The ideal summer itinerary includes at least one getaway. A road trip to a lodge or resort in Ontario will give you the full experience of what the province has to offer, whether it’s a retreat with your spouse, a girls’ spa getaway or a guys’ golf weekend. The following accommodations are highly rated and some even offer all-inclusive stays. No plane ticket required.
Where: Lake Rosseau, Muskoka | shamrocklodge.com
Affectionately referred to by regulars as “The Shammy”, it’s a quaint all-inclusive family-owned lodge where everyone seems to know one another since families return here year after year. There are 24 units, some with multiple bedrooms and most provide that stunning lake view. All day programs are offered for kids ages four and up and little kids (birth to age three) can attend morning programs. Watersports include tubing, waterskiing, boat tours, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. If you’d rather remain on land with a book or a beverage, the lake makes for a fantastic backdrop.
Where: Port Severn | severnlodge.com
There’s lots of vintage vacation charm to be had here: this family-owned property has been welcoming guests since the 1800s. There are plenty of prime pine tree and lake views to enjoy as the kids swim to their heart’s content. Other watersports are available too, including canoes, kayaks and paddleboats, waterskiing, tubing and wakeboarding. Save time for some horseback riding, or enroll the kids in supervised programs available for ages two and older. Take advantage of the evening babysitting services (which cost extra) and enjoy a romantic dinner for two. The convenient all-inclusive package options can wrap up the experience nicely. For a more traditional DIY experience, cottages are also available.
The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa
Where: Lake Rosseau, Muskoka | therosseau.com
For a more modern Muskoka experience, this towering resort overlooks Lake Rosseau and offers an impressive itinerary for any vacationer. Bike rentals, canoes, paddle boats, kayaks and scavenger hunts are included, and the kids will never say they’re bored if they’re too busy zip lining, zorbing, or building a birdhouse or a kite. There are several seasonal pools and hot tubs to enjoy, plus a small wading pool for little kids. The indoor-outdoor pool in the hotel is open year round. Burn off any extra energy on a guided Night Nature Walk or gather for the nightly family movie experience before bed. Every room has a kitchenette if you’d like to stock up on a few of your own groceries and make your own meals.
Where: Lake Couchiching, Orillia | fernresort.com
People have been flocking to Fern Resort since the late 1800s and continue to enjoy the all-inclusive experience that’s just a short drive north. Everyone’s made to feel comfortable here whether they’re relaxing on the beach, practicing archery, swimming, waterskiing, playing tennis, golf or shuffleboard. Programs are tailored for all ages. Three meals are served daily in the Heritage Dining Room, or enjoy a barbecue lunch, lakeside afternoon cocktail or late evening snack. Bonus: the Kids Club includes dinner hour babysitting.
Harbour House Hotel
Where: Niagara-on-the-Lake | niagarasfinest.com/harbour
Not to be outdone by the northern locations, the Harbour House Hotel is a beautiful waterfront property in nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake that offers rest and relaxation, fantastic waterfront birdwatching, and a golf course nearby (which happens to have a 180-degree view of Lake Ontario). Other recreational opportunities include walking tours, or sailing and fishing charters. Shops and boutiques await your attention in the downtown core or take in a performance at the Shaw Festival Theatre. For a relaxing afternoon, guests are welcomed on the veranda for a cheese plate and a glass of local wine.
by Becky Dumais