Put a little “we time” into your life this year. Northern Ontario is the perfect setting for romance. Think sunsets, pristine wilderness, remote getaways, twinkling stars in skies that come alive… yeah, Northern Ontario has it all. The region also has some pretty amazing beaches, provincial parks that will blow your mind, and incredible arts and culture. With so much to explore, you should consider planning a getaway around something you and your significant other can enjoy doing together. The opportunities for a romantic getaway are limitless and are sure to be transformative and memorable.
1. Getaway to Pure Wilderness – Point Grondine Park
Point Grondine Park, owned and operated by Wikwemkoong Unceded Territory First Nation, is pure bliss of 7000 hectares of scenic natural and wilderness landscape. Hike, explore Wemtagoosh Falls, paddle through traditional routes of the Anishnaabek people and more this secret destination. There are over 22 camping sites located in this fabulous wilderness park.
2. A Getaway to Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woodsis a beautiful name, but it’s not just gorgeous sounding. The lake truly is amazing. If you’ve never been to see it, you should plan a getaway to Sunset Country. Kenora is a beautiful little resort-style city nestled right on the lake. There are a ton of things to do including art galleries, museums, theatre, and some pretty awesome boutique style shopping. If you really want to see the lake, jump aboard the M. S. Kenora and cruise the pristine waters. You’ll see tons of islands, some spectacular cottages, and probably even some wildlife. There are a host of places to stay right in Kenora. Hotels, bed & breakfasts, cottages, lodges, or you can even rent a houseboat and stay right on the lake.
3. A romantic train ride
Any train ride can be romantic if you’re taking it together. You can’t miss the Polar Express Train.The train runs between Cochrane and Moosonee four days per week and runs twice daily, so there are lots of opportunities for you to book your ticket! If you’ve always wanted to see the unspoiled Canadian wilderness, this is your chance. The train runs pretty far north, so you’ll get to see some flora and fauna that you’ve probably never even seen before, or even glimpse a wildlife sighting. While you’re in Cochrane, don’t forget to stop in at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat to see and learn all about the polar bears and conservation in the face of climate change.
If you want to see Agawa Canyon, it doesn’t get much better than seeing the Agawa Canyon Park by train. The park is spectacular at any time of year, but especially so in the fall, when the leaves have changed and are putting on a dazzling natural display. The Agawa Canyon is actually located near Sault Ste. Marie, so you can make it a real getaway and include the train, as they offer more than just an afternoon ride. There are two and three-night packages you can book as well. There really isn’t anything like it and Sault Ste. Marie is a gorgeous city to visit with many different historical sites to see, museums, art galleries, great shopping, and great food.
4. Take a cruise
Nothing says romance like going on a cruise together. If you don’t have a week or ten days to dedicate to a cruise or you’re a little strapped for cash, you can still enjoy a breathtaking cruise right in Northern Ontario. It’s a great way to see a lot of amazing sights right from the water. Take an evening cruise and experience how the skies truly come alive right before dark. Relax on the deck as you watch the stunning scenery go by, or snap some of those once in a lifetime photos. Granite shorelines, age-old pines, pristine waters, gorgeous islands, lighthouses, and even wildlife sightings all await. There are a whole host of different cruises you can experience in Northern Ontario. Jump aboard the M.S. Kenora for a unique view of Lake of the Woods. Enjoy Lake Nipissing and the French River from the Chief Commanda II. Cruise the iconic Georgian Bay aboard the Island Queen. See the 30,000 Islands and more of Georgian Bay aboard the historic Chippewa III.
5. Romance for Foodies
Okay, you don’t actually have to be a self-declared foodie to enjoy this one. Blaq Bear Tours, located in Sault. Ste. Marie has something that everyone is going to love. If you’ve never done a food tasting tour, grab your special someone and head on over for a romantic night out together. Not only will you get to sample some of the best local fare, but you’ll also get to see some great sights along the way. It’s a pretty unique experience and while there’s nothing wrong with traditional dining, this one just takes it up that extra notch.
6. A floating home away from home
This one has been mentioned earlier, but it’s so cool it definitely needed its own point. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic getaway idea than renting a houseboat from Wilderness Houseboats (located in Morson on Lake of the Woods) and staying right on the water. Lake of the Woods is particularly gorgeous. The lake is huge and is dotted with hundreds of picturesque islands. The fishing is outstanding, the water is perfect for swimming, and chances of seeing some of the area’s wildlife, like bald eagles, is pretty good. Nothing beats watching the sunset in Sunset Country right from the lake of your very own floating home away from home.
7. A mermaid destinationThis one might be a little off the beaten path, but if you’re a romantic at heart or just someone who loves seeing odd kind of fascinating history, you can’t miss the Rainy Lake mermaid, near Fort Francis. This old girl has stood like a sentinel watching over the lake for nearly a century. The statue was actually created by an architect from Minneapolis who used to visit the area in the summer. The mermaid makes for an amazing photo, but you can make it a truly romantic afternoon, boating out on the lake, enjoying nature, and spending time with one another, or drop in at Red Lake and see all the sights. While the mermaid might not be a destination item per say, it’s definitely worth adding it to your trip if you’re going to be vacationing in Sunset Countrythis summer.
8. Canoe the routes together
Maybe your idea of romance is towering trees, granite rocks, backcountry camping, and exploring by water. If you and your significant other love canoeing or kayaking, Northern Ontario is definitely the destination for you. The unspoiled wilderness really is waiting for you to plan your next adventure. Make this summer one where you finally get out and do all the exploring you’ve been dying to do.
9. A unique Island
Looking for the most romantic getaway you could possibly dream up? Think about a visit to Manitoulin Island. The island is gorgeous, with some serious adventure possibilities for the outdoor lovers, but even if you’re not into backcountry camping or hiking up challenging hills, the island still has lots of ways for you to get out and explore in a more moderate manner. You should definitely come learn all about the island’s history, take some of the incredible tours, try the local fare, and browse the many different shops. There are plenty of places to stay, anything from lodges to quaint bed and breakfasts, so you can design and tailor your getaway to be everything you’ve always dreamed.
10. Light your path
It might be a little quirky, but that’s okay. Quirky is great. This summer, it would be a neat idea to plan a romantic getaway around seeing the many different lighthouses in Northern Ontario. If you’re not sure where to go or you’re a little bit strapped for time, Killarney and Georgian Bay have quite a few in an area that you can explore in a few days. Oh, and it just happens to be incredibly scenic too. Some of the lighthouses you do have to get to by water (hello canoe adventure!), but some can be seen right on land too.
11. Roadside attractions
While we’re on the topic of quirky, it would be a pretty neat idea to plan a road trip together to take pictures of all the big roadside attractions in Northern Ontario. Okay, so maybe you can’t do them all, but you can probably do quite a few. These ones are just some of the many that you can find. The goose in Wawa, the wood statues in Mattawa (think Big Joe Mufferaw), the big nickel in Sudbury, Winnie The Pooh in White River, the huge snowman in Beardmore , and the Little Claybelt Homesteader’s Museum with the big cow, Kenora’s huge muskie, Dryden’s massive moose, are just a few ideas to get you started.
12. Watch the night sky come alive
If you’ve never just stopped to look up at the night sky, that’s alright. Now you can go and see the night sky as you’ve never seen it before. Gordon’s Park on Manitoulin Island is a Dark Sky Preserve. That means that you’ll be able to see the stars in all their vivid glory. You can also camp out at the eco-park, so come for a few nights. No star gazing experience will be the same.
There are so many ways to enjoy camping out this summer with your partner. Whether you’re into the more adventurous style of camping- think backcountry canoeing, kayaking, or hiking into some unchartered, remote spots- or if you’re more of a relaxed style camper who likes to come for a weekend, put up a tent, hit the beach, and have a wiener and marshmallow roast, Northern Ontario has everything you could ever want. There are so many unique and amazing parks where you can camp out that you could literally spend years exploring them all. You can design your perfect getaway, from remote or not so remote, for you and your partner.
Hey- some couples actually like to go antiquing together. If you’re one of those couples, plan your getaway around finding some of the most unique treasures. Northern Ontario has some really great shops, but Thunder Bay is definitely the place you want to be. With over ten different stores, and over fifteen different thrift stores, as well as craft shows and markets, you’re bound to score that great bargain or scourge up that unique blow your mind find. Pro tip- don’t just check out the antique stores, be sure to stop in at the thrift stores too for those surprise discoveries.
15. Discover Parry Sound
This one definitely has to have its own category. Parry Sound is an incredible place and of course, is located right on and near Georgian Bay. This area is so beautiful that it has actually inspired artists and writers alike, not to mention the many visitors who have been lucky enough to vacation here. If you’re looking for that amazing getaway that’s still packed with things to do- everything from rustic wilderness adventures to arts, culture, food, great places to stay, cruises, and so much more- Parry Sound has it all.
16. Discover Thunder Bay
Again, it’s hard to just pick out one thing to do in Thunder Bay. There are so many things to do and see here that you could spend weeks or even months discovering it all. Don’t worry, if you’re more thinking a weekend getaway for the two of you, you’ll still have time to see a ton of things. If you’re both nature lovers, there are plenty of parks in the area, and of course, the Kakabeka Falls are a must see. Thunder Bay also has great arts and culture, amazing shopping, antiquing, thrifting, art galleries, museums, theatres- the list goes on and on. You can even come and mine your own amethysts here. Don’t just take our word for it, come and discover it for yourself!
17. See the falls
Does anything say romance like waterfalls? If you’re an outdoorsy couple or willing and able to go on a short walk or hike, you can see some pretty spectacular falls, even in Northern Ontario. Many falls can be reached without difficultly on a moderate hike, with in an hour. Some can even be seen right from the road, where you can almost drive right up. Many of the Provincial Parks in the area feature one or more waterfalls that you can see. The Kakabeka Fallsoutside Thunder Bay are simply outstanding. Recollect Falls by the French River is fairly easy to get to after a short hike from the discovery centre. There are so many falls you can could spend months and still not see them all! Why not pick a couple and make them a must-see destination this summer.
18. Enjoy a festival
Northern Ontario really knows how to throw a festival. If you’re looking for live music, don’t miss the Trout Music Festival in Ear Falls, or Harbourfest in Kenora. There are a ton of other festivals that happen throughout the summer in this region. It’s a huge area and you can usually find popular festivals by searching through each town’s or city’s tourism page. It’s a great idea, if you’re already planning a vacation to a certain area, to check the city’s or city’s tourism event pages for everything that is happening. Chances are, you just might land on a date that has a lot going on, or you can plan your getaway around rocking out under the stars and all the other fun events.
19. Savour the culture
If you and your partner are into history, art, and culture, you should consider planning a trip around seeing some of the amazing museums and art galleries in Northern Ontario. Maybe you’re already planning a getaway to a specific city. A great way to learn all about the area’s history is of course to visit the city’s museums and galleries. It’s not just informative, it can be a nice afternoon or morning out that you can spend together marvelling at all the incredible artwork, or learning all about how people lived their lives in that area.
20. Take in a show
What could be more romantic than taking in a show together? Spending a night out can be a lot of fun, but going to see live theatre, or getting involved in a city’s performing arts and events is downright exciting. Plays, films, live music, dance- it can all stay with you for a lifetime, so why not plan your vacation and be sure to include a stop at the local theatre or arts centre?
21. Fly down the trails
Romance isn’t just flowers, chocolates, and candlelight dinners- although those are nice too! Romance can also be getting covered in mud while blazing new trails! Mukwa Adventures has just about everything you could imagine to make your getaway special. Not only will you get to discover some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire province on the trail system they have access to, you’ll be able to have a blast riding their ATV’s. Even if you have no previous experience, they can help! The tours are guided and they have a ton of different options. Try something new, adventurous, and exciting with your special someone this year!
22. Hit up the beach
Ah, summer! Is there anything better than hitting the beach for a day of sand, sun, and relaxation? Probably not. Summer is all about the beaches! Northern Ontario just happens to have some great beaches. Most campgrounds and Provincial Parks feature one or more beautiful beaches that can be enjoyed for everything from sunbathing to swimming, sandcastles to beach volleyball, and so much more! Come for the beach, stay for all the exciting other summer fun options that each and every park offers.
23. A special weekendIf you’ve never considered a weekend away at a bed and breakfast, you really should. It’s a great way to reconnect as a couple and many bed and breakfasts aren’t just pretty houses anymore- though they are certainly beautiful! Many places now offer more of a whole package experience where you can do some exploring in the area while you enjoy your stay, get back to nature at a more secluded location, or even combine your experience with spa services. Book a little “we time” into your life this year.
24. Relaxing on the river
If you’re in Sudburyor planning a trip, why not take a romantic detour together? Chillin’ And Tubing is one of those great companies that offers something unique for people of all ages. What could be better than taking hours to float down a real life lazy river? Yes, that’s right! This Vermillion River is nature’s gift to you. The company offers different tubes as well as different package options. Float from anywhere to two and a half hours all the way up to four hours. You can explore the beauty of the river and the incredible countryside. If you’re a little more adventurous, you can swim in the river to cool off. It’s a pretty neat experience that you can definitely do together, even if you’re pressed for time or just have an afternoon or a morning free, and remember for years to come. Oh, and when you’re done, be sure to check out all the amazing historical sights, the great eats, and gorgeous scenery that Sudbury has to offer. If you want to plan a getaway here, there is no shortage of things to do!
25. Get remote
For many people, romance is the thrill of adventuring together. Northern Ontario has everything you’ll need for blazing new trails, exploring new paths, and seeing new things. There really isn’t an experience that is comparable to booking a remote fly-in vacation. Most of these fly-ins are based around fishing (so one or both of you should definitely enjoy fishing). You’ll leave from a base point and be taken to a more remote outpost based on lakes or rivers that you can usually only get to by plane. Most of these spots are pristine and gorgeous since it’s hard to get to them. It can be pricey to go on one of these adventures, but it really is a once in a lifetime experience. Many outfitters offer opportunities to fish these remote spots. You could try your hand at it, even if you’re a beginner angler, or inquire about the many other options they have. Generally, outfitters will have boats, canoes, or kayaks available for their guests to do some exploring. Some have access to hiking trails, private beaches, or even private islands to discover. The adventure can be a relaxing getaway or filled with action packed discovery. You can choose what’s best for you as you tailor your vacation to your own bucket list.