Dreamy Winter Places: The Ontario Edition

This post will be updated with new destinations. Whether you are looking to escape everyday stress or are in need a quick adventure to get away from it all, this will be a therapeutic experience.

Ontario has so many amazing towns that are absolute must-sees in the winter. Each boasts its own unique vibe and attractions. Pack your bags and hit the road to discover your next getaway. Enjoy stunning views, top-notch restaurants, picture worthy cafes, and exciting outdoor activities. 

This is my top pick for the month:

1. Grand BendOntario

Located on the shores of Lake Huron in Southwest Ontario, the small town of Grand Bend is a known hotspot in the summer but also a stunning gem in the winter.

T H I N G S  T O  D O

Lakeside Spa: Owned by Oakwood Resort, Lakeside Spa is the perfect place to treat yourself and rejuvenate dry winter skin. The spa also offers services such as massage therapy, beauty treatments, facials and more.

LakesideSpa
Image via Instagram/@lakesidespa_

Grand Bend Beach: If it’s not too cold, stroll along the pier and take a look at the frozen waves of Lake Huron. It’s a beautiful sight to see and perfect for photo-ops, especially when the sun is setting behind the Grand Bend Lighthouse. The visitor center is open from Monday to Friday (9:30am to 5:30pm) if you have any question.

GrandBend-Cover
Image via Instagram/@janettebaillie

Lambton Heritage MuseumGet cultured at this family-friendly museum on Hwy. 21, just south of Grand Bend. It features thousands of preserved artifacts, photographs, and documents, which make up the history of the County of Lambton. Filled with a mixture of industrial, contemporary and traditional history, the exhibits are tactfully presented and really highlight the authenticity of their displays. Admission is only $5 per person for a self-guided tour that takes an hour or two to see the entire thing.

E A T  &  D R I N K

Fine-A-RestaurantDine here for upscale high-quality Canadian fusion food with vegetarian options and wonderful service. It’s a pretty small restaurant, so it’s smart to make reservations in advance.

Schoolhouse Restaurant

SchoolHouseRestaurant-GrandBend
Image via Instagram/@ontariosbluecoast

Aunt Gussie’sNot just your typical greasy spoon, it’s open for breakfast until 8 pm. Large portions of homey dishes. 

Dark Horse Estate WineryOpen from Thursday to Sunday, this bright and modern estate is a great stop for wine and cheese sampling. The stunning grounds are perfect for a girl’s weekend or a private tasting for two.

DarkHorseWinery-2
Image via Instagram/@darkhorseestatewinery
P A R K S

Pinery Provincial Park: This huge park is known for its insanely gorgeous sunsets overlooking the shores of Lake Huron. Find incredible trails through forests and across freshwater dunes, along with a pond for skating. It’s only an 8-minute drive from the Grand Bend town center.

PineryProvincialPark-2
Image via Instagram/@david_harmes

Rock Glen Conservation AreaLocated in the town of Arkona, this dog-friendly park is an easy drive from Grand Bend and the perfect spot for a day hike. If the weather cooperates, you’ll be able to see a frozen-over waterfall. Hike down the trails in sturdy winter boots and search for fossils in the snow. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the town center. 

RockGlenConservatoinArea
Image via Instagram/@barker6603
S T A Y

Oakwood Resort is a beautiful property with wood interiors, featuring 124 rooms, suites, and cottages. Enjoy the indoor pool, sauna, and jacuzzi or get in a workout at the fitness center. This is a pricier option for accommodations, but well worth the money for its unique design, helpful staff, pet-friendly services (with an additional fee) and modern amenities. 

OakwoodResort-1
Image via Instagram/@angeliesood

If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors, Pinery Provincial Park features heated yurts you can rent, with two bunk beds in each, along with table and chairs. Other amenities include a gas barbeque, firepit, electric lighting, and flush toilets with showers nearby. Guests are recommended to bring their own linens, dishes, and cookware. The park also has two dog parks, which makes it the perfect destination to bring your pup. Make sure to book in advance as it is a popular destination for winter campers.

D I S T A N C E

From Hamilton: 2 hr
From Mississauga: 2 hr 15 min
From Toronto: 2 hr 35 min
From Barrie: 2 hr 56 min
From Ottawa: 6 hr 10 min

N E A R B Y

Lambton County, also known as the “Blue Coast,” includes Goderich and Bayfield, which are an easy drive from Grand Bend and worth checking out. Here are some highlights:

Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro: Enjoy a large selection of delicious food, large portions, reasonable prices, and a warm ambiance. Open for lunch and dinner.
– Bayfield, Ontario

Zehr’s Country Market: This Mennonite market has incredible meats, vegetables, and sweet treats for those who want to cook.
– Bayfield, Ontario

Featured Image via Ben Roffelsen (@benroffelsen)
Disclaimer: All information and prices are accurate as of the time of the posting. All opinions expressed are completely my own. This post is not sponsored. 
*All images are copyrighted Julia Melcher (@adventureontario) or credited to their owners. Please do not use or re-post without written consent and provide credit where applicable
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