By S. Standish, Try It Kids Co-Owner, Teacher, Mom
There are so many amazing options in and around the Blue Mountains, all you have to do is a bit of investigation on their website and explore what you think would be the perfect family escape for your crazy brood. The best part is…..it is not that far of a drive from Toronto, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, London, Etc.!
Collingwood is the town right beside the Blue Mountains, check out their Events and Activities calendars to find out what is going on today!
I have included things to do, places to eat, and options of where to stay. It really is one of those places that you can spend as much and as little time doing what you want to do with your family.
Stuff to Do:
Hike to the top of Blue Mountain – Straight Up Route or Village Trail (We did both with kids ages 3-8…..depends on your patience and their abilities)
Hikes – The Blue Mountains are part of Grey county and there are NINE waterfalls that you can visit with your family. Most of them have a picnic area, hiking trails and other amenities. There is a Columbia family guided hike available at the activity booth in Blue Mountain.
Beaches – Top 5 we love for our family….1. Northwinds Public Beach – local and great views, can get busy….2. Wasaga Beach – Largest fresh water beach in the world, sandy and touristy fun…. 3. Memorial Park Beach – Close in the neighbouring town of Meaford. Loved the local legend of the two sister rocks…. 4. Collingwood Sunset Point Beach – Nice beach with amenities, the kids loved the playground (lots of fun, unique features)….5. Blue Mountain Beach – Homeowners/guests of Blue Mountain resort have free access to this beach, and visitors to the area can buy a day pass at the beach, again there is a lot of amenities and a well maintained beach area.
Trails – The Blue Mountains has amazing trails. Designed to be appealing to all levels of hikers and all types of riders (bikes to boards to blades). The Blue Mountains has oodles of authentic and memorable trails with fabulous views and unique terrain.
Scavenger Hunt – Lots of fun, especially if it is your first time in Blue Mountain! Pick up a clue list at Activity Central in the clock tower building near the gondola, or at the Visitor Information Centre near Starbucks and Go!
Pricier, but worth it:
Scenic Cave Nature Adventure – Different types of tours and education adventures. All of them varying in minimum age, levels and weight. Southern Ontario’s longest 420 ft. Suspension Footbridge. There is an awesome playground there for littler ones, but the actual tour packages are for kids 10 and older. My husband and I did the Eco-Tour and had a wonderful experience. We both would highly recommend this activity.
Mill Pond Activities – Kayaking and paddle boating on a calm pond right in the center of the village. It is pricey, but if you have an activity pack from the hotels on-site, it makes it 25% cheaper.
Open Air Gondola – Great ride for scenic views of the Georgian Bay, Blue Mountain Village and Collingwood. You used to be able to hike right up and then take the gondola down for free, but that was changed as of this year. If you are an avid bike trail rider, then you can get passes to take your bike up to the top and careen at your/or the path’s leisure down. It is pricey, but if you have an activity pack from the hotels on-site, it makes it 25% cheaper.
Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster – An awesome Mountain Coaster that is very smooth, very safe, and just the right amount of thrill for the whole family. We have done it during 3/4 seasons and it was amazing. It is pricey, but if you have an activity pack from the hotels on-site, it makes it 25% cheaper.
Plunge! Aquatic Centre – Blue Mountain Village – This centre has indoor-outdoor pools, an indoor water playground, hot tubs, rope swings, docks and slides. The perfect place for kids activities. See website for rates and hours of operation.
Woodlot Low Ropes – Blue Mountain Village – Designed to be an exciting and fun aerial challenge for all ability levels. There are three courses, each at a different level, the Woodlot is a great adventure for your family or first-timers to go on. It is pricey, but if you have an activity pack from the hotels on-site, it makes it 25% cheaper.
*There is a mini-putt, rock-climbing wall, jumping bag and a few other activities in the village, but we haven’t had a chance to try them yet. 🙂
Rainy Day Options:
Elephant Thoughts – Educational Toy Store – They have some programming and work shops. My kids loved the animals, and seeing all the cool new toys. This store supports a lot of great new initiatives.
Crock a Doodle – This is a chain, so you know what to expect if you have been to one before. Kids love to paint the variety of ceramics available to them. If you paint something, you have to pick it up by 4 pm the next day, you can spend a couple of rainy hours here creating a masterpiece. Good for kids-adults!
Galaxy Collingwood – Movie Theatre – Collingwood – Always a good option if there is something playing that the whole family wants to see.
Collingwood Circus School – We never got a chance to check this out, but they cater to groups and it looked like a fun time.
Georgian Bowl – “Bowl on glow-in-the-dark lanes on a rainy Saturday afternoon or Friday and Saturday night. Prices are $4 per person per game plus shoe rental or try the three-game special for $11.50 per person (shoes included.)” – myCollingwood.ca
The Collingwood Museum – Self-guided tours, donation entry. The kids loved that it was in a train station. The Museum has exhibits, special events, education programs, archives and research facilities as well as a store.
Resource Web Sites:
Activities at Blue Mountain
Stuff to Eat:
- Grocery Stores – Make your own or grab and go.
Loblaws – Collingwood
FreshCO – Collingwood
Sobey’s – Collingwood
The Village Market – Blue Mountain Village
- Cafés and Chains –
*The good thing with chains is you know what to expect. We as a family try to use the internet as a resource to try new restaurants in an area that we are visiting.
Boston Pizza – Collingwood
Pita Pit – Blue Mountain Village – Quick and healthy sandwiches/smoothies.
McDonald’s – Collingwood
Kelsey’s – Collingwood
Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet – Collingwood
Tim Horton’s – Collingwood
Starbucks – Blue Mountain Village & Collingwood
Journey’s Blend – Cafe in Collingwood – It is right by the movie theatre, and has delicious coffee (so my husband, the coffee drinker, tells me).
Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery – Blue Mountain Village – Delicious cinnamon rolls!
- Delicious Restaurants –
Northwinds Brewhouse and Kitchen – Collingwood – Yummy and delicious! Great burgers, and the kids loved their food too! We tried it because it was rated the highest on TripAdvisor and it didn’t disappoint.
Tholo’s – Blue Mountain Village – Greek food in the village. Delicious!
The Iron Skillet – Collingwood – Featured on “You Gotta Eat Here!” Quite an array of food, with a slight Mexican twist. Great for families, pub-like atmosphere.
The Smoke – Collingwood – Featured on “You Gotta Eat Here!” Delicious food.
Rusty’s – Blue Mountain Village – Good casual Canadian/Pub fare. Great views and they cater to families.
Firehall Pizza Co. – Blue Mountain Village – We eat here every year with the kids. It is a bit pricey, but the atmosphere is fun, and the pizza is good.
The Pottery Restaurant – Blue Mountain Village – In the Blue Mountain Inn, we were expecting the usual bland food in hotel restaurants, it was so good for an included breakfast that we went there for dinner on our next trip and it was pretty yummy.
- Treats –
BeaverTails – Kids love these (and so do the adults)…..have nut-allergy safe versions.
Places to Stay:
*We have stayed at these places!!
Blue Mountain Inn – We have stayed here several times. It is a 10 minute walk to the village, but there is a shuttle if you like. We liked the pools, lounge (for WIFI, have to pay in rooms) and general ambiance of the Inn. Rooms are casual, but neat, and any time that there has been an issue, it was dealt with quickly.
Mosaic – Another part of the Blue Mountain Hotel Chain, we liked staying at the suites in the village for a number of reasons. You can sit on your balcony and see the bustle of the village, hear the bands, and enjoy the view. Everything is right there and easily accessible. Parking was a bit tricky when it was busy, as it is underground, and can get quite full. Having the kiddo’s it was nice to have our own bedroom and to make our own food in the kitchen.
Cranberry Golf Resort – Basic hotel room, cheaper rate, pools, some kids activities, WIFI. We just felt like it was a place to sleep.
Georgian Bay Hotel & Conference Centre – Nice rooms, pools, mini-golf (we got one round free), entertainment, WIFI, Staff was good with the kids. Definitely our favourite off-site place to stay.
The Westin Trillium House – Great location, right at the village. Very nice suite, overlooking the pond. Pool and access to all the amenities of the village. Higher end on cost, but they were great with our family.
Craigleith RV Resort – Pros: pool, park, children activities on the weekend, site services, nice owners, easy to book. Cons: 25 minute drive to Blue Mountain Village, no lake access (beach is close), sites are close together with minimum privacy.
Cost for a RV site: $50/night with Good Sam Discount (10%)
Craigleith Provincial Park – Pros: On the Georgian Bay (our site was water front and awesome), close to Blue Mountain Village, Retro playground/volleyball court, Nature programming on the weekends for kids. Cons: no pool (if that’s important), lots of pedestrian traffic as its a provincial park as well, sites are close to highway (our air conditioning suffocated the sound), have to book in advance.
Cost for a premium RV site: $51/night
*Please email me (Shannen@TryItKids.com) if you have anything to add to our list. And we will try it the next time we go. Have a great day!!:)