TOP 10 WINTER ROAD TRIPS YOU WILL WANT TO EXPLORE!

By: Jenelle Cameron

TOP 10 WINTER ROAD TRIPS YOU WILL WANT TO EXPLORE!

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Jacquiline Parker for Wheeles.ca

This winter, take a break from the ordinary and discover some unique and exciting adventures for the whole family – all just a stone’s throw from T.O! Our trip planner will give you some unique ideas for winter activities across Ontario.
1. Blue Mountain, Collingwood
Our trip planner starts with a trip to Collingwood for an all-encompassing winter getaway. Start with a four hour guided tour through the OFSC trails on your very own snowmobile.  You’ll enjoy the pristine beauty of the escarpment while heading towards town for a delicious home-cooked country meal at Mylar and Loreta’s.  Later, strap on some snowshoes for a hike along the Niagara Escarpment where you will end up at Georgian Hills Winery for some post activity wine and cheese pairings.
Winter wouldn’t be complete without an old-fashioned horse and wagon ride through the forest at Valley Ridge Farm located at the top of the escarpment. The picturesque tour is complimented with the cozy staples like wool blankets and hot beverages.  If all this peaceful serenity has you craving something a little more adventurous, hop on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster for an exhilarating ride down the Niagara Escarpment. Hold on to your toque because this coaster travels at speeds up to 42 km/hr!

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (150km) 90 Minutes (approx.)
2. Dogsledding Algonquin
Have you ever wanted to experience a real dogsledding adventure? Head up to Wilderness Adventures for an authentic journey where you aren’t a passenger – you’re the driver! Your experience starts with a training session and once completed you’ll head outdoors to harness your own dog team before heading out with the guides on the open trails.
Go for a one day trip and sled 25 kilometers or, if you’re feeling more adventurous try a longer package that includes a journey that takes you from camp to camp over a few nights stay. You’ll sleep in a wood stove heated tent and enjoy gourmet trail meals along the way.  For those who prefer the creature comforts of the indoors, you can sleep in luxury at a local (and undisclosed until you sign up) high end resort that offers king sized beds, hot tub and a fireplace in your room to warm you up after a long day on the trail. Remember to bundle up.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (260km) 3 hours (approx.)
3. Niagara Region Wineries and behind Niagara Falls
Visit Inniskillin Winery for an epicurean experience in a variety of stunning locations across the vineyard. This gastronomic adventure includes five courses of regional cuisine served with award-winning wines. Later, take a trek beneath the famed Niagara Falls whose force and beauty become more breath taking in the cold temperatures. Brace yourself for the spectacular sensation of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down 13 stories to the basin below.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (130km) 90 minutes
4. Ice Fishing in Lake Simcoe 
Ice fishing has been growing in popularity as a family winter activity. So if you want to try something a little different, you’re in luck. Lake Simcoe just happens to be the ice fishing capital of Canada.
Before you head out for your day on the ice, make sure to bundle up! For $55/day Bonnie Boats offers a ride out across the ice on one of their Bombardiers and your ice-fishing hut for the day. Inside you’ll find bait, heat and one of the best fishing spots on Lake Simcoe! If you don’t feel like heading back to the city afterward, enjoy a relaxing stay at The Briars Hotel  just 500 yards from Bonnie Boats. Bonnie Boats will even pick you up at their dock when you’re ready to fish.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (90km) 1 hour (approx.)
5. Outdoor Winter Camping
For some, winter is a time to stay indoors but for the more adventurous there is winter camping! This secret location offers outdoor winter camping at a private and serene setting.  You’ll relax in rustic comfort while enjoying fully catered, hearty, savoury meals in the great Ontario Hinterland.  Local farmers and food crafters provide ingredients for your meals. It’s an epicurean outdoor fantasy.
Imagine the sleep you’ll have on a deep bed of evergreen boughs in your wood heated Tipi or Yurt. At night you’ll be serenaded by the Coyotes howl and the lonesome call of the Great Horned Owls. Disconnect from the virtual world of mobile devices in favour of the real world around you. Relax in the saunas and get comfortable fireside in roofed Outdoor Living Rooms. Camping never had it so good! During the day you can snowshoe or ski across miles of trails, bridges and boardwalks along the wild tapestry of the Bruce Peninsula.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (223km) 2.5 hours (approx.)
6. Muskoka the winter wonderland  
When the temperatures and the leaves drop, Muskoka literally transforms into a winter playground. Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville has a range of activities for the outdoor enthusiast. There are more than 33 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails designed for classic skiing or skate skiing – beginner to expert. The park also offers snowshoeing trails, a tubing hill for youngsters and Ontario’s best-kept winter secret – the 1.3 kilometer ice skating trail through a snow covered forest.
If you’re feeling the need for more speed, Muskoka is one of Ontario’s preferred snowmobiling destinations with great conditions, tons of snow and more than 1600 kilometers of exceptional trails that crisscross the region. Many resorts offer snowmobiling packages and some even let you sled right to your guest room.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (200km) 2 hours (approx.)
7. Skiing the Suspension Bridge
 Explore the winter side of Ontario with a trek on snowshoe across Southern Ontario’s longest suspension footbridge near the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment more than 300 meters in elevation above Georgian Bay. The bridge connects you to over 27 kilometers of cross country groomed ski trails across the Niagara Escarpment where you’ll be exposed to breathtaking views of Collingwood and Georgian Bay.
Après ski, rest up at the warming hut and warm your hands by the outdoor fireplace. Rentals are available.
Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (150km) 90 Minutes (approx.)
8. Culinary cooking adventure at a country inn  
If you love the sight of snow but prefer to stay indoors, why not acquire some new cooking skills? The Waring House Restaurant Inn & Cookery in scenic Prince Edward County offers winter packages that include accommodations, breakfast, dinner and cooking classes. The hotel is central to everything in the area that the county is famous for – great wineries, artisans and artists, breath taking scenery and local food producers.
Learn to cook like a pro as you help prepare your meal and later sit down to enjoy it.  Chef Gerry is new to the cooking school and gives great advice and techniques as he circulates through the cooking stations while you prepare your meal. Topics vary but in December you can sign up to try your hand at soufflés, Christmas Eve Primer or Pickerel – dressed up for the holidays!

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (200km) 2.5 hours (approx.)
9. Winter horseback riding
Bundle up and prepare to ride over 160 kilometers of scenic trails at Whinny Acres in Priceville. This is the ideal adventure for the whole family. Choose long or short trails, sleigh and wagon rides or snowshoeing along the Saugeeen River. Take in the panoramic views alongside the lake, up hills, through valleys and through numerous types of forest. You can go for the day or stay for the night and enjoy the farm’s B&B with a hot tub and swimming pool. The farm also offers Bunkie and family camping for those who want to experience the adventure ‘cowboy’ style.
Complimentary riding instruction are offered to new riders before setting out on the trails. Safety Helmets and covered stirrups are provided while horses are selected to match your height, ability and preference.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: (100km) 90 Minutes (approx.)
10. Park adventure at Wye Marsh
Ontario’s natural parks are a great way to experience winter. Wye Marsh has over 25 kilometers of snowshoe, cross-country ski and walking trails but this Ontario park also has something a little different that both adults and kids will enjoy. The park is home to an interpretative centre with live amphibians/reptiles, display beehive, and birds of prey. Wye Marsh is designated as a Provincial and National Wildlife Area, Important Bird Area and was chosen as one of Canadian Wildlife Magazines Greatest Wildlife Hikes in Canada for 2014.  Wye Marsh is also one of the few places in Canada visitors can see the once extirpated trumpeter swan.  In winter, visitors can see up to 50 swans!
The opportunities to connect with nature are endless. Out on the trails you can explore along the floating boardwalks that wind throughout the wetland and scenic forested trails that are home to a diversity of wildlife.  Get a bird’s eye view of the wetland from the observation tower and hand feed chickadees while taking in the breathtaking views.

Road Trip Travel Time:
from Toronto: Travel Time:  (130km ) 90 Minutes  (approx.)