With most of us looking for a little extra space these days, it can almost seem as if there aren’t enough options. But let’s face it, there are tons of options if you’re looking in all the right places.
If you are looking for vast, open space to lay your eyes on, plant a picnic basket on, dig your toes or hiking shoes into, that is a little less “been there, done that” and more of a glorious hidden gem with jaw-dropping views — look no further than the Niagara region.
With over 3,000 acres of parkland, 3,000 kilometres of hiking and more in Niagara, you’ll be sure to find your perfect undiscovered oasis. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to spend an hour or two in between vineyard visits or an entire afternoon in the great outdoors, there’s plenty of space for you and your crew to enjoy all that Niagara has to offer.
Here’s where to start:
Serenity and seclusion await! Explore 10 acres of paradise on this incredible series of manmade islands connected by bridges and walking trails. Although only a short drive south from the hustle and bustle of Niagara Falls’ biggest attractions, this unique and tranquil escape is one of the region’s “best kept secrets,” favoured by both locals and tourists alike. Perfect for anyone looking to take in a quiet, scenic stroll not too far off-the-beaten-path or an afternoon picnic in a storybook setting. If you simply cannot get enough of this little slice of paradise, come on back when this gorgeous space goes from green to white and bright! Make this your new go-to spot, and you’ll be happy to know its open year-round and is the site of the Winter Festival of Lights, where twinkly bright, colourful Christmas lights are on display around the islands from November through to January.
Just 10 minutes from the Falls can transport you to another world in Niagara! Take a quick drive along the Niagara Parkway and continue taking in all things beautiful by stopping in at the Botanical Gardens. Also home to the Butterfly Conservatory, where you will be amongst almost 100 acres of breathtaking gardens and their world-famous rose garden with over 2,400 blossoming beauties to see. Onsite you’ll spot the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, whose students maintain the manicured gardens all around you. Whether you’re a flower enthusiast or just have an appreciation for these bursts of colour that Mother Nature has to offer, immerse yourself in a world of blooms including perennials, azaleas, herbs and even a formal parterre garden all surrounded by butterflies. Needless to say, this is a magical experience you won’t want to miss that will truly set your heart aflutter!
Everything is better by the beach, and green spaces are no exception! With not one, but two beaches, this 22.5-acre waterfront park is a total gem. Offering sand and greenspace galore, this park is perfect for those who want to spend their day surrounded by nature. In the summer months, enjoy the park’s lush green lawns, dig your toes into the sand on the beach or even take a hike. With both the Fifteen and Sixteen Mile Creeks flowing through Charles Daley Park into Lake Ontario, take advantage with a scenic creekside trek, indulge in the ultimate Canadian summer activity— canoeing —or tap into your fishing skills. If you end up staying the day or popping in during the evening hours, you won’t want to miss the stunning sunset over Lake Ontario at the end of a glorious summer day. With almost too much to do at this park, should you want to extend your visit and stay the night, be sure to check out the nearby Jordan Village for cozy accommodations, wine tastings, as well as one-of-a-kind shops to help you pack for a charming park or beach picnic with your pals in between activities.
This expansive park doesn’t fall short on space as the largest park in the Niagara region! Nature lovers will delight in the astounding beauty of the Short Hills area, the result of a glacial erosion over 12,000 years ago when the Short Hills area was flooded by what we now know as Lake Erie. Pretty cool, right? These steep, small hills and valleys create a landscape that is unlike anything else in the region, and something you’ve got to see to believe! If you’re looking for a solid hike, a space to mountain bike and even horseback ride, the park’s mixed terrain including forests, meadows, creeks, waterfalls and hills, make it the perfect space to delight in these activities against a beautiful backdrop. For those who prefer to stay on track, there are seven trails in the park including the iconic Bruce Trail, should you yet to have knocked that off your bucket list! If you’re up for rewarding yourself after taking in a trial, be sure to visit a nearby award-winning winery such as Henry of Pelham, 13th Street Winery or Hernder Estate Wines.
If you are looking to capture the iconic beauty and breathtaking scenery that is so wonderfully unique to Niagara-on-the-Lake, look no further than Queen’s Royal Park on your next trip to the area. Known for its picturesque picnic area, charming gazebo, waterfront path, beach access, and sweeping views of Lake Ontario, Fort Niagara, and the Toronto skyline, this park is a must-see and must-experience destination for locals and visitors, alike. With plenty of benches and picnic tables throughout, there is no shortage of points to take in the waterside sights whether you choose to sit, stroll, or venture down to dip your toes in the sand and water. When planning your visit, be sure to bring a camera as this park provides ample space for incredible selfies and group pictures that are sure to be cherished for years to come!
Queen’s Royal Park is a destination that you have to see to believe.