Not far from Toronto and between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay (part of Lake Huron), Barrie is a substantial city in southern Ontario, with a strong artistic community, a gorgeous waterfront that bodes well for boating and plenty of great city parks. During the 1800s, this growing area saw its fair share of militia activity, including a number of uprisings against the Canadian government and foreign belligerents. Barrie also was once a drop-off point on the Underground Railroad, a testament to the sheer length of the abolitionist smuggling effort across the United States. Currently, Barrie hosts many festivals for all interests and age groups, has endless food options and vibrant nightlife.
Take all the lovely photos that your camera can hold at Sunnindale Park Arboretum, a large botanical collection with walking trails, flower exhibitions and a kids’ zip line. If you’re seeking more adrenaline, go a bit north of town and have a go at the Treetop Zip Line Aerial Game, hosted by Treetop Trekking at Horseshoe Resort. Kids love the “pick your own” offerings at Barrie Hill Farms, where visitors can harvest berries, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and more. Avid shoppers and anyone hiding from inclement weather will appreciate the string of malls on Bayfield Street, notably the large Georgian Mall’s heavy hitting stores like H&M, Sephora and Aerie.
Drive west and inland for about 70 minutes to see the magnificent, 90-foot-tall Eugenia Falls, just north of Flesherton. Part of the geological formation that created Niagara Falls, this waterfall and nearby Hoggs Falls (a shorter drop) are easy to view and definitely well worth the drive. After taking in the scenery and walking around, make a final stop in Flesherton at Leslieville Cheese Market, an extension of the well-known gourmet specialty store in Toronto. Around an hour north of Barrie, the mid-sized town of Gravenhurst has delightful breweries, bakeries, uber-cool cafes and more within its little city center. If the mood strikes, see a production at Gravenhurst Opera House & Arts Centre—they offer everything from Second City alums doing one-person shows, Elvis impersonator tribute nights and the Muskoka Independent Film Festival (October 20-22), making this establishment a true hub of activity in Gravenhurst.
Those looking for a cozy place to stay will find plenty of cheap, yet elegant options both close to points of interest and with rentals overlooking Lake Simcoe. From sprawling cottage estates, to remodeled townhouses and digs in turn-of-the-century homes, almost any size group of visitors can find a comfortable temporary getaway in Barrie. Some hosts even allow guests to use their canoe or kayak as part of the rental deal, so look out for similar add-ons that could save you an extra step during your visit.
Visitors to Barrie traveling by plane fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (YVZ), which is just over an hour away by car. Alternatively, take Amtrak’s Maple Leaf route, which runs from Toronto’s Union Station as far as New York City; after disembarking the train, take GO Transit’s 65, 66 or 68 buses and perhaps that of York Region Transit and TTC in conjunction—check the exact schedule to be sure—for a several-hour but affordable trip up to Barrie. Uber is available in town, but not its competitor, Lyft.
Find the best Barrie vacation rentals on Tripping.com. With over 81 home rentals, take your pick from a wide variety of choices including studio apartments, luxury condos, and cozy cabin rentals. Prices in Barrie range from $25 a night. Many rentals can also be booked directly online.Vacation home rentals found on Tripping.com offer more amenities than the average hotel room along with many of the comforts of home. Going on a business trip or need to stay connected? 67 homes in Barrie offer high-speed WiFi Internet so you won’t miss a beat. Travelling with kids? Let them splash around in any of the 32 rentals with pool or jacuzzi, or relax with the family in one of the 59 homes with cable TV.For all those pet owners with dogs or cats, Barrie offers 14 pet-friendly vacation rentals for your extended family. Find the perfect vacation rental that matches your budget and style on Tripping.com.Search properties from 6 vacation rental sites in Barrie where the top providers in that area are Booking.com, Expedia, and HomeAway. There are 25 Booking.com rentals, 15 Expedia short term rentals and 13 HomeAway vacation rentals.