Collingwood is a town in Ontario, Canada which sits on the southern part of Georgian Bay and is only a two hour drive from Toronto. The area is mostly visited for its ski resort, Blue Mountain in the winter months, however, there can be plenty to do outside of winter too!
I have family in Collingwood, but since they rent their house out to skiers in the winter, we only ever visit during the off-season months (spring, fall or summer). What many people may be surprised about is how much there is to actually do not just in Collingwood, but also in neighbouring towns. I love this area for a weekend getaway and I guarantee you will too. Here is what I’d suggest you do…
A great way to soak in the beautiful nature that this area has to offer and kick off your day is through an eco adventure tour with Scenic Caves. Scenic Caves offers a ton of different packages and adventures for the whole family. There’s ziplining, hiking and of course, exploring the natural caves in the area. This can be extra beautiful if you are visiting in the fall when the trees are changing colour. However, even if you’re visiting in the winter, they offer cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through the nature trails too.
After getting some fresh air, I’d suggest you head to TheSmoke for lunch. This BBQ joint offers award winning barbecued favourites like smoked ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and more. The restaurant is delicious and also has a patio if you’re visiting on a sunny day.
Once you’re full, head to one of the awesome spas in the area. The most popular option is the Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain which has combined the age-old thermal tradition of the hot and cold pools which are situated outdoors. This spa can be fantastic on a cool fall day or in the chilly winter. You can still visit in the summer, but the heat of the hot pools and saunas can be a bit overwhelming. One thing to note is that this spa can get super busy, if you have a treatment like a massage booked, you get access to the pools for free, however, if you just want to use the pools, be prepared to potentially wait.
Another spa option is the Living Shore Spa. I actually really enjoyed this spa because they have regular spa treatments but also an Aquapath where you move through the different saunas, pools and stations. The best part is that it’s completely private to you and your group (maximum four). This can be a great option if you’re looking for something different or want to avoid having to wait on a wait list at the Scandinave Spa. You’ll need to make a reservation in advance for this experience and pricing starts at $65 CDN per person.
After a relaxing afternoon, head to dinner at Northwinds Brewery. This brew pub doesn’t accept reservations on weekends so you may need to come early or wait, however, it has a fun atmosphere, and a great selection of locally brewed beers. You can order a flight of beer to taste some of their beers, or go big and get their skate flight which is about 16 beers on a skateboard! Their food includes a lot of comfort food options and the portions are huge!
Another option for dinner is the Alphorn which is a Swiss restaurant that opened its doors in the early 80s. The decor definitely gives off that Swiss vibe with wooden tables, memorabilia covering the walls and of course, schnitzel on the menu.
Day two in Collingwood, it’s time to go spend some time over at the mountain. In the winter, you’ll obviously spend a good chunk of your time here skiing and snowboarding, but in the off-season it can be less busy and a great place to enjoy. I suggest taking a hike up the mountain itself, which will take around one hour (return) and can be especially beautiful in the fall.
Walking around the village at the bottom of the hill can also be a lot of fun. There are tons of cute boutiques and places to grab drinks and food. If it’s your first time in Canada, don’t forget to stop for a BeaverTail.
Once you’ve eaten lunch and explored the village and hill a bit, spend your afternoon taste testing the local breweries (and winery) in and around Collingwood. There are guided tours offered through Free Spirit Tours, however, it may be cheaper and more fun to just have a designated driver to take you out and about. I suggest visiting the following:
A bit further away (20-30 minutes from Collingwood), but worth it:
- Roost Winery
- Creemore Springs (If you make it here, stop for food across the street at Creemore Kitchen)
- Thornbury Craft (You may want to add a stop to the Cheese Gallery here too for a snack)
It’s important to note that some of these breweries do offer guided tours through them, and some just samples when you visit, so make sure you book ahead if you want a full tour! If you want to hit all of the above breweries and winery, click here for a route.
Also, while you’re out driving around, especially to the breweries a bit further away, I highly recommend a stop at Ravenna Country Market, about 20 minutes from Collingwood. They serve awesome locally made foods, baked goods and fudge!
Collingwood can be a fantastic area to spend a weekend, and not just during ski season! I love a weekend getaway here each year because it gets me out of the city but it’s not too far away so I don’t have to worry about spending half the time in my car getting there. There’s also so many other activities I didn’t even mention on this itinerary so you can seriously tailor your weekend to suit any of your likes, dislikes or family needs!
Share some of your favourite things to do in Collingwood or the surrounding area in the comments! I’d love your suggestions for when I return 🙂