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Top 10 Summer Experiences

family jumping into lake
Large Family Group Holding Hands and Jumping into a Lake together at Sunset --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

1. Patio Season

The favourite expression for describing our summer patio obsession is “al fresco” simply meaning “in the fresh” – Peterborough & the Kawarthas offers just that – dining with farm fresh flavours out in the open air. The Silver Bean Café – on downtown Peterborough’s waterfront offers an urban oasis – like sitting on the deck at your cottage, with great lunch eats and to-die-for strawberry lemonade. Riley’s Rooftop Patio takes you above the City’s hustle and bustle. See the City from a different point of view.

2. Enjoy the Sweet Things

Summers filled with simple pleasures were what made childhood summer’s so magical. Sharing a laugh. Splashing in a lake. Enjoying an ice cream cone. Take a time-out to indulge in a summer treat – an ice cream from Kawartha Dairy or Central Smith Creamery! One of our personal favourite flavours is Berry Berry Chip at Central Smith – a new flavour this year. Delicate black raspberry blend ice cream with a blackberry ripple and lots of chocolate chips. One scoop? Or two?

3. Festivals & Events at Every Turn

One Region. Countless Ways to Kick It Up. Round up the crew for a weekend of fun. Round out a perfect week’s stay in true Canadian Cottage Country. There are countless ways to celebrate with us. See fantastic works at the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival. Rock out at Peterborough Musicfest and you will see why it has been voted one of Ontario’s top festivals. Step back in time at great events at Lang Pioneer Village. What are you waiting for? There’s a party going on up here!

4. Free Family Fun

With the kids off for two whole months, it can be exhausting (and expensive!) to keep your family happy. We get that. Peterborough & the Kawarthas is filled with great ways to spend quality time without emptying your wallet. Enjoy Riverview Park & Zoo – with a splash pad and playground to cool off. Peterborough Musicfest is a free summer concert series.

5. Cruising Canada’s Treasured Waterway

Boating on the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site is a signature experience. Our region is defined by our connection to water – and the unique communities that have positioned themselves along the watershed. Unlock the treasures of our region’s waterfront towns, villages and the great engineering marvels along the way. Enjoy a 2 hour sightseeing cruise with Liftlock & the Riverboat Cruises and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you kick back and relax in the waterway. Travel up – waaay up – the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock. Explore downtown Peterborough all morning and spend the same afternoon on the water!

6. Outdoor Concerts

We’re a destination that will be music to your ears. Whatever your chosen genre is, you’re sure to find some soothing sounds and cool beats here. Throughout the summer, Peterborough Musicfest brings twice-weekly concerts to Del Crary Park in Downtown Peterborough. Country fans from throughout North America flock to the small town of Havelock to hear some of country music’s hottest acts at the Havelock Country Jamboree. Check out Lakefield Jazz, Art & Craft Festival a relaxing day of entertainment, on the shores of the Otonabee River.

7. Petroglyphs Provincial Park

Tucked in one of our greatest natural areas, surrounded by winding hiking trails and natural serenity is the largest known concentration of First Nations stone carvings in Canada. The depictions carved into the white marble include approximately 900 figures of turtles, snakes, birds and humans snakes, birds and humans – are known as Kinomagewapkong, translated as “the rocks that teach” was teaching where different Indigenous communities came together to exchange knowledge. View the carvings. Hear the stories of our heritage and realize the spiritual attachments between this site and our region’s Indigenous communities.

8. Hear our Stories

Everything we experience today, pixel by pixel, engine by engine, road by road can be traced back to an equally valuable time – field by field, stone by stone, tree by tree. Get enveloped in the joy of a great story. Step back in time. Tour original historic family homes, chat with the local blacksmith, join in the fun at Lang Pioneer Village. Snack on tea and scones at Hutchison House Living History Museum. Explore other great historic treasures at the Peterborough Museum & ArchivesOFAH Hunting & Fishing Heritage Centre and the Canadian Canoe Museum. The secret behind preserving our stories is sharing them. Find your connection to generations of yesteryear.

9. A Blanket of Stars

Get back to basics with family camping in the Canadian wilderness. Gaze up at the blanket of stars in the night sky. Roast marshmallows over a cozy campfire. Step away from the pace of daily life and enjoy the simple things. At Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, “spelunk” your way through caves that were formed during the last ice age. By night, sing silly campfire songs and explore trails by lantern light. For campers who enjoy their urban creature comforts, Peterborough’s Beavermead Park & Campground offers campsites within the city limits. Go backcountry camping at Kawartha Highlands Signature Site– 2nd largest Provincial Park in Ontario with endless opportunities to explore and see wildlife.

10. Art at its Finest

Drawing inspiration from the picturesque settings here is easy to do. Lakeside views. Wooded trails. Manicured streetscapes. Our local galleries demonstrate ways that artists of regional, national and international acclaim create reflections from their surroundings. Get inspired. See great original works at our local gallery: Art Gallery of Peterborough. Visit the Buckhorn Festival of the Arts, named one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals, and recognized as one of the premiere Canadian arts festivals.