When Ontarians want to escape the nine to five crush of city living, they make a run for Georgian Bay. On the east edge of Lake Huron, this is a land of wide watery expanses, picturesque coves and a variety of outdoor attractions.
Bruce Trail, nearly 500 miles in length, runs from the tip of Bruce Peninsula ? a finger of land separating the south end of Georgian Bay from Lake Huron ? all the way down to Niagara. Even if you don't have time to cover the entire route, spend a day or too exploring sections around the bay, stopping to enjoy solitude and a natural setting with views over the water. If you're in the region to spend time underwater rather than gazing at it, suit up to enjoy Ontario's best diving amongst the shipwrecks of Fathom Five National Marine Park.
For those who prefer floating to exploring things that long ago sunk, kayaks are on rent for pleasant paddles and secluded shoreline. Onshore, peddle back roads to your hearts content, or hop the ferry to Manitoulin Island, a popular laid-back destination for more stretches of bike-friendly pavement.
Other communities surrounding Georgian Bay and dotting the environs have their own attractions. Stop in Bracebridge on the Mukoka River for waterfalls, find accommodation in Huntsville for day-trip adventures into the Algonquin Provincial Park or book some boat time around Georgian Bay's islands from Parry Sound.
With sunshine, Georgian Bay is at its best and busiest, but don't think that winter snows serve as a deterrent for cross-country skiers, snow mobilers or ice anglers. Hundreds of trail miles are there for the taking, for quiet wilderness snow shoeing or fast-paced snow mobile skittering.
Georgian Bay at its southern end is only 35 miles out of Toronto, so book your accommodations ahead during peak season to sure of bed and board.