Off the Beaten Path Ontario Staycation Destinations

Looking for a unique staycation experience in Ontario? Look no further than these off the beaten path destinations.

We all deserve a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of life at times in order to just decompress. However, it isn’t always possible to escape our daily lives to laze on the sunny beaches of the Caribbean, or wander the cobblestone streets of Europe.

I love creating valuable content for you, my reader. However, there is a cost to maintaining a website. There may be affiliate links scattered throughout this site to help differ costs. By clicking on a link I may earn a small commission, BUT there will be no additional cost to you.

There are times when a day or two is all that it takes in order to send us back into the reality of our everyday lives feeling refreshed and re-junvenated. Ontario is a vast Province located in the heart of Canada which offers many off the beaten path staycation destinations which will satisfy the needs of the foodie, the adventure enthusiast, the lover of architecture, as well as the beach bum. We should all take advantage of our beautiful Province and get out to explore and experience places we have never been, however there are some facts abount Ontario that you should know before you go.

Calabogie, Ontario

Recommended by: Kelly of Just One Passport

Calebogie is the perfect off the beaten path staycation destination designed for the outdoor enthusiast. It has quickly become a year-round playground tucked deep in the Ottawa Valley in Eastern Ontario.

This off the beaten path Ontario staycation destination has something for the entire family, from great restaurants and brew pubs, an abundance of water sports and hiking trails which offer some of the most breath-taking views in Ontario. The Winter lover will find the Region’s highest ski hill at Calabogie Peaks as well as many waterfalls and rock formations to climb. The racecar enthusiast will find Ontario’s largest motorsports park just a short drive from town.

A visit to Calabogie isn’t complete without spending a few hours hiking Eagles Nest and then heading to the Redneck Bistro for a bite to eat and a cold one to quench your thirst.

Visit Calabogie to hike Eagle's Nest for the perfect Ontario Staycation
Eagle’s Nest, Calabogie, Ontario

Essex, Ontario

Recommended by: Erin of Pina Travels

Essex, Ontario is one of Canada’s most southern regions. While Essex itself is a small town, there’s plenty of fun stuff to do in the surrounding county, which makes it the perfect region to escape to for an Ontario staycation. You can visit wineries, go cycling, explore Point Pelee National Park, and more. Essex is just 30 minutes from Windsor and 4 hours from Toronto by car, and there’s plenty of hotels and Airbnb’s to choose from in Essex itself or in the nearby towns of Kingsville, Leamington, or Amherstberg.  A must-do in Essex is to explore Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC), which is an emerging wine region. There are over 18 wineries in the area, which means it’s the perfect place to do a wine tour. You can tour the wineries independently, or, rent a bicycle to ride through the countryside from winery to winery. For a unique tour, join WE Trolley Tours. It’s a hop on, hop off service that brings you between wineries in an antique trolley!

Visiting Point Pelee National Park is another must-do on a staycation in Essex. It’s a unique park because it’s actually a peninsula that stretches out into Lake Erie. When visiting the park, you can hike out to the point. When you reach that spot, you’re officially standing at the most southern point in mainland Canada. Point Pelee National Park is also a great spot for swimming, hiking, kayaking, cycling, bird watching and stargazing

Visit wineries when  enjoying a staycation in Essex, Ontario.  The perfect Ontario Staycation destination.
Enjoy wine at Palione Estate Winery when enjoying your staycation in Essex, Ontario

Haliburton Highlands

Recommended by: Stephanie from The World As I See It

If you’re looking for an alternative to popular cottage country destinations in Ontario like Muskoka, then head to Haliburton! Located approximately 2.5 hours northeast of Toronto, the Haliburton Highlands area is home to a wealth of lakes, charming small towns, and a long list of outdoor adventures. The area is a fabulous off the beaten path staycation destination for a range of visitors. There are a ton of things to do in Haliburton in the area, including museums, parks, art galleries, and more! Plus, it’s a great place to visit year-round!

The village of Haliburton is small but offers a variety of accommodations, places to eat, and things to do. A couple of popular places to visit in and around town include Skyline Park, the Sculpture Forest, and Haliburton Highlands Museum. One of the cutest places to eat in town is Castle Antiques. It’s an antique shop and quirky café that serves up some incredible light fare and tasty desserts.

Another awesome place to visit is the Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve. Along with accommodations, tours, and events, there’s a lot of things to do and see here. There are a variety of trails, a museum, and treetop trekking. It’s actually home to the longest canopy boardwalk in the world! Also, on site is the Wolf Centre. The centre has a museum with a small theatre and a pack of wolves! Plus, you’ll also find an amazing restaurant within the Forest, Truss Foodworks Cookhouse. It serves up an assortment of fun dishes ranging from lumberjack breakfasts to beer and brisket!

Haliburton Highlands is the perfect Ontario Staycation destination
Skyline Park in Haliburton

Long Point, Ontario

Recommended by: Kelly of Just One Passport

Long Point is a hamlet which can be found along the shores of Lake Erie, in the heart of Norfolk County. When visiting Long Point, it would be very easy to spend the day soaking in the views of one of Ontario’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, but for the more adventurous traveller you might want to try ziplining through the forest, hiking one of the many trails, or just relaxing and soaking up the sun at one of the many beaches in Long Point Beach.

For those wanting to spend more than a day in order to explore all of the small towns and hamlets surrounding Long Point, spend a night or two camping at Long Point Provincial Park or a night of glamping at Long Point Eco Adventures.

Long Point has also quickly become known as a budding wine region in Ontario which makes it the perfect off the beaten path staycation destination for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Camping in yurts and hiking an Ontario UNESCO Biosphere makes Long Point the perfect Ontario staycation destination
Winter in Long Point, Ontario

Paris, Ontario

Recommended by: Kelly of Just One Passport

Paris is known as the Cobblestone Capital of Canada boasting at least a dozen cobblestone buildings. When visiting Paris it is always fun to take a self guided tour in search of the 12 cobblestone homes and 2 cobblestone churches that are still in existence today.

Once you have found all of the cobblestone buildings, make time to sample the food at all of the amazing restaurants that are scattered along the main street. If you are looking for more of a fine dining atmosphere, make reservations at EDIT. For a more casual dining experience, then the patio at Stillwaters, overlooking the Grand River is where you will want to be. The foodie will be in heaven in this town!

Although it is easy to explore this small off the beaten path town in one day, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Arlington Hotel is reason enough to visit Paris and stay the night.

Whether you are planning on getting away for one day or two day, Paris is the perfect off the beaten path destination for the foodie and lover of architecture.

Perth, Ontario

Recommended by: Nina of Nina Out and About

Just an hour south of Ottawa is a one of the best staycation towns in Ontario.

Perth, Ontario is a small town in the heart of Lancaster County. With the foliage of Niagara on the Lake and the Ottawa River as its own Rideau Canal, Perth has something for everyone.

The town is best known for the Mammoth Cheese sculpture beside the Ottawa River. This marks the historic creation of the world’s largest wheel of cheese in the 1800s. Now you can partake in Perth cheese at summer farmers’ markets.

The town also has a strong brewing history, with craft lagers and IPAs that are perfect on a hot summer day.

Families will love Perth in the winter for the free skating rink in the park and canoeing along the river in the summer. Your kids will never run out of things to do exploring this small town.

Couples will enjoy the romantic patios along the waterfront. And solo travellers will be excited by the coffee shops for a morning fix before exploring the town’s historic houses.

When visiting Perth, stay at the Best Western beside the city for a luxurious stay, complete with a spa and glass dining room. The hotel is pet friendly so you can even bring your furry friend with you for this staycation.

Beer tasting, hiking, and farmer's market, make Perth a popular off the beaten path staycation destination in Ontario
Downtown of Perth, Ontario

With so many great off the beaten path Ontario staycation destinations, there is no need to fret if you are unable to hop and plane and fly away to an exotic destination. Ontario offers so many great places, that it would take a lifetime to see it all.


Kelly xoxo

Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.


Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. Kelly’s passion lies in exploring Canada and other parts of the world and sharing her experiences with others.

As a senior traveller, Kelly aims to inspire others to live their best life and not be afraid to venture out into the world on their own. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.

Travel Solo Like a Pro!


♥  CheapOair and WayAway offer flights at a resonable rate. Let CheapOair or WayAway find the cheapest and best flight for your destination


♥  I use to book all of my accommodations, both domestically and internationally


♥  Get Your Guide and Viator are the absolute best sites to plan and book any adventures, activities, and all things fun


♥ will find the best prices for bicycles, motocyles, and scooter rentals any place in the world.


♥  Economy Bookings will provide rental prices worldwide, which making it a one stop shop for the most reasonable car rentals


♥  Kiwitaxi is who you want to contact for transportation from the airport or train station.  Why not arrange for a PRIVATE CITY TOUR with Kiwitaxi at the same time.


♥  Cruise Critic not only provides reviews and answers questions, it also offers great cruise deals. If your a cruise lover (like me), I highly recommend that you check it out!


♥  Travel insurance these times of natural disasters, travel interruption and baggage loss is no longer a place where you can cut costs. essentials.  It has become an essential part of travel. Visitors Coverage will take care of all of your insurance needs.


63 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path Ontario Staycation Destinations

  1. Chelsea

    I have a friend in Ontario and unfortunately never had the chance to visit! I will definitely have to try to soon. I never realized there is so much to do – the growing wine region sounds like a must see!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan Banerjee

    Everyone of these Ontario staycation destinations look inviting! I would love to stay in the Haliburton Highlands which has lakes, outdoor adventures and charming small towns. It is also a short drive from Toronto. All these places also seem to have wine regions which makes it attractive. I will look up some of these choices when I am in Ontario. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A Boutique Hotel in Paris, Ontario – not that Paris – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  4. dania

    I’ve never been to Canada but reading about Calabogie makes me want to! 🙂 Have a family-friendly location with restaurants, pubs, water sports, and hiking all in one place sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kavitafavelle

    What a lovely selection of off the beaten path places to visit in Ontario. Love the sound of the Haliburton Highlands, and would love to go treetop, trekking. Also like the sound of chilling at Longpoint beach.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reina

    I love all your pictures and content about Ontario. My friend just moved there so I’d love to curate an itinerary to visit her based on your recommendations. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 15 Things Every Senior Should Know Before Travelling Solo – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  8. Pingback: Best Ontario Road Trip Destinations – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  9. Pingback: A Blog is Born: Just One Passport – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  10. Pingback: Mature Women Travel Solo Too – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  11. Pingback: Best Summer Destinations for Female Solo Travellers – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  12. Pingback: How to Meet People When Travelling Solo – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  13. anthomas717

    These all look like great spots! Though I think the Haliburton Highlands have peaked my interest the most with that beautiful pictures in autumn with the changing colors of the leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Valentina

    Love the autums pictures. I imagine myself drinking a good glasse of wine in the winery while enjoying the marvelous view.
    Thank you for this incredible article.
    You made me dream for a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Erica

    I agree that staycations are an important part of travel! Most of us can’t enjoy the big trips as often as we would like but there is so much to appreciate nearby. You have some great ideas about things to enjoy in beautiful Ontario! Thanks for all of the tips and inspiring photos.


  16. Anushka Seereeram

    I’ve never been to Ontario, but it looks like a great place for a staycation! There seems to be a little bit to offer for every type of traveler, I would love to check out the hikes here!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Best Fall Foliage Hikes in Canada – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  18. Pingback: Cruise the Coast, the Perfect Ontario Road Trip – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  19. Pingback: My Roadtrip Home – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  20. Pingback: Magical Ontario Towns To Visit This Winter – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  21. Pingback: West Montrose Kissing Bridge | In My Own Backyard – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  22. Pingback: 2 Day Solo Getaway to St. Jacobs – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  23. Pingback: Lake Huron Lighthouse Trail An Epic Ontario Road Trip – JUST ONE PASSPORT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.