Wide Open Spaces: Why Northeastern Ontario is Great for a Holiday During the Pandemic

Are you itching to take a vacation during the pandemic, but still looking for a safe haven? Then Northeastern Ontario is your best bet. Escape the crowds and enjoy the luxury of open spaces, pristine wilderness, and an array of outdoor activities. With an abundance of lakes and rivers to paddle on, wildlife to photograph, and bountiful trails to explore, we’ve picked the best destinations for you to spark up your wanderlust. Pack a solid pair of hiking shoes and get ready for an epic adventure.

Canada has started opening up its borders to the world and fully vaccinated international travelers are now able to access the country. You can easily travel from the US by car and cross the border in Minnesota, Michigan, or New York. If you are coming from more distant lands, fly into Toronto Pearson Airport, rent a car and you’ll arrive in Northeastern Ontario within a few hours.

Disconnect to Reconnect

Northeastern Ontario is a hub for the best adventure activities that will satisfy your adrenaline-fueled desires all year round. Disconnect from the external world and check out some of the top Covid vacation ideas that will calm your mind and soothe your soul.

Paddling

The Canadian Canoe Culture has become an iconic symbol of its heritage. It is a fabulous way to connect to the serene nature and have some quality time with your nearest and dearest. You have the option to skim across a surface as smooth as glass on your stand-up paddleboard, explore Ontario’s rich Indigenous history with a guided canoe tour of the scenic Manitoulin Island, feel the adrenaline rush on the French River, or head to Temagami Lake for a more remote adventure. You might be able to spot a moose or a bear on the way!

Fishing

Welcome to anglers’ paradise! Experience different fishing styles—freshwater and fly fishing, canoe angling, powerboats, and ice fishing on foot or by snowmobile. If you are lucky you might be able to catch the traditional walleye, trout, or perch and cook it over a campfire. 

Hiking

The boreal pine forests with panoramic lake views will seduce you to go on a hike. With thousands of miles of trails to explore and never-ending remote spaces, you’ll feel you’ve got the area all to yourself. Our top picks are the Devil’s Rock on the Temiskaming Shores and The Cup and Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island. Enjoy the rocky scenery and the breathtaking panoramas. 

Winter Sports

If you are more of a winter fan, then check out the fantastic pristine downhill ski and snowboard trails. Antoine Mountain is at the base of one of Ontario’s highest mountains and offers 15 perfectly groomed runs. Laurentian Ski Hill in North Bay is suitable for beginners thanks to its mild slopes. More chilled people will appreciate the wide network of cross-country skiing trails, as well as dog-sledding to have a howling good time! 

Live in Harmony with Nature

There is no better time than now to find accommodation far from civilization and experience the beauty of natural living. Some unique pandemic holiday ideas include staying at eco-lodges, cottages, and cabins. Stay at Wild Exodus for a five-star authentic glamping experience and eat locally produced food. At Natures’ Harmony Ecolodge you can live off the grid in yurts and learn about sustainability. Rent a beautiful beachfront log cabin on the Mattawa River, curl up with a book next to the fire and enjoy the sensation of utter peace. If you are looking for luxury without compromising the serenity of nature, then check out Killarney Mountain Lodge, where rustic simplicity meets refined elegance. 

Hit the Road

A road trip filled with unexpected and unique adventures is a must in Northeastern Ontario. We’ve got you covered with the best places to vacation during Covid. 

Start in the south with a visit to Manitoulin Island to explore its Indigenous heritage and breathtaking hiking trails. Continue to Killarney Provincial Park and paddle on one of its magnificent lakes. Next, explore the city of Sudbury and breathe in the fresh, northern air. Visit Dynamic Earth and Science North to learn about its history and ecosystems. Then head to North Bay to enjoy delicious farm-to-table dining. Take some time to walk along Lake Nipissing and discover hidden gems such as Callander Bay, then head north to Kirkland Lake and visit the Museum of Northern History. 

Your next stop will be Timmins, with abundance of freshwater lakes (which make for great fishing and dining). End your whistle stop tour in Cochrane and visit the renowned Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, the only captive-bear facility in the world dedicated to caring for polar bears. And if you’re lucky—and visiting at just the right time—you might even get a glimpse of Northeastern Ontario’s magnificent Northern Lights

Get swept away in Ontario’s Northeast and experience true peace and solitude, just what you need in the midst of a global pandemic. The soothing outdoors will bring you back to simplicity and the real essence of life.

Wide open spaces, wonderful winding roads, and year-round adventure are just a few of the things you can expect to find in Northeastern Ontario. Read our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide to find out what else.

About Northeastern Ontario Tourism

Whether planning a fun-filled family road trip, a quick weekend expedition, or a romantic getaway, Northeastern Ontario is undeniably BIG and unbelievably close.

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