Come Wander

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 hunt is on for the perfect swim spot.

Those in the know will tell you the perfect swimming hole is an often closely guarded secret shared only with family and friends, to make sure it doesn’t get too “busy,” but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Jump in at one of these out of the way spots in Lanark County and the Ottawa Valley.

*Scroll down to the map below to locate these spots.

Crooked Slide Park (Combermere)

This swimming hole is worth a detour from Highway 62 in Renfrew County. Dip your toe into Rockingham Creek and marvel at the ingenuity of the “slide” or log chute used to divert logs from rapids in the 1800s. Those in the know head here for a dip in a beautifully scenic spot where you can refresh and rejuvenate.

Amenities: Shaded picnic area, washroom facilities.
Picnic Here: Pick up a full picnic lunch at Heartwood Restaurant in Combermere; try their smoky pulled pork wrap or their sweet and spicy salmon buddha bowls. If you’re looking for faster fare stop in Barry’s Bay atCharlie D’sfor their famous poutine and dine at the park, picnic-style.

Palmerston Beach (Palmerston)

If you are looking for a wide, quiet beach with plenty of sand and nice waves, this can be your go-to spot. Bring the sand toys and floaties because Palmerston Beach is big enough you could float for hours and never hit shore. Pack for a full day here and enjoy the clean shoreline and lovely picnic spot.

Amenities: Washroom facilities.
Picnic Here: Swing past Lanark Landing in Lanark Village, a local favourite, and pick up one of their specialties, homemade pizzas, or try a gooey creation from Lanark Pizzeria for a Lebanese twist on the Italian pizza.

Robb’s Lake (Mississippi Mills/Clayton)

You won’t find this spot without someone in the know sharing it with you. Rob’s Lake is a deep, cold, spring-fed lake near the small community of Tatlock, Lanark Highlands. The beach area has a two-decker diving platform thrill-seekers will love, along with a sandy area for sitting in the shade and enjoying the view. This spot requires a hike down a rocky trail to get to the water, but will be worth the effort.

Amenities: None
Picnic Here: Stop at the Greene Mill on your way through Almonte (or make a detour) to pick up a friend country chicken sandwich (with fries of course) or get the perfect picnic fare with a smoked turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese and prosciutto paired with a scoop of creamy dill potato salad from North Market Café.

Burnstown Beach (Burnstown)

This spot isn’t so secret, but definitely worth a stop. Burnstown Beach is a little piece of beach-y heaven on the Madawaska River in a cute little town between Renfrew and Calabogie. This is one spot that’s perfect for families with a large sandy shoreline that will tempt you to build a sandcastle and clean, clear water where you won’t need to worry about what’s upriver.

Amenities: Boat launch, play structure, picnic tables, canteen, change rooms, washrooms, shaded grass area.
Picnic Here: Grab a wood-fired pizza to go or eat it right on the spot at Neat Coffee Shop. If you love chocolate, try their iced chocolate drink for a summertime twist on a favourite cold-weather beveverage.

Palmer Rapids (Palmer Rapids)

This is a popular place for whitewater paddlers to refine their skills, or gain new ones. There are two sets of rapids here, but there is a relatively calm pool in the middle and a larger lake at the bottom. Plenty of spots to cool off away from the whitewater but where you can still enjoy the cool waters of the Lower Madawaska River. Bring some lawn chairs and spend the day watching the boats play in the rapids here.

Amenities: Walking trails.
Picnic Here: Swing through Wilno and visit the Wilno Tavern Restaurant to take part in a culinary celebration of the Polish-Kashup heritage of the region. Try traditional Polish dishes like pierogies and cabbage rolls, Polish sausage and sauerkraut or even pickled herring.




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 […]

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. […]

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

We are happy to see that summer is in full swing here in Ontario’s Highlands, and even happier now that we have seen the lifting of many restrictions here in Ontario. After months of staying home we are eager to get out and stretch out legs and imaginations in a region made for discovery. This […]

Secret Swimming Holes

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 hunt is on for the perfect swim spot. Those in the […]

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.

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.

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!

Fall in Love With Winter

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

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.

Cycle Through Fall

As cooler temperatures arrive and leaves change colour, discover these top places throughout Ontario’s Highlands to cycle in the fall.

The Best Fall Canoeing

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

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.

Recharge in the Snow

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

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.

Hair-Raising Drives

Explore roads of Ontario with these drives that make you reach for your hairbrush.

Roads Worth Riding

Plan your next motorcycle ride along the hand-crafted roads of Ontario’s Highlands. Wind around vast lakes, to fill up on culinary delights, and converse with friendly locals.