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Ultimate Guide to Visiting Midland, Ontario

The town of Midland is set on the shores of Georgian Bay with its harbour built for small cruise ships, grain ships and recreational boats of all sizes. The town is filled with hundreds of years of history.

One of our favourite spots to spend a weekend in any season, exploring the beautiful town and surrounding areas on Georgian Bay.  Being the gateway to the 30,000 islands on Georgian Bay, home to many great places to eat and things to do Midland is a must visit place.

Here is our guide to visiting Midland, Ontario! 

History of Midland

The history of Midland plays a large part on the town’s existence today.  The area was home to the Huron Wendat nations for hundreds of years prior to first contact with the Europeans.  In the mid-1600’s the Jesuits arrived and set up Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, which would be the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people.  Over the next two hundred years the Europeans began to settle the area and what is now known as Midland began to flourish.

The First Nations roots of Midland and the surrounding area are still celebrated to this day with murals throughout the city, statues, museums celebrating their heritage as well as shops run by families of the original First Nations settlers.


Top Things To Do In Midland

North Americas Largest Outdoor Historical Mural – A must see in the Midland Harbour is North Americas largest outdoor historical mural displaying Sainte-Marie Among the Huron as it would have looked in the mid-1600’s.  You can easily view this mural from the town docks.  There are also plenty of other small murals on the buildings along the main streets of Midland depicting the history of this town.

Miss Midland – Ever cruised Georgian Bay and experienced the 30,000 Islands? If not make sure to book a tour on the Miss Midland!  Enjoy this two and a half hour sightseeing cruise that will take you through the dramatic rocks of the Canadian Shield, alongside the windswept pines that Georgian Bay is known for and see all the hot spots in the area.  For tour information on the Miss Midland 30000 island cruise click here.

Sainte-Marie Among The Hurons – Visit the first European Community established in Ontario – Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is a re-creation of its original site that tells the story of the Wendat and French interactions and life during the 1600’s.  Visitors get the unique opportunity to see what the earliest Canadian pioneer life would have looked like through self-guided visits, special events and group tours.  For more information on visiting Sainte-Marie click here.

Martyr’s Shrine – The Martyr’s Shrine is the National Shrine to the Canadian Martyrs.  The shine is a memorial to honour the the 8 Jesuit Saints who lived, worked and died in Midland over 350 years ago.  The Shrine offers tours, church services and engaging activities for all ages.


Top Places To Eat in Midland

The Boathouse Eatery – The Boathouse Eatery is a Midland favourite for both locals and boaters alike.  Located right on the shores of Georgian Bay you can access the restaurant by car or boat.  Here you can have a light snack, drinks, or a full lunch or dinner.  Regardless of what you order the view cannot be beat and the food is equally as good!  Make sure to ask for a seat on the patio to watch the boats drive by or even watch the sunset into the horizon.

Dillon’s Wood Fired Pizza – Dillon’s Wood Fired Pizza is one of the newest restaurants to Midland but it is taking the town by storm.  This cozy restaurant offers hand made, wood oven fired pizza that will leave you wanting more.  The owner – Dillon – is almost always around to greet everyone with his warm smile and make great recommendations.  Located right on the main street of Midland (King Street) and steps to the docks on Georgian Bay.

Mom’s Restaurant – Mom’s Restaurant is a staple in Midland that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday.  They are best known for their incredible breakfast menu and a great place to take the family and enjoy great food and company.  Located a 5 minute drive from the downtown.

Uncle Roy’s Restaurant – Uncle Roy’s offers an American breakfast menu and then changes to Chinese food for lunch and dinner.  If you are looking for great eat in or take out Chinese, Uncle Roy’s is a great option during your visit to Midland.    Located on King Street in Midland and is within easy walking distance to Georgian Bay.


Midland is the perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway with is shallow waters perfect for splashing around, a boaters paradise and hundreds of years of history will make you want to return.  

Staying at Rocky Crest Golf Resort

Tucked away on the beautiful shores of Lake Joseph, Rocky Crest Golf Resort is the perfect Muskoka resort to sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings.  One of Ontario’s premier lakefront resorts sitting on the shores of Lake Joseph makes for an ideal family vacation, romantic getaway, golf weekend with friends, spa outing, destination wedding and conference location.  Rocky Crest has spacious suites, multiple restaurants offering something for every taste, a modern Canadian golf course, and so much more all in the heart of Ontario’s favourite cottage country playground, Muskoka.

Here is our experience staying at Rocky Crest Golf Resort!

The Rooms

Every room at Rocky Crest is a suite style with a kitchenette that includes a microwave, mini refrigerator, sink, coffee maker and kettle.  Each suite also includes flat screen TV’s, air conditioning, a fireplace and much more.  We checked into a one-bedroom suite with a king bed and could not have asked for a better room! This was perfect for two people thanks to its massive bedroom with ensuite bathroom, cozy sitting area with a second flat screen tv and a fireplace with an adjoining kitchen.  Rocky Crest has 16 of these one-bedroom suites with king beds and another 5 one-bedrooms suites with two double beds.

If you are looking for something with a bit more room, make sure to check out the 14 two-bedroom loft suites which include a queen bed in the master bedroom and a double in the second bedroom, along with two bathrooms.

If you need even more space, there are also two-bedroom suites available that have a king bed in the master and two double beds in the second bedroom.  There are 30 of these rooms available and are a perfect fit for a family looking for their own space without feeling like crowded.


Where to Eat & Drink

Rocky Crest Golf Resort is home to three different dining options for all different occasions and tastes.

Bayside Patio & Lounge – The Bayside Patio & Lounge offers a casual dining experience with a nautical decor and stunning views of Lake Joseph and the Rocky Crest grounds.  The patio is a very popular spot for some afternoon drinks for both local boaters and resort-goers alike.  If you are looking for a place to relax, watch the boats go by and enjoy the nice weather, then Bayside Patio & Lounge is the place to go!

Windows – Windows is a fine dining experience in a traditional Muskoka setting.  With a Canadian inspired menu and incredible views of Lake Joseph, this is an experience not to be missed.  Make sure to try some of the best steak and seafood the area has to offer.  If you are looking for a place to enjoy your dinner while the sun sets beyond the horizon, this is the place to be.  Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time to guarantee yourself a window seat!

On The Green – On The Green is not located on the Rocky Crest Resort side with the lodging but instead its found across the street at the Rocky Crest Golf Club.  Situated on the stunning 18th green of Rocky Crest Golf Club this relaxed dining experience offers seating both inside the Muskoka log cabin clubhouse and on the patio where you can watch the golfers finish their game.  Make sure to take a walk over here for a meal, you will not be disappointed!


What To Do At Rocky Crest

With so many activity options to do at Rocky Crest, you could easily spend days here doing them all and enjoying the resort!

The Pools – There are two outdoor heated pools, one with breathtaking views of Lake Joseph, and the other a salt water pool that is tucked away in the Armishaw Recreation Area. The salt water pool is often less busy and very peaceful.  There is also an outdoor hottub right next to the main pool deck that is perfect for a sunset soak.

The Beach & Water Toys – The beach on Lake Joseph is something you must experience and enjoy while visiting the resort.  Both sand as well as a dock are available to sit back, relax and enjoy the sun.  In addition to the beach there is an inflatable waterpark that includes a trampoline, a jungle gym and slides that are fun for all ages!  The toys are available from June to September.

Sports on the Resort – There are many different sporting options on the resort including beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, tennis, a billiards table and much more!  All the equipment is provided by either the Armishaw Recreation Area or Lake Joseph waterfront area.

Boat Rentals – Rocky Crest provides complimentary use of non-motorized watercrafts including canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.  These can be signed out at the Armishaw Recreation Area & Lake Joseph Waterfront.

Hiking – There are a number of trails right on the resort property that you can hike and explore the full extent of the resort.  Maps are available at the Guest Services Desk or Recreation Department at the Armishaw Recreation Area.

Bonfires at Dusk – Every Friday and Saturday from May-June & September-October and daily in July & August, Rocky Crest has a bonfire pit where you will find the fire roaring after dusk that comes along with complimentary marshmallows to complete the full campfire experience!

Golf – This beautiful golf course situated in the heart of Muskoka will both wow you with its views on each hole as well as challenge your skills.  The premiere Ontario golf course is a Clublink property and if you enjoy a nice game of golf this is something you should not miss out on.

 

Why You Need to Visit Georgian Bay

Ontario encompasses over one-fifth of the worlds fresh water with its 250,000 lakes.  These waterways play a key part in the history and development of the province through the means of transportation for early explorers, a source of food and influencing where towns would be built. Next to the five great lakes, Georgian Bay is the largest body of water in Ontario and is often considered the sixth great lake.

One of our favourite places to explore, photograph and enjoy is beautiful Georgian Bay.  With its 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, this large bay has many popular areas and hidden gems.  Georgian Bay has everything from beautiful white sand beaches, hiking trails, island camping, boating, picturesque lighthouses and so much more.

Less than a two hour drive from Toronto, Georgian Bay lets you see another side of Ontario.  Here you will leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and enter a place of wind-swept pines, waves crashing up onto the Canadian Shield, small and large cottages dotting the lake and the 30,000 islands.

Here’s what you’ll experience while visiting Georgian Bay! 

The Cities Surrounding The Bay

Many areas of Georgian Bay along the shoreline can be accessed from the road.  This includes Collingwood, Midland, Parry Sound, French River, Killarney and Tobermory to name a few. Tobermory and Collingwood have a steady stream of tourism to the areas with their great attractions such as the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Blue Mountain.  Other towns such as Midland and Petetanguishene are less frequently visited by tourists, but have a lot to offer.

To drive around all of Georgian Bay it is 1285km drive including a ferry crossing at the northern end that connects you between Manitoulin Island and Tobermory.  This drive can be done in as little as 2-3 days or leisurely take up to 15 days to enjoy and immerse yourself in this beautiful area.  To drive to some of the destination cities or do the entire loop either way you will not be disappointed in what you see as with each new bend in the road there is a different view of the Bay and beautiful Ontario.


 

Boating on Georgian Bay

Although there are many great destinations that you can access around the perimeter shoreline of Georgian Bay, some of the best destinations are on the many islands throughout the bay. Most of these islands are accessible by boat in the summer and many can even be accessed by snowmobile throughout the winter months.

Our two most visited islands for both the summer and winter months are Giants Tomb and Beckwith, each of which are a short trip from Midland / Honey Harbour by boat or snowmobile. Both islands offer great day trip destinations in the summer and winter months and allow you to explore the perimeter on the water / ice or head into the island and explore the islands on foot.

Giants Tomb takes the shape of a sleeping giant and native legend has it that the giant God Kitchikewana laid to eternal rest here after creating Georgian Bay. The island is a great destination for day trips, great swimming and camping on the beach.  During the winter months when the bay freezes over, a series of natural ice caves can be found on the West side and is popular amongst snowmobilers. The actual size of the ice caves can vary each year as they are caused by the waves freezing as they crash into the island.

Located just beyond Giants Tomb, Beckwith is a boater’s paradise.  Thanks to it’s sandy bottom, this island has crystal clear water and long beaches. There is no development on the island except for a simple outhouse to serve boaters, campers and picnickers. The island provides you with everything you need to spend the day or night in complete tranquility.  This is a popular destination for us on weekends to relax on the beach and swim in the warm waters of Georgian Bay.  One of our favourite moments is when the boat pulls up to the island and the bay transforms into clear turquoise waters – This is one of the few places you will find clear water like this on Georgian Bay.


One of the best things about Georgian Bay is that it is ever changing with beautiful landscapes and new adventures around each corner. From day trips to week long adventures, Georgian Bay has something to offer everyone. If you get the change stay out late, watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out as it is a sight you will not soon forget.

Georgian Bay is beautiful in every season so if you are looking for a weekend adventure anytime throughout the year take a drive to one of the many beautiful towns along the bay.

Hopefully we will see you on Georgian Bay!

Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear Provincial Park is located along Georgian Bay in the heart of the Canadian Shield and is one of Ontario’s most popular camping destinations. Killbear is a short 30 minute drive from the town of Parry Sound.  killbear-2

Killbear is best known for its windswept pines, rugged shoreline and beautiful beaches.  The park’s diverse landscape offers miles of scenic hiking, warm waters to swim or canoe in, cliffs to jump from, and stunning sunsets and sunrises.  With 882 campsites that are split across seven campgrounds (Beaver Dams, Georgian, Lighthouse Point, Blind Bay, Kilcoursie and Granite Saddle).  Each of the different campgrounds are all situated less than a ten minute walk to the shoreline.  When you come to Killbear you can immediately see why it is such a hot spot for campers – However, as a popular spot you must book several months in advance to get a weekend camp site.

 

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Looking for something to do other than spend some time on one of the many beautiful beaches? Why not try out one of hikes that Killbear has to offer? The trails range from 1km to 3.5km and all offer breathtaking views of Georgian Bay.

The shortest of the trails is the Lighthouse Point Trail, which is a visitor favourite as it takes you along the rocky shoreline of Georgian Bay and provides a breathtaking view of the 30,000 islands.  This 0.5km lopped trail should only take you about an hour and takes you to the tip of Killbear Point where the 1940’s Killbear Beacon Lighthouse was used to guide many ships with supplies and tourists safely into Parry Sound Harbour.

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If you are looking for a bit of a longer hike, the Twin Points Trail is a 1.8km trail loop that crosses the variety of terrain Killbear has to offer – including forest, beaches and Canadian Shield bedrock.  This trail has been designated as one of Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve’s Amazing Places.

Another great spot to checkout in the park is the Killbear Visitor Centre.  Here you will get a chance to learn about the animals and foliage that you will find throughout the park as well as its unique geology and history.  This new centre features exhibits such as a live Massasauga rattlesnake, children programs, guided hikes and other activities throughout the summer.

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It is easy to see how Killbear Park is one of Ontarios jewels and is not to be missed.  If you want peace and quiet, nature and privacy, Killbear Provincial Park is a must.