7 Best Spots to Check Out in The Seven

From Killarney to Kirkland Lake, Mattawa to Manitoulin, here are all the best things to see and do in Northeastern Ontario.

If Toronto is The Six, then Northeastern Ontario is The Seven. Filled with outdoor adventures, incredible landscapes, and interesting food, shops, art, and museums, this region north of the GTA—some just a few hours' drive, others a longer road trip—offers plenty of adventure and fun. 

The area is huge, stretching from the French River and Manitoulin Island in the south, to Moosonee in the North—so we've rounded up some of the best hikes, sights, bites, and more to check out on your next road trip.  

1. Killarney, Ontario

Go For: Lighthouses, Hikes, and Fish and Chips on Georgian Bay

killarney

Don’t miss 

Killarney, about an hour and a half southwest of Sudbury or a three-hour drive from Toronto, is known for its lighthouses. Recognized as Federal Heritage Buildings, the most popular for many is the road-accessible Killarney East Lighthouse, on a strip of granite that juts out onto beautiful Georgian Bay. 

What’s nearby 

The Crack hiking trail in Killarney Provincial Park is a challenging, 6-km climb that takes you to a spectacular panoramic view atop Killarney Ridge. To fuel up, Herbert Fisheries offers both dine-in and take-out of classic fish and chips.

2. Temiskaming Shores, Ontario

Go For: Devil's Rock, Farm-to-Table Dining, and Glamping

Two hikers, a man and a woman, at the top of a rocky cliff overlooking a lake.

Don’t miss 

A five-hour drive north of Toronto, this northern town offers plenty of amenities as well as unique attractions like Devil’s Rock. (Little-known fact: It inspired a Hardy Boys book!) The 150-meter-tall, 2.2-million-year-old sheer cliff has trails that lead to sweeping views over Lake Temiskaming.

What’s nearby 

Thornloe Cheese is a delicious stop, with locally made fresh cheese (including a blue cheese named after Devil’s Rock), butter, and aged cheddar, plus 35 ice cream flavors, while The Glamping Island gives you a luxe camping experience on a private five-acre island. Or, tour a sustainable bison farm and enjoy world-class hunting and fishing with Saul Outfitters. Stay at Les Presidents Suites to be close to all the action or opt for The Glamping Island for a true getaway. 

3. Mattawa, Ontario

Go For: Giant Wooden Statues, VMUTS,  and the Eau Claire Gorge

Mattawa in the summer

Don’t miss 

Tucked along the Ottawa River on the Ontario-Quebec border, about four hours east of Toronto, Mattawa features 24 oversized wooden statues depicting significant historical figures, from Indigenous writer and conservationist Anahereo to local folk hero Big Joe Mufferaw to Pioneer Josephine. Check out 9 more things do in Mattawa Voyageur Country

What’s nearby 

Mattawa is an outdoor adventure playground. Embark on a canoe trip on the Ottawa River, hike the Eau Claire Gorge, or explore the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System with a whopping 4,000 km of trails for 4x4s, dirt bikes, ATVs, mountain bikes, and snowmobiles. Learn why Mattawa is Canada's off-road capital or come see for yourself. 

4. Kirkland Lake, Ontario

Go For: Gold Mines, Cupcakes, and Mount Cheminis

Tobin Minehead with metal sculpture in front

Don’t miss 

A six-hour drive north of Toronto, Kirkland Lake includes the Museum of Northern History, a well-restored, imposing building that was once the home of Sir Harry Oakes (a struck-it-rich gold mine owner who was later murdered under mysterious circumstances in the Bahamas). There, see a variety of historical mining and pioneering artifacts, as well as local art. Check out our 6 best things to do in Kirkland Lake for more inspiration. 

What’s nearby 

Kirkland Lake is also a rich mining history site, with a self-guided tour at the Toburn Mine and Miners’ Memorial. Seasonally, stop in at the Kirkland Lake Food & Artisan Market to shop for local food and crafts.

5. Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory (on Manitoulin Island), Ontario 

Go For: The Cup and Saucer Hike, Bridal Veil Falls, and Indigenous Experiences

View of trees and lakes from the Cup and Saucer Trail

Don’t miss 

Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory is located on the eastern peninsula of Manitoulin Island and is home to Canada’s only officially recognized Unceded Indian Reserve. Authentic Indigenous experiences await via Wikwemikong Tourism, reflecting the cultural traditions of the Anishnaabek people of the Three Fires Confederacy. Options include guided foraging hikes, enjoying Georgian Bay trout baked in clay or over cedar, or paddling ancient canoe routes under the stars. 

What’s nearby 

Located east of Manitoulin Island and west of Sudbury, Espanola has four seasons of recreation, including the Al Secord Fitness Trail to Clear Lake Beach, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail for cycling, the Espanola Golf & Country Club along the Spanish River, Boogie Mountain Ski Hill (which doubles as a lacrosse, foot golf, and fling golf site in the summer) and the non-motorized Black Creek Trail with accessible pathways. Stay at Among the Trees for an Indigenous-owned glamping experience on nearby Birch Island or opt for the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in downtown Little Current. 

6. Cochrane, Ontario

Go For: Polar Bears, Northern Lights, and Vintage Snowmobiles

Polar bear

Don’t miss 

An eight-hour drive from Toronto, Cochrane has a sub-arctic and boreal forest environment... and polar bears! Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is the world’s only non-profit organization that gives sanctuary to polar bears in need of human care. Book a photography tour or behind-the-scenes tour to get an unforgettable glimpse of these huge, complex mammals. 

What’s nearby 

The Cochrane Classic Vintage Riders Snowmobile Museum will be a thrill for snowmobile lovers, while the Heritage Village recreates Cochrane in the early in the early 1900s. Cochrane, and Moosonee to the north (travel by train on the Polar Bear Express!), are renowned for their northern lights viewing opportunities as well.   

7. Moonbeam, Ontario

Go For: A Roadside Flying Saucer, Artisanal Cheese, and Golf 

A roadside replica of a flying saucer

Don’t miss 

An 8.5-hour drive from Toronto and located 25 minutes east of Kapuskasing, the township of Moonbeam is home to an oversized UFO saucer, perfect for road trippers who love random, giant roadside attractions. 

What’s nearby 

Moonbeam Nature Trails total 34 km and are an amazing way to explore the natural landscape. There are even free bike and snowshoe rentals available. Up the road in Kapuskasing, discover artisanal cheese, or play a round at the 9-hole golf course right in the center of town.

Visit the Seven 

This year, take a break from cityscapes and crowds and discover the natural beauty, intriguing history and quirky attractions of Northeastern Ontario.

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About Bonnie Schiedel

Bonnie Schiedel is the founder of www.tbaywithkids.ca, which covers fun family-friendly attractions, events and restaurants in Thunder Bay. She enjoys canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing and travel, and you can read more of her award-winning work at www.northstarwriting.ca.

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