Not a skier or a snowboarder? If you don’t love to ski but are looking for a winter adventure, Barrie & Area is a great destination for the non-skier to get their rush of excitement! We’ve prepared a list of 10 alternative winter travel activities (that don’t require any experience or your own equipment) for you to try this season in Barrie & Area.
Get your boots, snow pants, coat, and mitts on for this endlessly exciting adventure. Fly down the snow covered hills on an inner tube alone or with your friends and family! Horseshoe Resort boasts 5 different runs and a magic carpet to help continue the non-stop fun. With special holiday hours and single rides or 2-hour passes available, you won’t want to miss out on this great winter adventure. Snow Valley Ski Resort invites you to try a favourite family activity that everyone and anyone can do. Don’t miss the “Kidz Zone” for kids under 42” or Radical Rafting Wednesdays and special rates on different days of the week.
Join us for Barrie’s Winterfest, February 6th and 7th 2016, a purely Canadian tradition. This unique-to-Barrie festival is one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals & Events. With activities ranging from horse-drawn wagon rides, dog sled rides, a mini tube slide and mini curling rink, helicopter rides, an ice maze and other ice and snow sculptures, maple taffy samples, and the Winterfest Hot Chocolate Trail (just to name a few), the fun is endless. If you’re not a skier but can’t get enough of the snow, this is an event you won’t want to miss.
Breathe in the crisp winter air as you slide around on Barrie’s outdoor ice skating rinks. No experience is required for this winter activity and the best part is, you can try it for FREE! In the winter months, two of Barrie’s favoured summer locations turn into beautiful ice skating locations so that you can enjoy them all year round. Barrie’s City Hall offers an outdoor circular rink at Circle at the Centre (70 Collier Street). Enjoy heated change rooms, parking on site ($), and a Zamboni-maintained rink with tons of restaurants and shops nearby. The city’s new rink at Centennial Beach (65 Lakeshore Drive) is open 7 days a week and has time slots for both pleasure skating and shinny hockey. Both rinks are open from 10am-10pm daily (hours are dependent upon weather conditions and are subject to change).
Once the lake is frozen and safe to walk on, you can try ice fishing on Kempenfelt Bay, the home of many ice huts in the winter months. To ice fish in Ontario, a valid fishing license is required (which you can purchase online or at a Barrie location such as Cabela’s). Being the largest and deepest bay found on Lake Simcoe, Barrie has the best to offer. The top species that people come from near and far to ice fish for on Kempenfelt Bay include Lake Trout, Whitefish, Northern Pike, and Yellow Perch. Click the link below for more information on when it’s safe to go out on the ice to fish as well as referrals to where you can purchase or rent an ice hut this season.
Head to Barrie and strap on some snowshoes, which let you walk on top of the snow, and have some fun with the whole family. The only equipment needed is the snowshoes (and warm winter clothes of course), so this is a great winter sport to try and is easy to learn and good exercise, too! There is an abundance of trails in and around the Barrie area where you can find the perfect location for snowshoeing. If you need to rent a pair of snowshoes or want to try snowshoeing for the first time, we suggest heading out to Hardwood Ski and Bike (11km of trails) or Snow Valley Ski Resort (14km of trails) where rental equipment and marked trails are available for groups, families or individuals. If you’re more experienced and have your own equipment, try one the beautiful Springwater Provincial Park or one of Barrie’s other large sparse areas or hidden trails.
Windrift Kennels offers an amazing and unique adventure just north of Barrie where you can be pulled through scenic trails by an amazing dogsled team. Both half day and full day experiences are offered, the former including warm drinks and snacks and the latter including a hot chili lunch. All experiences are guided and therefore all ages and ability levels are welcome, but if you are 16 or older, you may choose to drive your own dogsled. Make sure to wear snow pants, a warm jacket, hats, gloves, snow boots (without a heel), and ski goggles to protect yourself and keep yourself warm. Dogsledding tours typically run from December through March. All dates and times are approximate and weather dependent.
Between September and April, you can catch some great live hockey at the Barrie Molson Centre. Barrie’s own future NHL stars always pack their games with action and excitement. The Colts took home the Memorial Cup in the 1999-2000 season, and they could this year too (if they have you there cheering them on!). Meet the team’s mascot, Charlie Horse, during the game while you enjoy the atmosphere of the state-of-the-art premier sports and entertainment centre of central Ontario. For the schedule and tickets, click the link below.
Barrie is home to many beautiful trails with breathtaking views and picturesque backdrops. If you’re up for a brisk winter walk, dress in layers and head out on Barrie’s Waterfront Trail (or one of the many others). The Waterfront Trail provides access to all of the lakefront parks for young children and you only have to veer a few steps to make your way into Barrie’s welcoming downtown. Stop for a hot chocolate or a bite to eat and to warm up at one of the many cafés in the area before continuing on the trail. Parking is available at the lakefront parks as well as the Southshore Community Centre for $3/hour or $15/day.
Come to Barrie for a relaxing sleigh ride through the snow covered trails with your loved ones. Tour the snowy wonderland that is Barrie in the winter months. Rolling Sands Percherons offers horse-drawn sleigh rides on their farm with a farm animal display, just north of Barrie. They are also available for off-site functions such as weddings, parties, and business functions. Rainbow View Farms promises to make you feel like royalty on your wedding day or other off-site functions. Experience winter like never before upon a horse-drawn sleigh.
More on Rolling Sands Percherons: call 705-726-5968
More on Rainbow View Farms: call 705-322-3609
Rent a snowmobile from Diverse Rentals in Midland or Flextoy Powersports in Barrie and explore the many trails that our area has to offer. These companies offer both unguided and guided options to fit each and every individual or group. Once the snow falls, snowmobiling is one of the locals’ favourite activities. Getting to drive around the designated snowmobiling trails, seeing them like never before, is an adventure that you won’t want to miss when visiting Barrie & Area.