Things To Do

Parks  ◘ Scenic Drives  ◘ Nature Areas  ◘ Island Princess  ◘ Winter Fun   

Throughout the year, there are a multitude of things to see and do while in Orillia. They run the gamut from Festivals and Special Events (see the events page), to shopping, concerts, boating, hiking, and just enjoying the beaches and lakes surrounding Orillia.

There are several waterfront parks with dedicated beaches and playgrounds for the kids (including water playgrounds/splash pads), there are several main areas to launch boats (Couchiching Beach Park, and one directly across the road (highway) from the Curling Club building at Tudhope Park)), but there are also several smaller, unknown areas where one can launch a boat (smaller boats, not those big cigarette boats). On the lakes, there is everything from personal watercraft, to paddleboats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats, to sailboats, large cabin cruisers, houseboats, pontoon boats, and tour boats. If it floats, you'll likely find it on one of the lakes here. Note that in Ontario, one must have a license to pilot a boat (with a motor), and those under 16 cannot be licensed.

Boating is a popular past time here, both for residents, and cottagers, and visitors. There are several marinas in town, as well as the Port of Orillia. The waters are busy here, but Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe open into each other, and offer access to the Trent-Severn Waterway. The Port of Orillia is often a stop-over for those travelling the system on their holidays.

Just at the fringes of Orillia, there are other areas
one might want to visit. If you prefer a little peace and quiet for swimming, head out along Bass Lake Sideroad from the Westridge area until you can't go any further without turning. Turn right at the blue farmhouse, and a few feet down the road, you'll come to a small swimming area on Bass Lake. This area is not monitored, and has no lifeguards, but it's any place to slip a kayak or canoe into the water, or even a small fishing boat. You can swim here too - this is where we often go because the regular beaches can be pretty crowded on a hot day.  This too is a better place if you want to allow your dogs to cool off in the water. Most of the main patrolled beaches do not allow dogs in the swimming areas, so we do sometimes come across several dog owners at this little corner of Bass Lake. This area is about 5 minutes from the Westridge Shopping Area.

There is also a small beach area at Kitchener Park, which is underused, mostly because it too is unpatrolled by lifeguards. Kitchener Park is really more of a sports ground than beach area, and being on Lake Simcoe, the water is often rougher and colder than the swimming areas on Lake Couchiching. I guess it's okay in a pinch, but the dump is at the end of the road that runs along the edge of the park so on a super hot day ... well, it can be a little less than pleasant to use this park.

Just 10 minutes outside of town in Ramara Township, you'll find the Chippewas of Rama First Nation ( This is the location of Casino Rama, but along the way you'll pass the Rama Moccasin Shop. This shop has been around almost as long as I can remember (when I moved to Orillia after being married, I got a pair of hand-made moccasins here, but you can't often get those anymore ... not sure if they still even carry them), and although it is certainly a lot different than back when I first found it, it's still an interesting stop if you're heading to the Casino, or are out for a drive in that direction. They carry Native jewelry designs, and clothing, and artwork (including carvings), and even if you don't buy anything, it's an interesting spot to spend 20 or so minutes visiting.

Throughout the year, there are several Pow-wows at Rama, and these are definitely worth taking in. If you haven't ever been to one, you should. It's a colourful and fun event, giving way to Native customs and history, and ... all I can really is that it is quite an amazing day. Rama Pow Wows have been hosted for about 25 years, and each year they see more new visitors.

For the golf enthusiast the area has it's share of golf courses too. In Orillia, the Couchiching Golf & Country Club, The Hawkeridge Golf Club, The Red Caboose Mini-Putt, and a short hop from Orillia (near Hawkestone), Treehaven Golf. North of Orillia by a few minutes (near Lake St. George) is the Evergreen Par 3 Golf Course, and near Coldwater (about half an hour from Orillia) the Bonaire Golf Club.  Half an hour in another direction from Orillia is the Shanty Bay Golf Course.  So ... if you like to golf, you'll find some of these to your liking. I can't personally vouch for any of them ... I have to say it, I am not a golfer. I find it somewhat boring chasing some little ball around a bunch of fields of grass and sand and ... well, I'm really bad at golf. Once, I succumed to playing mini-golf with the kids while on vacation and, ummmmm, well I can say that nobody would want a repeat. I can't even manage mini-putt without nearly killing someone the ball or the club, so it's safe to say ... it's much better for me to stay away from the golf course. My husband and daughter both like to golf though, and my husband has golfed and most of those listed (maybe not the Bonaire course ... I don't remember him going there). He really prefers to frequent Treehaven and the Par 3 because spending all day golfing isn't something he wants to do - for him, it's good entertainment for a couple of hours, not for the day.

There are a multitude of other sports options in Orillia too, but that perhaps, is for another page.