Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Andrew Hind

Children in bathing suits running past, faces spread wide in smiles and squealing in glee. Parents sunk into comfortable chairs, content and relaxed under azure skies. Turquoise waters lapping a sandy shoreline. The palpable thrill of seemingly endless activities from which to choose, but sadly not enough time to sample them all. A glorious sun beating down from high above. Nope, not Florida or the Caribbean—this is Fern Resort, an all-inclusive family-friendly resort right here in Ontario.

Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?Fern-IMG_9338

When you’re looking for a summer escape to a family friendly resort, you don’t want just any resort. You want one that will thrill the entire family, from children to restless teens to deserving parents. You want one that children will have to be pulled away from, where parents can truly unwind, one where cherished family memories that will be fondly recalled at gatherings for years in the future are made.

Thankfully, Ontario has a number that fit the bill to a tee, each one elevating a family escape to OMG-heights in their own unique ways: among them Bayview Wildwood Resort, Shamrock Lodge, Bonnie View Inn, Pine Vista Resort, and of course, Fern Resort. You don’t need to go far to relax and rejuvenate as a family.

“What’s the perfect family vacation? It’s one where the kids are entertained, parents are relaxed, and where parents aren’t looking ahead to the next expense,” says Scott Collens, General Manager of Fern Resort, an Orillia property which has been perfecting the family vacation for 120 years. “That’s where an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort like Fern comes into its own. There’s so much to do that you never have to worry about children getting bored, and with their children (infant to teens) enrolled in a kids club program,  parents get important alone time.”

Though Fern Resort is a magical year-round destination for kids, it truly comes alive in summer with oodles of family-oriented activities—from wall-climbing to mini-golf to tennis and knee-boarding, not to mention swimming in two large pools or the clear waters of Lake Couchiching. It’s like a cruise ship on land.

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“When considering where you want to spend your vacation, ask yourself what you are hoping to enjoy and what do you want to achieve during your holiday? Where you go should satisfy all your needs,” says Collens. “It’s important to call and speak to someone at the resort itself. You can read all about our programs and facilities online, but you only get a feel for how everything we do is based on solid family-values by actually speaking to us.”

Muskoka’s Shamrock Lodge, another all-inclusive resort, represents a dying breed: a family owned and operated resort where the owners are ubiquitous and as much a part of stay as are the joyful activities or comfortable accommodations. “The Bryant’s are very present. They’re here every day, driving the boat, running activities, overseeing operations and welcoming guests. By the second day, they know every guest by first name. People love that connection. It’s rare today, but people value it. Our guests often say a stay feels more like vacationing at a family cottage than a resort,” enthuses Operations Manager Susan Nairns.

In many ways, Shamrock is a throw back to a simpler time, a more innocent time. Indeed, the lodge itself is over a century old. But it has remained relevant by keeping up with vacation trends, offering an all-inclusive vacation in an atmosphere more intimate than most of its kind. Parents with love the charm and idyllic setting; children will love the endless fun.Fern-IMG_9876.JPG

“We’re rated the #1 resort in Muskoka by Tripadvisor and we always encourage people to go there when they are considering booking—here or anywhere— because it’s written by guests from their own personal perspective,” explains Nairn.

Every resort is special in their own way, so choose the one that best suits your needs and interests.

Nothing beats a vacation at one of Ontario’s family-friendly resorts. You’ll know it’s a special holiday when, at the end of the day, exhausted children drift off to a contented sleep with the need of a bedtime story. They’ve made their own adventures.

Bayview Wildwood Resort Beach

List of Questions to Answer when Booking a Summer Resort Vacation

In an attempt to help readers choose from among the many family-friendly resorts in Ontario, we wanted to put together a checklist of questions to answer. Who better to help us than Dianne Hounsome, Owner and General Manager of Bayview Wildwood Resort, a property with an unrivaled reputation for providing cherished summer memories.

  1. Do they want a supervised children’s program? If the resort offers them, what times are they offered, what ages of kids can participate, and is there a cost?
  2. Is entertainment at night important to them?
  3. Can kids go into the entertainment areas (bars) at night?
  4. How does the meal plan work – are their meal times set – do they have to make a reservation or do they get assigned a table?
  5. Do the rooms/cottages have views of the lake with balconies or decks?
  6. Are there room/cottages that are 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom?
  7. Do you want to cook your own meals or have a meal plan?
  8. Do you want to eat with your kids? Do you want the option to have a meal without kids if possible?
  9. What is the atmosphere of the dining room (upscale dressy or relaxed casual)?
  10. Are the meals buffet or service? Is there a kids buffet option?Bayview-fire-3-2010
  11. Are there food allergies and can they be accommodated?
  12. What is the clientele – is it mostly families, conferences, couples, or a mix of any?
  13. What watercraft (canoes, paddleboats, etc.) are available – are any free and what is the cost?
  14. Can you swim in the lake – is there a sandy beach – and are there water toys (trampolines, for example)?
  15. Is there an indoor pool? Is the outdoor pool heated?
  16. Are there activities to do indoors in the case of bad weather?
  17. Is there private babysitting service at a cost?
  18. Can they rent a boat and fish?
  19. Is there a teen program (if relevant)?

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School’s out for another summer and that means you are likely trying to figure out what to do with the kids. In an earlier post I mentioned some of the resorts that offer children’s programs but there are also resorts that let you plan your own days events. Our cottage resorts are a great option for reconnecting with your family, with the natural surroundings and are conducive to having fun. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and realize this could be the start of an annual tradition.

Bondi Village Cottage Resort

Kayaking on Lake of Bays at Bondi

At Bondi Resort in Dwight they are welcoming guests back this week for their 50th summer! Over the years the family has grown and they are now at the point of taking over the resort when they come. Bondi offers a little bit of everything from swimming in the lake, a frisbee golf course, several kilometers of hiking trails, wolf calling, star-gazing and so much more. The team at Bondi knows what it takes to make a vacation memorable and keeping their guests coming back year after year.

Looking to catch the “big one?” They look no further than Beauview Cottage Resort. In owner Gord’s latest blog post, he shares a picture of some young gentlemen showing off their catch. Speaking from experience, the first bass a young boy catches is the one he will remember for the rest of his life… not to mention it’ll have them hooked on fishing. Beauview also added to their water toys this year with a “Moonwalk” connecting the “Iceberg” to the Water trampoline. At the end of the day, you can soak in a private hot tub or sit under the stars next to a campfire.

The 4 season Sandy Lane Resort in Haliburton is another great option for those looking for a kid friendly atmosphere. The cottages surround a beautiful park like setting on the shore of Halls Lake. Sandy Lane is ideal for all types of activities and your kids will love playing on their playground equipment, swimming in the lake, or just going out for a relaxing and calm paddle on the water.

Heading east towards Ottawa? Then you’ll want to stay Perth’s “Ultimate Family Resort on the Lake,” McCreary’s Beach, which is only 10 minutes out-of-town and only 45 minutes to the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. Pick between staying in one of their charming cottages or condos and enjoy the tranquil setting as you look out onto Mississippi Lake. During your stay, you’ll enjoy use of their Fun Zone, entertainment complex, arcade, tennis courts and so much more.

Whether you are looking to go to the near north, towards Lake Huron in the west, or east of Toronto, there are spectacular cottage resorts available. Visit the cottage resort section of our website and start planning your new summer tradition of experience cottage resorts in Ontario.

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Laura McLean1Need a perfect getaway with your kids this summer. Resorts of Ontario can help and in fact, our resorts excel at providing a superior family oriented experience. We specialize in the family experiences by providing kids programs specific to age group. You can rest easy knowing that your child is being cared for by trained staff whose job is to make sure all the kids are having fun. And while your kid is off on daily adventures, you can go for some of your own fun or relaxation by taking in a game of golf, treating yourself to a favourite (or newly discovered) spa treatment, or just sitting in quiet area of the natural Ontario resort settings.

Some of the activities your child(ren) will enjoy at our resorts are mountain biking clinics, golf clinics, learning to fish, wakeboarding and waterskiing, tubing, playing games and more. While each resort is different the bottom line is having fun. At Blue Mountain their KidsRosa program, will keep your little one smiling all day with their different themed adventure days, plunges in their pools and even tennis clinics. Kids Korral at Horseshoe Resort, will take your kids through the discovery of something new each day by teaching different activities and skill levels based on the age group your child fits into. Cleveland’s House Resort’s – Cleve’s Kids Club offers “Ontario’s largest and most extensive children’s program.” Here your kids have an emphasis on fun and learning in a safe environment up to 18 years old. At Cleveland’s House, they also have programs to get the whole family involved with their talent shows, amazing family race nights, bon fire nights and more. At Fern Resort, your family will have so many fond memories that you’ll be looking forward to your return visit. Whether you go for the kids programs, the entertainment, dance parties to cooking classes they offer something for everyone. The VIK Club (Very Important Kids Club) at the Delawana Inn, Spa and Conference Resort is a supervised day camp for children ages 3-12 and includes arts and crafts, rock climbing, land sports and water activities, and more. There are several resorts that offer children’s programs and I encourage you to visit the family resorts section of our website.

As the day winds down, you can catch up with your kids on their fun-filled day over some of the fantastic meals prepared by the resort chefs. Don’t worry, the chefs still have kids in mind and prepare meals for the palates of youth and adults alike with a variety of menu options to choose from. When you have finished your meal, relax and sit back for some of the nightly entertainment provide which includes everything from water skiing shows, family friendly comedians and shows and even outdoor movies.

There is still lots of time left in the summer, so pack the car and come on up to our place for your great family friendly adventure.

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We’ve just come back from two glorious days at Foxwood Resort on the doorstep of Algonquin Park. The resort and the park are both over a century old and have an interesting connection. Tom Salmon, an early settler and original landowner of Foxwood Resort,  guided at Algonquin Park. The resort has a 1912 photo of Tom at Algonquin sporting a big knapsack on his back.

Dockside at Foxwood Resort on Lake of Bays in Muskoka

Dockside at Foxwood Resort on Lake of Bays in Muskoka

We arrived on Tuesday evening and it didn’t take us long to appreciate our new surroundings. Foxwood is down a quiet lakeside road about 20 minutes from the west gates of Algonquin. A young fawn caught our attention as soon as we made the turn onto Fox Point Road off of Highway 35. We saw several more deer before reaching Foxwood 9 kilometres later. The resort is on Lake of Bays. Water flows from Algonquin Park into the lake which is crystal clear. Foxwood is on Haystack Bay, one of hundreds of bays along the lake’s 500 kilometres of shoreline. Our tidy, two-bedroom cottage comes with a fully equipped kitchen, sitting area, lakeside deck and BBQ. National Post’s star cartoonist, Gary Clement rented the same cottage with his family just last week and must have had a great time ‘cuz he cartooned it. He’s not the only celeb to frequent Lake of Bays. Global TV anchor, Kevin Newman has a place on the lake and so does singing sensation, Shania Twain.

”I Swam Haystack Bay“

”I Swam Haystack Bay“

This week, we were all couples including honeymooners Troy and Julie. The families have gone home. Resort owner, Rob Wallace says that’s typical for September. Summers attracts families then school starts and the resort becomes popular with adults and fall color seekers. The resort hasn’t been open in winter but that’s about to change thanks to a new luxury solar cottage. Beautifully appointed with a central fireplace, this two-bedroom place would make a great base for cross country or downhill skiers. Algonquin Park has 100 km of trails and Hidden Valley, 20 minutes west has downhill, including night skiing. If you prefer snowshoeing, the resort’s own trails start right outside the new cottage and snake around the resort’s one hundred acres. Light weight snowshoes are supplied. I think that’s fitting given that Tom Salmon was a snowshoe maker, having learned the craft from local Ojibwa. If you’re a collector, his old snowshoes are easy to spot because of a tiny signature salmon burned into each shoe.

The main lodge at Foxwood Resort

The main lodge at Foxwood Resort

I love to swim so, I took advantage of the great swimming and twice swam across the bay to Haystack Island with co-owner Julia Wallace and daughter, Meg. Both are avid swimmers and the swim has become so popular with guests, the resort sells t-shirts which  boast “I swam Haystack Bay”. Besides swimming, there’s a lakeside sauna, kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes, water skiing and wakeboard lessons and lots of land based activities to keep kids occupied. The lounge is popular on summer evenings and rainy days and includes a ping pong table, tons of boardgames, and a flat screen tv for those who just can’t bear to be without.

The Dorset fire tower, a spectacular place for fall colours viewing

The Dorset fire tower, a spectacular place for fall colours viewing

bigwin-boatRob took us by boat around the lake. Glenn snapped pics of area highlights including the Dorset Fire Tower, Robinson’s General Store, and a Muskoka trademark, boathouses. Boats are a source of pride here and a special 44 passenger steam yacht built in the 1920s has been resurrected from the bottom of Lake of Bays and is being restored at Lake of Bays Boat Museum in Dorset. The Bigwin once ferried passengers from Port Cunnington across Lake of Bays to Bigwin Island. If you go into Dorset to shop for groceries or for a meal at Fiery Grill, be sure to check out the museum and the boat. She’s a beaut.

Foxwood Resort is one of several Resorts of Ontario in this region. For a listing of others, click here.

The Lake of Bays Marine Museum at Dorset

The Lake of Bays Marine Museum at Dorset

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