A Weekend Itinerary for Families Visiting North Bay

Chief Commanda II - Callander Bay Scenic Tour Package

Chief Commanda II Callander Bay Scenic Tour Pkg includes accommodations, breakfast, boarding pass and choice of dinner on the boat or at the resort.
Starting at $258.99/night
Photo courtesy of Candice & Braden Photography

The North Bay area is home to some of the best forest and lake views in the province, thanks to hundreds of acres of unspoiled paradise. The town boasts a panoramic lakefront edged with endless green in the summer, colourful foliage in autumn, and a true northern Ontario vista in the winter. This is a scenic northern Ontario paradise complete with waterfront hiking trails, lake cruises, and a highway passing through town to become the scenic driving route to Temagami.

If you want a great view of this town surrounded by pristine scenery, North Bay has an airport, which connects to major metropolitan areas, including Toronto and Ottawa.

Here are some family fun ideas to enjoy while you’re in North Bay.  

Day 1

Walk, Run, Bike, or Rollerblade Along the Waterfront

The Kate Pace trail is a 21-km trail starting from Waterfront Park and traveling through woodlands along the edge of Lake Nipissing. The first half can be used by anyone in any season, but the second half is just for rollerblades and bikes. The trail also links up with the Kinsmen Trail which runs along the scenic Chippewa Creek as well as the Cranberry Marsh Trails. This latter biking and hiking trail has interpretive signage describing local plant and animal life and passes by a cranberry marsh. Because cranberries are harvested the same time as the leaves change, you can see the splendor of this red fruit up close and personal in autumn.  
Rent tandem, covered “bench” bikes, or regular bikes at Fun Rentals (which also offers canoes, kayaks, and other outdoor rentals) on Memorial Drive next to the Waterfront Marina.


A great spot for lunch is the White Owl Bistro. During warmer weather, the lakeside patio is the ideal place to enjoy shimmering Nipissing waters. This casual eatery is a place for true food lovers who like unexpected, but successfully executed combinations of flavours and careful preparation in each dish. For starters, try the roasted beet and peppered goat cheese napoleon or the smoked salmon nicoise salad with avocado mousse and wasabi vinaigrette. Then move onto the Lake Nipissing whitefish (potato crusted and deep fried), the baked camembert sandwich with peach jalapeno jam, or the chicken, pear, and date wrap.

chief commanda

Scenic Cruise of Lake Nipissing

Climb aboard the Chief Commanda II, a sightseeing boat that will take you on a tour to see the open vistas, natural beaches, islands, and rising escarpments of Lake Nipissing. Tours vary in length and cost (but generally in the neighbourhood of $25 for adults and $78 for a family). There are also dinner and sunset cruises. These cruises can book up fast, so make your reservation in advance.  

Kabuki smaller


If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, try the Kabuki House restaurant, which serves a lot more than the usual sushi. The owner, Masa Nagasawa, cooks dinner right in front of you at his Teppan table in the main dining room. In addition to the main room, there is also an upstairs room where you can enjoy your meal in an authentic Japanese setting while sitting on cushions.


An on-site spa and adjacent 18-hole golf course for mom and dad plus an outdoor pool for the kids? The Pinewood Park Resort is a perfect family hideaway. There are guest rooms as well as suites with pullout sofas, perfect for groups. There’s also a restaurant to make life a little easier after a day of exploring.

Clarion Resort Pinewood Park 20 smaller  clarion resort pinewood park golf 2 smaller

Day 2

Take in the Arts Downtown

North Bay’s downtown has three arts and culture shops worth checking out. Art on Main is the best place in the area to browse monthly exhibitions and purchase local artwork including stoneware, jewellery, photography, and fine art paintings. The FARM (Fashion Art Retail Market) is a surprisingly hip art collective with boutique retail and workspace for local artists. You’ll find handmade clothes, soaps, jewellery, plates, purses, and lots of other affordable and distinctive items to take home. Lastly, Gulliver’s Quality Books and Toys has a carefully curated selection of books (and a particularly good children’s section as well as a sizeable Canadian history collection) and educational and brain-building toys.


North Bay has a surprisingly diverse selection of flavours from around the world. If you’re craving an authentic thin crust pizza from a wood-fired oven and topped with creative ingredients, try Arugula. They have every imaginable pizza flavour and topping, including the amazing duck sausage and their hearty meatballs – yum!

meatballs arugula

Miniature Train and Heritage Carousel on the Waterfront

Younger children will love the waterfront’s Heritage Train and Carousel. This is a miniature railway runs 800 metres on a 15" gauge track. You experience travel in a traditional way as you buy your ticket at the station and once on the train, the conductor punches your ticket just like the old days. From Labour Day to Thanksgiving the train runs on weekends from 10 am until dusk.

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