When a staycation is calling, head to The Seven—North of Muskoka
Part of our “Easy Weekend Guides to Northeastern Ontario” series
Northeastern Ontario has some amazing communities to explore, full of outdoor adventures, urban fun and small-town charm. Just beyond cottage country you’ll find the wide open spaces, glistening lakes and spectacular sunsets of Canadian shield country—up here, we call it ‘camp’. When you want to get away from it all, drive just a little bit further than you normally would—and experience the wild beauty of a Northeastern Ontario staycation.
Meeting a Canadian Icon
Killarney’s iconic wave-washed rocky shorelines and majestic landscapes have been captivating artists, most famously the Group of Seven, for decades. The white quartzite peaks of the La Cloche Mountains—once higher than the Rockies—rise above the turquoise waters, and beckon to climbers and hikers alike. Think epic stargazing, world-class paddling, and some of the best hiking in Ontario.
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Pack the car or hook up the camper and begin your road trip up highway 69 to one of the most scenic regions in Northeastern Ontario. A four-hour drive from Toronto, you’ll arrive just in time for lunch at Herbert Fisheries in the middle of town—the place to stop for world famous fish and chips. Dishing up golden goodness since 1981, this local hot spot is a must for anyone passing through. Grab a 3-piece with fries then take a wander through town or find a quiet place to munch lakeside. When you’re sufficiently stuffed, take the short drive up to the Killarney East lighthouse for some epic views of Georgian Bay, and an iconic Killarney selfie.
Killarney Provincial Park
No trip to Killarney is complete without a stop at Killarney Provincial Park. Whether you spend a few nights camping under the stars, venture into the backwoods on a multi-day trek, portage your way through its crystal-clear lakes, or visit for a day hike, Killarney is one of the crown jewels of Ontario Parks.
Hikers of all skill levels can find a trail to suit their outdoor aptitude and physical ability. For experienced hikers and those with good navigation skills, The Crack is a difficult 6 km trail which will reward you with spectacular views from the top of Killarney Ridge of the immense white cliffs of the La Cloche Mountains. The Granite Ridge trail and Cranberry Bog trail are great for easy-to-moderate day hikes, and the Chikanishing trail showcases the stunning rocky shoreline characteristic of the region, and will give you plenty of opportunities for a Group of Seven-inspired pic. The park is open year round for all-season adventuring.
A Paddler’s Paradise
Whether you’re looking for a quiet paddle within the provincial park, or plan to venture out to explore the Georgian bay coastline by kayak, any on-the-water adventure will be the highlight of your trip. Killarney Outfitters provides outfitting for multi-day trips, and also has kayak and canoe rentals available right at the Bell Lake access point within the provincial park. For those looking to explore the Georgian Bay coastline, they also have kayaks available for rent at the Chikanishing Creek access point. Stop by their office directly on Highway 637 to pick up your gear and get advice on the best paddle routes to fit your skill level.
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Follow Paths Walked for Millennia
For backcountry wilderness camping, paddling, and hiking and guided cultural experiences, Point Grondine Park—operated by Wikwemikong Unceded Territory—has over 18,000 acres of scenic natural wilderness landscape, old growth pine forest, stunning river vistas and eight interior lakes to explore. Hike, canoe or sea kayak along the traditional routes of the Anishinaabek people and be ready to be captivated by this historic and majestic place.
Where to stay
- Killarney Provincial Park
- Killarney Mountain Lodge & Conference Centre
- Sportsman’s Inn Resort & Marina
- Avalon Eco Resort
Other Easy Weekend Trips from Toronto
Get those staycation vibes going with our other easy weekend getaways from Toronto. Visit Northeastern Ontario’s most creative city, North Bay, or explore bucolic Manitoulin Island. Each trip is approximately four hours from Toronto and offers a glimpse of the vibrant towns and awe-inspiring nature of Northeastern Ontario.