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 our time to breathe deep of the crisp, spring air, and bask in the lemony sunshine. You don’t need to head south for a spring getaway, you can soak up a fresh air and family-centred escape right here in Ontario. North of the 401 you’ll find plenty to keep you and your little ones satisfied while getting a much-needed break from daily life.
Read on for five ways you and your family can build family memories, close to home.
Dog Days Escapade
Frolic in the snow with furry Huskies at Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve or Winterdance Dogsledding and then sit back or stand on a sled while you’re whisked through a towering forest hovering on the precipice of spring. Dogsledding is an authentic wilderness experience for all ages, where young and old can rejoice in the spring sun and the thrill of the wind rushing past. No experience necessary; this can be a half day or full day outdoor adventure.
Where to stay: The cozy cottages at Ogopogo Resort on Mountain Lake can turn your dogsledding experience into a multi-day spring getaway. At Ogopogo, the kids will love skating on the outdoor rink or trying their hand at ice fishing (ice conditions permitting). Cottages sleep up to eight, and are ideal for larger families.
Where in Ontario can you find a century-old ski experience that will suit the whole family and that’s also accessible from Toronto? In 2020, Sir Sam’s Ski/Ride celebrates 101 years of fostering family memories of winter activities, and the excitement on the hill continues right until the end of March. Hurtle down Sir Sam’s longest run of 2,500 feet, or choose from 13 groomed trails for all skill levels.
Where to stay: At the end of the day, you’ll be all played out and ready to rest and restore at Pinestone Resort, a 20-minute drive south of the hill. Little ones can splash in the indoor pool, while adults can enjoy the cozy rooms and savoury dining at Stone 21. Take advantage of the resort’s 160-acres and embrace the sun while snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling the next day.
Fat Biking Thrills
Fat biking is one of the newest winter outdoor activities, and this fun sport is catching on fast. Feel your heart pumping as you race over hills and along wooded trails in Glebe Park, in Haliburton Highlands. Silent Lake Provincial Park allows fat biking on its trails, and Bonnie’s Pond Trail is a nice three-kilometre route. Fat biking is a unique snowy activity that the kids will love to tell their friends about. Please keep to snowshoeing trails or stay to the side on ski trails.
Where to stay: When you’re all tired out from a day on two wheels, you’ll want to lay your head somewhere warm and cozy. If you’re biking at Glebe Park, at Oakview Lodge you can check in the day before and purchase a homemade packed lunch to take with you on your biking outing. At the end of the day you can recharge with a delicious meal prepared by lodge owners, Anna and Greg.
Bowling for Strikes
Bowling is one of the last hold-outs for low-impact, family time adventure, and Ontario’s Highlands has more than its fair share of places to play a game or two. Fill your afternoon with some good old-fashioned fun at Tweed Lanes 5 Pin Bowling Centre, and remind yourself why bowling is such a fun activity. You can rock ‘n bowl at the same time on Saturday nights in Tweed from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (suitable for all ages). If you’re closer to Haliburton, you can also try The Fast Lane in Minden.
Where to stay: Marmora Inn can be your home away from home for a mini-break in Hastings County. Use this cute inn as your home base to explore the area, spend the afternoon bowling for strikes, then dine in at Marmora Inn’s on-site restaurant, The Crowe & the Beaver.
Maple Trails Adventure
Wander along trails in a working maple bush and learn how the sap makes its way from these towering trees to the rustic sugar shacks where it’s turned into maple syrup. Visit Wintergreen Maple Products in Haliburton to savour the full flavours of spring at their on-site restaurant and dig into pancakes smothered in fresh maple syrup. Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve will also be offering two tours Monday, Wednesday and Friday over March Break, where you can tour the sugarbush and see how syrup is made right there at the forest.
Where to stay: You can stay at Haliburton Forest and imagine you are a 19th century logger tucked into a cozy refurbished two-or-three-bedroom cabin. Waken the next day refreshed and ready to explore the wilds of Haliburton, right from your front door.
Want to travel a little further for a spring getaway? Find more family-friendly spots in Ontario’s Highlands and the Ottawa Valley here.