It might have taken its own sweet time but after melting away on several occasions, powder around here has finally started to pile on. And if you are looking to embrace the awesomeness of the snowy wilderness and icy lakes or simply need a change of scenery without straying too far from home, we have just the place for you. Enter: Orillia & Lake Country!

Given its popularity with Torontonians as a summer getaway destination, this beautiful lake-bordered region hardly needs an intro. And to our surprise, they also know how to “do winter right.”

Whether you need a quiet cabin to hunker down, ski adventurous terrains or immerse yourself in local art, the region has something for everyone. And here are 5 of many reasons why Orillia & Lake Country ought to be on your winter travel list—

Orillia & Lake Country
Photo via Orillia & Lake Country Tourism

Outdoor winter wonderland

Ski resorts, vast powdered slopes and trails and tons of winter activities make the place a big fat snow-covered playground. One that has a little something for outdoor enthusiasts of all calibres.

Embark on ski, snowboard, snowshoe, tube and fat bike adventures at Hardwood Ski & Bike, Horseshoe Resort and Mount St Louis Moonstone. Snowmobile with SMART Adventures. Or ride around in a horse-drawn carriage with Rolling Sands Percherons.

Orillia & Lake Country
Photo via Orillia & Lake Country Tourism

Accommodation for every mood

Nestled in the middle of snow belt areas, Orillia has all the snowy beauty minus the weather’s harshness. Of course, it’s a getaway hotspot. This is why finding accommodation to suit just about any vacay mood is a piece of cake.

Out for a fun weekend with friends? Book an upscale hotel or a comfy motel. Hope to de-stress with your bestie? A quiet resort might be for you. On a romantic getaway? Explore their cute B&Bs. Winter camping with the whole fam? Check out the many camping spots in the area.

Art around town
Photo via Orillia & Lake Country

Vibrant downtown

Anyone who has visited the place and been enthralled by its charming downtown might want to argue this, but Orillia is a city. And so, despite its cute, small-town vibe, the downtown is a pretty upbeat area with plenty to explore.

While its 150+ shops are great to snag gifts, souvenirs and other novelty items, the place comes with a vibrant cultural scene. There, of course, is the renowned Orillia Opera House. Then there are heritage sites and museums including the iconic Orillia Museum of Art & History. And then there is the dedicated Arts District featuring awe-inspiring artistic talent.

Orillia's pizza restaurant
Photo via Orillia Tourism

Culinary indulgences

There’s more to the Orillia downtown than shopping and cultural-enriching experiences. There are also over 30 restaurants, breweries and cafes to delight the pickiest of eaters among us.

You can dine under winter dining domes at Tammies. Enjoy live music and craft brews at Couchiching Craft Brewery. Hit the popular Lone Wold Cafe; a regular cafe by day and a cocktail lounge by night. Or check out the popular tourist attractions, The Common Stove for fine dining, and Mariposa Market for baked goods. No matter your choice, you can’t go wrong!

Structure in outdoor winter wonderland
Photo via Orillia Tourism

Close to home

Frankly, the views, charm and activities are reason enough to put this Ontario gem atop every winter travel list. But the fact that it is just an hour and a half drive from Toronto (and most of GTA) is an added bonus. So, you spend less time travelling and more time enjoying, especially if you’re planning a day trip instead of a weekend getaway.

Check out the Tourism Orillia & Lake Country website below to plan your perfect winter escape.