Are you looking for something some fun and adventure outside this winter? Do you want to be challenged and learn new things? Would you like to experience the beauty of winter, while also remaining in range of civilization? We know exactly the spot for your next day-trip: Barrie! Yes, Barrie! Often overlooked as a destination spot, Barrie boasts so many great outdoor winter activities!
Whether you are looking to get away for the day and have some family fun, or planning a romantic weekend away with your special someone, Barrie has something for you!
**Please follow all COVID-19 guidance by Ontario Health/Simcoe-Muskoka Health Unit. Do not travel to the region if a travel advisory exists due to COVID-19 restrictions.**
1. Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing on Kempenfelt Bay
If you’ve ever been to Barrie in the winter, you may have noticed a huge number of tiny huts sitting on frozen surface of Kempenfelt Bay, or Barrie’s waterfront area. Ice fishing is a very popular recreation for nature enthusiasts and lovers of a fresh local food. Why not bundle up, grab some friends and family and take that first step out onto the frozen water? It is recommended that you visit a website on Ice Fishing safety and make yourself aware of weather conditions before going out on your excursion.
Address: Downtown Barrie
2. Grab a Hot Cup of Cocoa and Walk Along the Beach at Minet’s Point Park
The city of Barrie is known for its beautiful waterfront and bay area, with several beach lined parks. One of the best is Minet’s Point Park. Take a stroll along the beach, sip a hot drink (I would recommend a hot cocoa) and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Keep in mind that the park’s restroom facilities are closed for the winter season.
Cost: Free (or a few dollars if you purchase a hot drink at a local café)
Address: 10 Lismer Boulevard, Barrie
3. Winter Fun at Horseshoe Resort
Do you love the rush of the cold winter air hitting your face as you speed downhill on a set of skis? Well, why not spend the day at Horseshoe Resort, which boasts multiple ski hills of differing skill levels. The resort also has fine-dining restaurants, spas and quaint shops to pursue.
The resort also offers plenty of winter activities including outdoor skating, tubing, cross country skiing, fat biking and more!
Horseshoe Resort offers accommodation so that you can stay in proximity to resort amenities and the ski hill.
You can purchase your seasons pass on the resort’s website, or call 705-835-2790 ext. 1344.
Cost: The resort offers several different types of lift passes with differing prices based on the age of the patron.
Address: 1101 Horseshoe Valley Rd. Barrie
4. Glide down the winter-groomed trails on Barrie’s North Shore Trail
Come and take a breath of fresh air as you ski down these immaculately groomed trails, running deep into the hardwood forests of Barrie’s surrounding area. The North Shore Trail is a 3-kilometre-long gravel path and is considered to be ‘easy’ as far as skiing skill level goes. Trail is open from 5:00am to 10:00pm daily.
Address: The North Shore Trail is accessible from Johnson Beach parking lot at 2 Johnson St.
5. Go Skating at Barrie City Hall’s Outdoor Skating Rink
Skating is a much-loved winter activity and is great for spending time with loved ones while also engaging in some physical activity. The city of Barrie offers free drop-in style outdoor skating all winter long at City Hall.
Address: 70 Collier St, Barrie
6. Hear the Sleigh Bells Ring, on this Sleigh Ride at Rainbow View Farms
Sit back and relax as the esquarian professionals at Rainbow View Farms take you on a magical journey through the snow drizzled forests of the Barrie area. Cuddle up with a warm blanket and sip a hot drink. This will be a ride you’re not likely to forget! Please call, (705) 322-3609 to make a reservation.
Cost: $190 for a group
Address: 1274 Rainbow Valley Rd W. Phelpston
7. Gaze into the Blue, and go Bird Watching at One of Barrie’s Many Parks
Kempenfelt Bay is known for more than just ice fishing! The large amount of small fish and aquatic invertebrates attracts migratory birds of all shapes and sizes from Grebes, Goldeneyes, Kingfishers, Loons, Bonaparte Gulls, Black-backed Gulls, Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, Cormorants, Lesser Scaups, Red-heads and many others. Other great birdwatching parks in the Barrie area include: Lovers Creek Ravine and Sandringham Park. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the spectacle.
Address: Kempenfelt Bay at Barrie’s waterfront area located in downtown Barrie.
8. Take a Hike on one of Barrie’s Many Trails
Wander the hardwood forests and admire the glorious scent of fresh winter pine, as you explore the extensive trail network of Barrie. Barrie and its surrounding area has some great trails ranging in difficulty from very easy (great for a family outing) to quite difficult.
For a wildly immersive experience try walking the over 17-kilometres of trails at Ardagh Bluffs, a huge park on environmentally protected lands.
On your way to the trail, pick up a guide to the trail systems in and around Barrie at Tourism Barrie.
Address: located between Ardagh Road and Mapleview Drive, west of Essa Road.
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9. Join Many Centuries of Explorers and Walk the Nine Mile Portage Heritage Trail
Another great walking and hiking trail in and around Barrie, that deserves a listing all on its own is the Nine Mile Portage Heritage Trail. If you are into history, you will love the significance of this trail! The Nine Mile Portage trail is an ancestor of the exact trail that aboriginals of the area have been using for centuries. It was first used by fur traders in the seventeenth century and has been famed for its use during the War of 1812.
Driving Directions: Memorial Square is located at the north end of Kempenfelt Bay, between Dunlop Street West and Lakeshore Drive, and contains Barrie’s Veterans Monument. Start the trail from the Nine Mile Portage heritage plaque located in Memorial Square.
10. Go for a Wild Adventure on a Dog Sled at Wind Drift Kennel
Come be a part of a Canadian tradition that has spanned several centuries: dog-sledding through the snow. The staff at Wind Drift Kennel will teach you how to harness and hook up your own team of dogs. They also take the time to teach patrons about the dogs, and how they’ve been trained and answer any of your questions. Half hour tours are available every 45 minutes daily from December to March. One-hour tours are scheduled by request only. There are half-hour, one-hour, and half day tours available. Half day tours start at 9:30am and last until about 1:30pm daily.
Cost: Half-Hour Ride $60/pp, One-Hour Ride $120/pp, Half-Day Rides, $180/pp, and Full Day Rides are $350/pp
Address: Located 30 minutes North of Barrie.
11. Learn about the Wine-Making Process at Heritage Estates
Have you always wondered how grapes are cultivated and then pressed into wine? Did you miss your tour this summer? Well, there is good news! Heritage Estates, located just outside of Barrie, offers Wine Tours in the winter months! The tour includes four tastings, and a tour of the cider and wine making process. The tours last for about 1 hour. You are always welcome to stay awhile and enjoy a cheese board with your favourite glass of wine or cider and relax in the winery’s cozy lounge.
Cost: $15/pp per tour
Address: 421 Penetanguishine Rd., Barrie
12. Check out Barrie’s Unique and Massive Spirit Catcher
Visit Barrie’s waterfront and admire the city’s unique spirit catcher sculpture. You will be impressed by this 21-metre-high, 25-metre -wide iron piece of art, which is meant to inspire local artists.
Address: 15 Lakeshore Dr, Barrie
13. Hop on your Toboggan and Slide down the hill at Arboretum Sunnidale Park
Arboretum Sunnidale Park boasts beautiful wintery scenery, trails meandering through the woods and of course, a grand toboggan hill! Race down what is considered by the locals as being one of the best toboggan hills in the area. Remember to dress in layers, bring some snow pants and enjoy the adrenaline rush of plummeting down hill!
Address: 227 Sunnidale Rd., Barrie.
14. Rent a Bike and Hit the Trails at Lover’s Creek Ravine
Strap on your helmet and head over the Lover’s Creek Ravine for a dazzling ride through the forest on immaculately trimmed winter trails. If you didn’t bring your bike with you, you could always rent one from Bike Land, located in Barrie. Bike Land will even provide you with a car rack for easy transportation to your desired trail. To make a reservation, call ahead or email them at email@example.com.
Cost: Information on rental cost is not provided on their website. Please contact them for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lover’s Creek Ravine: 32 Grace Crescent, Barrie
Bike Land: 75 Dyment Rd, Barrie, ON L4N 3H6, Canada
15. Barrie WinterFest
The City of Barrie proudly presents Barrie Winterfest, one of the Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario every winter usually during the first Weekend of February! Enjoy Ice & Snow Sculptures, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Lumberjack Shows and more! 2021 festival TBA.
16. Support Local and Shop at Barrie’s Farmer’s Market
It has never been more important to support local small businesses, entrepreneurs and artisans. And what better time of the year to do so than Christmas time? You are bound to find exactly what you are looking for be it, a hot cup of coffee, a breakfast pie or fresh meat and produce. Take your time and peruse the many unique stalls of candlemakers, stationary artists, culinary treasures such as maple syrup and chutney, and many, many more. (This is not an outdoor activity.)
Address: Barrie City Hall, 70 Collier St, Barrie