Kawarthas and Northumberland

Water plays a key role in shaping the character and spirit of this region, and cities, towns and villages here have so much to offer. Come enjoy these famed water routes’ inviting accommodations, Indigenous heritage, unique attractions and the best local treats, eats and drinks. There’s even a museum dedicated to the story of the canoe — how much more Canadiana can we get?

To learn more about all there is to see and do in Kawarthas and Northumberland, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.

Where is Kawarthas and Northumberland?

Just over an hour’s drive east of Toronto, Northumberland County borders Lake Ontario and extends up to Rice Lake. North of Rice Lake is the district of Kawartha Lakes, a web of over 250 lakes, rivers and waterways, part of the historic Trent-Severn Waterway. 

Places to visit in Kawarthas and Northumberland

Key cities in this region include Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes, Campbellford, Port Hope and Cobourg.  

The Peterborough Lift Lock and Visitor Centre provides information on the history of the Lift Lock, the Trent-Severn Waterway and showcases model lift locks from around the world.  

On the shore of Lake Ontario, Port Hope is a popular spot for antiquing. Be sure to visit the historic Port Hope Farmers' Market for fresh, local produce, crafts and flowers. 

Start your family beach day tradition at Cobourg Beach with sun, sand, warm waves, a kid friendly splash pad, and an annual Cobourg Sandcastle Festival each summer. Beach mats are available to make the beach accessible for wheelchairs. 

Things to Do in Kawarthas and Northumberland

Whether it’s outdoor adventure or blissful zen that draws you to Kawarthas and Northumberland, you’re sure to enjoy this getaway. 

The Trent-Severn Waterway is a 386 km long canal route with a combination of natural and man-made elements that connects Lake Ontario from Trenton to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron at Port Severn. Paddle and cruise this national historic site, and explore the old lift locks and lock stations still in operation today.  

Coined the ‘houseboat capital of Ontario’, Kawartha Lakes provides boundless cruising routes, linking small towns and waterfront communities just north of Peterborough with marinas, local family-friendly attractions and loads of water-based adventures from safe swimming spots to secluded fishing holes.  

South of Peterborough, Rice Lake is a popular spot for fishing, as it boasts more fish per acre than any other Ontario lake.  

From the Whetung Ojibwa Centre at Curve Lake to the ancient rock carvings and paintings at Petroglyphs Provincial Park, discover fascinating Indigenous and First Nations history and culture. 

There are also more than 600 km of trails and amazing cycling routes connecting villages and communities. 

One last tip:  you can’t leave without your taste buds enjoy the famous Butter Tart Tour. Local bakeries along this self-guided route have perfected the art of this quintessential Canadian sweet treat. 

Last updated: October 20, 2021

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