Barrie is one of the largest cities in southwestern Ontario. Located on the shore of Lake Simcoe and surrounded by woods, this is a great point of departure for exploring the lush wilderness north of Toronto. Before heading into the forest, check out Barrie’s lively art scene.

In summer, explore the waterfront along Lake Simcoe. Take the 4.2-mile (6.7-kilometer) trail through Barrie’s lakeside area to reach several beaches. Swim at Centennial Beach in the refreshing lake water after enjoying beach volleyball on the sand or a game of miniature golf nearby. Rent a motorboat or a Jet Ski to explore Lake Simcoe’s vast 279-square-mile (722-square-kilometer) area.

Walk up to the Spirit Catcher, the 22-ton (20-tonne) steel sculpture on the Lake Simcoe waterfront. Originally designed for the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver by Ontario sculptor Ron Baird, the towering statue is influenced by the art of Ontario’s indigenous groups.

See more works by regional artists at the MacLaren Art Center. Temporary exhibitions of Canadian artists supplement a 26,600-piece permanent collection, with an especially large selection of Soviet press photographs.

Get out into the Ontario forest in the Ardagh Bluffs Natural Area. This 518-acre (210-hectare) plot of forest is in the southwest part of town. To visit a more remote stretch of wilderness, drive 40 minutes west of Barrie to reach the Minesing Wetlands Conservation Area. Here, creeks and rivers snake through 15,000 acres (6,070 hectares) of protected wetlands inhabited by deer and hundreds of bird species. Traverse the wooded landscape by canoe.

Barrie is also known for winter attractions. Rent a snowmobile in Barrie to explore the snowy woods outside of town. Several different ski resorts are a short drive from town as well. The closest resort, Snow Valley, is a perfect destination for families and beginner skiers.

From Toronto, make the 1-hour drive or the 3-hour bus ride to Barrie. Once there, get around this region of wetlands, rivers and lakes by boat.

Known for

Family-friendly, Friendly People and Ice Hockey

Top Hotels in Barrie

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Super 8 by Wyndham Barrie
Super 8 by Wyndham Barrie
2.5 out of 5
441 Bryne Drive, Barrie, ON
CA $72
per night
Sep 29 - Sep 30
4/5Very Good! (1,931 reviews)

"Staff was nice hotel was nice but outdated. Not many breakfast options"…"

Reviewed on Sep. 17, 2019

Super 8 by Wyndham Barrie
Image for Travelodge by Wyndham Barrie on Bayfield
Travelodge by Wyndham Barrie on Bayfield
2 out of 5
300 Bayfield St, Barrie, ON
CA $64
per night
Oct 6 - Oct 7
3.4/5Good! (1,495 reviews)

"Staff excellent. Location excellent for food and right off highway. Best breakfast in Canada across the street, ‘The Diner’. This was an overnight stay for us, enroute to our destination. I would definitely stay in that capacity again."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 16, 2019

Travelodge by Wyndham Barrie on Bayfield
Image for Best Western PLUS Barrie
Best Western PLUS Barrie
2.5 out of 5
35 Hart Drive, Barrie, ON
CA $99
per night
Sep 29 - Sep 30
4.1/5Very Good! (865 reviews)

"Love the grab and go bag with fresh fruit and water"…"

Reviewed on Sep. 17, 2019

Best Western PLUS Barrie

Popular things to do in Barrie

Barrie Arboretum at Sunnidale Park
Image for Barrie Arboretum at Sunnidale Park

Barrie Arboretum at Sunnidale Park

Admire stately trees, walk or ski along trails and take the children to a playground full of apparatus and activities at this pleasant arboretum and park. 

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
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Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Explore hiking trails, relax on one of the world’s longest freshwater beaches and visit a historic site at this picturesque park.

Sunset Point Park
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Sunset Point Park

Relax on a rocky beach, explore scenic walking trails and watch windsurfers ride the waves of Georgian Bay.

Top activities in Barrie

Vacation Photographer in Collingwood
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Vacation Photographer in Collingwood

CA $41

Book a private professional photographer for a family trip, destination wedding, secret proposal or just a great day. Prices start at 8.

Toronto LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Tickets
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Toronto LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Tickets

CA $23

Let your imagination run wild as you build amazing creations, dive into play zones, hop on 2 LEGO® rides, and immerse yourself in the fantastic 4-D Cinema show. This is the ultimate indoor LEGO® attraction and is ideal for families with children between 3 and 10 years old.

Lady Muskoka Millionaire's Row Cruise
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Lady Muskoka Millionaire's Row Cruise

CA $44

The No. 1 ranked tour in Bracebridge. For more than 50 years, the Lady Muskoka has been offering picturesque sightseeing tours The three-level, 104-foot Lady Muskoka has been meandering down the Muskoka River and into Lake Muskoka, granting up to 300 passengers at a time an intimate look at the wildlife, the nearby cottages, and Millionaire's Row.

Operation City Quest of Aurora, ON
Image for Operation City Quest of Aurora, ON

Operation City Quest of Aurora, ON

CA $13

Using your smartphone, you'll be given nearly 150 objects to find during your scavenger hunt. You'll then wander throughout the downtown area searching for the items. Once you've found the object, you'll send a photo in to score points.

Vacation Photographer in Muskoka
Image for Vacation Photographer in Muskoka

Vacation Photographer in Muskoka

CA $41

Book a private professional photographer for a family trip, destination wedding, secret proposal or just a great day. Prices start at 8.

Private Session with a Local Photographer in Blue Mountain
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Private Session with a Local Photographer in Blue Mountain

CA $55

Connect with a local photographer to capture your most memorable Blue Mountain moments during this private photo shoot. Get insider tips on what to eat, see and do and return from your trip with beautiful, high quality, holiday memories. The best souvenir ever.