Making the Most of an El Nino Winter

Making the Most of an El Nino Winter

Orillia & Lake Country often turns into a winter wonderland, as beautiful in its icy slumber as it is throughout the rest of the seasons. But sometimes Mother Nature has other plans, and the cold weather just won’t stay. So, what does this mean for visiting OLC? No worries, this winter’s El Nino may mean milder temps, but we’ve got some great tips on making the most of extending your stay in OLC (plus a surprise)!


Easier Travel

Copperpot Nuts Coldwater Shopping Orillia Dining at Common Stove restaurant Lounge at Fairfield Inn Orillia Hotel

We love snow as much as the next person, but there is something about not having to shovel heaps of it and worry about getting stuck in a storm. Clear roadways mean you can visit more places across our region with ease. Stay at an Orillia hotel, travel out to an outdoor destination in Oro-Medonte, shop in Severn, or take in entertainment in Rama! Most destinations across the region are maximum 20-30 minutes apart so you can hop around and make it back to Orillia in time for dinner at a local restaurant.

Try Something New

Glen Oro Farm winter Explorers Tent at night with fire Glen Oro Farm horseback riding in winter Vetta Nordic Spa circular pool surrounded by a blanket of snow with Finnish inspired buildings in the background

Have you ever camped in the winter?  Stepped outside into the chilly air in just a bathing suit? Now’s the time to check off that New Year’s Resolution about trying new things.

Get cozy for a nurturing getaway at Glen Oro Farm’s luxury camping retreat. Check out a Stargazer Dome or Explorer’s Tent with king-sized beds, bathroom, and relaxing areas. Not just for summer, each unit is set up with a comfortable wood-stove and everything you need to immerse yourself in a forested oasis under the winter’s night sky. Glen Oro Farm also offers winter horse trail rides. Get tacked up and learn the basics in bonding with your horse before setting out on trails through the rolling hills of Oro-Medonte.

Disconnect from everyday life (a.k.a. your phone) and reconnect with your body, mind, and soul at Vetta Nordic Spa. Step into the relaxation of Finnish hydrotherapy with a series of outdoor pools, wood-fire saunas, steam rooms, and cold plunge. Outdoor temperatures are perfectly refreshing as you cycle through the process. Spend the day and indulge in Finnish-inspired, locally-sourced dining.

Pro-tip: Make these experiences an early Valentine’s gift (or even a Galentine’s Day treat with friends) with someone special!


Get Your Body Moving

Orillia trail in winter

While our snowshoes may be waiting a little longer, there’s still loads of ways to enjoy trails across the region. Mountain bikers are rejoicing with a longer season of clear trails, just bundle up a little bit more! Fat biking is another popular means of exploring. Hardwood Ski & Bike offers Fat Biking rentals with over 100 km of trails. Once more snow covers the ground, strap on the cross-country skis for a whole new way to explore Hardwood’s trails. Horseshoe Resort also offers Fat Biking rentals for exploring the trails of Copeland Forest.

You can also strap on some sturdy winter boots and set out hiking on trails across the region. Just minutes outside of Orillia proper you can hike the Scout Valley Loop Trail. In Severn, explore the Uhthoff Trail connecting to Coldwater for a perfect rest stop. The Couchiching Conservancy operates a series of conservation areas that are open for winter hiking including Grants Woods Loop Trail, Adams Nature Reserve, Alexander Hope Smith Nature Reserve, and Sweetwater Farm Nature Reserve.

Learn more details about Winter Trails


Indoor Fun

Cards and Coasters board game cafe

Maybe you’d rather find your fun indoors until the seasons change. We totally get it, and Orillia & Lake Country serves up a great variety of things to do.

Get your board game on at Cards & Coasters, in the heart of Downtown Orillia. This hidden gem has become a popular hang out spot for friends looking to escape into fantasy fun, classic board games, and the wildest milkshakes you can imagine. Check back regularly for themed trivia nights and events!

Feeling cooped up and cabin fever is setting? Need somewhere to blow off some steam? Orillia’s Axe Men Throwing is a cathartic way to have fun and let out your inner Thor. Get a group of friends together and compete for the ultimate champion. If you want to go full Hulk-mode they even have a Rage Room where you can suit up and safely smash items to bits. How fun is that?

Maybe you’d rather boogie down with some classic roller skating? The Roller Skating Place at ODAS Park, in Severn, is a great spot to step back in time to the days of disco balls and techni-colour lights. Rental skates available, no previous experience necessary!

Casino Rama Resort’s Entertainment Centre thrives all year long and you can catch world class acts just minutes outside of Orillia throughout the winter. Orillia itself also boasts a great entertainment scene with plays and concerts at the Orillia Opera House and pop-up concerts throughout the city.


Surprise – We actually do have snow!

Horseshoe winter tubing group of kids

We are a winter destination at heart and so our operators have been hard at work to ensure our white-capped hills remain white-capped. Horseshoe Resort and Mount St Louis Moonstone have their runs open for down-hill skiing and snowboarding. Horseshoe Resort’s snow tubing are also open for loads of family fun.


While we await the cold days of winter we’ve come to love in Ontario’s snowbelt, these are just a few great ways to make memories during your winter getaway to Orillia & Lake Country!