An aerial view of a resort tucked into a forest surrounded by lake

Lakeside summer getaways in Ontario

An aerial view of a resort tucked into a forest surrounded by lake

Your next Ontario travel destination can be a cozy cabin near a pristine lake, surrounded by hectares of majestic forests. Here are the top lakeside experiences in Ontario.


Travel two hours north of Toronto and you’ll reach the charming region of Muskoka, Canada: Ontario’s signature summer cottage country destination. There are plenty of cabins in Ontario to rent during your stay, including lakeside cottages and other accommodations in Muskoka to help you make the most of your outdoor adventure. There’s no better place for romantic vacations, summer family getaways and wilderness adventures.

Where to stay

Deerhurst Resort

One of Ontario’s oldest year-round resorts, Deerhurst Resort is located on the shores of Peninsula Lake in the Muskoka region. They offer a wide range of lodge suites and resort home rentals for visitors. Explore stunning beaches and check out the resort’s activity centre where you can book a variety of unique experiences like waterskiing, jet-skiing, canoeing, kayaking and more to fill your vacation itinerary. Enjoy a variety of on-site dining options, with dishes made using locally sourced ingredients. Make sure to check their website for ongoing deals, ranging from Girlfriends Getaway Weekend to Spa & Stay packages for couples. 

Location: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville

JW Marriott Resort & Spa

JW Marriott overlooks the sparkling Lake Muskoka, one of the most prestigious lakes in the region. This resort offers stunning views of the Muskoka woods and surrounding landscape. It’s a favourite among tourists looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate in peaceful nature, while also taking advantage of summer amenities such as relaxation lounges, hydrotherapy, a fitness centre and private outdoor pool. Enjoy JW Marriott Resort & Spa’s luxurious accommodations that capture the feeling of living in the middle of untouched wilderness.

Location: 1050 Paignton House Road, Minett

Taboo Muskoka Resort

Relax in quiet, serene nature at Taboo Muskoka Resort. This secluded resort has everything you need for your athletic summer retreat: basketball and tennis courts, indoor ping-pong tables, a fantastic golf course and stunning views of South Bay. When you need to replenish your energy, choose between great dining options nearby like 19th Hole Gastro Pub and The Boathouse. 

Location: 1209 Muskoka Beach Road, Gravenhurst

Severn Lodge

This historic lodge is a 90-minute drive north of Toronto, near the southern tip of Georgian Bay, and stretches over 40 hectares of property. Perfect for family fun, Severn Lodge offers lakeside activities for kids and parents alike. Take a dip in the lake or venture further out with a rented canoe or kayak. Later, drop off your kids at the lodge’s supervised kids’ activities while you and your significant other go for a romantic afternoon stroll through their wooded hiking trails. 

Location: 116 Gloucester Trail, Port Severn

Residence Inn Gravenhurst Muskoka Wharf

Love learning about the local arts and culture? Residence Inn is the Muskoka hotel for you. It’s close to Gravenhurst’s main attractions, including the Muskoka Discovery Centre, Bethune Memorial House and quaint shops lining the streets of Muskoka Wharf. Enjoy fun summer activities such as hiking, golfing, boating and swimming. Later, rest in Residence Inn’s spacious suites featuring a kitchenette, fireplace and walk-out balcony. 

Location: 285 Steamship Bay Road, Gravenhurst

Jayne’s Cottages

Explore the natural beauty of the Muskoka region by booking your stay at Jayne’s Cottages. It offers a broad range of boutique, premium and elite properties across the Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville and Lake of Bays areas. You’ll enjoy quality hospitality, spectacular views and rustic rooms stocked with all the modern amenities you need. The kids will love spending time at the waterfront, where they can go canoeing and kayaking, or have fun at the outdoor pool with a waterslide. 

Location: 90 Joseph Street, Port Carling

What to do

In Muskoka, charming small towns like Bracebridge, Huntsville and Gravenhurst feature a multitude of cultural attractions. Some notable ones include the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery, the Artisans of Muskoka art gallery, the Auburn Gallery of Fine Art and the Annex.  

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things. The Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre in Gravenhurst is a local heritage museum whose highlight is wooden boats and vintage steamships like the RMS Segwun, the oldest operating steamship in North America. Enjoy a signature Muskoka spa experience at the Muskoka Beer Spa, where you can relax in the hot tub, sauna, steam room, hammock, swing, beer garden and more. Tour the cranberry marshes along the Muskoka Cranberry Route at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, home to the popular local Johnston cranberries. Plus, you’ll get to sample cranberry cider and scrumptious cranberry baked goods.

Where to eat

Taste the most delicious treats in the Muskoka region. Henrietta’s Pine Bakery has fine-tuned the art of traditional European baking. With breads, croissants, cookies, squares and pies on their menu, it’s worth the trip to satisfy your sweet tooth. If ice cream is your go-to treat, Mooskoka’s Ice Cream is open during the spring and summer months. Enjoy the view of steamships passing through Lake Rosseau while treating yourself to a wide variety of refreshing ice cream flavours like mint chip and Muskoka mocha. 

For delicious, handcrafted premium beer, Muskoka Brewery is the place to go. You’ll also find great ale, seltzers, sparkling beverages, kid-friendly snacks and more on their menu. Further north, look for 3 Guys and a Stove, the region’s popular upscale Canadian restaurant overlooking the picturesque Fairy Lake. Their diverse menu features delicious regional dishes such as Georgian Bay whitefish and fresh Lake Superior white perch.

Insider tip on staying in Muskoka

  • The best time to visit Muskoka is in the summer, when the trees are a lush green and the lakes reflect the glittering sunshine. Alternatively, come during the fall season and marvel at the amazing range of leaf colours decorating all the region’s deciduous trees. Book your reservation early so you won’t miss out on participating in the region’s exciting outdoor adventure activities during its prettiest seasons.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Visit Algonquin Park and experience the summer of a lifetime at one of the most popular camping destinations in the world. As the first area in Ontario to be designated a provincial park, this iconic place is filled with beautiful forests, clear lakes, hiking trails and unique wildlife. If you dream of spending quality time in nature or admiring grand deciduous forests adorned with vibrant colours, Algonquin, Canada is the ideal place for your next vacation.

Where to stay

In the heart of Algonquin Parks’ woods, eight kilometres from the main road, you’ll find Arowhon Pines: an all-inclusive resort with rustic log cabins surrounded by tranquil nature. You can enjoy perfect relaxation at Killarney Lodge, which offers the finest hospitality, dining options and scenic surroundings of Lake of Two Rivers. If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to see a moose, wolf, black bear or other wild animal up close, you can experience this first-hand in the amazing animal viewing areas at Bartlett Lodge

Voyageur Quest

Enjoy a guided adventure with Voyageur Quest, tailored to fit your needs. If you’re travelling with a romantic partner, paddle on guided canoe adventures through Algonquin Park, then enjoy a private chalet suite in the secluded forest. Share cold drinks and sumptuous appetizers together over a fire at your scenic campsite. If you’re arriving with family in tow, book the upscale Chalet Algonquin located on Hondoo Island. With four bedrooms, plenty of space for the little ones to run around and activities ranging from fishing to stand-up paddleboarding, it’s the perfect place for your summer outdoor getaway. 

Location: Algonquin Park Access Point #1 Lake Kawawaymog Algonquin Park


With an abundance of lakes, wildlife, hiking trails and stunning views, you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoors adventure 24/7 in the peaceful Algonquin Provincial Park. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of roughing it in nature: many parks feature amenities to help you enjoy your camping experience, such as barrier-free flush toilets, laundry facilities and even roofed accommodations like cozy cabins and lodges. 

Location: Algonquin Provincial Park

What to do

Outdoor adventures, particularly river crossings and wildlife sightings, are the highlight of summer getaways in the Algonquin region. Check out The Portage Store for canoe and kayak rentals, plus guided hiking tours for exploring the best spots in Algonquin Park. If you’re looking to see Algonquin’s mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians with your own eyes, book an outdoor trip package with Algonquin Outfitters.

Where to eat

Make the most of your time in Algonquin by having a bite at the park’s lodges and picnicking areas. Killarney Lodge is renowned for its delicious country cuisine offering traditional roasts, vegetarian dishes and homemade desserts. If you’re seeking a fine dining, farm-to-table experience, travel by water taxi and enjoy Bartlett Lodge’s elegant, multi-course dinner in a secluded island setting. Alternatively, explore formal picnic ground areas in Algonquin, perfect for your lunch date or family outing, in places like Canisbay Lake, Costello Creek and Western Uplands. 

Insider tip on staying in Algonquin

  • Reservations at Algonquin Park’s camping sites can be made up to five months in advance. Book early if you’re planning to stay at one of them. If you’re interested in camping elsewhere in the province, check out other Ontario parks that offer camping facilities.

Northern Ontario

North of the Muskoka region and Algonquin Provincial Park lies Northern Ontario. This region attracts people of all ages seeking exciting experiences in mostly untouched wilderness. Fishing, wildlife viewing, unspoiled nature and pristine lakes are yours to explore once you’ve booked your summer getaway in Northern Ontario. 

Killarney Mountain Lodge

Towering mountains, clear waters and fresh air await you at Killarney Mountain Lodge. Tucked southeast of Sudbury, on the edge of Killarney Provincial Park, this rustic lodge offers a complete retreat into beautiful nature. Explore the granite and quartz basined bays up close by renting a sailboat from the lodge’s fleet or hiking to your destination—Topaz Lake in particular is a must-see summer hotspot. There’s also a variety of rooms to choose from, including king suites overlooking the Killarney Channel, affordable rooms close to the hiking trails and private cabins connected to the main lodge for easy access to all the facilities. 

Location: 3 Commissioner Street, Killarney

Lodge Eighty Eight

Step into one of Ontario’s best fishing retreats at Lodge Eighty Eight. You’ll marvel at the incredible forests, lakes and rivers in the heart of the Canadian Shield. Though it’s deep in the wilderness, you’ll still find all the eco-friendly, modern amenities that you’re used to. After you’ve settled into your luxurious accommodations, enjoy train-in and fly fishing in the peace and quiet. 

Location: Mile 88, CPR West of Chapleau, White River

Wilderness North

Located north of Thunder Bay and accessible only by floatplane, Wilderness North offers memorable outdoor adventures for people of all ages. Experience world-class Canadian fishing, hiking trails, self-guided canoe trips and more. With a variety of getaway packages and locations to choose from, including Wabakimi, Miminiska, April Lake, Striker’s Point and more, there’s no shortage of exciting activities here. 

Location: 531 Shipyard Road, Thunder Bay

There’s many other amazing properties across Northern Ontario. Check out Grace Anne II Yacht and Lodge, an elegant 85 foot/26-metre yacht in Kenora that sails over the Lake of the Woods. Embrace Northern Ontario living at The Lodge at Pine Cove, encircled by the picturesque French River near Lake Nipissing. Or discover pristine beaches, rugged forests and quality accommodations at Rock Island Lodge, where you can enjoy leisure day trips and learn the basics of kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding.

What to do

Northern Ontario has a long history of fishing, with numerous operators in the region specializing in top wildlife viewing and outdoor fishing lodges in Canada. The breathtaking Lake Temagami, where world-renowned conservationist Grey Owl once lived, is located north of Lake Nipissing and can be explored with Temagami Outfitting Co. They offer a range of guided and curated trips for fly fishing, canoeing and white water rafting. Outdoor Skills and Thrills run public guided hiking tours through the dense forests near Thunder Bay. Learn to navigate Northern Ontario’s network of canoe routes with Canadian Quetico Outfitters, or take a guided kayaking trip through Lake Superior’s beautiful waters with Naturally Superior Adventures. If you’ve always wanted to catch a glimpse of elk, moose, bison and more in their natural habitat, book a wildlife tour at Cedar Meadows Wilderness Park

Where to eat

Many of Northern Ontario’s resorts feature a range of delicious dining options on-site, with many offering fresh local fish and seafood to be enjoyed on the patio or around a campfire. If you’re looking for more fantastic restaurants in specific parts of the region to visit during your stay, check out Northern Ontario’s culinary culture guide

Insider tip on staying in Northern Ontario

  • Northern Ontario may look like it’s far away, but there’s numerous ways to access this vast region. There are many float plane charter services such as Porter Airlines that will fly close to your destination. Travel around the various cities in Northern Ontario via train with Ontario Northland. If you’re planning to hit up Northern Ontario after visiting the big cities in the south, rent a car and prepare for an exciting road trip across this beautiful province. 

Prince Edward County

“Isn’t Prince Edward Island near the Atlantic coast?” is what you’re probably thinking. And you’re right, because they’re not the same—Prince Edward County (not the island) is located in southeast Ontario, in the heart of the province’s wine region. Many young entrepreneurs have flocked here to open small businesses, drawn to the county’s mixture of traditional quaint villages and unique contemporary culture. With picturesque landscapes, waterfront cabins and hectares of rural farmland, there’s a ton of amazing things to do and see in this up-and-coming region. 

The Royal Hotel

Spend your summer getaway feeling like royalty at The Royal Hotel in charming Picton. Explore quaint wineries, restaurants and natural attractions in and around this small town during the day, then return to comfort and luxury at night. This hotel is open year-round and offers comfortable suites with a fully stocked mini bar, in-room coffee and tea service, and custom bath amenities. Book personalized therapeutic treatments at their spa, which are inspired by 19th century European health and wellness centres. 

Location: 247 Picton Main Street, Picton

Drake Devonshire

Drake Devonshire overlooks Lake Ontario’s glittering waters, providing stunning views as well as beautiful event spaces. This year-round beachfront hotel sports a sleek, sophisticated design inside a historic country inn. With modern art installations by local artists, entertaining cultural programs and sumptuous food made with ingredients sourced from farmers and wineries in the community, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular spots in the county. Learn more about winemaking with the Wine + Chill package, or craft your ideal romantic night in with the X[Oh!] Pillowfight package. Be sure to also check out the popular boardwalk lining Wellington Beach, plus the numerous wineries and restaurants close to the hotel.  

Location: 24 Wharf Street, Wellington

The Waring House

Known for its on-site traditional cookery school, The Waring House is the perfect place for anyone looking to brush up on their cooking skills or learn a new trick or two. Whether you’re a novice or an expert in the kitchen, you’ll enjoy their hands-on cooking classes and testing out new recipes, taught by experienced chefs. The Waring House offers several accommodation packages that include three-hour cooking classes along with one- or two-nights’ stay, complimentary breakfasts and a three-course dinner at their amazing on-site restaurant, Amelia’s Garden.

Location: 395 Sandy Hook Road, Picton

Merrill House

Traditional design and modern technology are blended together at Merrill House, creating the ultimate retreat for people of all ages. This Victorian-style home was originally built in 1878 for the first magistrate of Prince Edward County, and it’s since been transformed into a charming boutique hotel. Individually designed rooms provide a fresh, fun experience for everyone. Enjoy five-star amenities, warm hospitality, French cuisine and carefully curated wine collection. It also features a conservatory bar, wine cellar, cocktail parlour, sauna and natural history museum. 

Location: Picton Main Street, Main Street East #343, Picton

There’s plenty of other amazing places to stay in Prince Edward County, such as Angeline’s Inn and Wander the Resort. Visit the County’s website to discover all your options. 

What to do

One of the most popular destinations in the county is Sandbanks Provincial Park, the largest baymouth barrier dune formation in the world. Discover the finest wines produced in Prince Edward County with PEC Wine Tours, which offers both open group and private tours in luxury-class vehicles. Nature lovers will love the Millennium Trail and the Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, which offers fantastic views of the Bay of Quinte, Glenora Ferry, natural landscapes and hectares of deciduous forests. There’s also the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival, where over 30 concerts by top jazz stars are held near the end of August. 

Where to eat

If there’s one thing you have to do in Prince Edward County, it's to sample its incredible culinary scene. The Wellington Farmers’ Market offers fresh food from local growers, perfect if you want to make your own meals on vacation. While you’re in Bloomfield, stop by Flame & Smith for a traditional meal cooked over woodfire. For delicious tapas and small plates to enjoy while admiring amazing views of the bay, head to The Miller House inside the Lake on the Mountain Resort. The Bocado Restaurant and The Marans Dinebar in Picton feature seasonal food made with local ingredients and regional wines in the county. If you’re staying in The Royal Hotel, enjoy wine and freshly baked bread on the restaurant’s outdoor laneway terrace, while taking in the clean air of small-town Picton. 

Insider tip on staying in Prince Edward County

  • Book your reservation as early as possible! Because of its amazing landscapes and natural sceneries, Prince Edward County is a popular destination for summer travellers, and hotel spaces fill up fast. 

1000 Islands

Sparkling waters and gorgeous forests await you in 1000 Islands, Canada. Dotted along the St. Lawrence River is this famous archipelago of more than 1,800 islands. Known as the birthplace of the 1000 Islands salad dressing, this hub of lakeside activities is located three hours from Toronto and two hours from Ottawa. Check out the best waterfront hotels, summer pastimes and delicious eateries in 1000 Islands. 

Gananoque Inn & Spa

You’ll find Gananoque Inn & Spa on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, tucked away in charming Gananoque. As the town’s only waterfront accommodations, it’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy a break from everyday life. Spa treatments such as massage and facial treatments are the perfect way to rejuvenate. The inn is a short 20-minute drive from attractions like Fort Henry and the Rideau Canal, so it’s the perfect opportunity for you to check these places off your list of sights to see.  

Location: 1000 Islands, 550 Stone Street South, Gananoque

Glen House Resort

Enjoy your Ontario summer vacation to the fullest at Glen House Resort, nestled on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. This hotel features over 75 comfortable rooms, with stunning views of the riverfront and distant islands. One of the resort’s most popular attractions is the Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course, an on-site championship 18-hole golf course. Play a round of golf with your partner or friends, then enjoy a gourmet lunch in the Shipman’s Dining Room. In the afternoon, head back outdoors to rent a pedal boat or swim in the anchored raft on the St. Lawrence River. 

Location: 409 Thousand Islands Parkway, Lansdowne

What to do

As you can imagine, there’s a ton of water-based activities to enjoy in the 1000 Islands. Join a full-day or half-day guided kayaking tour through the St. Lawrence River with 1000 Islands Kayaking Co in Gananoque. If you want to explore the waters at a more relaxed pace, take a boat tour with Rockport Cruises, City Cruises Gananoque or Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises. Alternatively, enjoy a romantic stroll along the 1000 Islands Parkway

Make unforgettable memories by signing up for a helicopter ride with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours and soaring high above the waters. If you’re not keen on helicopters but still want to witness a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the islands, climb the 1000 Islands Tower on Hill Island in Lansdowne. You’ll reach the observation deck via elevator in just 40 seconds, and be rewarded with a panoramic sight of the islands. Later, catch a play at the 1000 Islands Playhouse, the islands’ local theatre and one of the top summer theatre festivals in Ontario. Housed in an old historic boathouse, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of Canadian and international plays here. 

Where to eat

Explore the best eateries in the 1000 Islands. For an elegant dining experience, check out Graydon’s Restaurant in Woodview Inn, located in Gananoque. While you’re in Gananoque, check out 1000 Curry, which features a diverse menu of dishes infused with Indian spices. If you’re looking for a fun night out, The Old English Pub features cod fish and chips to go with their extensive selection of craft beer. Before you leave town, visit Panache Bakery & Café and buy some scrumptious pies and pastries to take with you on the road. 

Insider tip on staying in the Thousand Islands

  • As the geography of the 1000 Islands is so diverse, there’s a wide variety of lodging options for you to choose from. Look for bed-and-breakfasts if you’re seeking a comfortable, stress-free experience. Waterfront inns are perfect for picturesque views of the river and close access to downtown shops. Or rent a private island home for a secluded retreat. 

There’s a ton of amazing things to do during your Ontario summer getaway. For more places to stay, check out Resorts of Ontario. Make your summer vacation this year a truly memorable one with these other exciting outdoor adventures: 

Last updated: October 5, 2023

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