Ontario getaways

Summer vacations may have been cancelled or put on hold for many people because of COVID-19, but as provinces begin to lift stay home restrictions, many of us will be looking for getaways closer to home. When it comes to getting where you’re going, CAA has great tips for navigating the road trip, but then you’ll need a destination.

The good news is that there are some great options that will help you make the most of summer 2020!

Book (or borrow) an RV 

We’ve done this a few times and loved it every time. And we aren’t alone: Approximately 2.1 million (or 14% of) Canadian households own an RV and in 2019 they took an estimated 7.7 million RV trips in Canada. That means that if you’re hoping to snag one for the summer

rv driving along road ; ontario travel
courtesy: GoRving.ca

Ton of options for all sizes of families and all kinds of comfort levels, you’ll need to act fast.

What I love about RVs is that it is basically packing up your home and taking it on the road. Of course, like any vacation option, it has its pros and cons.

Parked RV with couple out front; ontario travel
Courtesy: Go Rving.ca

Pros: In this time when COVID-19 remains a real and viable menace, it’ll bring some peace of mind that you can have some control over your own environment.

Con: It can be expensive; sometimes as much as a few thousand dollars for a week. The Canadian RV Association has an affordability calculator that can help you figure out how to get the best and most affordable option for your family.

Don’t be dissuaded just because you haven’t done it before! The GoRving.ca Visitors Centre has a ton of tips and you can even work with a provider like Outdoorsy that can put the RV where you want to be and then you can just find your way to it, like a short term rental.  

Rent a short-term stay

Here in Ontario we’ve received the green light (for now) to book short term rentals and for those of us who don’t have a family cottage to go to, it’s a great alternative.

Black family enjoying cottage life; ontario travel

You’ve got a few options for rentals ( AirBnB and VRBO among them.)

Again, you’re going to want to make sure you bring what you need to stay safe and protected in the time of COVID-19  – that includes bringing the products you trust to clean the home you’re visiting

Be respectful of the communities you’re visiting. A lot of the smaller communities are working hard to keep COVID-19 at bay and have set up rules and regulations to keep their communities safe. Wear your masks, social distance and follow local rules.

You may also want to inquire about refund policies. We know that experts are predicting a second wave of COVID-19 cases and if the ban goes back into place before your stay begins or after, you’ll want to be clear on what happens to your deposit.

If you’re looking at a bed and breakfast or hotel stays, make sure to also look at the property’s site to get a sense of their pandemic rules. Some properties may require you to bring things with you (bedding for example); others may have limits on the parts of the property that are open and accessible.

Go camping

A lot of us have been pitching tents in backyards, but the opportunity for to head back out into the wilds is upon us!

Boy exploring wildneress; ontario travel

Back country camping is allowed in Ontario but you can have no more than 5 people occupying one site (unless they are from the same household).

Before you head out to the parks check online to make sure you have a clear understanding of what’s on offer – including whether beaches are open – so you aren’t unpleasantly surprise. Click on the “parks” dropdown on the Ontario parks site and select the park you’re interested for more details.

Remember: Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the season at Ontario Parks.

canoes and camping ontario travel
Temagami, Obabika River
Photographer: Goh Iromoto

Some camping services are available at select national parks and national historic sites across the country. Campers who already have reservations will get in first, but the hope is to open things up for online registration in the weeks ahead – all depending on government and public health guidelines.