7 Unforgettable Southern Ontario Road Trips

We’ve all been there. You’ve got vacation days to use; you’ve got kids who love a good adventure. But you either don’t have the time or money to make a big trip happen. Enter the road trip. The perfect short-term getaway that takes you out on the open road long enough to play Eye Spy, sing a few family favourites and spell everyone’s names using other people’s license plates.

It’s always a good idea to put your kids’ road trip tolerance to the test close to home before making a long-haul trip like, say, Florida. And heading only a few hours away from home means you don’t have to stay overnight at your destination, either.

But where to go? What to do? We’ve got you covered. We skipped some of the more obvious joints throughout Southern Ontario like Niagara Falls to bring you to some hidden gems and cities you might not have considered for a family frolic. Happy travels!


Photography by Andrea Traynor


About 20 minutes from Barrie, you’ll find yourself squarely in Oro-Medonte, which is home to Horseshoe Resort. And it isn’t just a ski lodge; it’s a four-season, must-do resort. Nestled in a forest, the place seems to go on…and on. If you’re planning to come up just for the day, be sure to get the Adventure Park pass (open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends), which gives your family unlimited access to a climbing tower, obstacle course, mini-golf, maze, play fort, paddle boats, archery and more during warmer weather. The Euro Bungee is also part of this pass and is an outstanding activity; your child is harnessed above a trampoline, which gives them extra jumping momentum. You’ll wish you could have a go, too!

A few of the very worthwhile extras include the Red Horse Mining Co.—purchase a $5 bag of muddy gemstones and go panning! This was a kid-favourite during our visit, especially since you get to take all of the gemstones you find home with you. For kids ages 10 and under, the pony rides are excellent at just $5. There’s a 2,075-foot zip line (suitable for ages 8+) that’s one of the best we’ve ever tried, and the Aqua OGO balls are truly a can’t-miss experience (three turns for $15).

You’ll work up a hefty appetite at Horseshoe, so re-fuel at the onsite Crazy Horse restaurant, where everything we ate was delicious (especially the bruschetta and tiramisu). Should you decide to stay for the night, we recommend the newly renovated Slopeside Suites, which give family members space, the comforts of home and separate sleeping quarters. Save money by bringing groceries because each suite has a full kitchen and dining room.

On your way home, we strongly suggest going through Barrie to have a meal at Pie for some of the best wood-fired pizza you’ll ever eat. Get the Salty Balls and Chicken Pie—you won’t be sorry.

Read Mommy Gearest’s full review of Horseshoe Resort.

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