The May 2-4 long weekend, (also known as Victoria day long weekend) is known as the unofficial kick off of summer activities! Whether you’re in the mood to relax or party, here is a list of 24 things to do during the weekend.
1. Play a round (or two) of golf: From urban nine-hole courses like Belle Park in Kingston to lush and sophisticated fairways like Black Bear Ridge in Corbyville, we have a golf course for you. Book your tee time now to avoid disappointment!
2. Go camping: From car camping to backcountry and everything in between, we have the perfect campsite. Reservations at the popular Sandbanks Provincial Park may be hard to secure this close to the long weekend, but further east Parks of the St. Lawrence boasts hundreds of campsites, including gorgeous waterfront sites. Hardy campers will appreciate the peaceful backcountry at rugged Frontenac Provincial Park.
3. Go star gazing: It’s hard to believe that just a short drive north of the 401 is a place so serene that the skies are very much like they were 100 years ago. The Lennox and Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area is a must-see for night sky photographers and lawn chair astronomers.
4. Build sandcastles at the beach: If you’re more a day tripper, grab your kiddos, a sand bucket and shovel and head to Sandbanks Provincial Park. It is the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation with three expansive sandy beaches that some say are among the best in Canada (and we tend to agree with those people).
5. Paddle the Rideau Canal: Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal offers an unforgettable kayaking experience. Bring your own or rent one from local outfitters like Frontenac Outfitters or Trailhead Kingston.
6. Go fishing For some species, like Northern Pike and walleye, the fishing season opens the second weekend in May, which means you can head to the water in search of that famous Quinte gold. Most of the region is MNR Fisheries Management Zone 18, with the exception of Prince Edward County, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Wolfe Island and Howe Island, which is Zone 20. Remember to follow all fishing regulations, including having a valid Outdoors Card.
Sightseeing & Tours
7. Cruise the 1000 Islands: Cruising the St. Lawrence River is a classic experience in South Eastern Ontario. With a variety of boats to choose from, like the Wildcat high-speed catamaran to the elegant Island Queen, there’s no better way to experience the river. Ports in Picton, Gananoque, Kingston, Rockport and Brockville.
8. Take a ghost walk…if you dare: Haunted Walks of Kingston is an award-winning and bone-chilling walk through the city’s historic streets. Your guide tells ghost stories during your stroll and we’ve heard of ghost sightings too!
9. Have a family day at the Aquatarium: The Aquatarium is more than just an aquarium. They offer a full range of interactive exhibits and activities for kids in a comfortable, and accessible environment!
10. Visit a museum: No matter your interests, there is a museum in South Eastern Ontario that will capture your imagination. Learn about the region’s penitentiary history in Kingston or step back into the 1800s at Upper Canada Village.
11.Go skydiving: Kick off summer by crossing this must-try off your bucket list. Skydive Gananoque is your go-to when visiting South Eastern Ontario
12. Have family-friendly fun at a festival: In Kingston, Victoria Day celebrations kick off at Lake Ontario Park at 1 p.m., culminating in spectacular fireworks at 9:30 p.m. At Upper Canada Village, step back in time with Victorian-themed festivities.
13. Take a helicopter tour: Seeing the 1000 Islands by helicopter is an adventure you will never forget. Soar above the waterways and castles with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours.
Entertainment, Culture & Heritage
14. Visit Fort Henry: Come visit this award-winning UNESCO Heritage Site! Experience military life in the 1800s with the pomp of the Garrison parade, the boom of firing cannons and a muster drill.
15. Go to an art gallery: In the heart of downtown Kingston, check out eclectic Martello Alley. Arts Scene Spencerville is a fine art gallery and shop, which is brimming with pottery, glass and paintings from local artists.
16. Indulge in retail therapy: Each town and city in South Eastern Ontario have its own unique collection of shops. Downtown Kingston has boasts upscale retailers and niche boutiques. In The County, expect to find stores full of perfectly curated vintage goods and candy shops. Westport and Newboro have lovely stores with everything from luxe kitchen wares and designer furniture.
17. Catch a concert or live theatre: The place to be this long weekend is the region’s pubs and coffee shops, where local talent takes to the mic!
18. Try an escape room: Test your problem-solving skills at Kingston’s Improbable Escapes, Cornwalls Rush Hour Escape, or Prince Edward County’s Escape Room at Macaulay Heritage Park a collection of escape rooms where you are pitted against the clock to get out of a locked room.
Food & Drink
19. Go on a wine tour: Prince Edward County’s terrier is recognized throughout the world as being unique and the hospitality The County’s winemakers will make you feel right at home. Self-guided wine tours (remember your designated driver) or chauffeured options are available.
20. Find your next favourite burger spot. Long weekends in the summer always call for burgers! Conquer our Bucket List below on places for burgers in South Eastern Ontario.
21. Pack a picnic of local food: On Saturday, go to a farmers’ market and pack a picnic lunch of local food, such as bread, cheeses, honey, fruit and vegetables. Kingston’s Springer Market Square is home to the province’s oldest open-air market and Belleville, Cornwall, Gananoque and Brockville all have markets that are a short walking distance from parks that you can sit down and enjoy the sunshine in.
22. Tour a craft brewery: Almost each town and city in the region boasts a craft brewery. Check out Wild Card Brewing in Trenton, Rurban Brewing in Cornwall, Parsons Brewing in Prince Edward County, Mackinnon Brothers in Lennox & Addington, or Stone City Ales in Kingston. All of these places offer flights and a bottle shop to take home your new favourite brew.
23. Dine out with endless options everywhere: Kingston has more restaurants per capita than anywhere in Canada, The County is a culinary gem, Gananoque is known for its eclectic cafes and Belleville and Trenton are home to Italian restaurants boasting fresh pasta made daily. We’re serious about food here, with chefs often sourcing local ingredients paired with local food, ciders and wines.
24. Go for ice cream In Bloomfield, grab a cone at Slickers, The County’s most popular ice cream shop, featuring fresh homemade flavours. Sundaes and soft-serve are a favourite at Brockville’s Cowan’s Dairy. Reid’s Dairy in Kingston is famous for their loonie shakes and yummy treat-filled hard ice cream. It’s a great place to stop on the way home, where you can let the kids burn off steam on the playground (after cones, of course).
There’s always something to do in South Eastern Ontario
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