Northeastern Ontario is BIG sports country. Throughout the year there are teams travelling to, from, and within the region to take part in kids’ sports tournaments. For team organizers and families, this can mean a lot of research into accommodations, dining, and things to do. We’ve come up with some great kid- and family-friendly options to keep everyone happy, rested, and entertained in North Bay.
ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
Take it outside
For road tripping families looking to get their other kids to run off some steam while one child takes to the field or rink, the Kate Pace Way is a 21-km trail starting from Waterfront Park and travelling through woodlands along the edge of Lake Nipissing. The first half can be used by anyone in any season, but the second half is just for rollerblades and bikes. The trail also links up with the Kinsmen Trail that runs along the scenic Chippewa Creek as well as the Cranberry Trail. This latter biking and hiking trail has interpretive signage describing local plant and animal life and passes by a cranberry marsh. Because cranberries are harvested the same time as the leaves change, you can see the splendour of this red fruit up close and personal in autumn.
In the summer, rent tandem, covered “bench” bikes, or regular bikes at Fun Rentals (which also offers canoes, kayaks, and other outdoor rentals) on Memorial Drive next to North Bay’s Waterfront Marina. This is not only a great option for families looking to pass the time between games, but also a fun team bonding activity for the players themselves.
Take to the water
After a day watching or playing sports, consider renting out the Chief Commanda II for the team and its entourage. This sightseeing boat will take you on a tour to see the open vistas, natural beaches, islands, and rising escarpments of Lake Nipissing. There are also dinner and sunset cruises that can be booked by groups.
Take in the theatre
Theatre and sports aren’t often the typical combination, but Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre puts on family-friendly productions featuring the talents of local kids at the Capitol Centre. For young children looking to take a break from playing or watching sports, this is a great option – particularly the annual Christmas production.
Take to the ice
During a hockey tournament, perhaps the last thing you’d think of doing in the off hours is heading out onto more ice. However, teams and families almost universally love fishing. While most have probably tried their hand at fishing during the summer, ice fishing offers a new experience to enjoy together on Lake Nipissing.
When it comes to great accommodations for travelling sports teams and their families, the best bet is an affordable, casual spot where the team can unwind (often noisily) on their own floor. And if this accommodation is found near family-friendly attractions or the local sports arena, all the better.
Not only is this hotel convenient for Lake Nipissing access, but it’s also only minutes away from North Bay’s vibrant downtown area. The Travelodge Lakeshore North Bay regularly hosts sports teams, so they’re used to the ins and outs of ensuring a smooth experience.
An on-site spa and adjacent 18-hole golf course for mom and dad plus an outdoor pool for the kids? The Ramada Pinewood Park Resort, a short drive south of downtown North Bay, is a perfect family spot. There are guest rooms as well as suites with pullout sofas, perfect for groups. There’s also a restaurant to make life a little easier after a day of athletics (or cheering in the stands).