Things to Do in Ontario in Summer [Top Ideas]

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A Local’s List of Things to Do in Summer in Ontario, Canada!

So, it’s summer in Ontario and you’re looking for things to do? You’re definitely not alone!

Luckily, with so many cool activities, top attractions, and unique places to discover, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the sunshine season in Ontario!

Summer in Ontario is often ubiquitous with a few things: cottage rentals, lake swimming, sunny days at the beach, ice cream licking, brewery hopping, and much more. No matter how you want to spend your summer vacation in Ontario, we’ve got a few ideas for you.

For us, summer means road trips to the family cottage and time at the lake. Of course, we’re also always on the lookout for other experiences we can have when the weather is at its warmest.

So, this article is packed with activities, trips, and getaway ideas that are either only done in the summer or are best enjoyed during the summer season. From river tubing to strawberry picking, here is our guide on the best things to do in Ontario in summer!

Heads Up: “Go Hiking” and some of our top hiking spots aren’t listed in this article because “hiking” is covered in our larger guide on Things to Do in Ontario in all Seasons! Obviously, hiking is also a popular summer activity!

Hop on a Boat Cruise

Navigation Address for 1000 Islands Cruises: 248 Ontario St, Kingston, ON K7L 5P7

old steamship with canada flag docked at pier in kingston ontario.
The Island Queen makes for a great few hours cruising the 1000 Islands!

When it’s summertime, there are few better things to do – for visitors and locals alike – than to hop on a boat cruise. Because of all the water available (more on that below), Ontario is absolutely loaded with great boat tours or cruises.

We love the idea of boat cruises because there are quite a few Ontario tourist attractions to see from the water that you wouldn’t see from land.

From the famous 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River to the 30,000 Islands in Georgian Bay or the Trent-Severn Waterway, boat cruises are a safe and often relaxing way to take in Ontario’s natural beauty.

There are even boat tours/companies that specialize in dinner cruises, sunset cruises, and cruises where you can learn about local history, geography, and even spot shipwrecks! We’ve done a few boat cruises – but there are so many more we want to go on!

Here are a few boat cruises in Ontario that you might want to check out:

Visiting Kingston? Confederation Place Hotel and Kingston Market Square Hotel are right downtown at the waterfront!

Go Tubing on the Grand River

Of all the fun things to do in Ontario in the summer, grabbing a tube and floating down a river has got to be among the best.

Southern Ontario is home to the Grand River, and you can definitely hop in a tube and go for a ride. It’s a great way to cool off and can be a bit of an adventure if you’ve never tubed before!

Tubing the Grand is a popular summer activity that you can actually do at a number of locations along the river.

There are also many different route lengths you can sign up for depending on the starting point/company.

It’s a great summer attraction that draws visitors to the areas around Cambridge, Elora (for Elora Gorge Conservation Area), and even Paris.

Read More: Here’s our Detailed Visitor’s Guide to Elora (with lots of tips!)

Different companies are responsible for tube rentals and safety, so be sure to check for the location you want to tube from.

You should also try to make a reservation because tube rentals go quickly in the summer. You can learn more about tubing from Elora Gorge here, from Cambridge here, or from Paris here.

Find a Local Swimming Hole

Nothing says summer in Ontario like going for a dip. Luckily, there are so many places where you can hop in the water in Ontario.

Ontario is full of public pools as well as natural waterways like lakes and rivers where you can swim (more on lakes and beaches below). That said, there are also some more unique places to swim that might catch your eye.

Two such popular swimming spots are The Grotto/Indian Head Cove in Bruce Peninsula National Park in Tobermory and the Elora Quarry Conservation Area in Elora.

The Quarry is popular because of the tall rock cliffs that extend from the base of the old rock basin. The waters of Georgian Bay (at the Bruce Peninsula) can be much colder than smaller lakes at most times of the year, but the experience is worth it for many.

If you are unfamiliar with the area where you plan to go swimming, be sure to check online for the latest water quality readings and follow local health and safety signage.

Swimming spots in conservation areas are usually pretty good about posting open/closed swimming advisories.

Enjoy an Ontario Cottage

red chairs on wooden dock with lake and green trees behind.
A few days at a cottage is a great way to spend some summer days.

Whether you’re staying for the weekend, a whole week, or longer, enjoying the Ontario summer at a cottage is one of the best experiences out there.

Maybe we’re biased, but we think cottaging is such a great way to spend a summer vacation in Ontario and a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the province.

Renting a cottage can also be a great way to bring friends or family together, and even explore an area you might not have otherwise.

Browsing Cottage Rentals in Ontario here.

We have a family cottage but have also rented in different places around the province and it’s always been great. You can find a more secluded place in the woods or a cottage right on a lake – it’s really up to you.

Of course, you can rent a cottage in the spring or fall but summer is just the best time to rent a cottage in Ontario.

Because of this, places to book up in advance, so be sure to book early if you know you want to rent a cottage for a shorter stay or a week (or longer). We have a huge guide on renting a cottage in Ontario if you need more tips on this topic.

Tip: You may be interested in renting a cottage that is within a cottage resort (maintained cottages/cabins where you just show up and stay). If you are, check out our Muskoka accommodations post for popular cottage resorts.

Stay at an Ontario Summer Resort

Navigation Address for Deerhurst Resort: 1235 Deerhurst Dr, Huntsville, ON P1H 2E8

green wooden sign to deerhurst resort in huntsville ontario.
Deerhurst is a classic resort in Muskoka.

For those who like the cottage idea in the summertime but want to make things a little easier, booking a stay at a resort is also an option.

Of course, you can definitely visit a resort during most times of the year. However, if you want to take advantage of the hot weather to enjoy some time by the lake, a summer resort stay in Ontario is for you.

It’s very different (but just as nice) from a winter getaway with snowshoeing!

There are many different resorts in Ontario – some large, some small – scattered throughout the province, offering guests different amenities like spa services, beach fronts, access to water toys, full-service restaurants, golf, and more.

The difficulty can be choosing the right resort for you because some are great for families with kids while others are great for couples looking for a romantic getaway in Ontario.

We’ve enjoyed spending time at a number of resorts over the years, but there are just so many in Ontario to choose from.

Popular areas for summer resorts, to name a few, include:

Once again, you can read up on where to stay in Muskoka for a breakdown of resorts across that specific region.

Enjoy Ontario’s Lakes and Rivers

orange sunset with dark clouds over lake with trees in shadow behind.
Watching the sunset at a lake is a thing to do in Ontario all on its own!

Speaking of enjoying the water in Ontario, a great summer activity is definitely enjoying the various lakes and rivers the province has to offer.

There are so many ways to enjoy Ontario’s lakes and rivers: From having a picnic by one, to swimming, boating, hitting the beach, paddling, fishing, camping, cottaging, and even hiking along them.

With over 250,000 lakes in Ontario – yes, actually – and many rivers, there are more than a few to choose from.

That said, lake areas in southern Ontario are definitely more popular with visitors. So when in doubt, head further north and you’ll be sure to find more space on a quiet lake.

As for which lakes to explore, we plan to write a post on some of the best lakes in Ontario that we have experienced.

It would be easy to say “Explore the Great Lakes”, but they are huge and one of them is entirely in the USA, so that would be ridiculous.

For now, here’s a simple breakdown of the different ways you can enjoy some of Ontario’s lakes.

Go Boating in Ontario

man and woman and dog sitting in front of boat with lake and trees in distance.
Everyone – dogs and people alike – enjoying a boat ride! (Life jackets are on board).

With so much water, boating is a popular activity in Ontario. Aside from basically any lake with a boat launch/marina, there are famous waterways like the Trent-Severn, which includes historic points like the Peterborough Lift Lock and the Kawartha Lakes.

You might also want to boat the historic Rideau Canal that runs from Kingston all the way to the Ottawa River!

If you don’t have a boat, you can rent one for a weekend or longer. There are where you can rent a boat – it really depends on where you want to go.

To boat in Ontario, you also need a license which you can learn more about on the Ontario Travel website.

Popular areas for boating in Ontario include:

  • Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte near Prince Edward County
  • The 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque
  • Honey Harbour in Georgian Bay
  • Portland and/or Seeley’s Bay for the Rideau Canal (off Highway 15 – makes a good day trip from Kingston)
  • Lake Simcoe at Friday Harbour!

Of course, be sure to follow provincial boating regulations and adhere to local guidelines and rules regarding safety and speed.

Paddle on a Canoe/Kayak Adventure

line of colourful canoes tied together with ropes on river with bridge behind.
Just some canoes waiting to be taken out on the river in Guelph!

If you want to remove the motor from the boat and engage in a quieter and less expensive water activity, you should head out on a paddling adventure. A good ol’ fashioned canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard can do the trick!

We’re big fans of canoeing and kayaking because it’s so easy – once you know how and where to go.

Time on the water can be spent on a day trip or as an overnight trip in a park such as Algonquin. Depending on your skill level and location, you might also choose to just make up a route that doesn’t stick to the boundaries of a park.

Eric has been on several day trips and multi-day canoe trips in Algonquin and areas north of Kingston over the years.

Nowadays, we often grab the kayaks at the cottage and head out for morning paddles just after sunrise. You can usually hear the loons. It’s beautiful.

In general, if you are new to this, you can research routes in parks on their websites or ask the outfitters if you need to rent a canoe or kayak. Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines for being out on the water.

For those who want to experience paddling without the hassle of organizing everything, there are many guided day/multi-day canoe trips with experienced outfitters such as Algonquin Outfitters or the Madawaska Kanu Centre.

However, you don’t always have to head north to paddle in Ontario. There are many rental companies in towns and cities by bodies of water – like Ahoy Rentals in Kingston and Speed River Paddling in Guelph – for paddling the local lakes and rivers.

White Water Rafting in Ontario

If you want a unique summer activity, have you thought about going white water rafting?

Ontario is home to a number of great rivers – almost 100,000 kilometres of rivers – that offer some decent rapids that you can experience on guided rafting tours.

Eric has been white water rafting on the Ottawa River with both Owl Rafting and more recently with Wilderness Tours. Both companies were great (in Eric’s opinion) and provided an excellent, wild, and safe experience.

If you’re rafting on the Ottawa River, stop nearby Whitewater Brewing Co. for a beverage!

You can also go rafting on the Madawaska River with Madawaska Kanu Centre (close to Barry’s Bay).

Fishing in Ontario

Another thing to do at an Ontario lake or river is to go fishing! Fishing is a popular activity in Ontario and there are many places to fish throughout the province.

And you don’t always need a boat if you’re just casting into the river or lakes.

Ontario also has great conservation efforts that keep local species like pike, walleye, large and smallmouth bass, muskie, lake trout, and many more at healthy numbers.

Eric has fished around the province a bit and – in his experience – the best fishing is up in Northern Ontario. One time, he met his quota (determined by the fishing license) for walleye in about 40 minutes.

If you want to fish in Ontario as an adult, you do need a fishing license, which is inexpensive.

You can usually get licenses (as well as rent rods and gear, if you don’t have your own) from local tackle shops near the lake or river you want to fish. Just be sure to follow the conservation rules stated by the license or you could be fined heavily.

To make all of this easier, you can also check out a local fishing charter to head out for a day with a guide. Any reputable fishing tour company will know the best spots and adhere to all those technical things like gear and licenses.

Relax at an Ontario Beach

two chairs on rocky beach overlooking blue lake with blue sky above.
We’ve always enjoyed the beaches in Toronto’s east end.

If you’re heading for a lake or river in Ontario, you might get the opportunity to lounge at the beach. Ontario is absolutely packed with beaches.

Some are on smaller inland lakes, while others are along the shores of larger bodies of water like Lake Ontario, Huron, and Erie.

You can find a variety of beaches – from sandy beaches, pebbly beaches, and “beaches” that are just large, flat, bare rocks – across the province.

Beaches often make for some of the best Toronto day trips in the summer. But if you’re looking for summer vacation ideas and want to hit up the beach, try to go farther than just around Toronto.

Prince Edward County can get crowded so head further north, east, or west and make a whole weekend out of it to avoid the crowds.

Of course, many of the popular beaches in Ontario like Wasaga Beach, Sauble, Sandbanks, and Grand Bend are close to popular vacation spots.

However, there are also many beaches located within the boundaries of Provincial Parks or conservation areas that may be worth exploring – such as Guelph Lake Conservation Area to name one example.

We’re planning to write an Ontario beach guide in the future to highlight some that are lesser known!

Go Camping in Ontario

wooden sign for camping sites with forest and field behind and blue sky above.
Lots of campsites at a place like Sandbanks Provincial Park!

Keen to explore the outdoors in Ontario? Go camping! Camping is easily one of the top summer activities in Ontario and one that can be done in many different ways and in many different places.

We have an in-depth guide to camping in Ontario written by our expert wilderness guide, Bushman Brian.

We’ve done a mix of day-use and overnight camping in different places around the province.

Contrary to popular belief, camping doesn’t have to mean a tent and a campfire. Sure, it’s a popular way to camp in Ontario at a campsite, but you can also camp with your car, trailer, or even RV.

You can also camp as part of a canoe trip if that’s more your style. Or you can go “glamping” which combines rugged outdoors with more modern comforts. Fronterra Farms is well known for glamping!

Camping is also pretty accessible for many people. If you don’t want to invest in all the gear for traditional overnight camping, you can try out day camping (more of a day outing at a campground), which requires less equipment.

Sandbanks Provincial Park, for example, has both day-use parts as well as overnight campgrounds.

You can also camp in Ontario in other seasons but summer is very popular because of the weather. There are many campgrounds in Ontario that are basically only open for summer camping (but some offer winter camping – see winter activities in Ontario).

That said, camping can be done in the fall when the colours are pretty but it can be much cooler in the evenings for the average camper. You can also camp in the spring, but it’s usually much wetter and the bugs can be atrocious in May and June.

Oh, and there is also a difference between camping in a Provincial Park and camping on Crown Land. If you’re not sure where to start, you can learn more about the rules for camping in Ontario.

Take a Ferry to Explore New Places

rear of ferry boat with lake water and islands behind in distance in toronto.
The Toronto Island Ferries are ready to make their crossings!

If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure than you might be used to, just hop on a ferry!

The rationale here is that ferry crossings in Ontario usually take you to islands and there are plenty of great islands to explore throughout Ontario.

Plus, the ferry crossing itself is a great way to see the scenery from the water! Depending on the length, some even have information/activities on board.

ferry boat crossing blue water with green hill in front.
There goes the Wolfe Island Ferry seen from Fort Henry!

There are some great ferries to hop on in Ontario:

As for what to do when you get to any of these islands – that’s for another bunch of posts we’ll be writing soon!

Visit Pelee Island

rocky beach with blue sky above and old lighthouse in the middle standing tall.
The famous Pelee Island Lighthouse is a sight to see!

One place in Ontario that is specifically best to visit in the summer time is Pelee Island.

Located down in the middle of Lake Erie, this small island is absolutely packed with things to do – or places to relax, unwind, and disconnect – if that is what you are looking for.

We were fortunate enough to head to Pelee Island this summer for friends’ wedding and we had an awesome few days there. As (almost) Canada’s southernmost point, it’s like stepping into another world (or time in history) when you get to the island.

Known for its uniquely warm climate, wildlife, and rich history when it comes to Canadian winemaking, Pelee Island is a day trip from the mainland or it can be a weekend stay or longer.

As for things to do, the Pelee Island Winery Pavilion is the local winery, while the nature reserves (Lighthouse Point and Fish Point) are worth the walk for the views of the lake.

There are beaches to enjoy, as well as local history to learn about. Those looking for birds might head there for the spring or fall migration seasons – but you can see birds in the summer, too.

Of course, the ferry to Pelee Island from mainland Ontario is half the adventure. It’s a nice ride across Lake Erie – good for getting some fresh air or catching an amazing sunset. Just make sure you book in advance!

We could keep going on and on… but instead wrote a massively detailed guide on exploring Pelee Island. If you’re considering a visit – do it! – you should read that article for everything you need to know!

Be Adventurous at an Adventure Course

red brick clock tower above small town street with trees and cars below.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is not far from downtown Collingwood!

If you’re looking for exciting things to do in Ontario that include a bit of nature, there are some outdoor adventure activities across Ontario that are sure to thrill and challenge you!

From treetop trekking courses to high ropes, suspension bridges, and zip lines, Ontario’s outdoors are full of adrenaline-pumping adventures.

In fact, some of the top summer attractions for families with kids, couples looking to change it up, or groups of friends are ropes courses.

A popular one is Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in the Blue Mountains (close to Collingwood) where you can enjoy stunning caves, lookouts, and a suspension bridge!

If you’re down in Niagara Falls, be sure to check out WildPlay Niagara Falls Whirlpool Adventure Course (the same company that offers zip-lining over the Niagara River right at Niagara Falls).

Treetop Trekking is a well-known company with six locations across Ontario while the Canopy Tours in the Haliburton Forest offer the world’s longest canopy walk!

Back down in southern Ontario close to Lake Erie, Long Point Eco-Adventures has plenty to see and do, including visiting nearby wineries and breweries!

Of course, if you want to “go big or go home” then head to Eagle Canyon Adventures close to Thunder Bay. They have one of Canada’s longest zip-line and the longest suspension bridge!

Go to the Drive-In Movie

For another classic summer activity, why not consider a movie night at the local drive-in?

Contrary to popular belief, the concept of the drive-in movie is not at all dead, with numerous drive-in movie theatres all around the province.

To be fair, recent events have seen drive-ins have a bit of a renaissance because they are a great way to socially distance.

Eric has been to The Stardust Drive-in Theater in East Gwillimbury north of Toronto but there are plenty of others like The Mustang Drive-in in Prince Edward County (there are several in Ontario called “Mustang”) and the Muskoka Drive-in in Gravenhurst.

Toronto also has a drive-in called City View, located at Polson Pier. They offer a “contactless” drive-in experience and screen movies as well as live concerts which you can enjoy from your car.

Go Ontario Berry/Fruit Picking

Another classic outdoor activity is fruit picking – especially berries (strawberries) in the summer season! Eric used to go with his grandmother when he was younger for some “U-Pick” strawberries.

These days, berry/fruit picking – depending on the season – is a great way to get outside, get fresh produce straight from the source, and support local Ontario growers. Win-win-win all around.

As mentioned, summer is definitely strawberry picking season, but other berries – mainly blueberries – are in season around this time, too. Peaches and raspberries are also in summer, whereas apples aren’t until closer to the fall.

In any case, there are a number of popular farms in Ontario like Millar Berry Farms in London, Downey’s in Caledon, and Blueberry Knoll Berry Farm in Lowbanks, Ontario!

Honestly, half the fun of berry picking is driving country roads and looking for “U-Pick” signs pointing to smaller farms that would be happy to have your business.

There are many other smaller operations around the province, so you can Google your area if you are unsure. Over time, we will write a longer list of great places to pick berries and other fruits in Ontario.

Go on an ATV Tour

A great way to get out on the land and explore with a guide is to head out on a guided ATV tour. There’s something about a little motorized power under your butt – similar to snowmobiling – that makes you feel alive as you experience the outdoors.

Now, we’re aware that you can ride in any season (including winter, if the trail is packed enough).

However, for the purposes of this article, a summer ride is a great option. This is because the bugs should be a little better in the bush, conditions should generally be drier than in the spring (you’ll probably still find some mud to play in), and the warm weather makes for a more enjoyable experience.

This is especially true if it’s your first time riding. We’d also recommend a ride in the fall if the operators offer tours in the fall. The weather will be cooler but the colours would be beautiful depending on where you ride!

There are a number of adventure companies that specialize in taking riders out for an enjoyable day. Bear Claw ATV Tours in Seguin (close to Parry Sound), Thrill Seeker ATV Tours just outside of Marmora, and Tom Irwin Adventure Tours in Calabogie are three such examples!

You could also rent bikes and explore, but if you’re a beginner, it’s usually better to have a guide who knows the area to help you out if you get stuck or have an issue.

Shop at a Summer Village

red brick shop front in small town with cars parked in front.
The main street in Picton is full of small shops!

For those looking to do a little shopping in Ontario, we’d recommend shopping locally for clothing, goods, gifts, and more.

There are a few places in Ontario that are especially popular during the summer. Let’s call them summer villages – because that’s when they come to life the most!

For a classic summer village experience, you might want to head to St. Jacob’s, north of Waterloo, or Jordan, in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula wine county.

Up in Muskoka, Huntsville has a lively little downtown full of shops and the same can be said for Picton, Ontario in Prince Edward County.

Some of these historic little towns or villages have great boutique shops that you won’t find anywhere else.

You can find everything from sweets to clothing, antiques, and art in these shops. Plus, buying local is always a good thing.

We love exploring Ontario’s small towns and their history, so we’ll link to more posts when we have them!

Enjoy Ontario Patio Season

two beer pints and one cocktail on pub table with flowers and menus behind.
Summer drinks in Ottawa? Yes, please.

Summer in Ontario also means that it’s patio season! It’s a time when locals and visitors alike can hang out on patios in the sunshine, enjoying drinks, great food, live music, friends, and conversation.

There are lots of places across Ontario where you can enjoy the July and August sunshine. We have a few personal favourites (as everyone does) that usually overlook a lake or river, but we don’t always need a patio with a water view.

We’ve written guides to bars, pubs, and even breweries in different areas across Ontario (some with or without patios) so check out bars in downtown Toronto, the best pubs in Kingston, bars and pubs in Guelph, and great bars and pubs in Ottawa for some of our top spots!

In case you don’t want to wait, Bar Hop on Peter Street in Toronto has a great rooftop patio, the Barley Mow in Almonte has a riverside patio, and the Aulde Dubliner overlooks ByWard Market in Ottawa!

SCUBA Dive the Shipwrecks in Tobermory

Navigation Location of Little Tub Harbour:

For those looking to get underwater during the summer season, Ontario has some pretty good SCUBA diving. Part of the draw to Ontario is the number of lakes – because lakes with bad weather inevitably produce shipwrecks.

As such, there are shipwrecks all over the Great Lakes, with a high concentration around the 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River and a very high concentration of wrecks up in Fathom Five National Marine Park close to Tobermory.

In fact, Tobermory has been dubbed the “SCUBA capital of Canada” with over 20 wrecks to explore.

If you want to try SCUBA diving for the first time, be sure to take a training course with a certified instructor.

And if you want to see the wrecks up in Tobermory but don’t want to dive, you can also rent a kayak from an outfitter in the harbour, such as On the Water Kayaks, and embark on a mini-adventure.

Many of the wrecks can be seen from the surface, making for a great day of exercise and sunshine. Just be sure your paddling skills are up to the potential challenges of Lake Huron.

If you head to Tombermory, you can stay at the Grandview Motel for quaint, water views in a great location!

Head to the French River Trading Post

Navigation Address: 20112 Settlers Rd, Alban, ON P0M 1A0

Of all the places to visit in Ontario in the summer, did you think we’d mention a seemingly random country store in the middle of nowhere?

If not, then you clearly haven’t heard of the French River Trading Post! Located on the French River right off the highway between Parry Sound and Sudbury, this store is a classic summer stop.

If you’ve ever driven through the region around Parry Sound or listened to radio stations in the area, you’ll know the classic jingle from the commercials saying “Watch out, don’t miss the French River Trading Post!”.

This country store is a staple stop if you’re heading to Sudbury. It is full of Indigenous-made goods, Canadian souvenirs, books, food, gifts, games – you name it!

They also have food on site at the Hungry Bear Restaurant in case you are a hungry bear and want some food or ice cream!

Celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa

canadian parliament building clock tower with music stage set up in front.
We had JUST missed Canada Day in Ottawa one year we visited.

If you’re in Canada on July 1st, you can celebrate Canada Day. The Dominion of Canada was officially acknowledged on July 1st, 1867.

Nowadays we celebrate this day in many different ways from coast to coast. For a truly memorable experience, why not head to the nation’s capital for the celebrations?

Ottawa is one of the top summer destinations in Ontario for Canada Day weekend for the celebrations, music, fireworks, other cultural events, and the overall lively atmosphere.

The summer weather is also much nicer than the winter weather – although winter in Ottawa does usually mean ice skating, maple syrup taffy, and Beavertails. Tough choice.

If you’re heading to Ottawa in the summer, check out our guide on things to do in Ottawa as well as where to stay in Ottawa since accommodations book up far in advance of that weekend!

Acknowledgment: On July 1st, we believe it’s important to acknowledge Canada Day and also use the day to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples across Canada: the historical injustices they have faced and the inequities they continue to face.

We strive to advance the directives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (with actions, not just words) and always appreciate the vital influence that Indigenous Peoples have had – and continue to have – in shaping the province of Ontario and Canada as a whole.

Indulge in Ontario Ice Cream

two ice cream cones from cows ice cream held in hand outside shop.
The ice cream from Cows in NOTL was really good!

You don’t always have to plan an extravagant summer getaway – sometimes a mini-mission for ice cream is all you need!

And let’s face it, you haven’t done summer in Ontario right if you haven’t gone out for ice cream (unless you’re lactose intolerant – then try to find a dairy-free alternative).

We’ve had some great ice cream all over the province, but we know there are some amazing local ice cream shops in places we haven’t yet visited.

We wandered around looking for the best ice cream in Toronto and it was such a fun day!

Outside of Toronto, check out Kawartha Dairy with shops all over (Huntsville, Bancroft, and Minden come to mind) as well as shops like The Nutty Chocolatier (with various locations including Huntsville and in The Beaches in Toronto).

Guelph is home to The Boathouse, which has great ice cream while Cows in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake was also worth the line-up.

Next up on our Ontario ice cream list: Carp Custom Creamery in Carp and Bailey’s Ice Cream in Erin!

Stop for a Burger at Webers

Navigation Address: 8825 ON-11, Orillia, ON L3V 6S2

black road sign that says webers hamburgers on it with seagull on top.
You cannot miss the Webers sign!

Of all the places to visit in Ontario in the summer, Webers is a true Ontario landmark. Opened back in the 1960s, Webers has been a popular hamburger, hot dog, and fries stop on the highway north of Orillia for decades!

These days, Webers is a popular stop for Muskoka-bound cottagers and locals (mostly cottagers, though). Thanks to a bridge over the highway, you can stop at Webers heading north or south.

woman with sunglasses sitting in large red chair outdoors.
The whole grounds are great for a pit stop on the way north!

Eric used to stop at Webers with the family growing up and we’ve also been there together a few times now.

From the old train cars to eating at the picnic tables and massive outdoor green space, Webers is the perfect stop on a summer road trip in Ontario. You can check out the Webers Menu here.

paper bags with burgers inside beside fried on a paper tray.
Two classic Webers burgers and fries – ready to be enjoyed!

They used to be cash only, but have since updated their systems for debit cards. We’ll update if they take credit cards.

Just in case, they have an ATM on site near the rail car should you need it. The whole ordering process is incredibly efficient – they have it down to a fine science.

Enjoy a Nice Picnic

Navigation Address for Lions Lookout: Lookout Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 1R1

woman reading sign at lookout point with lakes trees and cars behind.
Lisa enjoyed the view at our scenic picnic stop in Huntsville!

Speaking of outdoor green spaces, have you thought about having a picnic?

A classic idea for a summer getaway in Ontario is to find a green space, bring some great food, and just enjoy being outside with friends and/or family.

As for where to go in Ontario for a nice picnic? Any public outdoor space will likely do! You can find parks with picnic tables or benches. But if you know you are having a picnic, you can also bring a blanket to sit on the grass.

We have a number of spots in Ontario where we have eaten picnic lunch:

  • Skyline Park overlooking downtown Haliburton (probably our favourite, seasonal porta potties available)
  • Lions Lookout in Huntsville
  • Along the Kingston waterfront near Queen’s University (known as Breakwater Park) and the Gord Edgar Downie Pier
  • Dorset Beach Park just off Highway 35 in Dorset (has porta potties, too)
  • Agawa Bay Scenic Lookout off the highway if you are driving up around Lake Superior Provincial Park towards Wawa.

Visit an Ontario Summer Festival

If you are looking for Ontario summer events, there are many great places to visit that revolve around a festival.

Whether it’s craft beer, food, something cultural or musical, there are so many different summer festivals in Ontario to check out.

Oftentimes, these festivals make for great little summer getaways in Ontario because you can plan an entire itinerary around them.

Off the top of our heads, Bluesfest in Ottawa in July is pretty big if you are into music while the Taste of the Danforth is a huge food/cultural festival in Toronto in August.

Of course, there are many, many more and you can search for them on our very own Ontario Events Page.

Be sure to check the official festival websites for the most up-to-date information before you start planning a visit to attend one in the future.

Related Articles

If you’d like to explore more of Ontario in different seasons or are looking for more general ideas, check out these other guides:

And there you have it – a roundup of ideas for top things to do in Ontario in summer.

There are many more things to do and see in Ontario and we’ll continue to add to this post as we explore in the summer season!

As always, Keep Exploring, eh?
– E&L

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Eric Wychopen is a Canadian content writer who loves to share his passion for Ontario. Originally from a small town in Simcoe County, he has almost 50 countries under his belt - but Ontario will always be home. Having travelled thousands of kilometres across the province for work and play, Eric has a wealth of knowledge about the province and is always looking for new experiences in Ontario.