12 Things To Do At Your Resort Besides Fishing

If you've been to Ontario's Sunset Country, you know we have great fishing. If you're wondering if you'll enjoy your stay at a lodge in Northwest Ontario and not fish, the answer is YES!

Sunset Country may be one of the best areas to fish for species such as walleye, northern and muskie, but we are also so much more! Many of our resorts and lodges cater to the fishermen and with our fisheries, I can see why. Since starting our Facebook page a few years ago we've been asked many times, "Can we come to Sunset Country if we don't fish?". The answer is absolutely! While fishing may be the most popular thing to do here, it's definitely not the only thing to do.

Here are 12 awesome things to do:

1 - Relax

Relax and take in the sun waterside at Bonny Bay Camp
Relax and take in the sun waterside at Bonny Bay Camp 

If you're living in the city, with a fast-paced life, you know it can be hard to relax and take a break. On day one of your vacation, you'll still be a little stressed, on day two you've relaxed a bit and start really enjoying things. By day 3 at your wilderness resort, you're relaxed enough to forget about work or your hectic schedule and you'll be ready to make the best of your stay. All of the resorts in Sunset Country are located on a lake in the wilderness. Sit on the dock with a beverage, read a book, enjoy the sunshine, and get serenaded by the loons each night. Relaxing? I think so.

2 - View the Northern Lights

Watch the Northern Lights like these ones seen at Fireside Lodge
Watch the Northern Lights like these ones seen at Fireside Lodge

If you've never seen the Northern Lights it's hard to imagine just how beautiful they really are. The sky lights up in greens, blues, yellows, and other colours and it dances right before your eyes. Read more about 3 ways to see the Northern Lights.  

Explore the lakes and you'll always find something interesting to do, such as jumping off
Explore the lakes and you'll always find something interesting to do, such as jumping off "The Rock" at True North Outposts & Cabins

3 - Head out on the lake

With over 70,000 lakes, rivers, and streams in Sunset Country, there won't be a shortage of lakes to explore. Many are connected as well so you can head to more than one lake. If you don't have your own boat, don't worry all of the resorts rent boats, and some rent pontoon boats. You can explore waterfalls, rock cliffs, beaches, and even a few lighthouses! The chance of seeing wildlife from your boat is pretty good.

4 - Go shopping in town

Whether it's a souvenir or an new outfit for yourself, you'll find something at one of the stores like the Seasons Gift & Lifestyle Shop shown here.
Whether it's a souvenir or a new outfit for yourself, you'll find something at one of the stores like Seasons shown here

It's great to experience nature and enjoy the wilderness, but a little retail therapy doesn't hurt either. My husband wouldn't agree with me though! However, I like to go shopping. It relaxes me. There are many quaint gift shops to find that perfect souvenir. Certain items are our specialties - wild rice, moccasins, and while not made here - maple syrup. There are plenty of places to shop and restaurants to dine at.

5 - Bring the family on an adventure they won't forget

Cooling off on a warm summer's day at Rainbow Point Lodge in Perrault Falls
 Cooling off on a warm summer's day at Rainbow Point Lodge in Perrault Falls

Swimming, tubing, canoeing or kayaking, paddle boarding, playgrounds, water trampolines, pool tables, saunas, and sand beaches. Need I say more? Just pack up the kids and book a trip already. They certainly won't be asking for their iPads because they are bored.

6 - Immerse yourself in the history of the area

Visit a museum like the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre above above
Visit a museum like the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre above above

Your hosts will be able to fill you in on the history of the lodge and the area around them. For a more detailed account, head to the closest museum, we've got some of the best small museums in Canada. If you're lucky you may be able to see some pictographs along the rocky shores. Check the Sunset Country Events Calendar to see if there are any pow wows while you're here. They are certainly a sight to see. 

7 - Watersports

Tubing on Clearwater Lake at True North Outpost & Cabins
Tubing on Clearwater Lake at True North Outpost & Cabins

No matter your preferred vessel, you'll probably find some way onto the lake beside a motorboat. Often lodges will have canoes, kayaks, or tubes to use, paddle boats are a huge hit with the kids, and a few are even starting to carry the increasingly popular paddle boards. Water skiing was popular when I was a kid, but now the wakeboarders seem to be taking over. They sure can do some neat tricks.

8 - Take part in the weekly fish fry

Enjoy a weekly fish fry like this one at Rainbow Point Lodge

OK, so you don't like to fish, but I'm sure you like to eat it, right? Many of the camps have a weekly fish fry of fresh walleye. Here's your chance to have the walleye that all your friends who've been to Canada have been talking about. Many of the resorts have only 5 to 8 cabins so there's a real camaraderie amongst the guests and you'll feel like family to your hosts.

Hike structured trails like the Vernon Nature Trails or just head out from your lodge and explore
Hike marked trails like the Vernon Nature Trails or just head out from your lodge and explore

9 - Head out on the trails

We're mostly bush and lakes around here and therefore have tons of trails. Hiking trails, nature trails, mountain biking trails, and even ATV trails. If you're here in the winter: cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. Get out and enjoy our surroundings.

Keep your eyes open and you just may see a beautiful moose like this one at Lake of the Woods Houseboats
Keep your eyes open and you just may see a beautiful moose like this one at Lake of the Woods Houseboats

10 - View wildlife

You're not guaranteed to see wildlife, but your chances are very high. You'll almost certainly hear the cry of the loons and see bald eagles sore overhead. Driving to your resort you'll have to keep an eye out for deer, moose, bear, fox, and the odd wolf. Once at your resort and on the lake, your chances will be even higher. Moose often can be seen on the shores, deer may wander across your path, and lynx can surprisingly be seen often. Keep your camera close, bets are that you are going to use it.

Rent a houseboat and explore the lakes for a weekend or a week
Rent a houseboat and explore the lakes for a weekend or a week

11 - Rent a houseboat

By renting a houseboat, you'll really get to discover the lakes. You can cruise the lake daily and moor in a different spot each night if you choose. There are many secluded beaches that you can pull up to and explore.

Wild blueberries like these at Timber Wolf Lodge can be picked in July
Wild blueberries like these at Timber Wolf Lodge can be picked in July

12 - Go blueberry picking

Every summer for a few short weeks, maybe a month if we're lucky, our forests are full of blueberries. We are talking wild, sweet blueberries, not the kind you find in a grocery store. Once you've had them, you'll probably go back for more. They also make a mean pie (if you don't eat them all first).

As you can see there's a lot you can do at a resort besides fishing. For me, spending time with my family and friends in a relaxing atmosphere with access to water seems like the perfect vacation. And in the end, if you're tempted to go fishing, hire a guide for a day and they'll gladly take you out, show you the ropes, and put you on the fish.

If you'd like to stay at a lodge in Northwest Ontario, order yourself a free Travel Guide & Map below and start planning a getaway right now. You can also link to the lodges and resorts' websites at www.visitsunsetcountry.com

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

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