I used to be one of those women that hibernated during the winter months: epic TV binge-watching, reading books by the fireplace channel or planning a beach getaway — basically, any activity I could do to get me away from winter.
Something shifted when I started travel writing at Dream Travel Magazine, and now trying new things has become a priority of mine, as I watch how doing things outside my comfort zone impact my life positively.
One cold winter, I decided to grab some girlfriends and experience winter travel in Ontario. The trip not only introduced me to new, fun winter activities, but it was also a really great way to bond and connect with my girlfriends. Instead of hibernating during the cold months, here is a list of fun activities you can do with your girlfriends this winter in Ontario. Sharon Mendelaoui/SheKnows
1. Try snowshoeing
Many of us remember those school trips with the awkward wooden-tennis-racket snowshoes we wore on our feet as we tried to walk in snow in them for the first time. I was a bit hesitant to embark on a snowshoeing walk, but the team at Yours Outdoors in Haliburton, Ontario, were convinced to prove me wrong.
Our guide helped us into our modern metal snowshoes, and after a few awkward first steps, I was hiking the trails along the Minden River like a pro. With the gurgling river and serene nature scene of naked trees and rocks around us, my girlfriends and I felt we could walk there all day.
2. Four girls and an ice fishing hut
Ice fishing is not really an exciting sport — in fact, it is downright boring, even when you are in a small hut with four girls trying to make small talk. What do girls talk about in an ice-fishing hut you might ask? Well, with no action on our fishing lines, we talked about the special hut with the bucket for the ladies that we passed by outside. We wondered what all the crazy hooks and blades hanging on the side of the hut were for, and then after a few hours we wondered if all our talking was scaring the fish away.
We were fortunate to have an ice-fishing outfitter with a sense of humor. We did catch a fish — personally, I thought it was bigger than a minnow — but when our fishing guides took us to another hut on the lake, we noticed two things: our little fish was not a great catch and those hooks on the wall were definitely in use in this hut. This ice-hut visit was more successful — look what I caught! (OK, so I didn’t catch it, but it was fun to have the glory fish shot!)
3. Rent a cottage
Wine and cheese by a roaring wood fire with your besties is a great way to spend a weekend — especially, if you have a full day of fun winter activities to laugh about. Ontario resorts, like The Briars in Jackson’s Point, love to help make your girls’ weekend fun and often offer special girls’ getaway packages. For our weekend, The Briars helped us arrange our ice fishing excursion, prepared little lunches for our time in the ice fishing hut, greeted us at our cottage with a basket filled with wine, cheese and other snacks and included a manicure for each of us at the spa.
4. Go snow tubing
I can’t believe how afraid some of my girlfriends were at the thought of snow tubing, even when faced with a tiny hill. Eventually, I managed to convince them that this was a kiddie hill and so much fun. Don’t be afraid to let the attendant on the top of the hill give your snow tube a little spin — the result is a super-fun ride down the hill.
5. Go dog sledding
I had no idea dog sledding was an accessible sport for tourists. There are a number of outfitters in Ontario that will give you a lesson on how to ride a dog sled and glide along the snow with some new canine friends.
There is nothing more fun than the doggy kisses you’ll get during the hot chocolate break.
These dogs were so excited to get going, and if you lay your foot on the brake too long, they actually look back at you and roll their eyes. Eventually, once you get going, it is one of the most peaceful rides through winter you will ever experience. The dogs quiet down and get into their groove, and you stand there, thinking, I totally get why people take part in this sport.
So, this winter, dust off your old skates, buy a cute hat, add some extra layers of clothes under your winter coat and get out there and enjoy winter in Ontario. Grab your girlfriends and make a weekend out of it — you are bound to create some memorable moments.