Five family friendly late-summer things to do in Orillia

Orillia is one of Ontario’s gems, with many fun and family-friendly activities to do all year round. In the summer, Orillia really shines, with its many beaches, parks and destinations offering quick and easy ways to escape on a beautiful sunny day -- and all just a two hours’ drive away from Toronto.

Even as summer enters its final weeks, there is still a range of things to do that will keep tourists, locals and family members of all ages happy, especially during a visit with their relatives in an Orillia retirement home.

Couchiching Beach Park

Located in the heart of downtown Orillia, it’s easy to spend the day at Couchiching Beach Park. The miniature rotary train has been carrying family fun since 1971. A popular spot with tourists and locals for a bite is the French’s hot dog stand, which is nearly 100 years old. And of course the park features the beautiful town dock and sand beaches.

Stephen Leacock Museum

The former home of Canadian humorist and writer Stephen Leacock is now a popular and beautiful national historic site and museum. Set on four hectares of land, the museum is more than just a monument to Leacock and a national historic site. It is also a beautiful heritage home set on four acres of rolling grass and gardens. Great for a weekend visit.

Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market

With more than 50 vendors, the Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market offers more than just fresh Ontario produce. Local artisans, bakeries, florists and other local makers. Plu, the market is open year-round, every Saturday from 8-1 pm, making it an excellent place to begin your Orillia weekend adventure.

Ontario Provincial Police Museum

Another Orillia attraction that is fun for all ages is the OPP Museum. The museum takes you through a history of the provincial police force, showcasing the changing uniforms and role of the OPP over the years. There are also new exhibits every year, making each new visit unique. And there is also a range of vintage OPP vehicles to see, including a 1940s restored cruiser, motorcycles and patrol boats.

Mara Provincial Park

Located across the bay from downtown Orillia is Mara Provincial Park, which offers a whole picnic basket worth of late-summer activities, like camping, beach swims, an easily walkable nature trail and of course lots of beautiful spaces for family picnics. While Mara isn’t a large provincial park, it is very accessible and has lots of charming features, especially its clean clear water. A great spot to watch the end-of-summer sun go down!

Will Campbell