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Kettle Point beach Ontario
Kettle Point beach Ontario
Photo by Olivia Brannagan
Life > Experiences

Places in Southern Ontario to Check Out This Summer

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

With summer less than two weeks away for most students, I just know plans are in the works for some vacations, weekend getaways, and day trips. One of my favourite things to do is get a couple of friends, pile into a car, and just start driving. I think I am Ontario’s number one fan; I will take any excuse or opportunity to check out a museum, beach, hiking trail, or main street of a place I haven’t yet experienced. In my 21 years of living, I have been able to venture through much of the province (and beyond the limits of the GTA), and these areas are just a couple of my favourites .


When looking back at all the little road trips I have taken, I don’t think I’ve visited anywhere as much as Arkona. This quiet town has some beautiful beginner hiking trails. The highlight of the area is Rock Glen, a conservation area with a waterfall, many walking paths, lots of fossils that can be found within the stones, and lots and lots of stairs. I have been there in the spring, summer, and the fall, and each time, it is perfect. If you ever make it out there on a hot day, I recommend heading to the waterfall and then following the trickling water down to a mini waterfall with a beautiful semi-private swimming area.

About a 10-minute drive North from Rock Glen is my most favourite place in the whole world, Joany’s Woods. It is a fantastic area to walk around and Explore. Among all the trails, you will run into a hardwood swamp, deciduous forests, coniferous forests, some rolling hills, and a few smaller cliffs. In my opinion, the best time to go is the fall; you will encounter minimal bugs and insects, and the foliage colours are outstanding. If you follow along the outermost trail, starting at the beginning and keeping to the right, be sure to keep an eye out for an abandoned van; it will take about 20 minutes to get to it from the parking area and is a very neat thing to see.

Rock Glen waterfall hidden gem Arkona Ontario
Photo by Olivia Brannagan

Grand Bend

You don’t need to travel far to get to the beach! In the summertime, Grand Bend is a very lively beach town. It can be lots of fun to walk up and down the strip with your friends. There are so many clothing stores, restaurants, ice cream parlours, and of course Grand Bend Beach! There are lots of Airbnbs and small hotels within walking distance from the main street, and Pinery Provincial Park is a short drive down the road. If you have the time, I recommend taking the drive out to Kettle Point. It is a small beach with some unique spherical rock formations.

Pinery Provincial Park Grand Bend beach in Ontario
Photo by Olivia Brannagan

Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula is the top of the Bruce Trail, an Escarpment that reaches all the way to Niagara Falls. On the peninsula, the town of Tobermory has some unique tours, including boat tours to unique islands and shipwrecks of the area. I always found Flower Pot Island to be a neat place to check out, but to each their own. I also love the Bruce Peninsula National Park, which contains seemingly endless hiking trails with stunning views. At some parts along the coast the water is the most beautiful aqua colour, just be sure to be careful and not dive off the cliffs!

The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park
Original photo by Olivia Brannagan


Goderich is home to the Menesetung Bridge, which used to be a part of the Canadian Railway System. When it was no longer being used, the people wanted it to be maintained and used for walking and connection to trails, so it was. It is a very cool feeling to walk along the bridge and see Lake Huron so close. You can also see the mineral mine and the lighthouse. Just outside of Goderich, you can find Falls Reserve Conservation Area. There is also a path that brings you to Maitland River Falls as well as lots of other paths throughout the area.

Maitland River waterfall conservation area Goderich Ontario
Photo by Olivia Brannagan

Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain and Collingwood have so much to offer! The main jewel is, of course, the Blue Mountain, perfect for skiing or snowboarding in the winter and lots to see during the off-season. There are several lookout sights along the trails, a nifty suspension bridge to walk across, and some natural cave and land formations that you must check out! One cave is called “the fridge” and it really does get super cold as soon as you step into it. If you are lucky enough to go on a good day, there will be no fog in the air, and you’ll get to see the towns below. Along the water will be Wasaga Beach, the world’s longest freshwater beach. When I was growing up, Wasaga Beach was the closest beach to where I lived, so I have such fond memories of spending all day there until the sun went down. Grey County also is abundant in waterfalls to go and check out, my personal favourite being Eugenia Falls.

Blue Mountain walking bridge Ontario
Photo by Olivia Brannagan


I feel almost contractually obligated to talk about Wheatley. I spent so much of my summers at Wheatley Provincial Park that my soul in embedded within the ground of Boosey Creek. For those who live in Windsor-Essex County, Wheatley is a wonderful Provincial Park to check out without having to stray too far from home. It is perfect if you just want to get away, go camping, or relax. Wheatley is not too far from Point Pelee National Park, the Southernmost mainland point in Canada. There is so much wildlife and ecological diversity there, and it’s an excellent place to visit during the bird migration season.

Wheatley Provincial Park
Original photo by Olivia Brannagan
Liv Brannagan

UWindsor '24

Hi I'm Liv! I am currently studying Forensic Science at the University of Windsor. I love being outside, going on hikes, kayaking, rowing, and goodness I could just go on and on. I am often listening to music, listening to a good podcast, watching a film, or talking (arguing) about any one of those!