elora-Winter-Hiking

5 winter weekend getaways close to Toronto

Go on, embrace the cold for fun and adventure

For Torontonians who cringe at the sight of that white fluffy substance falling from the sky, this record setting mild December weather has been a blessing. But for those eager to throw on their toques and participate in winter activities, the lack of snow has been a real disappointment.

“Not having to shovel has been nice, but I don’t like that I haven’t gotten the chance to go ice fishing or snowmobiling yet,” said Toronto resident, Tony Fiorillo.

“Not having to shovel has been nice, but I don’t like that I haven’t gotten the chance to go ice fishing or snowmobiling yet,” said Toronto resident, Tony Fiorillo.

The outdoor winter enthusiast may soon get his chance.

The coldest air front of the season so far will sweep over Southern Ontario starting Friday night and continuing through Saturday, with a low of -3 C. The GTA can expect brief snow squalls caused by the lake effect, while places such as Barrie and Parry Sound could see up to 20+ cm.

For those wanting to make the most out of the chillier days ahead, here is a list of weekend getaways near Toronto that offer activities for winter lovers.

1. Go winter camping in Port Elgin

Courtesy of MacGregor Point Provincial Park (Photo courtesy of MacGregor Point Provincial Park)

If you enjoy camping in the summer, you might enjoy staying in a yurt in MacGregor Point Provincial Park in Port Elgin this winter. The yurts are heated circular tents with wooden bases, allowing you to enjoy Ontario’s outdoors, with access to great outdoor activities, including skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

Travel time from Toronto:
Approximately 3 hours 18 minutes.

2. Explore the trails in Elora

Photo courtesy of Durham Region (Photo courtesy of Durham Region)

Known as one of Ontario’s most beautiful villages, Elora is a great place to go for a day of hiking on easy to navigate scenic trails along the gorge and winter ziplining. When your done with the outdoors, you can head into town to shop and dine.

Travel time from Toronto:
Approximately 1 hour 41 minutes.

3. Dog sledding in Orillia

Photo courtesy of Wind Drift Kennel

If you love dogs and have an interest in dogsledding, you can check out Windrift Kennel in Orillia. They offer half and full-day trips, and allow you to drive your own sled, with their highly trained dogs taking the lead.

If you are interested in a different location, the Ontario Travel website lists all available dogsledding tours across Ontario.

Travel time from Toronto:
Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

4. Do it all in Muskoka

Photo courtesy of the Fern Glenn Inn
Photo courtesy of the Fern Glenn Inn

When most people think of Muskoka, they picture summer cottages and boating trips, but this tourist destination stays very active during the colder months. You can rent a cottage or stay in a yurt, and enjoy a number of winter activities, such as ice-fishing, snow castle competitions and skiing.

You can check out Discover Muskoka to view a comprehensive list of winter activities offered in the area.

Travel time from Toronto:
Approximately 2 hours 20 minutes.

5. Stay the weekend in Georgina

Photo courtesy of York Region
Photo courtesy of York Region

The Briars in Jackson’s Point, Georgina is an over night resort located on Lake Simcoe, the ice fishing capital of Canada. They offer a large amount of winter activities, including cross-country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, ice-fishing, skating, tobogganing and horse-drawn carriage rides. There are also well-groomed snowmobile trails and a popular pioneer village located within 10 minutes of the resort that draws crowds during the winter months.

This location has a number of restaurants and shopping centres in close proximity.

Travel time from Toronto:

Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.