Fun Things to Do with the Family this Summer (Despite COVID-19)

This summer might look a little different than usual, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of it. With some research and pre-planning, there are still plenty of exciting things to do with the family.

El Mercado Food Market: This outdoor food pop-up market on Queen Street East in Toronto is truly the first of its kind. You can get tacos, soft serve ice cream, smoothies, lemonade, fried churros, produce, and even beer to go. Best of all, the market is designed for social distancing and has many health and safety precautions in place. Now all you need is a blanket and a good spot for your picnic!

Drive Through the Zoo: The Toronto Zoo has come up with a fun and innovative way to allow you to visit all of your favourite animals from the safety and comfort of your vehicle. The new Scenic Safari allows for a drive-through experience, complete with a guided audio tour.

Visit Chudleigh’s Farm: Explore the farm, shop the market, and enjoy delicious homemade desserts from the Blossom Cafe. The farm is now open to the public once again, and you can purchase your tickets online in advance. Visit again later in the season once the apples are ready to pick!

Rent a Cottage: Vacationing out of the country may not be an option right now, but there are plenty of beautiful spots you can rent a cottage within a few hours of the GTA. Now that AirBnB is back up and running, check out what rentals are available in places like Prince Edward County, Collingwood, Port Stanley, Muskoka, to name a few.

Hit the Halton Trails: Most of the Halton Parks are now open for hiking and biking, you’ll just need to book your time slot in advance to avoid overcrowding. Although facilities such as washrooms, outhouses, and visitor centres remain closed, you can still enjoy the trails and get some fresh air.

Day Trip out of the City: Visit a cute picturesque town and grab lunch, dinner, or even just ice cream. Grimsby Beach has colourful houses that will make you think you’re not even in Canada! There are lots of restaurants offering takeout nearby, like Pizza Di Nonna and 270 Bench Kitchen. Another great spot to check out is Niagara on the Lake. This historic area features lots of little shops, patios, and takeout options to enjoy after a visit to the Falls.

Soak up the Sun: Pack up your towels, sunscreen, and snacks and spend a day at one of Ontario’s many beautiful beaches. Check out Kew Beach in Toronto or Fifty Point Beach just outside of Hamilton. Scarborough Bluffs also has a beach and park with some awesome scenic cliffs. If you want to make a day trip of it, try Grand Bend Beach on Lake Huron or Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay. One of my favorites is Elora, you can check out my video here or the newly discovered Port Stanley Beach.

Paddle on the Lake: Canoeing or kayaking is a great way to get out and enjoy Ontario’s many lakes. There are lots of places you can rent equipment for the whole family in the GTA, like the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre in Toronto or Staycation Beach Rentals in Burlington.

Go Treetop Trekking: Enjoy a day of adventure zipping through the trees at one of Treetop Trekking’s 6 locations all the way from Hamilton to Barrie. Explore the forest like never before as you climb, balance, and zipline through the course, all while safely attached to a harness.

Camp Out: If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll be happy to hear that overnight campgrounds are also opening back up. You can see the full schedule of which Ontario Parks will be open and when on their website. Some amenities (like showers and swimming pools) won’t be available, but it’s still a great chance to enjoy the great outdoors and sleep under the stars.

Enjoy Patio Season: Just in time for summer, patios in Ontario are back open! Many of our favourite restaurants are now letting customers dine outside on the patio again with enhanced healthy and safety measures. The Cabana Pool Bar in Toronto has rebranded as The Cabana Waterfront Patio, and one of our local favourites in Oakville, Maro’s, is preparing their patio.

Get Cultured: Museums and art galleries are now preparing to safely reopen for the summer. There are so many great options to visit and learn something new. Check out mix of modern and classic pieces at the Art Gallery of Ontario, tour the majestic castle at Casa Loma, or visit the Aga Khan Museum, which features the contributions of Muslim civilizations to world heritage.

Picnic at the Park: A timeless classic! Picnics can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like—all you need are some cozy blankets, your favourite foods, and a nice spot in a park. Try different themed snacks and drinks for a twist on this old stand-by.

Although the pandemic may not be over just yet, there are still lots of fun and safe activities for you and the family. Let’s make summer 2020 a memorable one, for all the right reasons! Which ideas from this list will you try?

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