5 Day Ontario Road Trip: The Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Orillia & Muskoka

Looking for a relaxing getaway to enjoy Ontario’s beautiful outdoors without sacrificing the odd luxury like an actual menu? Then head to the southern tip of Georgian Bay and make your way to central Ontario. Travelling through The Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Orillia and Muskoka, you’ll discover why so many have been vacationing in these parts for decades. 

Ontario is the world in one province and is the original homelands to many nations of the First Peoples. With the Cree Nation in the North, the Haudenoshaunee in the South, and the Anishinabek Nation all around the Great Lakes, we are pleased to acknowledge and support the First Peoples and First Nations of these lands; the Inuit; and the Metis as we host visitors together.

START: The Blue Mountains
END: Muskoka

Several restaurants and accommodations with floating docks surrounding a body of water with paddle boats docked.

Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.

Many tourism experiences require advance bookings or have restrictions in place due to COVID 19. It is important to check directly with the business operator before you travel. Get the most up-to-date information now.

The Blue Mountains – Day One

At the southern tip of Georgian Bay, on the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, sits Blue Mountain Resort. Only two and a half hours northwest of Toronto, this popular vacation destination has something for the entire family, with endless activities to enjoy all year round. Spend one to two days to take advantage of it all.


Things to Do

Blue Mountain Village, located at the base of the mountain, is activity-central at Blue Mountain Resort. The cobblestone pedestrian village offers a wide variety of accommodations, more than 40 unique shops and restaurants, a spa and year-round events and attractions. Before heading out on your adventure, be sure to buy your passes online to experience the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, Coca-Cola Mill Pond Activity Centre, Timber Challenge High Ropes and Woodlot Low Ropes courses, rock climbing, Cascade Putting Course, hiking, biking, Segway tours, Open-Air Gondola Rides up the mountain and much more. Do as much or as little as you’d like to do! Download the Blue Mountain Village App to help you plan your day. 


Places to Stay

Blue Mountain Village has a variety of hotels, motels, lodges, cabins and resorts. From luxurious suites in the heart of the village to chalets inspired by cottage country, the range of accommodations is diverse.  

The Blue Mountain Inn offers comfort, value and service and has a bright, modern cottage look and feel. This dog-friendly hotel features indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an indoor pool, The Pottery Restaurant and Jozo’s Bar.

The Grand Georgian, located in the middle of the Village, has more than 200 suites ranging in size from studios with efficiency to full-size 3 bedroom apartments. Also on site are two outdoor hot tubs, a seasonal outdoor pool, fitness room and sauna. 

The Westin Trillium House Hotel recalls the tradition of Canada’s grand vacation resorts. The hotel has beautifully appointed rooms and suites featuring kitchenettes and fireplaces. Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill is the stylish in-hotel restaurant.    

For a complete list of places to stay click here.


Places to Eat

Choose from one of many places to eat in Blue Mountain Village (patio and takeout available):  

For a full list of places to eat in the Village click here
 

The Blue Mountains – Day Two

Distance to Next Stop: 4 km / 2.49 mi

Spend a day off the resort to explore the beauty of the surrounding region. 

Four people dressed in red jackets are exploring the bottom of a cave


Things to Do 

One of the key attractions in the area is Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. A tight labyrinth of caves and crevices on the Niagara Escarpment, the caves held special significance for the Indigenous nations area who used the caves to meet and store provisions. They also regarded the caves as the path to the Village of the Souls or the Underworld. On site is a 410-foot suspension bridge overlooking Georgian Bay and the surrounding forest with 15 kilometres of one-way, well-marked trails to hike and explore. General admission is on a first come, first served basis so visitors are encouraged to arrive early.

Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is where the experience of Nordic bathing can be found in the heart of Ontario’s nature. Enjoy hot and cold baths as part of the hydrotherapy experience. Book your bath access and massage online before hopping in the car for your trip. While at Scandinave, spend time exploring its Forest Bathing Trail.

If you’re in the mood for a road trip by car or bike, follow the Apple Pie Trail, which travels from Blue Mountain Village to the surrounding villages of Craigleith, Beaver Valley, Thornbury and Meaford. The trail is inspired by these rich apple growing regions and the local producers who welcome you to their apple orchards, cider houses, wineries, bakeries, restaurants, markets and more.

Affectionately dubbed “Artsburg” for its artists and studios, Clarksburg, including the Matilda Swanson Gallery and the Marsh Street Gallery, is home to a collective of local artists.

The nearby town of Collingwood is great for shopping. The charming main street is filled with shops, boutiques and cafes and a Saturday farmers market at the corner of Pine and Second Streets. The Collingwood Federal Building, a 1915 Beaux-Arts style heritage building, stands prominently on the main street and is one of the highlights of the self-guided Heritage Walk Downtown. 

For a full list of things to see and do, visit South Georgian Bay Tourism and Grey County Tourism
 

Places to Stay

Blue Mountain Village has a variety of hotels, motels, lodges, cabins and resorts. From luxurious suites in the heart of the village to chalets inspired by cottage country, the range of accommodations is diverse.  

The Blue Mountain Inn offers comfort, value and service and has a bright, modern cottage look and feel. This dog-friendly hotel features indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an indoor pool, The Pottery Restaurant and Jozo’s Bar.

The Grand Georgian, located in the middle of the Village, has more than 200 suites ranging in size from studios with efficiency to full-size 3 bedroom apartments. Also on site are two outdoor hot tubs, a seasonal outdoor pool, fitness room and sauna. 

The Westin Trillium House Hotel recalls the tradition of Canada’s grand vacation resorts. The hotel has beautifully appointed rooms and suites featuring kitchenettes and fireplaces. Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill is the stylish in-hotel restaurant.    

For a complete list of places to stay click here.


Places to Eat

Breakfast/Lunch

Heavenly Café: Organic coffee, artisan teas, pastries and delicious gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads and delicious light meals. Takeout and curbside pickup.

Duncan’s Café: Located in downtown Collingwood, it serves up homemade, fresh and delicious breakfast meals and lunches. Patios open.

The Press Market: Organic plant-based restaurant, cafe, smoothie bar. Order ahead option available.
 
Lunch/Dinner

Tremont Cafe: Located in a historic building, this elegant cafe serves gourmet European cuisine & patio seating.

The Huron Club: Serves up an upscale pub food and drink. Patio and takeout.

The Iron Skillet: From schnitzel to seafood to pasta, ribs and steaks and Cajun they have been serving up food since 1991.  Don’t forget they serve breakfast on the weekends. Patio and takeout.


Things to Know

When visiting the Scenic Caves be sure to wear hiking boots or athletic footwear. Only closed toe footwear is permitted. Also, be aware that the temperature in the caves can be much cooler so a removeable sweater or layer is advisable. 
 

Wasaga Beach – Day Three

Distance to Next Stop: 31.7 km / 19.7 mi

At 14 km / 8.7 mi, Wasaga Beach is the longest Freshwater Beach in the world! A day visit to its white sandy shores and clean shallow waters is an idyllic summer tradition. 

Wasaga Beach is also home to the scenic Nottawasaga River and a dramatic and unique sand dune system, all surrounded by the natural wetlands and woodlands of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. The park achieved Blue Flag status in 2007 and has trails, cycling routes and parks to explore (day use vehicle permit: $20 CAD).

Two men playing football in the water.


Things to Do

Spend a half or whole day enjoying the beach, just don’t forget the sunscreen! Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is divided into 8 Beach Areas, all with parking, sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking.  With boardwalks, trails, water sport rentals, restaurants, and shopping nearby, there are endless ways to keep the whole family entertained. 

Beyond the beach:

Ahoy maties! Head to Skull Island Miniature Golf to practice your put.

Skydive Wasaga Beach offers Canada’s premier tandem skydive experience.  

Gather your crew and head to Wasaga Adventure Park for paintball, Laser Combat, Archery Tag, NERF Wars, Airsoft and Axe Throwing. 

Rounds Ranch offers a fun country experience for the whole family with the brand new Slip N Slide, Tumbleweed Turnabout, barnyard boxcars and so much more.

Free Spirit Tours Inc - Book an adventure – a guided paddle on the Nottawasaga, rock climbing, wild edibles experience, SUP lessons, hike and wine, forest therapy walks – among others.

For a full list of things to do visit South Georgian Bay Tourism, Tourism Simcoe County and Wasaga Beach Tourism for downloadable guides and maps. 
 

Places to Stay

Saga Resort, a family-oriented environment, 3-minute walk to Beach Area 1.
 
Gateway Camping, a family camping within walking distance to main beach and shops.
 
Jell-e-Bean Campground and RV Park, a conveniently located in the west end of Wasaga Beach on Hwy 26, short walk to sandy beach.
 

Places to Eat 

Breakfast/Lunch

Stacked Pancake House: Serving breakfast and lunch! Order online for pickup.

Georgian Circle Family Steak & Seafood Restaurant:  full breakfast menu, as well as lunch and dinner. Patio dining and takeout available.

Lunch/Dinner

The Beacon Restaurant: Fun for the whole family. Eat on the patio or order online.

Burger Boyz: Proudly serving fresh and local - make a picnic of it!

The Iron Skillet: Featured on Where to Eat In Canada and you Gotta Eat Here, and has locations in Wasaga Beach and Collingwood.

Locally-owned Grandma’s Beach Treats: A must for dessert and other sweet treats (think buttertarts and ice cream).

Restaurants, cafes and sweet shops abound. For a full list of places to eat is Wasaga Beach click here
 

Things to Know

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is a day-use facility only and does not permit overnight camping. Check out this blog, How to beat the crowds at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.

Birders will be interested to know Wasaga Beach has a Piping Plover Recovery Program.
 

Orillia – Day Four

Distance to Next Stop: 59 km / 36 mi

The lakeside town of Orillia sits between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching on the historic Trent-Severn Waterway. Only 90 minutes from Toronto and nestled between the popular vacation regions for Blue Mountain and Muskoka, Orillia is easily accessible and has much to divert including time honoured festivals and events, theatre, heritage, boating, fishing and more. 


Things to Do

Surrounded by scenic lakes on Trent-Severn Waterway, Orillia naturally boasts one of the most popular marinas in southern Ontario. The Port of Orillia is a 220-slip transient marina just steps from downtown and known as the “Jewel of the Trent’. 

Boaters from far and wide travel through the area every summer to enjoy the Spring, Boat, Cottage & Outdoor Show in June and the Orillia Waterfront Festival in August. Fishers flock to the Annual Orillia Perch Festival, which is one of Canada’s largest registered fishing derbies. 

Culture seekers should make their first stop the historic Orillia Opera House for a selfie with this beautiful landmark buidling, then take in downtown’s annual art exhibit, Streets Alive, featuring hippie van sculptures in 2021. Visit the Peter Street Arts District with its art galleries, arty shops and artist studios. Stroll the grounds of the Leacock Museum on the shore of old Brewery Bay, designed and built as his home in 1928 by author, humourist and economist Stephen Leacock. He wrote most of his famous works here and his library, personal papers and memorabilia are still here.


Places to Stay

Fern Resort is an all-inclusive family resort on Lake Couchiching that has been welcoming families for more than 125 years.

Horseshoe Resort is a popular family-friendly resort with its own private beach on Lake Horseshoe, 12-hole golf course, tree-top trekking, hiking trails and Yamaha ATV and Riding Adventures and much more.

Bayview Wildwood Resort offers all-inclusive mid-week and weekend getaways, all year long – a fun summer spot for families.

Black River Wilderness Park, a family campground owned and operated by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, has more than 180 acres of wilderness. Perfect for nature lovers with tent camping, rustic cabins and tipi’s plus yurts and serviced sites.
 

Places to Eat

Breakfast/Lunch

A local tradition, Hills Maple Leaf Restaurant: serving all day breakfast!

Tammies Place has a great menu of breakfast items to choose from, including omelets. Tammies is also open for lunch and dinner. 

Lunch/Dinner

The Mariposa Market is housed in a 1911 turn of the century building with a famous bakery, café and retail shops, Seasons boutique that changes along with Mother Nature and more – the perfect place for a homestyle lunch, light dinner and a slice of small town Ontario. 

Theo’s Eatery, family friendly with a full menu from appetizers to pastas and steak!  

Self-described as creatively fresh and delicious local food, Era 67 is all that wrapped up in a cozy dining experience. Patio dining available.

A local favourite since 1993, Brewery Bay Co has a relaxed pub atmosphere featuring burgers, poutine and bar fare.  Patio and takeout available.

Visit Orillia & Lake Country Tourism for a complete list of options. 
 

Muskoka – Day Five

Distance to Next Stop: 77 km / 47.8 mi

The Muskoka Region of Ontario is undoubtedly the most popular vacation region in the province. Tourists have been flocking to Muskoka for centuries to enjoy its pristine lakes, tranquil forest and grand resorts. A vacation getaway for the Canadian and American gentry since the age of the railroad, Muskoka has welcomed prime ministers, presidents, lords and ladies and “Captains of Industry” to its grand hotels and estates. American President Woodrow Wilson had a home here as did Sir John and Lady Eaton of Canada’s famed bygone Eaton’s department store chain and many of today’s celebrities like Cindy Crawford, Lisa Riina, Kate Hudson and more continue to discover this northern paradise. 


Things to Do

It’s all about the “lake life” in Muskoka and if you’re not one of the lucky few to own a coveted cottage, there are plenty of resorts and inns to enjoy. Resorts like Windermere House, Port Cunnington Lodge and Deerhurst Resort have been welcoming guests since the late 1800s while newer properties like Sherwood Inn, the J.W. Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa and Taboo Resort blend luxury with history and modern charm.  

Whether staying at a resort, inn, lodge or your own private cottage you’ll find any number of activities to enjoy such as canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, boating, sailing, tennis, golf, spa treatments and more. Bracebridge-based outfitter, Liv Outside offers guided excursions to make the most of your visit. 


Places to Stay

Set amidst more than 1400 acres of forest, trails and lakes, the J.W. Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa rests on scenic Lake Rosseau and blends the charm of a north woods escape with the luxury of a premier vacation resort. 

Founded in 1896, Deerhurst Resort is best-known as the place where superstar singer Shania Twain got her professional start, being the host venue for the 2010 G8 Summit and for launching Muskoka as a top Canadian golf destination.

For a total luxury experience, Jayne’s Cottages offers high-end cottage rentals and bespoke concierge service including private chef, shopping service and car service.

Bayview Wildwood Resort is an all-inclusive resort in Port Stanton offering a host of on-site activities year-round.

Visit Resorts of Ontario for a list of resorts and lodge rental options and Discover Muskoka for a complete list of accommodation options.


Places to Eat

On the way to Muskoka, north of Orillia, right off Highway 11 (northbound lane) is a must for burger lovers. Webers is a family-owned restaurant that has been hearty burgers since 1963. 
 
Many of Muskoka’s resort dining rooms are open to guests looking to have lunch or dinner only. Try Eclipse at Deerhurst Resort for Canadian, locally sourced creations and Teca, which serves Italian cuisine and is one of five on site restaurants at the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort and Spa. 

Muskoka Brewery is a small batch brewery that makes handcrafted premium beers.
 

Muskoka – Day Six

The many quaint towns and villages that make up the Muskoka are ripe for exploration.

Front view of the Segwun Steamship docked, while the crew is boarding


Things to Do

Gravenhurst is the gateway to Muskoka and where you can catch the famous RMS Segwun cruise. More than 130 years old, this steamship is an icon of these waters and the oldest operating steamship in North America. Various lunch and dinner cruise are available aboard the Segwun. Its sister ship the Wenonah II is a modern vessel built in the style of early 20th century steamships and the Wanda III, Lady Eaton’s restored private yacht, does not cruise but is available to view. Learn all about the ships and Muskoka’s romantic era of steamships, at the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre

Gravenhurst Opera House was built in 1901 and beyond its usual theatre shows is available for tours to see its architectural elegance. Opening date to be announced.

Gravenhurst is also home to Bethune Memorial House National Heritage Site, commemorating the life and accomplishments of Dr. Henry Norman Bethune a national hero in China for his work as a surgeon during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The town of Bracebridge is the waterfall capital of Muskoka with three cascading waterfalls just minutes from downtown. Located on the 45th parallel, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole you’ll find Santa’s Village right here in cottage country. This unique 60-acre attraction has been delighting families for decades with the year-round magic of Christmas.

The town of Bala is known for its cranberry marshes and visitors make regular pilgrimage for fresh cranberry related products. The former tourism home where Anne of Green Gables author, Lucy Maud Montgomery vacationed is now Balas Museum and celebrates Montgomery’s work, local history and the inspiration she derived from her 1922 holiday here, which resulted in the novel The Blue Castle, set in Muskoka.

The night sky above Muskoka is just as beautiful as the ground and water below thanks to the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve. Located southeast of Bala, Torrance Barrens consists of 1900 hectares of protected crown land free of urban light pollution.

Huntsville is the largest town in Muskoka and has a number of local crafts and art shops as does charming Port Carling, which often hosts summer pop-up shops from some of Toronto’s most popular boutiques.

Silhouettes of two men stand up paddling in the water.


Places to Stay

Set amidst more than 1400 acres of forest, trails and lakes, the J.W. Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa rests on scenic Lake Rosseau and blends the charm of a north woods escape with the luxury of a premier vacation resort. 

Founded in 1896, Deerhurst Resort is best-known as the place where superstar singer Shania Twain got her professional start, being the host venue for the 2010 G8 Summit and for launching Muskoka as a top Canadian golf destination.

For a total luxury experience, Jayne’s Cottages offers high-end cottage rentals and bespoke concierge service including private chef, shopping service and car service.

Bayview Wildwood Resort is an all-inclusive resort in Port Stanton offering a host of on-site activities year-round.

Visit Resorts of Ontario for a list of resorts and lodge rental options and Discover Muskoka for a complete list of accommodation options.
 

Places to Eat

Breakfast/Lunch

Henrietta's Pine Bakery - Huntsville produces traditional bake goods with a twist.

Wimpy's Diner - With a great breakfast menu you may want to return for lunch or dinner! Located in Huntsville

3 Guys and a Stove is a local favourite in Huntsville.

Lunch/Dinner

The Artisan House, Huntsville:  The menu changes seasonally as they serve only (where available) the best seasonal ingredients with a flair of Mediterranean.

Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, Bala: Specializes in cranberry wine from the local cranberry bogs the town is famous for.

The Oar, Gravenhurst: Offers a unique casual dining experience in South Muskoka

On the Docks Pub has been the hot spot for visitors and locals in the Huntsville area for the last 20 years. 

Hint: Go no further than Kitchens Buttertarts in Bracebridge for a delectable snack! Farmer's Daughter in Huntsville just might have the best sticky buns you’ve ever tasted.
 

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