Southern Ontario Staycation Ideas for Summer 2013: Two Islands Weekend, Manitoulin Star Party, Canoeing the Grand River and more

Staycation doesn’t have to be bad word. Ontario is a beautiful province full of endless summer possibilities, and we’ve got a list to prove it!

Attend summer camp for grown-ups

Nothing evokes nostalgia quite like memories of summer camp. For those who have spent every summer fantasizing about camp, Two Islands Weekend is here to take you back. Branded as a “one-of-a-kind summer camp for adults,” Two Islands Weekend takes over Camp Timberlane in the 600-acre forest of the Haliburton Highlands for one weekend (September 6-8). The all-inclusive camp offers two nights in shared cabins, camp activities (canoeing, arts and crafts, yoga, field sports, capture the flag, camp-themed trivia night, etc.), camp fires (with s’mores, of course), camp-inspired meals prepared by Toronto chefs, and alcoholic beverages available at night. The $300 fee includes everything but your transportation and can be purchased online.

See a drive-in movie

Like summer camp, the drive-in also has that sentimental summer nostalgia thing going for it. I would hate to see drive-ins become extinct, so let’s all make a pact to go to at least one this summer, ok? Wear your sweats or PJs, stock up on endless amounts of snacks, and make the car your sanctuary for that night. Here’s a list of 20 active drive-ins in Southern Ontario.

Spend a weekend in Prince Edward County

Located about three hours east of Toronto, Prince Edward County is the perfect escape from city life. The area is sprawling with wineries, bed and breakfasts, farm markets, antique shops, and art galleries/workshops (The Globe called PEC “Ontario’s other arts hot spot”).

Spend a day on the Toronto Island

How cool is it that us Torontonians have an island to escape to?! Just a $7 ferry ride away, the Toronto Islands have everything you need for a perfect day trip: beaches, picnic areas, fire pits, snack bars, volleyball courts, and a seriously beautiful view of the skyline. 

Stargaze at the Manitoulin Star Party

Toronto has a lot to offer, but there is one thing you will never find here: an unobstructed view of the stars. So, for those who would like to see the night sky in all its glory (and feel so very small), the Manitoulin Star Party is for you. Happening August 9-12, the Star Party is held at the Dark Sky Preserve at Gordon’s Park and offers 360 degree viewing, no light pollution, and the darkest skies in Ontario. The weekend includes a welcome wine and cheese reception, astronomy art show, guest speakers, guided public astronomy sessions, laser guided sky tours, nature interpretive centre, guided fossil walk, mini putt challenge, wind up campfire, andSaturday night pot luck supper. For sleeping, you have the option of the Stargazing Cabin, Dark Sky Preserve Bunkie, Camping Cabins, Tipi Tenting, or the Bed & Breakfast. Cost is $42 + tax per person per night.

Canoe on the Grand River

Located in Kitchener, the Grand River is the largest river in Southern Ontario and is known for its beautiful scenery – most notably, the Elora Gorge. Canoeing is the best way to explore the River and whether you’re a first-timer or expert, Canoeing the Grand offers several different trips and rental options. All trip prices include shuttle service, canoe for 2 or kayak for 1, and all gear. If you need more convincing, watch this promotional video set to the Jurassic Park theme song.

Visit the Thousand Islands

Easily one of the most beautiful places in Ontario and maybe even the world, Thousand Islands is made up of 1,864 islands on the New York-Southern Ontario border. You’ll probably want to spend at least a weekend here, because the possibilities are endless: pirates, cruises, ghost walks, art galleries, museums, scuba diving, trails, cottaging…you get the point.

Explore the Warsaw Caves

For those who don’t mind getting a little dirty, the Warsaw Caves (located just outside of Peterborough) are worth exploring. Made up of limestone bedrock, the seven caves were formed thousands of years ago during the last ice age when Ontario was covered in sheets of ice two to three kilometres thick. Referred to as an “underground jungle gym,” sturdy shoes, clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, and a flashlight or headlamp (available at the gatehouse) are essential. Have fun spelunking!


  1. January 8, 2014

    I’m just so impress to see this lovely post at this site,i like very much this information about this place or hope so will go to visit the beauty of this amazing place..

  2. saamjack11
    January 1, 2016

    This week I decide to enjoy lots of fun with my family on traveling and selected to spend time in Thousand Island by I am pretty excited about it and after reading this blog my excitement has been increased more.

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