From the moment you wake up to the purr of your fan or the hum of your air conditioner, the summer city heat is inescapable. It stalks you as soon as you walk outside, painting a coat of grime behind the knees and seemingly every exposed part of your skin. Toronto summers are as sticky as candy left in a hot car.
The best way to cool down is in the water– so we’ve rounded up our aquatic take on the lakeside resorts and hotels with waterparks to keep every weekend occupied from the start of summer till its bittersweet end. Plot your escape and break out beyond the city’s humid limits on these summer getaways from Toronto.
Cool off at Splash Works thanks to the Holiday Inn Toronto YorkdaleView Hotel
Rather than sticking to the TTC seats or wasting valuable play time in endless kilometres of traffic getting to and from the 20-acre Splash Works water park at Canada’s Wonderland, spend a comfortable night nearby at the Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale.
They offer a special one-night package devoted to family-friendly summer fun where your stay comes with two adult tickets to the park and accommodation for four. Kids also eat free at the hotel restaurant! The recently renovated hotel has its own indoor atrium with a large saltwater pool and lots of kid-friendly activities like Nerf tennis and ping pong to keep the family occupied the night before your Splash Works debut.
Chill out at the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water parkView Hotel
Weather-proof your family’s summer getaway from Toronto with a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. This legendary chain of all-suite hotels with indoor water parks sleeps up to six in a basic suite. Included in your stay is exclusive access to the guests-only waterpark. You’ll spend less time lining up for fun and more time enjoying the slides, riding the breakers in the wave pool and buddying up for the tandem tube Niagara Rapids Run water roller coaster– it plunges you down a gut-wrenching 52-foot drop while catching your priceless facial expression on camera.
An indoor waterpark for the whole famView Hotel
The Skyline Hotel in Niagara Falls is comfortably attached to the three-acre Fallsview Indoor Waterpark via a climate controlled skywalk. You receive four passes with the one or two-night Waterpark Getaway Package. There are 16 sweet waterslides, some of which propel you into extreme speeds but others that leave out the adrenaline as you gently slip and slide down on an inflatable. Slides aside, the tidal wave float pool is probably my perennial favourite. As an added bonus at this hotel by the Falls, there is also an outdoor sundeck and pool if the sun pops out.
Deerhurst Resort is the quintessential Algonquin Resort on the LakeView Resort
Wake up to the sound of a loon call over Peninsula Lake at the historic Deerhurst Resort, a traditional family lakeside resort that’s probably the next best thing to owning your own Muskoka cottage. The atmosphere is lively and friendly with many visitors returning year after year for the cottage country experience of nightly campfires and dock diving contests. For anyone keen on water activities, pack every single bathing suit you own as there’s plenty of boats, jet skiing, water skiing, fishing and swimming to fill a month-long stay. But by far the most exciting lake feature is the inflatable mini water park on the lake. There are also two outdoor pools that are surrounded by generous decks and an indoor pool if the weather isn’t cooperating.
The Absolutely Classic Lakeside Fern ResortView Resort
It can be challenging to find a family-friendly summer vacation spot to please all three generations near the city. Fern Resort in Orillia manages to check all the boxes. At Fern, there is room for everyone on the big stretch of beach and lake whether you’re swimming, sailing or just lounging nearby with a watchful eye. If you come this year, the summer package includes three meals a day, plus access to every corner of the amazing facilities that include a new lakeside yoga garden for anyone who might need to take a breather from the action. The patio has two outdoor pools and a terrace bar that get lots of sun during the day. There are too many other activities to list, but for the family who can’t get enough of the summer lake experience, Fern is really wonderful.
Live your best lakeside summer at JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & SpaView Resort
JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort has earned the accolades of both internationally renowned publications like Conde Nast Traveller as well as the hearts of Torontonians that love an escape to cottage country. The resort sits on a granite bluff with a panoramic view over Lake Rosseau and its many tree-topped islands. The property’s summer schedule is jam-packed with outdoor adventures and afternoon arts and crafts activities but equally special is cozying up in the private glow of your stone fireplace on a late summer night. Aside from the private beach on the lake, one of the highlights has to be the indoor-outdoor pool with a swim-through channel that can keep a kid occupied for hours. There’s also a special children’s wading pool for the wee ones who haven’t quite made it to the deep end yet and an outdoor hot tub for adults.
Dock your boat at Killarney Mountain LodgeView Hotel
From the shores of the Killarney Channel, whose waters turn a beautiful blue-green hue in the summer sun, you can see dozens of islands within paddling distance from the Killarney Mountain Lodge. The setting is so phenomenal that it in fact inspired Canada’s esteemed Group of Seven painters. The whole Georgian Bay is a boating paradise and you can even dock your vessel at the lodge’s marina with full access to all the resort amenities including the pool. If you aren’t lucky enough to own your own boat, your stay still includes unlimited access to kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. There’s also fishing excursions and sailing lessons plus a host of other lake-related activities.
Bask in the Georgian Bay waters at the Westin Trillium HouseView Hotel
Tucked into the base of the Blue Mountain Ski Resort, you probably know The Westin Trillium House as a winter destination but the arrival of summer signals the opening of their private beach on Georgian Bay. Ideal for swimming, you can also commandeer a kayak or paddle boat for exploring adventures further afield. Also near the Westin is the Plunge! Aquatic Centre with facilities designed to cater to everyone from the lazy dock or hot tub loungers to the more adventurous mini-Tarzans on the rope swings. Just take note, admission to the aquatic centre is not included in your stay.
*Cover image by Camera Eye Photography CCBY.