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9 Ways to Kick the Winter Blues

9 Ways to Kick the Winter Blues

Surviving the Longest Shortest Month

Make the most out of February with these winter activities!



February is often known as the longest shortest month. The days are usually cold, with dreary skies and raging winds, and they seem to drag on endlessly while we all wait inside for a reprieve. Instead of being stuck indoors dreaming of sunny days though, why not bundle up and head outdoors to experience some of the best activities and destinations that Northeastern Ontario has to offer in the winter?

Go Dog Sledding

This bucket list-worthy activity is offered in the town of Cochrane with Ravens Adventures Dogsled Tours. Tours include a pre-orientation where you will meet the excited dogs and learn how to harness them into the sled. Embark on a snowy ride through hills and forests for up to three hours with these incredible dogs in the cozy sled for one unforgettable experience.

Alpine Skiing

The plus side of having so much snow and cold weather in Northeastern Ontario is the ski hills boast a long season full of fresh powder. Antoine Mountain is one of Ontario’s highest mountains with 15 groomed runs, including the longest run in Ontario, and it's just an hour from North Bay. With more natural snow than anywhere else in the province, you can spend days skiing here. Don't want to leave North Bay? Pick up a lift ticket to Laurentian Ski Hill inside the city. 

Bird Watching

Winter is one of the best times to go bird watching, as birds are easier to spot against the white snow without the leaf coverage and the silence of the winter makes it easier to hear them. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive snowy owl, the bold gray jays, northern cardinals, and even bald eagles. Head out on any trail for a chance at finding these birds, or visit the Canadian Ecology Centre near Mattawa, which offers many snowshoe and hiking trails for free.

Winter Camping

For the brave and experienced camper, there is something special about camping in the winter. Think roasting marshmallows over a winter bonfire while wrapped in a blanket with the snow softly falling above you, and quickly winter camping seems much more doable. Head to Killarney where Killarney Provincial Park offers six heated yurts as well as many campsites that are open all year around. Don't want to go it alone? Join Friends of Killarney Park this Family Day Weekend (February 18 & 19) for their 12th Annual Winter Weekend, which involves bird watching, guided hikes, and a BBQ. 

Another option is Windy Lake Provincial Park, offering 93 drive-in sites. Both parks offer enough cross-country and snowshoeing trails to keep you busy all day long.

Ice Fishing

Lake Nipissing is a premier ice fishing destination, and no one makes it easier than Fish Bay Marina. Offering day huts as well as four, six and eight-person bungalows, this experience is like no other. They provide guests with transport, drilled holes, hooks, line and sinkers, propane heat, TVs, cooking equipment, and private washroom facilities. Plan on catching pike, pickerel (walleye), perch, whitefish, and ling here while you fish from the comfort of a heated bungalow.

Snowmobiling

If there is one thing that Northeastern Ontario knows well, it’s the art of snowmobiling. With the longest season in the province, trails are expansive and long, begging riders to stay out for days. Many of the hotels and lodges in this area cater to snowmobilers; just remember, you must have a trail permit to ride in this province. Some of the more popular areas include North Bay, Bonefield, Mattawa and Sudbury.

Go Tobogganing

Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, there is something about tobogganing that just makes people smile. The best spots to toboggan often depend on how much of an adrenaline rush you want to have, but most hills can be found in many of the urban centres. Talk a walk to local schools, or through the pathways, and find your favourite sledding hill.

Try Fat Biking

Fat biking is one of the latest crazes to hit Northeastern Ontario, and all across the region this sport is debuting. Try your skills at the gear demo at Antoine Mountain, enter into a 10-km fat bike race in North Bay or hit the Naughton fat bike trails. Check your local bike shop for rentals.

Snowshoeing

It is one of the fastest growing winter sports – partly because it is incredibly easy to do, partly because it’s inexpensive, and of course it’s plenty of fun. Did we mention it's great exercise as well? Read more about some of the best snowshoeing destinations in the region here.

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