Five nature based places to visit in Central Ontario (and triple give-away!)



Ontario has so many opportunities to experience nature up close and hands on. It would be impossible to list them all so my children and I have come up with a list of five of our favorite outdoor field trips located in central Ontario. These are all places we have visited for day trips, some are only open seasonally so always double-check days and hours of operation.



68969_446179798790_6676439_nWarsaw caves is located just 30 minutes northeast of Peterborough and offers 7 caves, hiking trails, beach  with swimming area  and campground. This unique conservation area was formed thousands of years ago when Ontario was covered with thick glaciers. When the glaciers began to melt the flowing water formed caves, ledges, cliffs, kettles and underground channels in the bedrock creating an interesting landscape to enjoy.  In addition to the caves there are great hiking trails with some interesting features. Along the trail there is a point where the river disappears underground and can be heard flowing beneath your feet! Another really neat aspect of the hiking trails are the kettles and no I am not talking about tea. Kettles are round holes in the bedrock that were carved thousands of years ago when a boulder got caught in the river in a whirlpool. It spun around long enough to actually carve some pretty impressive 67319_446187583790_4262254_nholes in the bedrock, some big enough to fit  few adults inside.  We only visited for day trips but they also offer overnight camping. We would recommend headlamp flash lights instead of handheld flash lights as you will want your hands free for climbing in and out of some caves.


Petroglyphs provincial park is located a little over 2 hours north-east of Toronto and is home to one of thMinolta DSCe largest collections of aboriginal rock carvings in Canada. These carvings are on a gigantic rock housed in a huge building in the forest and it is pretty impressive! There is staff on site to help interpret the carvings and it is a very unique experience. You can also visit the Learning Place to learn about the traditions of the Ojibway people. This provincial park has 4  peaceful hiking trails ranging from 1km long to 5.5 kms long and offers various natural landscape to enjoy such as mixed forest, a marsh trail and a trail that runs along the unique McGinnis Lake, a rare metronomic lake. This is a blue/green lake of waters that don’t intermix. Since petroglyphs provincial park is on the border of the Peterborough Crown Game Reserve it is a great place for bird watching.

262509_10150278083758791_5497853_nCobourg beach is located a little over an hour east of Toronto and is easily accessible via the 401. It has the largest and nicest soft white sand beach that I have visited in Ontario. The swimming is wonderful as the water is shallow for the little ones and very slowly gets deeper. You can spend the entire day just relaxing on the beach enjoying the sun, water and fresh air. Victoria park adjoins the beach and has large grassy areas, a good size splash pad, playground, snack bar, trees to provide shade and a band-shell. The marina offers sailing lessons and fishing charters too.

Peterborough zoo (Riverview park and zoo) is a 55 acre zoo and  is located about an hour and half north-east of Toronto. This is a fantastic little zoo and so much more!! It is open year round and has free admissions and parking,  but donations are greatly appreciated. It is home to over 27 animals exhibits and over 40 species of animals to observe ad enjoy. Take a 15 mi564255_10151073820803791_391137761_nnute trip on the vintage train ride or cool off in the large splash pad.  The zoo is also home to Peterborough’s largest playground. There are various playgrounds geared towards
age group from a tot lot to a large school age playground and don’t forget to hop on the 80 foot long super slide! Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the many picnic tables throughout the park or the various picnic shelters. The zoo is a great to place visit in the winter as most of the animals are active during the winter, there is room to cross-country ski or bring a sled and go tobogganing.

Greenwood opening weekend celebrations
Greenwood opening weekend celebrations

Greenwood conservation area is located in Ajax and is perfect for the city folk who want to enjoy nature close to home. Greenwood is situated along the banks of Duffins creek, a cool clear water creek. This conservation area offers great hiking trails, some amazing fishing beginning with the trout season opening in the spring. There is also picnic areas and a playground making it a perfect location for family picnics or other social gatherings.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit in Canada?

I am very excited to be involved in not only one but a triple give-away for all my loyal readers. This months give-away is:

1) Family/Group Discovery Pass from Parks Canada. Valid for 1 year from date of issue. Value $136.40.    

2) Rough Guide: Canada – travel guide book. Value $29.99.

3)The Ultimate Guide to Field Trips in Canada ebook. Value: $5.99.

To enter click: Entry-Form

Good luck to all those entering and please share.

Please visit The Canadian Homeschooler for more great virtual field trips from across Canada.

15 thoughts on “Five nature based places to visit in Central Ontario (and triple give-away!)

  1. Great post! Your children are so cute!
    We used to live in Ontario but we never visited the places you mentioned. We did a fair amount of camping there..our favourite places were Sandbanks Provincial Park, Sauble Beach and the Pinery!

  2. These sound like great places to visit! I love caves but haven’t explored many. Beaches are always great too. My mom grew up in Ontario so I’ve been back once or twice to visit her family. Now there aren’t as many family members left there but it’s still a place I’d like to see more. Maybe someday we’ll do a family trip across Canada and get to see some of these places! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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