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Top 7 Fun Things to do in Kawartha Lakes – For Residents and Visitors

Looking for exciting things to do in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario? The Kawartha Lakes region, has a lot to offer visitors searching for a spring or summer break full of magnificent scenery, superb regional cuisine, craft beer, and outdoor activity.

Whether you’re seeking for your next big winter expedition or a comfortable fireplace to relax in front of, you’ll get it here in Kawartha Lakes.

And, when the weekend arrives, there’s no better place to be than this region of mirrored lakes, rivers, and waterways, which is called after an Anishinaabe First Nation word that means “Land of Shining Waters.”

Infact, the most difficult part of your trip to the Kawartha Lakes will undoubtedly be deciding what to do next. Explore our Top 7 things to do in Kawartha Lakes, and experience to make the most of your time here.

Where is Kawartha Lakes?

Amazingly, the Kawartha Lakes, are a series of 14 lakes in southeastern Ontario, Canada. They span Peterborough and Victoria counties, just north and west of Peterborough and 30–70 miles (50–115 kilometers) northeast of Toronto.

The lakes, which range in size from 2 to 18 square miles (5 to 47 square kilometers), are a vital part of the Trent Canal. This Canal connects Georgian Bay in Lake Huron to Lake Ontario. Scugog, Cameron, Balsam, Pigeon, Bald, Sandy, Buckhorn, Stony, Clear, and Katchewanooka are the names of the lakes.

Historically, Kawartha lakes, formerly the heart of a logging district, are now a renowned summer-resort area known for canoeing, boating, and fishing. The Huron Indian word Kawartha means “bright waters and happy lands.”

Kawartha Lakes Population

In the 2016 Canadian Census, the population of Kawartha Lakes was 75,423 people, up from 73,219 in the 2011 census. This is a population change of 2,204 people, or a growth rate of 0.59 percent.

More so, the age group between 55 and 59 years old has the biggest population in Kawartha Lakes, ON. While, the age group between 80 and 84 years old has the smallest number.

In addition, between the ages of 15 and 64, 61.59 percent of the population is in the working age group. While the younger population, which will be part of the labor force in less than two decades, makes up 21.31 percent.

Cities Near Kawartha Lakes

Possibly, there are about eight towns near Kawartha Lakes. The best of the eight towns and villages near the Kawartha Lakes are Uxbridge, Beaverton, and Fenelon Falls.

Also, there are 4 towns and villages within 44 kilometers of Kawartha Lakes, and 18 towns and villages within 52 kilometers of Clarington.

The most popular of these are Scarborough, in Clarington, and, Lakefield near Peterborough. In Ontario, there are 250 towns and villages, while in Canada, there are 2036 towns and villages.

How to get to Kawartha Lakes by Air and Road

Of course, the Kawartha Lakes region is accessible by road through four provincial highways that are open year-round and are well maintained.

Highway 35, Highway 115, Highway 7A, and Highway 7 are all interstate highways. These highways connect to municipal roads that connect our towns and communities around the Kawartha Lakes region.

In a nutshell, Kawartha Lakes is a 90-minute trip north of Toronto (132 kilometers or 82 miles). The city is around four hours south of Ottawa, 2.5 hours north of Niagara Falls.

Things to do in Kawartha Lakes

Certainly, Kawartha Lakes has a plethora of fun things to do for you and your family. Everyone will be thrilled for days thanks to the family-friendly activities.

In addition, Kawartha Lakes offers a wide range of recreational, entertainment, and outdoor adventure options.

Let us take you on a tour of some of the most interesting things to do in Kawartha Lakes. The top 10 enjoyable things to do in Kawartha Lakes are listed below.

#1. Go Birdwatching 

Firstly, you may go birdwatching. The return of migratory birds is a sure indication of spring in the Kawarthas. Bird watching is one of the finest free things to do in the Kawarthas since you can observe songbirds, birds of prey, and water fowl without having to look very hard.

In the region, more than 259 bird species have been identified. And, throughout the Kawarthas, some of the best birding areas are conveniently found along the cycling and walking routes established on abandoned railway tracks.

On even a short weekend break, you can see loons, pelicans, ducks and swans, hawks, eagles, grouse, turkeys, owls, hummingbirds, warblers, finches, and other species. Therefore it’s worth downloading a Birding App to identify the birds you see.

#2. Elmhirst’s Resort

Secondly, Elmhirst’s Resort, the heart and spirit of lakeside vacationing on Rice Lake’s north bank, offers plenty of outdoor activity for the whole family. The location, which was first handed to the Elmhirst family by King George IV of England in 1818. And this location has grown from its rural roots to become a successful resort.

Impressively, fine dining, the exciting Wild Blue Yonder pub, luxurious cabins, a full-service spa, a swimming pool, horseback riding, and all the water sports such as tubing, canoeing, and kayaking are all available at this family-owned and operated resort.

Oh! the waters are so tranquil that you can even float around one of Rice Lake’s beautiful green islands on a paddle board.

#3. Visiting Hearthside Dining Room for Sunday Brunch at the Elmhirst’s 

Thirdly, Sunday Brunch at Elmhirst’s Hearthside Dining Room, where you can enjoy a locally-inspired menu, is a popular day excursion from Toronto for foodies.

Furthermore, at Elmhirsts Resort, you may also partake in a wine tasting. They have a large range of excellent VQA wines in their underground wine cellar. Private tastings can be arranged for groups of four to twelve people.

#4. Explore Ontario’s Past at Lang Village

Exploring the past is a terrific way to start your summer vacation in the Kawarthas. Immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland began to settle in the Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes area in the 1800s.

Water was used to power the mills that processed grain into flour, therefore villages sprang up along rivers.

The Lang Pioneer Village Museum is a replica of one of those early communities, located beside the Indian River in the hamlet of Lang.

Historic buildings from throughout Ontario were saved and transported to the site to form this open-air museum.

Today, this collection of restored and furnished heritage buildings includes, blacksmith shop, log school, An agriculture barn, the Lang Grist Mill, white clapboard Methodist church, and the Keene Hotel.

It’s unquestionably one of the best family attractions in the Kawarthas. Children from toddlers to pre-teens will love learning about pioneer life. Don’t miss the one-room schoolhouse, where they can pretend to be real students by sitting at ancient desks.

#5. Chill out with a Kawartha Lakes Craft Beer

Cooling off with one of the local craft beers from Bobcaygeon Brewing, Smithavens Brewing Company, Publican House, Manantler, and a growing number of other small breweries while cycling or touring the Kawarthas.

Many of these brews can be sampled at the Kawartha Craft Beer Festival, which takes place every year on the waterfront at Millenium Park in Peterborough. In 2019, it will take place on June 14th and 15th (Friday night and all-day Saturday).

#6. Go Paddling in a Canoe

Another interesting thing to do, is Paddling the Canadian Canoe Route (CCR), which connects Toronto and Ottawa and was built by First Nations, fur traders, and explorers, is another must-do Kawartha Lakes activity.

The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough is a great place to learn about canoeing’s history and culture.

In the summer, you may even join a Voyageur Canoe Paddling Experience and paddle a 36-foot Montreal canoe with a guide through the Peterborough Lift Lock.

Thursday nights from 5 to 8 p.m., entry to the Canadian Canoe Museum is free (adult admission is usually $12, so this is a wonderful deal).

#7. Go watch Crocodiles at Indian River Reptile Zoo

In 2016, when a deadly copperhead snake was sighted on the loose in Ajax’s Greenwood Conservation Area, authorities enlisted the help of experts from the Indian River Reptile Zoo.

More than 400 snakes, turtles, and lizards call this registered not-for-profit registered charity home, many of them rescued, abandoned by their owners, or smuggled endangered animals seized by police.

Now, visitors can take a croc-walk past ponds filled with various species of crocodiles and enjoy a variety of outdoor amusement park attractions such as life-sized Tyrannosaurus-Rex and other robotic dinosaurs.

Plus, a Giant Gator waterslide, and a Bone Yard sandbox where tots can dig for “dinosaur” bones, in addition, to seeing pythons and other rare snakes inside the climate-controlled educational centre.

What to do in Kawartha Lakes On Special Days?

Whether you’re still planning your trip to Kawartha Lakes or you’ve already arrived, it’s helpful to know what to do in Kawartha Lakes on special days. Let’s dive in to see what’s happening today, or to plan what to do this weekend!

What to do on a weekend?

#1. Rice Lake is a great place to visit for a weekend getaway

Rice Lake is a great place to visit if you want to get away from it all. It’s a lovely lake that’s great for camping and boating, and it’s surrounded by little villages with sightseeing, shopping, restaurants, and other amenities.

#2. Make friends with a horse at The Mane Intent

“Horses are nature’s best coaches,” says the Mane Intent. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned rider, spending a day with one of these magnificent creatures will lead you through a day in nature that will allow you to genuinely connect with your senses.

#3. Take a tour of Harley Farms

At its farm store, the Harley Farms sells farm-fresh products such as free-range eggs, homemade BBQ sauces and salad dressings, and a variety of pig, beef, and lamb.

Also, visitors can take a thorough tour of the farms when the weather permits and discover how the animals live on-site in these well-kept natural settings.

Things to do in Kawartha Lakes Today?

You want to take your family out today, but don’t know where to take them. We’ve got you taken care of. Take a look at some of the best places to hang out!

#1. Grab a cone at the Kawartha Dairy Limited

The Kawartha Dairy Company, which has been in operation for over 80 years. And has been passed down through generations, delivers a taste of the past and the future in their ice cream to the Kawartha region and beyond.

#2. Cycle through Peterborough and the Kawarthas.

“Grasp life by the handlebars” and cycle through the Kawarthas’ scenery. The variety of cycling trails, from city to rural, on endurance or leisure courses, entices many people to bike around the area.

#3. Discover more about the Peterborough Lift Lock

Lastly, this massive apparatus, located on the Trent Canal’s Otanabee River section, is designed to hoist vessels over 20 meters into the air. This highly engineered piece of history is an excellent way to learn about a major attraction – the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock.

Best Times to Visit Kawartha Lakes?

Indeed, the Kawartha Lakes is very during the month of January. Simply based on the weather, this is probably not the best time of year to visit the Kawartha Lakes for your vacation. The weather is frequently inclement, making it difficult to spend time outside.

In Kawartha Lakes, January is winter, and it is usually the coldest month of the year. As well, Maximum daytime temperatures are approximately -5°C (23°F), while nighttime temperatures are around -15°C (5°F).

With roughly 74mm of rain on average, January is the driest month of the year in Kawartha Lakes, making it a generally dry time to come. This rainfall is usually spread out over 12 days, however this can vary a lot.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kawartha Lakes known for?

The lakes, formerly the heart of a logging district, are now a renowned summer-resort area known for canoeing, boating, and fishing. The Huron Indian name Kawartha means “bright lakes and happy lands.”

What is the cleanest lake in the Kawarthas?

Balsam Lake is considered as the cleanest lake in the Kawarthas because it is the highest point on the Trent-Severn Waterway.

What are the best places to go in Kawartha Lakes?

The following are the top places to visit in Kawartha Lakes:

  • Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park
  • Lock 35 – Rosedale
  • Emily Provincial Park
  • Ken Reid Conservation Area is located in the town of Ken Reid.
  • The Kawartha Settlers’ Village is located in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario.


Undoubtedly, the Kawartha Lakes is an exciting place to be. It has a lot to offer visitors, from a spring or summer break full of magnificent scenery, to a superb regional cuisine, craft beer, and outdoor activity. We hope that this article on Kawartha Lakes attractions piques your interest.

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