Barrie, Ontario, is one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities and is popular as a year-round vacation destination. In fact, it’s so well-loved that a quarter of Canada’s population lives within 100 miles of this action-packed place.
If you’re lucky enough to be one of these people or if you’re planning to find out what the fuss is all about, keep reading. These are the best things to do in Barrie this summer.
Outdoor Attractions in Barrie
Winter in Barrie is awesome if you love snow-skiing and cozying up around the fireplace, but summertime is perfect for getting the most out of this vacation town.
These are the places you should head to when the sun is out in Barrie.
Barrie’s Waterfront stretches for over 3 miles along the shores of Kempenfelt Bay and is a major drawcard for locals as well as visitors to the city.
There are enough things along this strip to keep you busy for your entire stay, with both land-based and water-centered activities up for grabs.
- Beach Volleyball at Tyndale Beach
- Basketball at Centennial Park
- Outdoor fitness stations from Heritage Park to Southshore
- Walking and cycling along the Waterfront Trail
- Boating and Sailing at the Marina
- Sailing Trips at Bayfield Basin
Centennial Beach offers a chance to take to the water on canoes, kayaks, wakeboards, and paddleboards, or try your hand at wake surfing. You’ll also find an inflatable water park nearby for hours of youthful fun.
Heritage Park is a wonderful place to unwind, with lovely ponds, ducks, and gorgeous blooms to enjoy.
No trip to Barrie is complete unless you hit the streets to get a feel for your surroundings.
The city has a remarkable heritage and you can catch up with it as you amble among the historic buildings and grand homes of the past. You’ll find most of these in Allandale, Downtown, or on Rodney and Blake Streets.
Hot Air Ballooning
For a totally different perspective on the city, why not take to the air on an epic adventure? Soaring above the countryside between Barrie and Toronto is an exhilarating and unique way to check out the lie of the land during your stay.
Your host will pick you up and drop you off at a location of your choice and you’ll even get to toast your bravery with a glass of complimentary champagne.
For a more down-to-earth experience and loads of family fun, check out what’s happening at Chappel Farm while you’re in town.
This rural venue is a hotspot of seasonal entertainment such as wagon rides, farm animals to feed, magic shows, and jumping castles.
You can also pick up fresh farm-grown produce, as well as mementos and gifts during your visit.
Bear Creek Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary
If you prefer a walk on the wild side, Bear Creek will not disappoint. It’s one of the only places on Earth where you can see a ‘jaglion’, which is a cross between a jaguar and a lion.
A guided tour of this animal sanctuary is the best way to explore. You’ll learn so much about the rare creatures that you encounter here.
Advance bookings are essential for these exciting excursions.
During the summer in Barrie, celebrations are in no short supply.
The city is best known for its Kempenfest held in August every year. This grand affair boasts over 300 vendors selling everything from street food to arts and crafts.
There’s also an antique fair, live entertainment, and children’s activities.
Other notable seasonal events include Summer Movie Nights, the Barrielicious Food Festival, Big Sky Music Festival, and the Barrie Waterfront Festival.
Indoor Things to Do in Barrie
The action doesn’t stop when the heavens open over Barrie. These indoor activities are great anytime but can also serve as Plan B in the event of seasonal showers.
MacLaren Art Centre
Brush up on your knowledge of Canadian art at this prominent downtown establishment. The venue boasts 3 galleries packed with local and international artists and over 27,000 artworks in total.
After you’ve had your fill of these creations, you can relax with a cuppa at the onsite cafe or pick up some souvenirs at the shop.
Simcoe County Museum
Brush up on Barries’ history at the 132-acre Simcoe County Museum which overflows with interesting snippets from the days of yore.
Here you’ll find 16 different buildings dating back to the 19th century. Each of these is beautifully restored and houses its own unique collection of fascinating artifacts to admire.
Book a guided tour or take a walk back in time under your own steam.
A brewery tour is a perfect way to beat the rainy day blues or celebrate the summertime.
There are four breweries in town. You can choose one or take a curated tour of them all.
Each of these offers a guided trip into the heart of the action where you can discover their beer-making secrets. As a bonus, you’ll get to try a few of the varieties on offer too.
Afterward, enjoy a hearty meal and hone your beer-tasting skills some more, or head further afield for some sustenance.
Barrie restaurants are well-known for offering a huge range of eats. Don’t miss the chance to try out some local favorites, like lobster mac and cheese, during your stay.
Jacks Urban Jungle
Should you have youngsters in tow, Jack’s Urban Jungle is the perfect place for them to burn off pent-up energy.
The center has a range of indoor activities like zip-lining, climbing walls, bungee trampolines, a zorbing ball arena, and an aerial obstacle course. Children under the age of 4 years old can entertain themselves around the inflatable play areas.
Depending on how much time you have on your hands, you’re likely to discover many more things to do in Barrie during your visit.
Enjoy your explorations and check back on my travel blog for more inspiration the next time you’re planning a trip. You’ll find interesting snippets of information gleaned from all over the world.