Northeastern Ontario is the ideal place to plan a road trip because of the fantastic Canadian scenery and many towns and cities to see. Whether you have a few days or a few weeks, you can plan a trip that includes all the highlights of life in this region. From North Bay to West Nipissing, we’ve selected a few of the standout towns for you to visit.
Known as the ‘Gateway to the North,’ North Bay is located along the shore of Lake Nipissing. It’s a great place to visit in summer, with more than 40 public beaches for swimming and other water sports.
A good way to explore is by taking a cruise on the Chief Commanda II, which operates from May to October. Hop aboard the Commanda for a scenic one and a half hour tour of the Manitou Islands on Lake Nipissing or take half a day to go a little further afield and explore the upper French River.
History buffs will also delight at the museums dedicated to North Bay’s military history and railroads. For a dose of culture, the Capitol Center hosts concerts and live theatre. Spend a Saturday morning at the North Bay Farmer’s Market, a great way to explore North Bay as part of a sustainable tour.
If you’re in North Bay in the winter there’s plenty to do too—go snowmobiling along the many groomed trails nearby or hit the slopes at Laurentian Ski Hill.
Timmins is the northernmost city on this list, located along the shore of the Mattagami River. It only takes one visit to see why it’s nicknamed the ‘City with a Heart of Gold.’
Timmins is often known as the hometown of singer Shania Twain, but it has much more arts and culture, with a symphony orchestra, museums, and popular street art. Look for one of the award-winning murals painted by local Timmins artists.
Timmins offers the best of city life and outdoor adventure, as it’s located close to lakes, hiking trails, and campgrounds. Enjoy some thrilling water sports at Timmins Wake Park located along Gillies Lake. Or visit the nearby Gillies Lake Conservation Area for some quiet reflection in nature.
Sudbury, Ontario, known as ‘Greater Sudbury’ (and for good reason), is the second-largest municipality in Canada at more than 1,400 square miles (2,253 square kilometers). Founded on the site of a meteorite crater, Sudbury is rich in minerals, which made it a famous mining town in the early 20th century.
Learn more about Sudbury’s history at Science North, and be sure to stop for a selfie at the site of Canada’s most giant nickel. Sudbury is also home to world-class entertainment, like the Sudbury Theatre Centre or Jazz Sudbury music festival.
More than 330 lakes surround Greater Sudbury for outdoor adventure, making it ideal for boating and camping during the summer months. Spend a day hiking to the A.Y. Jackson Lookout for a view of the 150-foot (approximately 46-meter) Onaping Falls.
One of the towns incorporated into Greater Sudbury is Capreol, located to the north of the city. A major railway hub in the early twentieth century, it’s home to the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre, which features a model train exhibit and several historic rail cars. Arrive in August for Capreol Days, three days of food, fun, and community events that have been taking place in the town for more than 100 years.
And Many More
This diverse slice of Canada is full of hundreds of small towns, and part of the fun is finding them. Northeastern Ontario is the perfect destination to plan a road trip, which might take you through small towns like Temiskaming Shores, Kirkland Lake, Cochrane, and Kapuskasing.
Between Sudbury and North Bay, you’ll find the town of West Nipissing on the western shore of Lake Nipissing. Explore the history of the region dating back to the 17th-century fur trade at West Nipissing’s Sturgeon River House Museum. One of the largest wetlands in the area is located nearby at the Cache Bay Wetland Conservation Reserve. Cache Bay is an ideal spot for gazing at wildlife, snowmobiling and even picking cranberries in the fall.
Many of the towns in Northeastern Ontario highlight Canada’s bilingualism, with residents speaking both French and English here. Exploring Northeastern Ontario is also a good chance to learn about Canada’s First People, including the Ojibwe, Algonquin, and Haudenosaunee nations, to name a few. Be sure to inquire about events or historical sites that celebrate Canada’s indigenous history.
Whether you’re planning on hitting the road or the trails, Northeastern Ontario’s smaller towns have everything you need. Find out more about this unforgettable region in our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide.