It’s always uplifting to start planning your summer vacation in March when it’s still cold outside. Not only is it fun, but it is a necessity to plan early since many summer resorts and cottages book up quickly. This year, with the coronavirus outbreak, I’m going to predict that many people will be opting for staycations. It’s true that at the moment, the coronavirus represents a very low risk for most people. The problem is that more people in countries outside of the initial risk area of China, Japan and South Korea are contracting the virus.
Canada still has only 34 cases of people infected with the coronavirus or COVID-19 including a presumptive case of an Alberta woman who was recently on board the Grand Princess ship cruising out of California. People are already canceling their booked cruises, and flights, especially overseas. CBC News has reported that several Canadian insurance companies have announced that they will not reimburse customers who cancel their trips due to the coronavirus. So knowing that you will not be reimbursed for your trip if you have to cancel due to the coronavirus, it seems very likely that many people will choose to vacation near home. Below are some great staycations in Ontario you can enjoy this summer.
If you are looking for staycations in Ontario that are not overly crowded, Haliburton is just next door to Muskoka but is much less congested. You’ll enjoy the scenic drive north on Hwy 35, which hugs several popular Haliburton lakes including Mountain Lake, Twelve Mile Lake, Boshkung Lake and Halls Lake intermixed pink granite Muskoka rocks, part of the Canadian Shield. The main town to visit for shopping is Minden, which has a Foodland and Valu-Mart, as well as a cafe, several clothing and home accessories stores and decent restaurants including Suwan’s Thai Cuisine, Boshkung Social, The Pepper Mill Steak and Pasta House and Heather Lodge Restaurant. Golfers can hit the driving range or play nine holes at the golf course in nearby Carnarvon. Check out these cottage resorts in Haliburton.
Prince Edward County
Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the most popular staycations in Ontario: people from all over Ontario, Quebec and New York State flock to Sandbanks in the summer and it’s not surprising. The Outlet Beach boasts high waves and several kilometres of beach to rival any beach down south. In fact, this beach has the world’s largest fresh water sand bar and dune system. There is even a section of the beach for dogs. As far as accommodations go, you can camp in the park or rent a cottage in Prince Edward County. If sleeping on the ground is not your thing, you can rent a luxury mobile home as we did at Sandbanks Beach Resort that is a three-minute walk to Dunes Beach right in the park. You’ll be just a 12-15 minute drive from Bloomfield and Picton where you can shop for crafts, clothing and accessories or enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared with local produce at the Drake Devonshire in Wellington. For wine lovers, a trip to Sandbanks Provincial Park is not complete without a visit to one of their popular wineries.
Admittedly, Stratford is more of a favourite of theatre lovers due to the world-renown Stratford Festival. While the festival used to showcase only Shakespearean plays, in recent years, it has broadened its repertoire to perform contemporary plays and musicals. Not surprisingly, Stratford is an artsy little town with great restaurants and shopping. Raja Indian Cuisine is one of my favourite restaurants to visit in Stratford. I also love staying at the rustic Forest Motel, which is a kilometre or two away from the bustle of downtown Stratford and has a gorgeous property with its own pond. Antique lovers should check out the smattering of antique shops in the nearby town of Shakespeare.
Sauble Beach, Ontario
If you prefer to head west, you can rent a cottage in Sauble Beach on the mighty Lake Huron. An Ontario staycation in Sauble Beach offers many possibilities for nature lovers. There are several provincial parks nearby. Visit Bruce’s Caves Conservation Area and explore unique cave formations found along the escarpment face that were created over 7,000 years ago. Other nearby parks include Sauble Falls Provincial Park, Mountain Bike Adventure Park and Rural Rootz Nature Reserve. You can also take the popular Bruce Peninsula Boat Tour from nearby Wiarton. If you are up for a bit of shopping, head to nearby Southampton.
I hope you get to enjoy one or more of these staycations in Ontario. Let me know in the comment section if you have visited any of the places mentioned above.