Ontario's motto, "Yours to Discover", rings true: with over 14.5 million people and a land area of approximately 1.076 million km², this vast province is home to people from all walks of life, as well as a unique array of natural landscapes. From the mighty CN tower to the majesty of the Rideau Canal, Ontario offers visitors a lot more than these special and iconic landmarks.
Additionally, Niagara Falls has always been a staple in Ontario tourism, attracting millions of tourists with its hypnotic, cascading waterfalls, but the province's beauty doesn't stop there. Nature lovers, trendy glampers, and avid travelers alike should definitely explore these provincial parks next time they find themselves in the great land of Ontario!
8 Mono Cliffs Provincial Park
Located just about an hour away from Toronto lies the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, situated in the town of Mono, Ontario. Being along the Bruce Trail and a part of the Niagara Escarpment network, this provincial park gets packed, especially during the weekends, and for good reason! With dramatic cliffs and extensive trails crammed with fern and cedar trees, curious visitors from Toronto and the surrounding areas love flocking to Mono Cliffs to get some fresh air.
7 Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park has been an iconic hiking area for Toronto and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dwellers for years. This massive park (with an area of 7,653 km²) is home to a number of iconic Canadian wildlife, from the graceful loon to the timid moose. With its extensive network of water bodies (including rivers and lakes) and forests, Algonquin Provincial Park is a prime destination for a variety of activities such as fishing, dog sledding, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and swimming. This park is especially gorgeous in the fall when the tree leaves start changing their colors into vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues.
6 Killbear Provincial Park
Overlooking Georgian Bay's Parry Sound, Killbear Provincial Park lies in Ontario's town of Nobel. This provincial park offers eclectic, yet gorgeous landscapes of pine trees scattered across sandy shores. Although a rather peculiar name, it is speculated that this provincial park was a product of a mistranslation of the Ojibway's nickname for the peninsula, which is Mukwa Nayoshing, or Bear Point. Looking for romantic sunsets, windy waters for sailing, and trails for wildlife watching? Ontario residents take note; this is the provincial park to visit.
5 Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Originally named Sibley Provincial Park, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park will take a traveler's breath away. Avid hikers can walk their way up to the top of the giant trail to soak in the incredible aerial view of Lake Superior. Situated by Thunder Bay, this provincial park is worth the drive just to enjoy a relaxing camping getaway for the long weekends.
4 Lake Superior Provincial Park
With an area of about 1,556 km², Lake Superior Provincial Park is one of the largest parks in Ontario. A popular location for trout fishing, this park is also known for its cool, clear waters, rushing waterfalls, craggy shorelines (along Lake Superior of course), and dramatic cliffs. Lake Superior Provincial Park is an ideal area for camping, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. Visitors can also explore the park and check out the mystical pictographs of Agawa Rock and may encounter some local wildlife during their visit, including moose and black bears (in this case, they would need to be extremely cautious).
3 Chutes Provincial Park
Chutes Provincial Park isn't as vast as Algonquin Park, but there's still a lot to do and see! Located just a stone's throw away from the Trans Canada Highway, this provincial park is close to the town of Massey, and just an hour away from Sudbury. Visitors can enjoy a fairly easy and level hiking trail, sandy beach area, and a picturesque view of the waterfall rushing along the River Aux Sables. This park was named after a log chute in the area, which helped move logs away from the river.
2 Sauble Falls Provincial Park
In the cozy community of Sauble Falls in Ontario's Bruce County, the Sauble Falls Provincial Park is a perfect family destination for picnics and camping vacations. Visitors flock to the park to soak in the sights of its waterfalls, which are also habitats for Chinook salmon and rainbow trout traveling upstream! Only 5 km away is the popular Sauble Beach for families looking to enjoy a quick dip in the waters; otherwise, activities such as paddle boarding and canoeing are available at the park.
1 Bon Echo Provincial Park
Near Belleville and Kingston Ontario lies Bon Echo Provincial Park, home to a number of lakes including Mazinaw Lake, one of the deepest lakes in the province. Located in Cloyne, the Mazinaw Rocks offer a dramatic landscape against the calm lake and are adorned with over 260 pictographs drawn by Indigenous people in the area, known as the Mazinaw Pictographs. Whether travelers visit this provincial park for canoeing, backcountry camping, or rock climbing, they're guaranteed a safe haven away from the hustle and bustle of city life.