The city of Barrie offers year-round fun. Beaches, hiking trails, cycling paths, fishing, boating, skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing adventure abound, while downtown Barrie is home to a vibrant cultural scene of live music, performing arts and festivals.
One of the jewels of the city is the scenic 6 km waterfront, which features parks, gardens, beaches and great trails for walking or cycling. Get out on the water to enjoy boating, fishing and plenty of paddling opportunities. There’s even free public WiFi. Families love the kid-friendly waterpark playground, and special events and festivals keep visitors entertained all summer long.
Popular nearby winter activities include skiing, snow tubing, Nordic skiing and ice fishing.
Barrie’s year-round farmers’ market is bursting with the seasonal bounty of Simcoe County, and local restaurants and breweries take full advantage of the abundant farm fresh ingredients.
To learn more about all there is to see and do here, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Where is Barrie?
Located in the centre of southern Ontario, the city of Barrie is well connected. Just an hour’s drive north of Toronto on Highway 400, Barrie serves as a gateway to northern Ontario. The city lies on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, the western arm of Lake Simcoe, and is under an hour away from Blue Mountain.
Daily GO Train service between Toronto and Barrie makes the trip really convenient, and Barrie Transit operates numerous bus routes within the city.
Things to Do in Barrie
The city of Barrie offers great urban activities like shopping, dining, nightlife and entertainment, while its prime location ensures there’s a lot of waterfront fun. There’s even more outdoor adventure nearby.
Being on the water has its perks. Sail from Barrie’s marinas on Barrie regorge de plages into Lake Simcoe, which connects to Lake Ontario via Trent Severn Waterway and Lake Huron via Lake Couchiching and the Severn River. Find the perfect spot in the bay or beyond for a day of fishing. Perch, smallmouth bass, whitefish and lake trout are abundant. You can even explore the lake bottom on a scuba diving excursion. The wreck of the J.C. Morrison is one of the most popular dive sites in the Southern Ontario region.
Barrie and its surrounding area is a bird lover’s paradise. A variety of birds are attracted to the fish in Kempenfelt Bay during migration season, an excellent opportunity for bird watching and photography.
Hike, bike, snowshoe or cross-country ski wooded trails to scenic views and lookout points. In the wintertime, there are various access points in the trail that allow skiing. Barrie sits in Ontario’s belt, and is within a short drive of some of the best ski resorts and facilities in the province, like Horseshoe Resort, Ski Snow Valley, Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Blue Mountain and Hardwood Ski and Bike.
There’s no shortage of swimmable beaches in Barrie. Popular spots include Minet's Point Beach, Johnson's Beach, The Gables, Tyndale Beach and Centennial Beach. If you’re looking to keep the kids active, Sunnidale Park features an Adventure Playground with inclusive facilities for children with disabilities or special needs.
If just kicking back with a drink and some nibbles is more your speed, no judgment! Craft brewery aficionados can enjoy a brewery tour.
Barrie Neighbourhoods & Districts
Beyond Barrie’s historic downtown and waterfront area, there are several unique neighbourhoods in the city worth visiting.
Formerly a railway town, Barrie’s oldest neighbourhood is home to the popular Heritage Walking Tour, which showcases the historic homes in the neighbourhood.
Home to Barrie’s largest urban park. Previously a golf course, Sunnidale Park has a large arboretum and various walking and cycling.
Situated on the southeast side of Kempenfelt Bay, this is home to Minet's Point Beach.
Things to Know About Visiting Barrie
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Barrie, it’s nice to learn what the locals know.
Where to play a game of golf
Cedar Links Golf Course is a nine-hole, par three course at the corner of Huronia Road and Mapleview Drive and offers night golfing, a putting course and a heated double-deck driving range, which is open during winter.
Where to shop local
Dunlop Street East is an up-and-coming downtown area with great specialty shops and boutiques.
According to legend, a canine-like aquatic animal called Kempenfelt Kelly or Igopogo lives in Kempenfelt Bay. Some have even claimed to have witnessed Simcoe’s version of the Loch Ness Monster basking in the sun.
Last updated: November 24, 2022