5 Reasons You Should Book a Vacation to Ontario’s North This Year

Consider a stress-free all-inclusive trip up north where a great number of lodges feature diverse stay-and-play options.

Are you looking closer to home for vacation experiences? Ontario’s North should be on top of your must-experience list for a myriad of reasons. Whether you have childhood memories of family holidays spent there or you’re looking for a region offering all the qualities that are so important right now, you’ll find it there.

Many people are looking for easy, convenient options since they don’t have the time to put together complex travel itineraries as they juggle working at home, ever-changing school schedules, and lockdown restrictions. Consider a stress-free all-inclusive trip up north. A great number of lodges in the region feature diverse stay-and-play options. Each property is unique with plenty of amenities you can pick and choose from so you can customize your vacation to your needs.

What makes a vacation in Ontario’s North so ideal? Let us count the ways…..

1. Remoteness – Find a place with space

Miles of paddling routes at Wabakimi

These days, vacationers are seeking destinations far from crowds – ones where you can still hear the breeze rustle through the trees and a cry of a loon echoing off the stillness of the lake. The North delivers on all fronts. It has lodges surrounded by pristine wilderness, fresh air and crystal clear streams, like those offered through Wabakimi Wilderness Adventures. It’s located in the heart of Wabakimi Wilderness Park, the world’s largest pristine paddling reserve. It covers more than five million acres of boreal forest where endangered woodland caribou roam. Imagine an area the size of Prince Edward Island times two and you’ll get an idea of how big it is.

Armstrong Eco-Lodge Bed & Breakfast

It’s a fly-in or train-in destination that guarantees you’ll never be disturbed by traffic noise. In Wabakimi, you can spend days wildlife spotting – moose, wolves, bald and golden eagles, wolverine and otters. Or explore a canoe route suited to your level of paddling expertise – flatwater or white water. Make your base the Armstrong Eco-Lodge Bed & Breakfast with eight bedrooms, and nice perks like an outdoor hot tub, library and fishing, hiking and swimming nearby.

2. Fishing – Get hooked on the fun

Monster Northern Pike at Lower Twin Lake Lodge

It’s not surprising that many anglers look north for perfect fishing conditions – uncrowded lakes teeming with an amazing variety of fish, crystal clear water, big skies and top-notch outfitters ready to provide anything you need. You’ll want to be close to where the action happens, so consider accommodations at the Chalet Lodge. It’s located at the centre of what’s considered to be among North America’s best spots for freshwater sport fishing, especially for world recording-setting brook trout. On the shores of Lake Helen, it’s a charming property with plenty of history. It was originally constructed in 1921 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Book one of the three cabins (more to be added in 2021) and spend your days soaking up the fresh air and trying to catch your supper.

Chalet Lodge

Another popular spot is Lower Twin Lake Lodge. You’ll find it in the quiet tiny town of Nakina, which has a reputation for being a prime area for fishing. It’s the most northern Ontario settlement that you can drive to. Anglers come for the beauty of trophy pike, walleye, white fish and jumbo perch. The lodge has newly renovated housekeeping cabins, outfitted with all the appliances and furniture you need for a comfy stay. Or bring your RV or a tent for a more rustic experience.

3. Family Friendly – Pack up the kids and stay a while

Ole's Adventure Resort offers the Experience Fishing Program for new anglers

Gather up your safe bubble of family or friends and head to Whitefish Lake, well-known for its pristine fishing conditions. Book one of the large fully accessible cabins (suitable for those with mobility issues) at Ole's Adventure Resort that can accommodate up to 15 people. They have fully furnished kitchens – ready to prep a big fish fry and home-cooked breakfasts – and access to gas BBQs. Cabins are also available with multiple bedrooms suited to smaller families. Or you can hook-up your camper or RV on-site. There’s also a dock, so bring your boat.

Kashabowie - cabins with a lake view

Your dream family vacay might include a day at the beach. Kashabowie River Resort has two- and three-bedroom cabins, close to swimming areas and serene stretches of sand, where the kids can splash and play along the shoreline. Get them tired out before bedtime with an evening kayak or canoe trip, or a game of badminton. Then plan a morning hike in the Greenwood Conservation Area where you can walk among massive, centuries-old pine trees.

4. Pristine Wilderness – Experience nature as it was meant to be enjoyed

Tee Harbour - Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Every now and then, you may need to escape the trappings of urban living. Head to a place where the concrete jungle is replaced by wide-open spaces and wilderness that seems to be untouched by humans. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is a gorgeous example. East of Thunder Bay, it stretches out more than 244 square kilometres. You may not see another person as you explore its hiking and mountain bike trails, ample birdlife (more than 200 species). It’s adjacent to the Stunning Silver Islet Cottage Chalet (sleeps up to 8 people).

Birch Bark Lodge at Sunset

Or head further north past Pickle Lake to Birch Bark Lodge. While still within reach by car, the accommodations (just two cottages and a main lodge for 14 guests) give you a ringside seat to Wigwascence Lake where the mist of the morning gives way to uninterrupted vistas and peaceful surroundings. If you watch carefully, you may spot a moose, a black bear, or wolves. Go on a photo safari to catch close-ups of Mother Nature’s stellar handiwork, from spider webs covered in dewdrops to birds’ nests in the treetops.

5. Unforgettable Sights – Come to see what’s unique and wonderful

Windy Pine Cottages

At certain times of the year, you may see the Northern Lights when the conditions are right. For a fitting place to stay and view them, try Windy Pine Cottages in Nolalu where you can wait for nature’s light show in an outdoor hot tub. If you’ve caught a chill, relax in the sauna before you grill up the fish you caught nearby in Whitefish Lake – a task made easier thanks to the fish cleaning shack, fish licenses and boat rentals available on-site.

A serene night sky at Wilderness North

Where can you see the world’s largest intact boreal forest? Be in the middle of it when you stay at a lodge operated by Wilderness North. Its fly-in property on Makokibatan Lake provides access to unparalleled pike fishing, while Whitewater Lodge offers comprehensive packages with SUP boarding, kayaking, water fun (from kayaking to a water trampoline) and opportunities to taste local food and drink specialties.

Awe-inspiring views at Ouimet Canyon

On your drive to your lodge, check out some of the other one-of-a-kind sights, including the picturesque Kakabeka Falls, Ouimet Canyon, the famous Canadian Goose statue in Wawa, and the snowman in Beardmore. This year, head north, the ultimate vacation destination for those who love room to explore and all that nature provides.

About Michele Sponagle

Michele Sponagle is an editor, project manager and writer whose clients include Destination Canada, WestJet inflight magazine, and IGNITE magazine. She is the digital content manager for YouAreUNLTD.com, the editor of Bon Vivant magazine, and co-owner of Hotel-Addict.com.

Recommended Articles

Check Out the Summer Lineup at Chippewa Park 2024

Mark these dates on your calendar.

10 Reasons to *NOT* Travel the Lake Superior Circle Tour

Travel this scenic Northern Ontario tour at your own risk: no other destination will ever compare to this journey of a lifetime!

Is this the hockey capital of Canada?

Discover why this town is known for churning out amazing players.

5 Interesting Facts about Loons

From their calming presence on the lake to their haunting songs, everybody loves loons.

9 Amazing Day Trips from Thunder Bay

Day trip adventures and local evening dine ins.

Lake Superior Lighthouse Weekender

Experience the life of a lighthouse keeper on Lake Superior

Gluten-Free Restaurants In and Around Thunder Bay

Discover the delicious gluten-free eats around the area of Thunder Bay!

An introduction to the history of art on the North Shore of Lake Superior

From Indigenous pictographs to modern pottery, from art galleries to scenic overlooks, the North Shore of Superior is an art-lovers delight.

A Visit to the Norval Morrisseau Monument

Discover this new monument dedicated to one of Canada's most iconic and influential Indigenous artists.

Ontario Crown Land Camping

Camping on Crown land (for free) is a right afforded every Canadian citizen. Learn how this incredible experience can benefit your mental health.

11 Things to Do in Silver Islet, Ontario

Submerged mineshafts, Sea Lion Rock, and black sand beaches await in this historic mining town.

Chasing Waterfalls

8 incredible waterfalls to check out in Superior Country

Seeing is Believing

Experiencing Lake Superior, the land of the Sleeping Giant and Silver Islet.

8 Reasons to visit Rossport, Ontario

Waterfalls, pottery, stargazing, and kayaking in a scenic north shore town

Highway 17 Treasures through Superior Country

A locals' guide to a righteous road trip in Northern Ontario

The Anishinaabe Legends

Learn about the The Crying Woman of Manitou Falls and the Little People of Doghead Mountain

The Red Rock Inn: The Quirky, Fascinating History of this Lake Superior Hotel

From WWII POW camp to bustling local bar and library this Northern Ontario institution is full of stories waiting to be discovered.

9 Facts About Lake Nipigon

Did you know it's the largest lake fully within Ontario's borders?

Whitefish Lake - An Ontario gem

An adventure worth talking about year round

Anishinaabe Stories

Learn about the Wendigo and Nanaboozhoo the Trickster