Ah, Northern Ontario! So wild and rugged, this is where the truly adventurous come to brave the elements and tame the wild! Home to bears, moose, lakes, dense forest and some of the truest Canadians you’ll ever meet. This is the place to come and really experience Canada in the wild. Most people don’t venture outside the Muskoka area, especially if you are visiting the country but also the people who live here (wtf Torontonians). I’m here to give you some of the best things to see and do in Northern Ontario, for those truly adventurous and wild ones.
This is an area I am quite fond of, the French river is a gorgeous area three hours north of Toronto where you can Hike, Bike, Boat and swim. Rent a cottage and enjoy a weekend relaxing at the southernmost point of what’s deemed Northern Ontario. French river is also quite close to many Native reserves and you can see evidence of that as you drive through. There are Inukshuks on the rock walls that line the highway and many small shops where you can stop and buy authentic handicrafts made by Native Canadians. My personal favorite would have to be the French River Trading post. This little Gem has the best fudge, ice cream and unique souvenirs that you will find in this area. Head to the French River Provincial Park visitor center for some information on the geology of the land and its peoples. This small park also offers a beautiful suspension bridge that you can walk across for some gorgeous photos of the French river
Another Haven for authentic Native American culture the Island is home to many native reserves, beautiful lakes, hikes, and adventure tours. Find an authentic Teepee outside Lillian’s Indian* (should be Native American*) crafts as well as some beautiful handmade jewelry. Check out the Great Spirit Circle Trail tour and experience the true Native Canadian way of life. Pop over to the Cup and Saucer trail and go Geocaching or check out the view from the highest point on the Island! Head to Kagawong and walk amongst Bridal Veil Falls and the beautiful river trail right beside it. Feel free to have a picnic and swim next to these beautiful falls. You can easily drive the Island in a day and check out all the beautiful sights it has to offer. Camp out on the island to get the true experience!
I couldn’t make a list about northern Ontario without giving a shout out to my hometown!
Although there is plenty of room for improvement in the downtown core (Kathleen street I’m looking at you) There are plenty of things to do around the greater city of Sudbury to keep the adventure going!. For museums and tours, Dynamic Earth and Science North are a MUST. Both offer interactive exhibits and shows that go on daily!
Onaping falls is a nice place to take in a hike, it’s about a 40-minute drive outside the city and the only way there is by car. Other nature activities include skiing at Adanac ski hill, walking the boardwalk along Ramsay lake/ the scenery at Bell park or Exploring the Lake Laurentian conservation area.
Check out the shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes that never seem to stop popping up in Sudbury’s changing downtown core! Some of my favorites are Le Petit Gateau, La Fromagerie, Laughing Buddha, Kuppa joe, The Alibi Room, SRO and Stitch, and Stone,
Lake Superior Provincial Park
A whopping 9 hours north of Toronto lies Lake Superior, Provincial Park. Being #7 on the list of top rated provincial parks is a total understatement.
Once you pass Sault Ste Marie, you’ll know you are close to the park when you see beautiful rock outcrops popping up on the horizon. Be sure to gas up BEFORE you enter the park as there isn’t another station until Wawa. Bring your camping gear, warm clothes and sense of adventure and head on into the park. Some excellent trails to check out are:
- Agawa Rock Pictographs (Rated easy but wear excellent footwear as the trail leads you alongside the bottom of a cliff where the lake can wash up and sweep you in. You may also get wet)
- The Coastal Trail (This trail can be as short or long as you like, it runs along the coast of Lake Superior. Be prepared for some backwoods camping and steep trail sections. This is not for the faint of heart
- Towab Trail (This can be done as a day trip or an overnight trip. There are places to jump in and swim along the trail as well as some sweet waterfall views at the end)
Other Points of Interest:
If you’re planning on going super far out here are some awesome things you must do!
- Polar Bear Express from Cochrane to Moosonee
- Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
- Pukaskwa Provincial Park (featuring a suspension bridge, waterfall and scenic hiking trails, what more could you want?)
No matter where you’re headed Northern Ontario has something for everyone, but it has many somethings for those who hold adventure close to their hearts!