Discover Lake Simcoe

Nestled in the heart of Ontario, Lake Simcoe is a vibrant and versatile destination that captivates visitors with its unique blend of natural beauty and exhilarating activities.

Famed for its expansive, serene waters, Lake Simcoe is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Here, you can partake in a range of activities, from thrilling fishing tournaments to peaceful sailing and even ice fishing in the winter months. The lake’s surroundings are dotted with attractions like the enchanting Scales Nature Park, the relaxing Briars Spa, and the historically rich Georgina Pioneer Village.

Whether you’re searching for a tranquil escape amidst nature or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Lake Simcoe offers the perfect retreat. It’s a hidden gem that promises memorable moments for everyone who visits, making it an ideal getaway throughout the year.

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Top 3 Facts about Lake Simcoe in Ontario

01

Ancient History

Lake Simcoe is a remnant of a much bigger prehistoric lake called Lake Algonquin, which was around during the last ice age. 

02

Large Size

Lake Simcoe is the fourth-largest lake wholly in Ontario, after Lake Nipigon, Lac Seul, and Lake Nipissing. It covers an area of 722 square kilometers!

03

Protected Islands

Lake Simcoe contains a large island, Georgina, which, along with Snake Island and Fox Island, forms the reserve of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.

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Must-See Attractions

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Scales Nature Park

Conservation Center

This unique nature center is dedicated to conserving Canadian reptiles and amphibians and features the country’s most complete live collection. Visitors can enjoy hands-on experiences, learn from knowledgeable staff, and explore indoor enclosures that offer a rare glimpse into the lives of these elusive creatures.

Georgina Pioneer Village

Open-air Museum

A historical haven that began with the vision of preserving local heritage, this village now houses a collection of buildings from across the Township of Georgina. Each structure, from the historic bandstand to the Cedar Brae School House, tells a unique story of the area’s past, allowing visitors to discover local history in a fun and entertaining way.

Downtown Barrie

Shopping, Dining, Entertainment

Barrie’s downtown is the perfect mix of charm and bustle, offering plenty of experiences from waterfront hiking and public art tours to the Flying Monks Craft Brewery & Tap Room. It’s a perfect spot for those seeking a delicious meal, a bit of shopping, or a gentle stroll. 

Annual Events and Festivals

June, 2024

Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival

June in Simcoe County comes alive with the soulful sounds of jazz and blues as the Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival showcases a lineup of Canadian and international artists. Spread across various venues, including the Barrie Public Library and local churches, this festival offers a superb mix of performances in both intimate and public spaces.

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August 8 – 11, 2024

Boots and Hearts Music Festival

Every August, the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte becomes a haven for country music lovers, hosting Canada’s largest camping music festival, Boots and Hearts. Featuring top global artists, this award-winning festival blends music with a fun camping experience, creating unforgettable memories in the heart of Ontario’s countryside.

July 26 – 28, 2024

Marine Heritage Festival

Starting with family-friendly entertainment at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, this festival is a weekend brimming with community spirit. Highlights include the unique Cardboard Boat Race and the exhilarating War on the Shore Bike Race, offering fun and excitement for all ages along the beautiful shores of Lake Simcoe.

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Top Hiking Trails

Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area

8861 Sideroad 15 & 16 Nottawasaga, Glen Huron, ON

This 400-acre conservation area in Collingwood offers a superb hiking experience with its stunning limestone bluffs, dense forests, and intriguing caves. The Keyhole Trail is a highlight, presenting an almost other-worldly landscape with its towering rock walls and lush green moss, perfect for an adventurous trek.

Scout Valley Loop Trail

Old Barrie Rd E, Orillia, ON

This 230-acre nature park on the outskirts of Orillia, once a Scout camp, now serves as a haven for nature enthusiasts with its three distinct 2 km loop trails. Hike through hilly terrains, admire the historic Regan House, and enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Simcoe and Couchiching from scenic lookouts.

Simcoe County Forests

2318 Gill Rd, Midhurst, ON L0L 1X0, Canada

Spanning over 33,000 acres and featuring more than 720 km of trails, the Simcoe County Forests are yours to explore, thanks to successful reforestation efforts. If you’re looking for a shorter trail, opt for the 3.1-km Willow Creek Loop Trail, which brings you along Willow Creek and through a charming forest. Or, for something longer, check out the 10 km Midhurst Loop Trail in Springwater.

Best Golf Courses

Tangle Creek

4730 Side Rd 25, Thornton, ON

Just southwest of Barrie lies Tangle Creek, an 18-hole semi-private course known for its immaculate greens and challenging layout. While it’s best for advanced golfers, you’ll hardly remember your score after wrapping up your game with a refreshing drink and meal at their impressive clubhouse. 

Visit their website for more information

The Wilds at Cedar Valley

8410 11th Line, Thornton, ON

If you’re a leisurely golfer looking for a fun and affordable place to play, The Wilds at Cedar Valley is your go-to. Featuring a par-62 layout, numerous par 3s, and a few fun challenges to navigate, it’s the perfect place for an afternoon on the course without getting too serious or breaking the bank.

Visit their website for more information

Innisbrook Golf Course

211 Lockhart Rd, Barrie, ON

Innisbrook Golf Course is deemed to be one of the region’s finest public courses, offering a fast-paced 18-hole game perfect for golfers looking for a quick but fun round. Throughout, you’ll face a mix of par 3s and 4s and a single par 5. Plus, its flexible pricing model and rain check policy ensure excellent value for money.

Visit their website for more information

Water Sports

Northern SUP

SUP Classes

Going well beyond your standard rental company, Northern SUP holds events throughout the summer that combine the thrill of stand-up paddleboarding with a fitness class. Options include their SUP Training Club, Paddle League, Intro to SUP, PaddleFit, and private lessons. Regardless of your experience, the trainers will ensure you have a wonderful time and get a great workout in.

Visit their website for more information

Lake Simcoe Watersport Rentals

Boat REntals

Offering jet ski and pontoon rentals, as well as wakeboarding lessons, Lake Simcoe Watersport Rentals is the perfect place to visit if you’re eager to dive into the thrilling world of watersports. Whether you’re seeking the rush of wakeboarding or a relaxing day cruising the lake with friends and family, their friendly staff is always happy to offer a helping hand.

Visit their website for more information

A Breath of Fresh Air

Kayak REntals

Located near Couchiching Beach Park (a subsidiary of Lake Simcoe), A Breath of Fresh Air offers kayak rentals for a peaceful exploration of Lake Couchiching. With hourly, half-day, and full-day options, you can look forward to a stress-free day on the water. Just remember to pack the sunscreen and some snacks!

Visit their website for more information

Winter Activities

Ice Fishing

Lake Simcoe is a fantastic destination for ice fishing—and we’re happy to let you in on some hot spots. These include Cook’s Bay, the southernmost bay of Lake Simcoe, Virginia Beach in the southeastern part of the lake, and Kempenfelt Bay, the westernmost bay that leads into Barrie. Try your luck at catching bass, pike, perch, and lake trout. 

Snowmobiling

For those seeking a rush, Lake Simcoe presents an opportunity to join a snowmobile tour and explore vast frozen expanses. Hop on a snowmobile and zip across the terrain, feeling the exhilarating rush as you navigate through trails covered in pristine white snow. With guides leading the way, you can safely explore this winter wonderland while experiencing speed and adventure.

Snowshoeing

If you’re looking to squeeze in some fitness during your winter vacation, why not try snowshoeing along the picturesque shoreline? As you trek through this wintery wilderness, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the lake and frosted pine trees. You might even see a bald eagle or snowy owl hiding above you if you’re lucky.

Where to Eat

Papa Luigi’s Family Restaurant

$ – $$ • Pizza, Burgers, Comfort Food

Jackson’s place

$$ – $$$ • Steak & Seafood

Boondocks Eatery

$$ • Burgers & More

Where to Shop

Whipple Tree Country Store

Gift Shop

Cookstown Antique Market

Antique Store

Feather and Stone Boutique

Clothing store

Where to Sleep

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Islandview Family Cottage

Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 3
Sq Footage 1,350
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$250.00 / day

Tips on Renting A Vacation Home on Lake Simcoe

Choose the Right Location

If you’re seeking lively activities and nightlife, opt for areas near Barrie or Innisfil. For a more tranquil experience, look for rentals in Orillia or Georgina, which offer peaceful lake views and a chance to connect with nature.

Plan Your Activities

Lake Simcoe is a hub for both summer and winter activities. In summer, you can enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming, while winter offers ice fishing and snowmobiling opportunities. Research and plan your activities in advance, especially if you’ll be booking equipment rentals or guided tours.

Consider Seasonal Pricing

Like many vacation spots, Lake Simcoe sees fluctuating rental prices based on the season. Peak summer months tend to be more expensive, so consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) for potentially better rates and fewer crowds. However, winter also has its charm with unique activities, so think about what type of experience you’re looking for.

Prepare for Weather Variations

The weather around Lake Simcoe can be quite variable, with warm summers and cold winters. Packing layers is essential, as evenings can be cool even in summer. In winter, bring appropriate cold-weather gear, especially if you plan to take advantage of outdoor activities.

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Jet Skiing

Going Deeper on Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe’s rich history spans from being a vital resource for indigenous communities, who fished and hunted along its shores, to a strategic link in the fur trade during the French regime. The lake gained prominence with Samuel de Champlain’s visit in 1615, as he sought Huron allies against the Iroquois. Later, it was renamed by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe after his father, transitioning from its original French name, Lac Aux Claies.

In the 19th century, Lake Simcoe evolved from a trade route to a recreational destination. As loggers moved northward, the lake’s natural allure began drawing summer vacationers from nearby Ontario cities, shaping its present-day identity as a beloved getaway spot.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe offers a variety of water activities, including boating, sailing, fishing, and swimming during the summer months. In the winter, it’s a popular spot for ice fishing and snowmobiling.

Yes, there are several hiking trails and conservation areas around Lake Simcoe. The most popular and well-maintained trails are located in McRae Point Provincial Park, Albion Hills Conservation Park, Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area, and Simcoe County Forests. 

Absolutely, Lake Simcoe is an excellent destination for family vacations. The lake’s shores are dotted with family-friendly beaches, parks, and numerous vacation rentals that cater to families. Additionally, the area offers various activities that are suitable for all ages.

Lake Simcoe hosts several events and festivals throughout the year. These include the Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival, the Boots and Hearts Music Festival, and the Marine Heritage Festival, each offering unique cultural and musical experiences.

Muskoka is known for its picturesque towns and charming villages. Some popular towns you can visit include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Port Carling. Each town offers its unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, making them perfect stopovers during your exploration of the Muskoka region.

Yes, there are many options for vacation rentals around Lake Simcoe, including cottages, cabins, and homes. These can be rented through various services, offering a range of accommodations to fit different needs and budgets.

The best time to visit Lake Simcoe depends on the activities you are interested in. Summer months (June to August) are ideal for water-based activities and enjoying the warm weather. Winter (December to February) is great for ice fishing and snowmobiling. The shoulder seasons (spring and fall) are quieter and can offer more affordable accommodation options.

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