Unforgettable Adventures: Top Activities & Attractions in Barrie, Ontario

Travel Inspiration

Nestled on the shores of Lake Simcoe, Barrie, Ontario is a treasure trove of activities perfect for RV travelers and families. From its scenic waterfront and parks to cultural experiences and outdoor adventures, Barrie has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll dive into the best things to do in Barrie, ensuring your visit is packed with excitement and memorable moments.

Why Barrie, Ontario Is a Must-Visit for RV Enthusiasts

From summer events like the Barrie Airshow and Barrie Fair to winter festivals like the Holiday Market and Winterfest, you can enjoy family-friendly activities throughout the year in Barrie. The shopping is terrific, highlighted by such fun places as the Barrie Antiques Center and the Barrie Farmer’s Market. Barrie is also a hub for RVers who want to explore further north, so staying in one of the nearby RV campgrounds is a great idea.

Experience the Charm of Barrie’s Waterfront

Among the things to do in Barrie, Ontario, exploring the waterfront is the most popular. It stretches for 3 miles along the shore of Kempenfelt Bay. Roughly two dozen city parks, some of which include beaches, give you ample opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery or have a picnic. The Waterfront Heritage Trail is an easy hike and takes you to many of the other attractions along the waterfront. The trail is dotted with artwork, too, such as the Sea Serpent, The Spirit Catcher, and The Rotary Clock. You can learn about 19th-century architecture by exploring the buildings of the area, too.

Outdoor Activities at Centennial Park

Centennial Park in Barrie is a beach park, so swimming, boating, and barbecues at the public grills are all popular. Even if you don’t use the grills, picnicking is popular on the beach and in the shade of numerous trees on the hottest days. The park has a boat launch as well. Your children will enjoy the well-appointed playground. There is also a large mat for wheelchairs to have easy access to the beach and water.

Immerse Yourself in Barrie’s Cultural Scene

In addition to the sculptures along the Waterfront Trail, there are other areas of public art for you to explore. These include an artistic memorial to the Canadian soldiers who died at Vimy Ridge during World War I, a sculpture that doubles as a bicycle rack, and a piece called Shlosha that is dedicated to truth and justice. The local orchestra and theater company produce shows throughout the year, and past performances include “H.M.S. Pinafore” and the Mozart “Requiem,” K.626.

The MacLaren Art Centre: A Creative Hub

One of the most popular Barrie, Ontario attractions is the MacLaren Art Centre, which features both a permanent collection of Canadian art and visiting exhibitions. The exhibits generally stay for three or four months, so to see what’s featured at any given time, check the official website. In addition to the art itself, the facility provides art therapy, adult learning classes, and other educational programs for both grown-ups and children.

Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures in Barrie

For the kids, the Kings and Castles Indoor Playground is especially fun, and the accompanying restaurant is renowned. Another exciting, family-friendly activity is the local escape room. For outdoor excitement, try Treetop Trekking, where you swing and climb between trees high above the ground. Or, climb aboard a HMMWV and tour the local woods in a whole different and pulse-pounding way.

Skiing and Snowboarding at Horseshoe Resort

Just 16 miles up the road to the north, you’ll find Horseshoe Resort. During the winter, you can indulge in Alpine and Nordic skiing as well as riding bikes with fat tires designed for the snow. In addition to skis, you can also use snowboards. Golfing and regular biking are popular during the late spring and summer. When it’s autumn, the most popular activity is cross-country mountain biking to see the fall foliage.

Family Fun at Barrie’s Top Attractions

First, the Nordic skiing at Horseshoe Resort has programs for toddlers to adults. The Vertical Zone lets your children enjoy trampolines and various “springy” ball games. For older children, there’s Delta Force Paintball. Parents and children alike can enjoy retro video games and pinball in downtown Barrie at the Last Level Lounge. Bowlerama Barrie lets you enjoy an afternoon of bowling before dinner. For a relaxing, educational, and fun outing, try the Sunnidale Park Arboretum.

Splash Around at the Splash ON Water Park

You can cool off in Lake Simcoe at the Splash ON Water Park during the swimming season. There are water-based monkey bars, balance beams, and all manner of other obstacles to negotiate. It’s the largest inflatable water park in all of Canada. You get two hours’ worth of splash time per ticket, and you can buy more tickets after your time runs out.

Explore Barrie’s Natural Beauty

The Southern Canadian Shield, along with nearby Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, is a picturesque environment that features opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, boating, and swimming. The rocks and mountains of the area predate the Cambrian Period, making them more than 541 million years old. Gorgeous kettle lakes and the sumptuous forests that they nourish cover the area, and exploring them is a popular way to spend the day.

Hiking Trails and Scenic Views at Ardagh Bluffs

There are seven blazed hiking trails in the Ardagh Bluffs Natural Area, which is only 4.4 miles from downtown Barrie. The trails are either easy or moderate in difficulty. The West Creek Loop is the longest of them at a little more than 5 miles. It climbs about 900 feet and doubles as a snowshoe trail during the winter. The Ring Trail Loop is the simplest one, climbing only a little more than 200 feet along its 1.5-mile length.

Barrie’s Culinary Delights: Where to Eat

The Lazy Tulip Cafe and Il Buco Ristorante are quite popular, the former for its locally sourced vegetarian fare and the latter for its traditional Italian cuisine. Donaleigh’s Irish Public House features sandwiches, soups, and other dishes from the Emerald Isle.

Savor Local Flavors at the Farmer’s Market

The area’s farmers market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. You can find local food of all types, from cheesecake to produce. You can also sample international dishes made from local ingredients at the market, including Mediterranean, European, and Central American fare.

Tips for Navigating Barrie in Your RV

Even if it’s your first time renting an RV, you can enjoy exploring Barrie. The area is served by 400-class highways, which can support an RV of any size. There aren’t any bridges to cross between Toronto and Barrie, so you can drive the 55 miles without worry. There are RV campgrounds, including a Barrie KOA, within 20 miles of the city, but you should still book at least a couple of months early to be sure of getting the spot you want. Remember, to enter Canada, you need a passport for each family member.

As we wrap up our journey through Barrie, Ontario it’s clear that this vibrant city offers a plethora of activities to suit every interest. From its engaging cultural institutions to the thrill of outdoor sports, Barrie is a destination that promises fun and adventure. With RVShare as your guide, you can discover all sorts of adventures not only in Barrie but also in the rest of Northern Ontario and beyond, so pack up your RV and set off to create wondrous new memories and experiences.