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Beyond the Chill 9 Unforgettable Winter Getaways in Ontario

Beyond the Chill: 9 Unforgettable Winter Getaways in Ontario

Remember all that complaining we did back in the day about the humidity during cold winters? Yeah, well, winter in Ontario is basically the opposite end of the spectrum. 

No, really, hear me out, it’s actually pretty awesome! Forget everything you think you know about winter blues. 

Ontario transforms into a wonderland of snow-covered landscapes, frozen waterfalls that look like they belong in a fairytale, and cozy cabins with fireplaces begging for you to curl up with a good book. 

Are you sold?  No pressure, but keep reading for the most incredible winter getaways in Ontario that might just surprise you this holiday! 

Sault Ste. Marie

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Address: Sault Ste. Marie

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Opening Hours: 24/7

Sault Ste. Marie (or “The Soo” to the locals) has been quietly building a reputation as a winter wonderland escape in Ontario.  

This city feels like a whole different world compared to the hustle of southern Ontario or nearby US cities.  It’s just a quick flight or day’s drive away too, but offers a completely different vibe.

Basically, this place is a landscape that’s straight out of a winter postcard: the rugged Canadian Shield blanketed in fresh snow, with Lake Superior shimmering nearby (now that’s a sight to see in our books)!  

Also, the snow here is literally legendary—meters of the good stuff, perfect for all your winter activities like sledding and snowman building.  But The Soo isn’t just about the outdoors (although it is undeniably stunning).  

There’s also a cool downtown area with delicious restaurants and interesting cultural attractions to explore when you need a break from the cold—just the perfect segway to keep your holiday a little spiced up!

Pro Tip:

Check out the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre which throws a Winter Festival with live music and ice carving demonstrations you can watch (and maybe even try). You’ll even have a chance to sample the local delicacy—caribou stew.  


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Address: Mattawa 

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Opening Hours: N/A

Mattawa might not be the first place that jumps to mind for a winter escape, but trust us when we say this: The snowy blankets will definitely make you feel like it is! Nestled where the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers meet, this town offers a different kind of winter wonderland.

Instead of towering mountains, Mattawa boasts dramatic river valleys which are perfect for snow kayaking and fishing. 

As we mentioned, Mattawa doesn’t scream “winter getaway” at first glance, but it actually makes for one of the best winter experiences because of its adjacent snowy landmarks and ski paths. 

Some of Ontario’s best downhill skiing and snowshoeing trails are just a short drive away which offer a perfect escape from the loud GTA you’ll experience from cities like Ottawa, for instance.

Pro Tip:

Book a guided night tour on the Ottawa River. Several local companies offer these tours like the Twilight Boat Cruise, allowing you to witness the dancing lights reflected on the water’s surface. 

Elliot Lake

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Address: Elliot Lake, Ontario

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Opening Hours: 24/7

Forget the usual ski resort hassles—lift lines, crowds, overpriced everything. Elliot Lake offers a breath of fresh air for your winter getaway. 

This quaint lakebed is tucked away among rugged hills and sparkling lakes and is perfect for if you love winter adventures without the typical resort chaos.

Here at Mount Dufour (where the lake is located just below it), you can hit the slopes without waiting in long lines. 

There’s also a city center nearby and they offer rentals and lessons, plus a cozy fireside lounge where you can unwind with a drink. 

If cross-country skiing is more your style, you’ll find 20 km of groomed trails ready to explore. And for the snowshoe enthusiasts, the town offers numerous in-town trails as well.

Pro Tip:

Visit during the winter carnival season. Elliot Lake hosts a variety of winter festivals featuring activities like ice fishing derbies, snow sculpture contests, and night-time snowshoe hikes, which are great ways to experience the local culture and community spirit. 


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Address: Huntsville

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Opening Hours: 24/7

No, Huntsville isn’t a ghost town from that one horror movie you watched on Halloween night! This vibrant near-north town is actually a perfect winter getaway. 

With access to a variety of outdoor adventures and all the amenities of a tourist destination—not to mention, fantastic dining options and cozy accommodations—it’s the ultimate spot for a peaceful, crowd-free winter retreat for you and your family and friends!

Hidden Valley Highlands is a local favorite as well (and certainly our favorite) which is known for being Ontario’s friendliest ski hill. 

In fact, you can even go fat biking, ice skating, and snowshoeing. And if you love cross-country skiing, then Fen Lake offers some excellent trails. 

If you head a bit further north off Highway 11, Arrowhead Provincial Park is also a must-visit. It boasts some of the best cross-country skiing in the province and features a magical ice skating trail through the forest. Plus, you can rent a cozy cabin for the perfect winter getaway.

Pro Tip:

Plan to visit Huntsville during the Muskoka Winter Carnival. It’s a fun-filled event featuring snow sculpture competitions, dog sledding, and ice fishing, making your winter adventure even more memorable.

St. Joseph Island

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Address: Algoma District 

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Opening Hours: 24/7

While St. Joseph Island is for the most part a popular summer retreat first, it still has plenty to be excited about during the winter months too. 

This snowy island also happens to be Ontario’s largest maple syrup producer (just a food for thought). But beyond its sweet reputation, it’s a winter adventure hotspot during the ber months, and the shorelines look incredible at night under aurora skies! 

You can even explore groomed cross-country ski trails near Hilton Beach or enjoy a leisurely skate on the outdoor rink in Richards Landing if you want to take a break from ice fishing and any water activities within the island’s proximity! 

Pro Tip:

Try ice fishing on Lake Temagami. The lake is full of fish even in the winter, and local outfitters provide all the necessary gear and guidance. For an added touch of comfort, rent an ice bungalow. 


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Address: Temagami

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Opening Hours: 24/7

Temagami Is best known for its summer lakeside activities, sure, but when winter rolls in, this place turns into an absolute winter wonderland. 

So during the colder season, Lake Temagami becomes a magical spot for camping right on the ice. You can pretty much expect to set up your tent on the frozen lake, under a sky full of stars, with the chance of seeing the northern lights. 

It’s a camping experience like no other. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Temagami also offers fantastic cross-country skiing trails near Hilton Beach and an outdoor rink in Richards Landing for skating lovers (like ourselves).

Pro Tip:

Check out Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site. While the fort is typically associated with summer visits, the winter landscape offers a unique perspective on this historic site, and you might even catch special winter programming or guided tours. 

Fern Resort

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Address: 4432 Fern Resort Rd


Contact Details: +18005673376

Opening Hours: Per booking basis

Cost: $$$

Looking for a winter getaway that’s perfect for the whole family? Fern Resort on Lake Couchiching has been welcoming families for over a century, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of Ontario’s top all-inclusive family resorts. 

With a range of winter packages for Family Day, March Break, or even last-minute specials, there’s always something fun to do.

From skiing and snowshoeing to ball hockey, ice fishing, and curling, Fern Resort turns winter into a playground for all ages. If you have kids, they can also dive into creative programs and outdoor activities at the supervised Play Village. 

And for parents? They can book an experienced private sitter for the evening and enjoy a date night filled with crafting, yoga, or a relaxing spa session. It’s the perfect balance of family fun and adult relaxation!

Pro Tip:

Take advantage of the resort’s special Family Day package, which often includes unique activities like bonfires with hot chocolate and guided nature walks. It’s a fantastic way to create unforgettable winter memories with your loved ones.

Blue Mountains

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Address: The Blue Mountains


Contact Details: +18335832583

Opening Hours: Per booking basis

Cost: $$$ 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Blue Mountain is one of Ontario’s top winter destinations because of its perfect slopes for skiing and snowboarding, and thrilling snow tubing runs. It’s seriously a paradise for winter sports fans across Canada! 

But Blue Mountain is actually more than that—it’s a year-round resort that also boasts fantastic dining and shopping options, ensuring there’s something for everyone who just looks for winter escapes every year.

What truly makes Blue Mountain a remarkable winter escape is the variety of unique activities and experiences it offers. 

Beyond the slopes, you can enjoy a serene skate on the 1.1 km Woodview Mountain ice skating loop, which provides stunning views of the Niagara Escarpment. 

And if you’re looking to unwind from a long day’s work or a stressful week, the Scandinave Spa offers a blissful escape with outdoor hot pools, saunas, and steam rooms, all set against the beautiful backdrop of snow-covered pines outside! 

Pro Tip:

Don’t miss out on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster. This unique, all-season ride lets you control your own speed as you twist and turn down the mountain, offering a fun and exhilarating way to take in the winter landscape.

Horseshoe Resort

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Address: 1101 Horseshoe Valley Rd.


Contact Details: +17058352790

Opening Hours: Per booking basis 

Cost: $$$

As silly and out-of-place as the name suggests, Horseshoe Resort is far from anything that would tell you it’s not a premier destination for year-round winter adventure. First and foremost: It’s a ski resort on top of a hill that draws snowboarding fans from across Ontario!

When winter rolls in, grab your skis or snowboard and hit the slopes for some thrilling runs. The resort also has diverse trails catering to all skill levels, ensuring that you and your family will have a great time. 

But if you’re looking for a little more excitement, try snow tubing for an adrenaline rush—believe us, this one is something you will quite remember from the whole trip here! 

And if you want to relax and pace yourself a bit more slowly, you can also explore their scenic snowshoeing trails or try out fat biking on the groomed paths!

Pro Tip:

Head to the slopes after dark for night skiing. The lit trails provide a unique and serene skiing experience under the stars.

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