fashioned way to complement your farmstay experience.

Into the Woods: Valley Campsite – Northbrook

Sleep deep in the woods at a remote tented campsite that comes complete with dining tent, outdoor privy, and a cooking fire. This is a natural experience where you can view wildlife and really disconnect from it all. Hike during the day and at night stargaze under some of the darkest skies in Ontario.

While You’re Here: Let someone else take care of the meals for you with a quick trip to Addison’s Restaurant for stick-to-the-ribs homestyle dishes like their stacked Reuben sandwich or fish dinners made with pickerel or haddock.

Remote Tiny Cabins – Haliburton

Who needs a lot of space when your’re surrounded by lush forests filled with birdsong and wildlife, and on the edge of a pristine and remote lake? Winterdance is offering a tiny cabin experience that includes a guided hike through rugged wilderness that ends at a tiny cabin where you will have your meals prepared for you, leaving you to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

While You’re Here: Before or after your cabin stay, visit Haliburton’s Skyline Park to view the region’s beauty from a different perspective.

Stay Somewhere, Not Just Anywhere – Calabogie

The name for this inn is so much fun, we love it! Somewhere Inn Calabogie is not like your typical accommodation, it’s like an old fashioned roadside motel taken to the next level, complete with minimalist, cabin-inspired interiors with fireplaces, soaker tubs, and an on-site bottle room for that after hours need for a good bottle of wine.

While You’re Here: Don’t skip your caffeine fix while in Calabogie – head to Oh-el-la Cafe for a brew with a kick, and a fun menu that will satisfy without loading you down. Please note they are only open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday.

Bonus:

Plan Ahead for 2022: The Baltic Treehouse

This tiny accommodation is unfortunately all booked up for 2021 but worth noting for next year! The Baltic Treehouse offers luxurious accommodations while perched up amid the trees. The treehouse is tiny but what it lacks in space it makes up for in handcrafted, spartan details that combine to make this a true getaway of the spirit and body. This is not a “roughing it” location, it’s comfort at its prime.

 

 

 

Stories

Cycle Through Fall

In my humble opinion, there is no better time than fall to hop on my bike and hit the roads, gravel, and trails of Ontario’s Highlands. I don’t have to worry about overheating, nor will I find myself pushed to my limit while trying to outrun a swarm of deer flies for 20 kilometres (true […]

Connecting to the Land and Algonquin History: Amber Hein

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. On my mother’s side, I am Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. The traditional homelands of the Algonquin people are the […]

How to Give Back to the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. – Amber Hein is Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. Read her perspective on how to give back to the land […]

Responsible Tourism: Be a Better Ally to First Nations peoples

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canada is home to more than 630 First Nations, representing over 50 sovereign nations with their own lands, culture, language, creation stories, language or dialect. With such a […]

The Best Fall Canoeing

Discover these top lakes and rivers in Ontario’s Highlands to discover the beauty of fall colours from a canoe.

Retro Campers, a Geodesic Dome, and other Fun Places to Lay Your Head

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Why sleep in a boring old hotel when you can turn your overnight into an experience all its own? We love discovering new places to lay our heads and the more unique the better. These are the places that are so fun they just […]

5 Spectacular Summer Daytrips

As we head into the last few weeks of summer this is the time to break out the daytrips and make the most of the nice weather. As a short, doable experience within a few hours drive from home, daytrips are like little mini holidays, without the airfare. Whether you live in Ottawa or Toronto, […]

Cycling the K&P: 100 Kilometres from Calabogie to Sharbot Lake

In 2020, my friend Tanner and I set off on an epic bike trip travelling from Sharbot Lake to Calabogie on the K&P and Ottawa Valley Rail Trail (OVRT). This was a 330-kilometre counter-clockwise loop that we planned to tackle in three days. We called this loop the Choo Choo Loop and you can read […]

Responsible Tourism: Respecting Nature’s Soundscape

When you hike, is it to experience nature? Perhaps catch up with friends? Whether if it’s one or the other – or maybe both! – nothing trumps taking a pause to listen to nature’s ‘music’. There is beauty is listening to bird songs, frogs’ choruses, and the wind through the trees. In fact, it’s an […]

Best Highway 60 Hikes

So, you’re ready to hit the road. The King’s Highway 60 is calling your name – and who could blame you? The vistas on this route are stunning, from the Ottawa Valley to the Madawaska Valley. Every kilometre is a captivating experience. It may seem like you could cruise forever on this roadway, but everyone […]

Summertime Happenings: 8 Outdoor Events to Celebrate Summer

It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to gather in person, and the moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. If you have been missing gathering with friends and family to watch a live performance, dance under the stars, or just hang out together, the time is now. Celebrate the summer […]

Cycling the OVRT: Smiths Falls to Arnprior

I love setting goals on the bike; It seems like this happens on a micro and macro level constantly. The first 50-kilometres, then the first century, the first overnight. On the ride, you have these little checkpoints. Energy bars, swims, coffees, calories, hours in the saddle, kilometres in a day. It’s a constant. This became […]

Local’s Take: 2 Day Cycling Staycation #InFrontenac

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycation in Ontario’s Highlands. Local: Amy Hogue From: Lanark Highlands Travelling: Frontenac County […]

Local’s Take: 3 Cabin Nights & Rafting in the Ottawa Valley

Local’s Take is a series highlighting the staycation experiences available close to home this summer. The experiences featured in this series were hand curated to highlight fun insider spots in our region. Use these stories as your launchpad to create your own staycations in Ontario’s Highlands.  Local: Gabriel Rivett-Carnac From: Ottawa and the Valley Travelling: Ottawa […]

Wild and Wonderful Waterfalls

If there’s one thing we can agree on it’s that few of us will turn down an opportunity to see a waterfall. Whether it has something to do with the mesmerizing whitewater cascade or the white-noise that comes with it, a waterfall is a universal attraction. It can be the reason for a hike or […]

Get the Most Out of a River Experience

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Getting to know a river is almost like embarking on a wet and wild love affair. You forge a connection, learn everything you can, and then strengthen it over time. Sounds like a relationship, doesn’t it? The connection you have with a body of […]

Secret Swimming Holes

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Shhh…we’re not supposed to tell you about these swimming holes…some of them don’t even have names and you may never find them without a map, but we understand that when it’s 40 degrees out with the humidity and the public beach is packed the […]

7 of Ontario’s Best Paddling Routes

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. This summer is the year to be on the water, to cast off on an epic paddling adventure that will take you along winding rivers, past shorelines crowded with towering trees, and where the ripples on the water draw you forward with each pull […]

Carving her Course on the Madawaska: Stefi Van Wijk

“The river is where I’m my best self. It doesn’t care who I’m pretending to be.”- Stefi  Van Wijk, avid paddler. It’s no exaggeration to say that water is in the blood for whitewater paddler, instructor, and paddle school manager, Stefi Van Wijk. Most days Stefi looks like she’s coming straight off a paddling trip […]

3 Fun Itineraries for Water Play

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. The game is on to make the most of summer 2021 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 […]

Discover the Benefits of Local Travel

When was the last time you discovered a local landmark or business that you didn’t know was there? In Ontario’s Highlands, we have some amazing spots and experiences that you might be surprised to hear about. For example, did you know the longest canopy boardwalk in the world is located in Haliburton Highlands? Or that […]

Making Friends and Finding Adventure: Cycling Frontenac

At the beginning of cycling season, my friend Tanner and I made a plan to bike a long loop of the old railbed. The plan was to follow the old train tracks for three days and to try avoiding the road as much as possible. We were looking forward to feeling the sun on our […]

Swimming in the Wild in Frontenac and Beyond

Imagine entering a body of water and taking it in with all your senses; the feel of your feet touching the rocky, sandy or muddy bottom, the sensation of cool water on your skin, the smell of pine trees in the air, the taste of lake water on your lips – this is what swimming […]

5 Foodie Adventures That Will Get You Somewhere

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you’re dreaming of having the best foodie experiences in Ontario, we’ve got your back. Where else can you visit and sample products from craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries, cheese makers, and award-winning eateries that reflect the diverse flavours of Ontario’s Highlands? […]

3 Ways to Play on the Ontario Water Trail

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Spending time on the water gives the world an almost magical feel. The minutes drift past at the pace of the current around you, and the sun slows the passage of time to a trickle. You are hyper-aware; you are present. When you’re on […]

9 Awesome Bikepacking Routes in Ontario’s Highlands

Stepping into your local outdoor outfitter or bike shop last year to find nothing but empty shelves was a good indication that bikepacking, the activity that combines backcountry camping and off-road cycling, will be a popular option for a COVID-friendly outdoor getaway this year. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran ready to take on multi-day tours […]

9 Sweet Summer Treks

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. These days the warm weather is telling us summer is here and we don’t need to be told twice to get out and embrace the outdoors and the freedom it offers through physical distancing. The best summer hikes not only take us into the wild […]

Thinking of Camping in 2021? Read This.

The ground may be covered by snow right now, but we’re dreaming of the warm weather and the camping season to come in the wild places in Ontario’s Highlands. Camping reservations have recently opened at provincial campgrounds across Ontario and if last year was any indicator spots will book up fast. You can book a […]

Ontario Snowmobile Loops & Trips

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you have been longing to cruise along snowy trails where the winter forest towers over you and the rush of the frosty wind fills your ears, this is the year to get out and explore the landscapes close to home. COVID-19 has made […]

Coming Home

Discover the story of Sarain Fox and her journey home to the Ontario’s Highlands, relieving memories of ice fishing and snowmobiling along the way.

Shinny Rinks and Sledding Hills

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  The hill spills beneath the runners of your toboggan, plunging into a darkness made even deeper by the sparkle of snow beneath the moonlight. Your nose is cold but your mittened hands are warm, and your heart is pumping in anticipation of careening downhill […]

Fall in Love With Winter

Unique winter experiences in Ontario’s Highlands that will give you something to brag about.

Light Up the Holidays

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the holiday decorations go up in December the whole world begins to shimmer with magic. Every car ride or stroll is filled with wonder as we drink in the night filled with sparkling holiday lights of all colours. For the next […]

Recharge in the Snow

Disconnect from the everyday with a snowmobile trip through Ontario’s Highlands.

Brighten the Darkest Months

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the days start getting shorter and the sun becomes something you crave more than chocolate, you know you are entering into the darkest months of the year. It can be easy to feel a little down and dreary at this time […]

Get on Board with Charcuterie

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You’ve heard the word and maybe you’ve even seen Instagram pics of colourful charcuterie boards, and if you’re lucky you’ve sampled this meaty treat yourself (in case you wondered, it’s pronounced shahr-ku-tuh-ree). Charcuterie is originally a French word that literally translates to […]

The Skinny on Fat Biking and Other Extreme Winter Sports

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you were sad to pack away your bike for the winter, are lamenting the loss of beautiful weather for an early morning run, or regretting all the days you could have been churning through whitewater this summer but weren’t, we have […]

Discover the Beauty of Winter Camping

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You waken to the sound of new snow drifting onto the top of your tent or cabin, landing light as a feather one snowflake at a time. The world is hushed and the air snaps with cold but you are warm and […]

Embrace the Norwegian Concept of “Friluftsliv”

Friluftsliv (free-lufts-liv): Free air life *Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  If you’re worried about being stuck indoors this winter, the Scandinavians may have the solution with this hard to pronounce and consonant-filled word: friluftsliv. Loosely translated, friluftsliv means “free air life,” a concept that was coined by […]

Cache in with Geocaching in Haliburton

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  You wander through rural communities, along rugged trails, or gravel sideroads, fixated on one thing and one thing only: your next cache. When you are geocaching, you can’t help but become fully immersed in the moment, setting your sights on an outdoor […]

After Turkey Burn

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  Thanksgiving dinner is something we dream about all year long – the perfectly roasted turkey dishes up with cranberry sauce, potatoes and veggies, and often paired with more than one glass of wine or a cold pint of beer or cider, not […]

Tiny Cabins, Yurts, and other Glamping Getaways

So you’ve seen the Instagram posts of friends or family seated around a rustic campfire, enthusing on the beauty of nature and a rugged camping experience, but you’re thinking “That’s totally not for me?” Hey, don’t sweat it, you are not alone. Camping isn’t for everyone, and who says it should be? If everyone were […]

Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

There’s something lingering in the air throughout October, leading up to the culmination of all things spooky on its final day – Halloween.   October starts with the summer’s lush canopy of green bidding a final farewell through a stunning display of vibrant colours. When the leaves die off and settle as a multi-coloured blanket on the forest floor, and the fog rolls in over the lakes and […]

Haunted Walks and Hair-Raising Ghost Tours

Have you ever wandered through an older building and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck, and not been sure why? It may be you are sensing something that others aren’t, some spooky aftereffect from a historical wrongdoing or the ghostly pinings of a disgruntled spirit. Many small communities in Ontario’s Highlands […]

Beer, Butter Tarts & Burritos (By Bike)

Could this be Ontario’s tastiest bike route? A natural backdrop of Canadian Shield, shimmering lakes and lush Crown land forests surround you as you pedal down a 50/50 mix of quiet paved roads and gravel rail trails that traverse a series of communities. These small towns and rural hamlets are now known for art and […]

Cozy Up to Fall Camping

So you’re not ready for camping season to end? Here’s a tip: It doesn’t! Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean we need to head indoors, when it comes to camping experiences, fall is where it’s at. Fall camping is an entirely different (and some would say better) experience from summer camping. Sure it’s […]

With Love, to Frontenac County

Now more than ever we are drawn to our community, and the places that help us to unwind and get outdoors. To get away from the crowds and reconnect with our roots. Frontenac County tempts us to sit back, unwind and check into vacation mode, to rediscover a world of countless lakes and a region […]

With Love, to Haliburton Highlands

We are so lucky to come from a place that has it all: phenomenal views, rugged landscapes, abundance of trails, and infinite opportunities for recreation, all enticing you to leave your comfort zone and step into the wild. Here, endless forests meet cool, clear lakes and rivers to create incredible vistas that reach out to […]

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

With Love, to Hastings County

The deep lakes and meandering rivers here are ripe with life, both on land and in the water. This land is known as a region rich with minerals, and we haven’t forgotten how our communities were settled by the gold rush, where miners flocked, eager to delve into the earth to unearth its riches. Thick […]

Feel Like a Kid Again

Remember when your whole summer was devoted to swimming, playing, catching frogs, and finding adventures? At one time, this was an entire season fueled by ice cream, Freezies, and hot dogs. August always felt so short, and by the time it rolled around you’d scramble to finish your summer bucket list, savouring each shortened day […]

Cycle Haliburton

What’s your favourite flavour of cycling? Do you prefer digging in off-road, pedaling hard for speed and distance, or just a light taste with a short meander? A bike ride can be what you want to make of it, which is part of the fun, isn’t it? Haliburton Highlands’ varied terrain calls cyclists to explore […]

Bikepacking in North Frontenac

Imagine a weekend of backcountry camping in a quiet forest just a few hours from Ottawa or Toronto. As you settle down at camp, you think back to the fresh moose tracks you saw earlier that day and the amazing swim you had when you stopped for lunch. The scenery feels familiar but something’s different. […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

This year the key to exploring is to keep it local; this is the time to explore our own backyards, and the regions close to home that have so much to offer us in the way of exhilarating outdoor experiences, fantastic food and drink, and blissful relaxation. If you’re exploring a new corner of Ontario’s […]

Go Backcountry

You waken slowly in the early morning, the high-pitched warble of birdsong drifting lightly through the trees overhead. The sky is faintly brightening with the coming of dawn, and the natural world is gradually blossoming to life. Around you there is no trace of human activity, no murmurs of voices, clanging of dishes, or whir […]

An Ode to Summer

A throwback to summers gone past, with inspiration for this year’s adventure.

Just Show Up

Hit the water and take advantage of these easy kayaking and canoeing opportunities in Ontario’s Highlands.

Highway 7 Hikes

Stretch your legs by exploring these nature hiking trails along Highway 7.

Spring is Calling

Hanging around the city when the scents of spring are tantalizingly tickling your nose is tough. This is when you yearn to get away from the slush, pack the car and head out for an almost-spring getaway to the countryside, where baby animals, maple syrup, G-rated fun, and fresh air are calling. Get out of […]

Spring Break

The sun is warm, the air smells like spring, and the birds are singing their special warm weather songs. It’s official; spring has sprung. After a long Canadian winter, spring getaways are a time-honoured tradition for families here in the great white north, and haven’t we earned a little fun in the sun? This is […]

Winter Just Got Awesome

Learn to climb or brush up on your skills with an epic ice climbing adventure at SOIceFest 2020 in Maynooth, ON.

Ultimate Après-Ski Experiences

Meet up with friends after a day well spent on the slopes or on the trails. Discover these top places in Ontario’s Highlands to celebrate the Apres Ski!

Climb a Wall of Ice

Challenge yourself to reach new heights with an ice climbing adventure at these places across Ontario’s Highlands.

Embrace the Dog Days of Winter

If you can’t beat winter, join it with an epic dog sledding excursion through some of the most beautiful forests in Ontario.

GPS Guru

Meet Mary Barker, the Wilberforce woman who’s making Haliburton world-renowned for geocaching.  Wilberforce, Ontario, County of Haliburton The roads to Wilberforce are winding and majestic, flanked by high pine trees and birches, nestled between the hard rock and calm lakes that make up the Canadian Shield. Mary Barker knows these roads and waterways well, having […]

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Where Am I?

Climb to new heights at the Medeba Ice Wall and enjoy the unique view from the top.

Where Am I?

Make fresh tracks along premium snowmobile trail, the RAP Tour Loop.

Winter? Bring it!

Discover your love for the season with a classic Ottawa Valley winter.

One Last Ride

Watch JR Alli’s video and see what he discovers when he allows himself to just wander.

An Action-Packed Weekend

Read how Will Tang from Going Awesome Places raced muscle cars and experienced thrills on the rapids with whitewater raftering in the Ottawa Valley.

Whitewater Rafting as a Family

Read about how one family took on whitewater rafting on the Madawaska River and why they can’t wait to do it again.

The Freedom Finder

I’m a Freedom Finder. I wander with speed! I seek out opportunities to make fresh tracks, blaze new trails, and get my adrenaline pumping.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

All Terrain, All the Time

Pack your saddle bags and press the throttle for an ATV adventure like no other in Ontario’s Highlands.

Raging the Rapids

SUP Instructor Courtney Sinclair takes her passion for paddle boarding to the whitewater.