Want to enjoy the last few weeks of summer? Check out these gorgeous locations around Ontario for scenic swims, natural rock slides, turquoise water, limestone cliffs, old quarries, and more! Take our fun quiz to see where you should go to enjoy the natural landscape this summer.
Learn a bit more about each of the locations:
St. Mary’s Quarry:
St. Mary’s Quarry is a great place to swim on a hot day, but if you’re looking for more of an adventure, this old quarry also has cliff jumping, stand up paddle boarding, a volleyball court, and a massive waterpark. St. Mary’s was a limestone Quarry that closed in 1920 and has since been converted to an adventurous swimming hole.
Elora Quarry, Elora:
This old limestone quarry is surrounded by impressive cliffs with a large sandy beach and turquoise water. Although it can get pretty busy here on weekends, there’s a rock outcrop you can swim to if you’re having trouble finding a spot to sunbathe. While you’re in Elora, check out the nearby Elora Gorge, formed from the same limestone and dolomite that makes up the quarry. If you look closely at the cliffs, you might see some fossils hidden in the sedimentary rocks! These fossils are 350-450 million years old, from a time when Ontario was covered in a warm shallow sea.
Lake Kelso, Kelso Conservation Area:
Lake Kelso is actually a manmade lake built for flood control of Sixteen Mile Creek. The calm and clear water makes it the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Relax on the sandy beach or go for a walk along the boardwalk. If you don’t have your own boat, Kelso Conservation area also rents canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and paddle boats.
Paradise Lagoon, near Wanapitei Provincial Park:
Paradise Lagoon is a bit of a hike to get to, but the gorgeous blue water makes it so worth it. The lagoon is just outside of Wanapitei Provincial Park in Sudbury. The light blue water is surrounded by impressive quartzite and granite cliffs. The red quartzite that makes up this area as well as nearby Killarney Provincial Park creates a beautiful contrast with the emerald evergreen forest.
Algonquin High Falls, Algonquin Provincial Park:
Algonquin Provincial Park boasts many natural wonders, but one of my personal favourites is the natural water slide on the Barren River. Here you can slide down the smooth rocks under a foot or so of water into the swimming hole at the bottom. These granite rocks have been polished smooth by the continuous flow of water over time. To get to the falls you have to hike the High Falls Trail 4.5km to the chute. If you want to extend your stay, Algonquin Provincial Park has camping, canoeing, backpacking, hiking, and more.
Bathtub Island, Lake Superior Provincial Park:
Have you ever seen a natural infinity pool? Lake Superior Provincial Park has one! This pool on Bathtub island looks like something you’d see in the tropics. To get there you can walk a short distance from Highway 17, or hike the Coastal Trail to the shore. After that you have to wade through the water (or take a small boat) to the island to find the natural pool in the rocks. The water is shallow and warmed by the sun, making it the perfect place to relax for an afternoon. If you want to extend your stay, Lake Superior Provincial Park has great campsites you can book.
Crooked Slide Park:
The biggest draw to Crooked Slide Park is the reconstruction of an original log chute used by loggers in the early 1900s! Take a step back into Canadian History as you learn about logging and the use of log chutes to avoid log jams. Although a bit remote, the small waterfall and shallow water makes for a picturesque scene that is well worth the drive.
Veronica Klassen is the Manager of the Foundation’s blog – Beneath Your Feet: A Geoscience Blog. She studied Arts and Science at McMaster University with a minor in Earth Science and has a masters in Science Communication from Laurentian University. She is passionate about making science accessible and engaging to the public.