Surrounded by areas famous for their stunning nature, Kingston is the ideal location for the beginning of an outdoor adventure. With summer approaching us soon, it’s about time to take advantage of Ontario’s many scenic activities, whether it be more thrilling and adventurous, or simply just a peaceful picnic by the lake.Visit these areas as a day trip from Ottawa, or on a weekend getaway from Toronto! All locations are within 90 minutes of downtown Kingston, making these destinations excellent day trip destinations from this erstwhile Capital City of United Province of Canada.
Hike on Rock Dunder
A wilderness area with some serious charm, Rock Dunder is a classic hike for those living in the area. The three trails allow flexibility to choose a difficulty level and the sort of sights you would want to see on your hike.
The Cabin trail is considered an “easy” hike of 1.3 km through a white pine plantation, beaver pond, and lush forest. The Morton Bay Loop is considered a “moderate” hike of 2km with slightly steep sections to and from a peninsula overlooking Morton Bay. Finally, the Summit Loop is the more “advanced” hike of just under 4km, running alongside Dean’s Island and ending up at a summit with panoramic views of the Rideau Waterway.
Rock Dunder is open from May 15th to November 15th. Details
Take a Ferry to Wolfe Island
Wolfe Island is the largest of the Thousand Islands and is home to several independent businesses, including the ever-so-quaint Wolfe Island bakery. Traditionally a hunting land for the Tyendinaga Mohawk people, it is now a popular destination for visitors. Some attractions on the island include the corn maze and the many bird and waterfowl species that populate the land. No matter what time you visit, the spectacular sunrises, sunsets, and evening skies will not cease to charm.
To get to Wolfe Island, free ferry transportation leaves from Kingston, carrying both cars and pedestrians. Details
Paddle on the Kingston Frontenac Arch BiosphereThere is nothing better than warm weather and clear skies on a summer’s day; and what better to spend that than to kayak along a beautiful yet historic route on the river. Like the Rideau Canal, the Frontenac Arch Biosphere is a UNESCO site – particularly a World Biosphere Reserve that is rich in both nature and history. These paddling routes are famously trade routes for Aboriginal peoples. Kayaking the waters is the best way to grasp the importance and value of the site and at the same time, experience its beauty. Details
Cycle on the Kingston and Pembroke (Kick ‘n Push) Trail
Better known by its local nickname – the Kick ‘n Push – this tidy recreational trail is around 40 kilometers long, surrounded by marshland and greenery. Previously an abandoned rail bed, it was transformed into a route for exercise and activity for public use. It uniquely has six entrance points that vary in length and offer diverse scenery – highlights include panoramic vistas, rock edges and forests, and pastoral farmlands. Details
Explore the Tyendinaga Caves
A little way from Kingston are the Tyendinaga Caves, which have attracted people around the surrounding area for many years. The guided tours provide a detailed introduction to Ontario’s oldest natural cavern.
Gear up with your comfortable footwear, and have your camera at the ready, as the caves are definitely a perfect example of handiwork done by Mother Nature. This Ontarian wonder is surely considered an off-the-beaten path attraction located in Belleville for adventure seekers. Details
Spend some quality time with Horses on the DreamCatcher Farm
At the DreamCatcher Farm, there are a diverse range of activities that all involve the majestic and lovable creature, the Horse. The Campground provides lovely riding experiences that take riders for two riding sessions per day with a professional coach. In addition, the camping program includes lessons to build up skills and gain horsemanship knowledge. The community here is warm, welcoming, and friendly, and they pride themselves greatly on high standards of horse care. Details
Watersports at the Kingston Waterfront
Steps away from Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital lies the waterfront pathway, a popular spot for Kingstonians to take a stroll, go for a run, or sit down for a picnic. Ahoy Rentals lets you discover a new way to visit Kingston’s historic waterfront, providing kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and sailboats for hourly or full day rentals. All safety equipment is provided, and instructors are helpful in your launch and return from the lake. Details
Go-Karts and Mini Putt at the Kingston Family Funworld
The Kingston Family Funworld started off as a drive-in theatre in the 1960s and developed into a destination for summer fun after batting tents, and mini-putt and go-kart venues were added to the mix. The Funworld provides an opportunity to bring family and friends along for a fun-filled day on the course – a homemade 18-hole golf course that is family-oriented and ideal for day or night play. Some great deals include time for go-karting, mini-golf and pitches in the batting cage all in one. Details
The Land O’Lakes is home to 356 native bird species, wonderful provincial parks, and rolling farmlands. Just over an hour from Kingston, this is ideal for viewing the night sky in all its grandeur. The Canadian outdoors is extremely prominent here – if you’re looking for more activities in the area, the guided fishing service from Cottage Fishing Adventures.
Bird Watch at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Natural and untouched wildlife habitats at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary are the home to up to 200 bird species. The site’s self-guided nature trails allow you to walk amongst the mature forest, fields, and wetlands at your own pace. There are also special events and cross-country skiing trails during the winter time. For those looking for an overnight off-the-grid style stay, the Robin Roost Treehouse is available for booking, where lovers and friends can unwind in this quaint treehouse oasis complete with an outdoor shower, barbecue, and private beach. Details
Go Skydiving in GananoqueWhether you’re a skydiving enthusiast, or someone who has “skydive” on their bucket list, Skydive Gan can fulfill your expectations with a skydive against an idyllic backdrop at an affordable price. They are the oldest skydiving school in Canada – professionally teaching people how to skydive for the past 47 years. For those seeking more than just that one dive, passionate instructors teach students how to do several tandem skydives before letting them start the freefall program and train them to become novices with the mentorship program. Details
Go Ziplining at the Skywood Eco Adventure Park
At the heart of the 1000 islands lies the Skywood Eco Adventure Park, the largest canopy and ziplining adventure park in Ontario featuring an amalgamation of fun adventures for all ages. Unlock your inner daredevil at the adventure courses, or experience pure adrenaline at the eight zipline tours across the forest canopies. For the little ones, the lush forests can be explored through the discovery courses and zipline, and the Treewalk Village – no one misses out! Details
Explore the Lemoine Point Conservation Area
The Lemoine Point Conservation Area is a relaxing and well-maintained nature trail in Kingston. It’s plain yet serene landscapes create quite the atmosphere all-year-round, and the rodents, small birds, and other animals add to the tranquil vibe of Lemoine Point. In addition to its natural and simplistic beauty, the area captures the importance of respecting the environment around us. This year-round quality and high accessibility of the conservation area is precisely why the land is so popular. Details
Camp out in Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo Park is a paradisal provincial park in South Eastern Ontario that is famous for its several lakes and iconic Indigenous pictographs on the Mazinaw Rock. Although popular for camping, hiking, boating, and swimming, the site encourages environmental conservation. It’s 500 campsites hosting large RV lots and comfort stations make it extremely accessible for visitors to spend several nights here. The backwoods camping experience is made extra special by the many woodland creatures such as cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, red and grey squirrels and voles, and even hosts Ontario’s only lizard – the five-lined skink. Details
Take a Yoga Retreat on Wolfe Island
Yoga is often said to be a zen path to self-discovery, and Studio 330does just that, taking participants to Wolfe Island and creating a truly special escapade for participants. This outdoor retreat offers a prime opportunity to appreciate nature and participate in 4 yoga classes, silent morning walks, and plenty of meditation. Buffer vegetarian meals are included and plenty of amenities such as a water trampoline, canoes, a sauna, and a meditation garden are available for use. The retreat is not rigidly structured, allowing all to plan their own schedule.
Go Fishing at Big Salmon LakeThe true outdoor adventure lies at Big Salmon Lake. Located at Frontenac Provincial Park, this lake is surrounded by lush forests, high cliffs, and islands perfect for picnics. After a good session of bass and lake trout fishing, the Big Salmon Lake Loop gives you a chance to look at the lake from new perspectives, as the trail encircles the lake and passes several campsites. Details
Climb the Gananoque 1000 Islands Tower
Learn all about what makes up the breathtaking character on an elevator ride up to the 1000 Islands Tower. The panorama of the 1000 Islands and St. Lawrence River is a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of city life. A mere 40 seconds to reach the first of three observation decks, you won’t want to miss out on the photo-op here! Other opportunities here include renting the space for special occasions, watching fireworks, or the Poker Run. Details
Scuba Dive down to the Lake Ontario Shipwrecks
See some of the most unique diving sites that make up the Lake Ontario Shipwrecks through the Kingston Dive Charters. Because of the violent storms and shipping history in Ontario, the Lake Ontario Shipwrecks are considered to be an example of some of the best wreck diving in the world. From the schooner-barge “Aloha”, to the all-steel side paddle wheeler the “Cornwall”, these unforgettable sites are undisturbed and are mostly intact. Boats through the service are available daily May through October, and private charters are also available. Details
Go Hiking on the Rideau Trail
Challenge yourself on the Rideau Trail and explore the lengths of the this super long 387-kilometer hiking trail. The trail, opened in the 1970s, has Ottawa and Kingston as its main trailheads, and in the winter months, trail running snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are common. At some areas, the trail overlaps the Cataraqui Trail, the Trans Canada Trail, the Kick ‘n Push Trail, and even the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve – so essentially you’re getting more bang for your (non-literal) buck! Details
Visit the Rideau Canal National Historic Site
Tour the historical Victorian towns and military blockhouses that reside at the Rideau Canal National Historic Site, paddle along the waterways, camp at a lockstation – the outdoor playground that is this historic site won’t fail to impress. Experience camping like never before with the Rideau Canal oTENTiks, a hybrid of a cedar cabin and an old-fashioned tent, providing the warmth and comfort that you would want after a day of exploring the Rideau Canal. Details
Go on a Helicopter Tour around the 1000 Islands
Enjoy an awe-inspiring birds-eye view of the 1000 Islands on an unforgettable helicopter tour. Rides operate year-round so you don’t miss out on the diverse views depending on the season. Fly1000Islands offers five unique tours that will certainly mesmerize and excite. Tours range from 10 minutes, limited to just the 1000 Islands, to The Works package that runs for an hour long, soaring around several islands and areas. Details
Hell Holes Nature Trails and Caves
Go down 22 feet down into the cave! Hike a 3.2 km trail that takes you to a 7m deep cave with vertical and narrow entrance. Make sure you have a flash light with you! The trail will take you along a stone bridge, a mini canyon and provides you plenty of you plenty of opportunities to see wildlife of the region. From Highway 401 Exit No. 579, 10.7 km North, turn right at Centreville Rd., continue 5.5 kms. following signs to reach the trail. Details
Play Paintball at Ground Zero
Unlock your inner sharp shooter at the Ground Zero Paintball fields. The eleven fields allow you to train to perform your very best and have a fantastic playing experience with both veterans and new players. New items to the field are added weekly, so you never know what to expect – they vary from a close quarter city street setting to a vaster WWII-style trench theme. A standard rental equipment package includes a semi-automatic marker, an air system, and protective goggles. Details
Watch a Movie Outdoors at Kingston’s Springer Market SquareIn the summer months, the Springer Market Square – infamous for the Sunday farmer’s market transforms into a free outdoor movie theatre. Movies on the line up in 2019 includes Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, La La Land, Incredibles 2, Chronicles of Narnia : The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe,
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, Back to the Future, Top Gun and more.
Windsurf at the Rideau Heritage Route
Whether it’s windsurfing, sailing, or boating, the Rideau Canal and the Tay Canal come together to provide an ideal water sport site. It is a mecca for those who love the backdrop of scenery and wildlife while cruising the water. The Rideau Heritage lies between enticing communities in Ontario and is a prime tourism experience, rich with attractions. Details
Climbing at the Kingston Mills
A perfect outdoor climbing spots for novice and expert climbers alike, the site boasts over 80 climbing routes and tracks for bouldering. Bolts located at the top of the cliffs allow for easy set-up for beginners, and catch-points for trad or lead climbing are highly accessible with the number of crevices every few feet on the face of the cliff. With the proper climbing equipment and a little bit of regular practice at indoor climbing gyms, you’ll be climbing part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Rideau Canal. The Kingston Mills is located just 15 minutes from Kingston. Details