8 Great Day Trips from North Bay

Looking for a quick escape? From off-grid farms in the Laurentian Mountains to glass-making workshops and beer, North Bay is your perfect base for these unique and fun-filled trips within an hour’s drive of the city.

North Bay is surrounded by cozy towns and villages full of passionate locals, unique experiences, and unusual attractions. Whether North Bay is your home or your home base for a Northern Ontario vacation, these destinations within an hour’s drive are a great way to spend a day in Northeastern Ontario.

Off-Grid Fun in Any Season

1. Nature’s Harmony Off-Grid Ecolodge

Just outside of Mattawa, Nature’s Harmony Off-Grid Ecolodge is a perfect outdoor adventure day trip. Nestled in a remote wilderness setting overlooking the Laurentian Mountains, it provides ample opportunity to disconnect in order to reconnect. During the winter months, the lodge offers snow tubing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, kicksledding and hiking trails, with a scavenger hunt for discovering Northern Ontario animals. Nature’s Harmony has day passes for individuals and families and other amenities like bonfires and a sauna. They also have amazing accommodations such as yurts and chalets in case you want to consider returning for an extended stay!

Two smiling children in snowsuits walk across a log in a snowy forest Several cheering adults and children, wearing snowsuits and sitting in brightly coloured inflatable tubes at the top of a tall, snowy toboggan run. A family sits by a campfire in front of a small geodesic dome. All are looking up and one person is pointing at the stars.
Nature’s Harmony Off-Grid Ecolodge hosts a bounty of fun activities in any season.

Horsing Around

2. Von Doeler’s Ranch

Down Highway 17, you’ll find Von Doeler’s Ranch, open year-round for experiences. The Von Doeler family settled in Canada in 1912 (after almost boarding the Titanic), and the ranch is still located on their original land. The ranch offers many different experiences, starting with an intro to ranch life at 40 minutes, plus riding experiences lasting one hour right up to an entire day. Located on 180 acres of pasture and forest with two kilometres of lakefront property, the private trails are beautiful and make for an excellent outdoor adventure, no matter the time of year.

A black and white horse peers over a wooden rail fence with mist and trees in the background. 4 people on horseback ride through a green field with brightly coloured autumn trees in the background. Two black and white clydesdale horses hooked up to a winter sleigh
Von Doeler’s Ranch and Village Clydesdales provide fun, year-round ways to get a break from urban living (and a little equine therapy).

3. Village Clydesdales

Another great equestrian-style experience can be found in Astorville at Village Clydesdales. Located about 20 minutes southeast of North Bay, Village Clydesdales specializes in horse-drawn experiences in a beautiful country setting. Schedule a sleigh, wagon or carriage ride through a wonderland of fields and wooded trails, meet and learn about the horses and then relax by the bonfire where roasting sticks are provided for marshmallows, hot dogs or any other snacks you may wish to bring!

Crystals, Beers and Apple Pie (Moonshine), Oh My!

4. Crystal Cave Mineral Exhibit and Crystal Shoppe

If you're looking for some indoor fun, South River is the place to go. Forty minutes away from North Bay, you’ll find the Crystal Cave Mineral Exhibit and Crystal Shoppe. This hidden ‘gem’ has an interactive exhibit, which can be guided by one of the knowledgeable staff or you can use your phone to load QR codes for a self-guided tour with augmented reality elements. Crystal Cave also offers public and private workshops and meditations. After perusing the exhibit, head to the other side of the building to wander the Crystal Shoppe, full of gorgeous crystals you can purchase, a garden meditation pod, a faerie garden installation, magnificent photo ops and an intentions altar.

A small girl in a blue dress poses in front of an elaborate and colourful fairy wing display, giving the effect that she has wings. lit display cabinets stocked with a vast array of gemstones, jewellery, and ornaments, decorated to look like they are part of a lush faerie garden a room of glass display cabinets filled completely with a wide assortment of rocks and gems
Equal parts art, science and fantasy, The Crystal Cave Mineral Exhibit and the Crystal Shoppe offer a fun way to connect to the magic of the earth.

5. South River Brewing Co.

South River locals suggest making a stop at South River Brewing Co., located in the heart of South River. SRB was founded in 2009 and is one of the original Northern Ontario breweries which uses locally foraged ingredients and supports local initiatives whenever possible. Their taproom is a sunny space with a great selection of beer and local artisanal arts and crafts. Tours and tastings are weather dependent. If you’re looking for a tour, it is suggested to call in advance.

6.  Copperhead Distillery

Once you’ve grabbed some brews, head down the road about 7 minutes to Copperhead Distillery. Since opening in 2016, Copperhead has become increasingly successful and has opened a second distillery location to accommodate locals and tourists alike. Copperhead’s retail space gives off a modern northern, cottage-style vibe and features all the different liquors as well as apparel, merch and Muskoka Gourmet foodstuffs. Also located in the retail store is the tasting bar, where you get to sample before you buy. Copperhead also offers a delectable tasting experience for groups, to try all the different products, learn about the distilling process and take home a bottle of your choice. Apple Pie Moonshine, made with Ontario apple cider, is a local favourite and highly recommended.

3 cans of South River Brewing Company beer A mason jar of amber liquid labelled "Copperhead Delicious Apple Pie Moonshine", sitting on sand and surrounded by red and orange leaves and flowers, and bright blue sky
Unique (and delicious) signature flavours by South River Brewing Co. and Copperhead Distillery make South River a Must Visit.

7. Incandescence Glass Studios

If you enjoy learning new skills, you've got to try Incandescence Glass Studios. Located in Callander, about 15 minutes from North Bay, Incandescence Glass Studios is owned and operated by Angela Legere. Angela studied glass forming at Sheridan College and has created a beautiful and functional studio for her students. Angela also makes a point to include local organic material in her offerings. With over ten different handmade glass workshops, there is a class for any skill level and budget. If you’re looking for another experience to pair with your trip to Callander, check out the Nipissing Loop Tour for more suggestions.

8. Sturgeon Falls' Downtown Art Walk

Located on the shores of Lake Nipissing, Sturgeon Falls has a group of passionate volunteers who have created the Downtown Art Walk. The Sturgeon Falls Beautification Group has worked to brighten up the city by collecting donations for materials and supplies and getting local artists to create the murals. The art pieces have contributed to the spirit of ‘Joie de Vivre’ in Sturgeon by embodying community support and encouraging visitors to the area. Each mural has a story behind it and is attached to a building around town. Finish the walk by visiting Stella the Sturgeon, the town mascot on King Street, before heading to Twiggs Coffee Roasters for a warm beverage.

two people arranging vibrantly coloured glass blocks into their glass projects, which rest on white rectangular plates on a tabletop. A vibrantly coloured mosaic-style painting of a blue bird with wings spread a latte in a small white cup with a Twiggs logo on it
Learn to make your own glass ornaments at a workshop in Callander, or grab a coffee at Twiggs and tour the gorgeous local art in downtown Sturgeon Falls.

Wherever you choose to explore for the day, rest assured that North Bay is waiting for your return with excellent dining options, a diverse range of accommodations , and lots to see and do, no matter the season. 

About Abby dePencier-Cook

Abby was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario. Abby has worked in hospitality and tourism for over 12 years. Abby currently works for tourism social enterprise 101 Experiences, and is a co-founder of the Beer Baroness Society. Abby is incredibly passionate about developing tourism in Northern Ontario, and showing off our hidden gems to the world!

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