With a population of over 140 000, Barrie knows how to draw in the crowds. Visitors from all over the county make a point to visit this lakeside city for family fun. There’s something happening in every season.
Are you planning a vacation or weekend getaway to the city of Barrie, Ontario?
Prepare to feel like there isn’t enough time for everything you want to do. If you go in the summer, pack your swimming and hiking gear. In the winter, bring your warm clothes for hitting the slopes.
If you’ve never considered going to Barrie, the following ideas might convince you. Keep reading for seven fun things to do in the city of Barrie.
1. Explore the Waterfront
Nestled against Lake Simcoe, Barrie is the best place to experience Canadian summer. As soon as the temperature drops, locals get out on the water and start spending their time outdoors.
When you visit Barrie, plan to spend lots of time at the lakefront because there’s so much to do here.
Start by lounging on the sand and swimming in the freshwater. Take a kayak or stand-up paddleboarding lesson. Then, try your hand at scuba diving.
You can also fish on Lake Simcoe, so find yourself a friend with a boat. Or, rent one yourself and spend the whole day at sea- or, lake.
There’s a 6.7-kilometer paved trail that runs alongside the lake and is perfect for running. You can also join a pickup game of beach volleyball or take the kiddos to the splash pad.
2. Check Out a Festival
Summer in Barrie is the best time for checking out awesome festivals and community events. These aren’t only for locals; thousands of visitors head to Barrie all year round.
The first festival to check out is Kempenfest. This is an arts and crafts festival that celebrates everything the arts has to offer. There’s live music, performances, food demonstrations, and plenty of local shopping.
Kempenfest happens during the first week of August.
The second festival to attend is the Barrie Jazz & Blues Festival. If you have an interest in live music, this is the event for you. Expect every venue in the city to celebrate the festival with their own shows.
The Jazz & Blues Festival happens every June.
You should also check out the Craft Beer and BBQ Festival at the beginning of July. This event offers world-class food and stellar local brews. Spend the day under the sun licking barbeque sauce off your fingers.
3. Visit the Spirit Catcher
Did you know that Barrie, and most of Southern Ontario, once belonged to the First Nations? This region was once in possession of Chippewas of Rama First Nations.
Until colonization, this tribe protected and cherished this land. The city of Barrie takes immense pride in its heritage, as you can see from The Spirit Catcher monument.
This monument was originally constructed in Vancouver. Then, the Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation of Toronto purchased it.
It symbolizes the history of Aboriginals in Canada. They believed the thunderbird brought our dreams and desires to the Great Creator. When you visit the monument, make sure you give the thunderbird a dream to deliver.
4. Sample Some Barrie Brews
Barrie is known throughout Canada for producing some of the finest craft beers. In fact, there are three main Barrie restaurants and breweries you must check out.
The first is Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. Sign up for a tour to learn about this unique company. Some of their top sellers are the Chocolate Manifesto, Acadian Groove, and El Toro Bravo.
Next, make a stop at Barnstormer Brewing and Distillery Co. This brewery offers fun tours as well as full dining service in the brewpub. The whole place is aviation-themed, so prepare to see some wicked memorabilia.
The last must-see brewery in Barrie is Redline Brewhouse. This established beer company is always coming up with strange yet delicious concoctions. Be sure to sample the Leather Interior, Echos of the Void, and Restoration.
5. Spend the Day at Horseshoe Resort
There’s one place in Barrie that gives you a taste of every activity, and that’s Horseshoe Resort.
This resort has a world-class spa with all the relaxing services your mind and body need. There’s also a golf course, ski hills, and a range of accommodations.
If you’re craving some adventure, go treetop zip lining or check out the wake park. Children are always big fans of the inflatable maze and ninja obstacle course.
You can save a few bucks by booking more than one night at the resort. Luckily, everything you need is within the resort so there’s no need to leave during your stay!
6. Catch a Flick at Lawnchair Luminata
There’s something so special about watching a movie at night, under the stars, with your pals. Barrie makes sure you have ample opportunities to do so with the Lawnchair Luminata.
Every Wednesday night of the summer, there’s a movie and car show at Meridian Park. On Friday nights, there’s live music in the park.
All the movies played are family-friendly and range from cult faves to new flicks. This summer, they’re playing Star Wars, Mary Poppins Returns, and the Gordon Lightfoot documentary.
7. Hike the Ardagh Bluffs
Barrie has some of the most scenic viewpoints in the province. To immerse yourself in nature, go hiking at the Ardagh Bluffs.
This environmentally protected zone has over 17 kilometers of hiking trails. While there is parking, vehicles aren’t allowed in the park. Dogs must be on leashes and they ask that you bring litter-less picnics.
Since the Bluffs are nestled in nature, expect to see some wildlife. Visitors sometimes spot deer, rabbits, birds, and a variety of wildflowers.
Ready to Plan Your Visit to the City of Barrie?
Barrie, Ontario is one of Canada’s underrated gems. While the crowds flock to Toronto and Muskoka, all the locals know that Barrie has more than enough to offer.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation for any season of the year, check out the city of Barrie. You’ll love it here.
For more travel tips in Canada, check out the North America section of this site!