Ontario is a province in East-Central Canada that borders the United States of America and the great lakes. Ottawa, the country’s capital, and Toronto, the shining metropolis, are situated here. It is home to vibrant scenery, a dose of adventure, heart-warming culture, and smiling nature. Summer in Ontario is pleasantly warm and welcoming. It is a beautiful place but a difficult one to explore. There are so many mesmerising places that even months would feel like less time to explore, and the fear of missing out on some attractions lingers large. Taking it upon us, we have brought you a list of secret places to visit in Ontario in summer. 

Top 10 Secret Places To Visit in Ontario in Summer

Ontario as a province and Toronto as a city is filled with numerous well-known attractions, breathtaking landscapes, and outdoor activities, leaving no lack of things to do. Regardless of that, there are still secret attractions that are yet to be discovered. Below are some such spots that must be visited to soak in the Canadian experience. 

1. Flowerpot Island

Flowerpot Island - one of the best places to visit in Ontario in the summer

Flowerpot Island is 6.5 kilometres from Tobermory, a trek featuring shipwrecks and a cave. One can get to Flowerpot Island through a boat ride with good scenery. This island results from a cliff being hammered by wind, rain and waves, forming a sea stack looking like a flowerpot, thus the name. It is the only island in Fathom Five National Marine Park with hiking trails. Visitors are asked to carry hiking boots, a camera, a water bottle and a hat. One can get to this island by paying a fair fee at the National Park Visitor Centre in Tobermory or the Bruce Anchor Cruises. 

What to do here? 

    • A hike is the best way to explore the island.
    • The island is home to many caves, some over 1000 years old. These caves are worth exploring to bring out your inner Indiana Jones. 
    • Seeing the light station.
    • The rock formations here have a history to them. It would be nice getting to know their history.
    • A blanket, food and the company are great ways to have a picnic on these islands.
    • The water at Georgian Bay’s Flowerpot Island is refreshing and worth taking a swim in.
    • There are various campsites to start up a bonfire and make some Smores. 

2. Marmora Mine

Marmora Mine

Ontario is home to many hidden lakes; one such is Marmora Mine. When we talk about hidden jewels of Ontario, Marmora Mine outshines each place with its rich history. An ore body of iron was discovered in 1958 and closed in 1979. Over time, the pit was filled with water by underground steams and rainfall, and it is now officially considered a lake. The water runs more than 700 feet deep and covers an area of 75 acres. It is a beautiful sight, the water is crystal clear, and the gigantic rock walls shade the mine, making it a relaxing experience for visitors. The mine located at Crowe River between Madoc and Havelock currently does not allow swimming and is one of the secret places to visit in Ontario in summer.

3. Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve

places to visit in Ontario in the summer - Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve

Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve is located in the District Municipality of Muskoka in Central Ontario. This jewel lets you gaze upon millions of sparkling diamonds in the sky. Summer in Ontario has a clear sky filled with stars, but due to the light pollution in Toronto, the sky becomes hazy, making it difficult for a person to see the stars. This is the reason behind the formation of the Dark-Sky preserve. The preserve is spread around 5000 acres as an oasis where one can sit down and enjoy the view of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, and with a telescope at your disposal, even the rings of Saturn are visible. This preserve is administered under the Public Lands Act by the Ministry of Natural Resources. 

4. Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island is located at Katherine Cove in Lake Superior Provincial Park. The island receives its name because the shallow rock formations give an impression of a bathtub. This basin has all-day access to the sunlight making the water warm and relaxing. The sand is softer compared to Katherine Cove; you can sink your feet with warm water hugging you while enjoying the beauty of nature around you. This breathtaking natural bathtub is slippery, making the hike quite a challenge. But once completed, you are rewarded generously- with a stunning view overlooking Lake Superior and beyond. 

5. Screaming Heads

Screaming Heads

The Almaguin Highlands is home to many artists and artisans; one such outstanding artist is Peter Camani, the creator of Screaming Heads. This place features stones sculpted in the shape of screaming heads, horses, hands and ghosts. It is a perspective visit, some find it uncanny. Others relish the creativity and find it intriguing. Another interesting fact about the place is that it is free to visit. Screaming Heads is a private property near Burk Falls town on the Midlothian road, next to Mr Camani’s house. There is parking space available and a donation box to support the artist. Visitors can enjoy the fabulous place that Peter has built. A view of Midlothian Castle home in the company of a two-headed dragon, a couple of lions guarding, and a few peacocks is worth a visit on your trip to Ontario this summer.

6. Sand Hill Park

Sand Hill Park

This hidden jewel is located on the shore of Lake Erie. It has the tallest dunes in Ontario, with crystal clear turquoise water surrounding it. One can have a day of relaxation with the sun shining on their head or set up a camp. The park tower stands 200 feet above the water, making it a great to climb. The park is open on a daily basis, with opening hours and ticket prices mentioned above: 

    • Off-peak hours: 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.
    • July and August: 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.
    • Adult: CAD 12
    • Children under 12 years: free
    • Bus pricing: Adult: CAD 85, Youth: CAD 60

7. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Room

Arthur Conan Doyle's Room

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Room is a near-missed room on the Toronto Reference Library’s top floor. This room is a sweet treat for all book lovers and Sherlock fans. Home to one of the foremost collections of Sherlock Holmes, the room is designed just like Sherlock’s 221 Baker Street apartment. The chess set has pieces carved to resemble Sherlock and other characters from the series. The collection consists of more than 150 volumes of books, study materials, journals, and various works devoted to Sherlock Holmes. This room is accessible through the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre on the 5th floor of the library. This hidden room becomes a fascinating place to visit in Ontario in the summer.

8. Bonnechere Caves

Bonnechere Caves

The next station on the list of secret places to visit in Ontario in summer is the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville. It is a structure formed by limestone walls dated 500 million years ago. This makes our list of places to go to in Ontario this summer as the caves are cool on the hottest of days, which is a relief. It is a self-guided tour that takes around an hour to trail. One can enjoy a view of Fourth Chute Falls after this trip. A tour leaves every 30 minutes. The first tour leaves at 10:00 A.M. and the last tour leaves at 4:00 P.M. The ticket price is as follows:

    • Adults: CAD 20
    • Senior Citizen aged 65+: CAD 18
    • Youth aged 13-17: CAD 14
    • Children aged 4-12: CAD 13
    • Under 4: Free

9. The Sleeping Giant

The Sleeping Giant

Summer in Ontario is incomplete without a visit to the North of Thunder Bay, Ontario sleeps a scenic treat for the eyes. It is a result of erosion of basaltic sills on the Sibley Peninsula, these rocks have taken a form of a sleeping giant when looked at from an angle from the west to the northwest. Sleeping Giant is a must-visit on your summer bucket list with turquoise waters and incredible rock formations. There are various legends with respect to the giant. Ojibway legend had termed this giant Nanabijou the one that turned into stone when the silver mine’s location was disclosed to white men.

10. Balaclava Ghost Town

Balaclava Ghost Town - best places to visit in Ontario in the summer

In Ontario, Balaclava, situated in Renfrew County, is a broken old sawmill sitting next to a river. Once flourishing with timber, the mill saw its end because of its lack and eventually had to be closed down. Balaclava town was home to more than 200 people. But once the sawmill closed, the only departmental store shut down with it, and the inhabitants eventually left, leaving behind an eerie little ghost town. It is believed that the sawmill, the two hotels, the blacksmith shop and the general store wither were dismantled, burned down, or lost their will to function.

This town is now deemed a ‘Classical ghost town’ by the people making it to our list of secret places to visit in Ontario in summer. Visitors will look at a city that once thrived but is now lost, leaving behind the decaying buildings. With every passing day, nature plays its part in reclaiming the land, giving it a classy ghost town look. Brave thrill seekers also enter the decrepit sawmill, although it is advised not to. 

What are you waiting for? Let out your Inner Nathan Drake or Lara Croft this summer in Ontario and explore these hidden gems; add a dash of adventure this summer. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How can I spend my summer in Ontario?

One can spend their summer in Ontario visiting places like Niagra Falls, Flowerpot Islands, Balaclava Ghost town, The Sleeping Giant and numerous other locations. One can also enjoy trekking and scenic train rides.

What is the most popular place to visit in Canada?

A popular place to visit in Canada is Niagra Falls in Ontario.

Where is the sunniest place in Canada?

In summer, Canada is pleasantly warm and humid. The sunniest place in Canada has to be Calgary, with an average of 2396 hours of sunshine over 333 days.

Which part of Canada should I visit as soon as I land?

Canada is a beautiful place. One should visit Banff National Park as soon as possible. It mesmerises its visitors with a stunning view of the rocky mountains and the welcoming warmth.

Do you need a car in Toronto to see the places around?

No, you do not need a car in Toronto to see the places around. Public transit is convenient and goes to most places one would like to visit.