As the smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario is still quite mighty. This “lake of shining water” is bordered by Canada and the state of New York, boasting a claim to fame that it is the only Great Lake that does not touch Michigan. With so many stats to its credit, it is easy to see the greatness in this beautiful lake.
Lake Ontario serves as the basin into which Niagara Falls empties as it flows from Lake Erie. Small but mighty, this lake reaches a depth of 802 feet and is the only Great Lake that does not freeze over. A natural beauty all year round, Lake Ontario offers beautiful vistas and plenty of recreation for Americans and Canadians alike, eh.
Prevailing winds and currents create lagoons and harbors along Lake Ontario’s easternmost shores. The sandbars surrounding these inlets of water create long beaches and support vast wetlands, which create a flourishing habitat for plants, animals, and migratory birds. In addition to Niagara, several other rivers run into Lake Ontario.
Rivers Running into Lake Ontario
- Niagara River
- Trent River
- Oswego River
- Salmon River
With an abundance of forests, shorelines, and contributing waterways, Lake Ontario is an ideal vacation destination. Perfect for the outdoor enthusiast, the area surrounding Lake Ontario offers an abundance of recreation and watersport activities.
Go ahead and put a trip to Lake Ontario at the top of your list of things to do – this Great Lake does not disappoint.
Where to Stay Near Lake Ontario
Do you want to pack your passport and explore the Canadian shores of Lake Ontario or stay stateside? The eastern shore borders upstate New York, offering unique lodging within proximity to the lake and adjoining rivers. Whether you want a secluded cottage or a hotel room in the middle of the action, Lake Ontario has you covered in two countries.
Places to Stay in Upstate New York
Places to Stay in Canada
One of the wonders of staying at a lake surrounded by two countries is found in the variety of hospitality and charm that can be experienced. Do you prefer glamping along the shoreline or ordering room service at midnight? A vacation at the lake brings you both kinds of joy. You’ll lose yourself in the nautical lake art décor and dream of redecorating your home with this vacation vibe.
What To Do at Lake Ontario
There is so much beauty to soak in along the lakes, forests, and rivers near Lake Ontario. Not to mention the star attraction – Niagara Falls, which is living lake art like you’ve never seen! If your goal is to soak up as much fresh air as possible, the New York state park system has plenty of space for you. Visit any of the ten state parks within just miles of Lake Ontario and the Falls, including:
State Parks Near Lake Ontario
You can hike a trail, cast your line for fishing, or commune with nature as you sit on a patch of grass, breathe deeply, and do… nothing. The beauty is so pervasive it all but swallows you whole, taking away the concerns of real-life and replacing them with visions of wildlife, lighthouses, and giant oak trees. Capture the moments with photos, creating lake art that stays with you, yet leaves no trace you were there.
Shopping Near Lake Ontario
The Waterfront Artisan Market is a favorite offering a wide variety of local treats and creative works by artisans from the area. Lake art is particularly in high demand, offering an eclectic and elegant way for visitors and residents alike to commemorate their love of all things Lake Ontario. You simply cannot walk away from the lake art offerings that feature the stunning Niagara Falls!
The Humber Bay Butterfly Park is an ecological project that provides a habitat for many of the butterfly species native to the area. In addition to open space to observe and enjoy the butterflies, the park offers ten biking trails. So, get there early and start your day with a sensational sunrise.
Where to Eat Near Lake Ontario
Soak in the peaceful ambiance and lake art atmosphere at the many lakeside patio restaurants surrounding this basin. Fresh catch of salmon, bass, and trout is the staple on any menu. For a unique foodie experience, consider finding the following:
Foods Unique to Lake Ontario
- Maple Syrup
- Beaver Tails (it’s not what you think!)
- Wild blueberries
The lake is wrapped with eateries ranging from fine dining to patio style and pub grub. Each eatery provides a taste of local flavor served up with a side of Ontario pride. Locals are confident in their skills and serve their fair with plenty of Canadian hospitality. A glimpse at menus from area restaurants will have you thinking less about the next thing to do and more about where the next place to eat is!
Best Eateries Near Lake Ontario
A trip to Lake Ontario would not be complete without feasting on Canada’s national dish – poutine—a tasty French-Canadian creation combining fries, cheese curds, and gravy. While there is not a carb-free version of this popular dish, you can take comfort in knowing there are many more trails to bike, shorelines to hike, and butterflies to chase while you plan your next snack break.
Lake Art is a Perfect Souvenir
The time you spend around the Lake Ontario basin is an occasion you will never forget. The natural beauty, the hospitality, and the memories of Niagara Falls pounding into the depths of the basin, creating a deafening noise will awaken feelings of calm, peace, and creativity.
The high-quality lake art you discovered at the market is destined to hang in a place of prominence within your home, adding a subtle nautical vibe to your space and encouraging memories of your adventure to the lake of shining water.