As bonafide travel enthusiasts, we're always up for ditching the never-ending streams of work e-mails, and taking some time for ourselves. Of course, a trip to a far-flung destination is always a great option, but there are plenty of places much closer to home that offer an equally fulfilling getaway without the bank-breaking plane ticket. You could visit one of the best beaches in Ontario, or stay at one of the coolest cabin rentals in Ontario — but for this trip, we're looking for something a bit more holistic.
Scattered throughout Ontario, wellness retreats provide the chance to relax, recover, rejuvenate and heal. Often quaint accommodations in gorgeous natural settings, Ontario wellness retreats have a wealth of restorative experiences that range from nature activities, spa treatments and massages to spiritual exercises.
We love relaxing with cucumber slices on our eyes at Ontario's best spas and reconnecting with Mother Nature on one of Ontario's best hiking trails, but there's something deeper and more meaningful about unplugging completely at a wellness retreat instead. So, we've compiled a list of the best wellness retreats in Ontario — and most of them are within a few hours of Toronto.
All of these Ontario wellness retreats are rewarding, enriching experiences. Nature lovers can bask in the wilderness and meaningful outdoor activities at Northern Edge Algonquin; wine warriors will be obsessed with the glamping tents and vino at Whispering Springs. Ontario wellness retreats are sure to deliver on life-changing, restorative experiences, so book your stay now.
The best Ontario wellness retreats
1. St. Anne's Spa
Escape stress at Ste. Anne’s, a lavish health and wellness spa housed in an 1800’s fieldstone castle in Northumberland, Ontario. Just a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto, the sanctuary’s lush countryside setting is tranquil and calming. While many choose Ste. Anne’s for day visits and overnight stays, they have a variety of multi-day retreat packages that concentrate on giving guests the opportunity to reconnect with themselves. Available retreats will change throughout the year, so be sure to check their website.
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2. The HighAcre
A beautiful, luxurious setting certainly doesn't hurt when you're in need of R&R. This 150-year-old farm house in Dundas, Ontario has been completely transformed into a chic sanctuary and operates as a boutique inn. The HighAcre is much more than just a place to hang your hat, though — every inch of this place is dedicated to wellness. The inn has a yoga fitness studio, outdoor pool, hot tub and health bar, and each of its four suites are equipped with private infrared saunas and aromatherapy steam showers.
3. Nourishing Lakeside Retreat
Set at the beautiful Willow Barrel Retreat near Blenheim, Ontario, Nourishing Lakeside Retreat is a three-day yoga-focused experience right on the peaceful shores of Lake Erie. A three hour drive from Toronto, it's the perfect place to unplug and recharge. On from August 18-20 this year, retreat guests can partake in four restorative or yin yoga sessions, meditation, sacral chakra workshops and water sport activities surrounded by stunning nature.
The retreat includes ample free time to explore the gorgeous property or explore the nearby village of Erieau by way of a complimentary bike. End your days with restorative shuteye with two nights of accommodation at Willow Barrel Retreat's cottages and suites.
4. Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing
Caring for the wellbeing of people, animals and the planet is the ethos of Grail Springs, a lakeside retreat sanctuary that’s been dubbed the ‘best wellness retreat in Canada’ five times by the World Spa Awards. With countless holistic activities available, it's not hard to see why; you can sign up for everything from yoga classes to crystal meditations, sacred labyrinth exploration and a volcanic ash bed experience. Commit fully to your wellness retreat with Grail Springs's longer healing programs, like the "Raise Your Vibration" package with cell regeneration VibroAcoustics and crystal light colour therapy.
5. Dimensions Retreats
In the dog days of summer, get back to feeling grounded and resilient at the new lakeside Dimensions Algonquin Highlands. Just half an hour south of Haliburton, Ontario, the all-inclusive Summer Wellness Series is set in an adult-only luxury retreat. While you're revitalizing your internal strength, you'll have every need catered to with excellent dining, spa rituals, plus wellness activities like sound baths and float tank sessions.
6. Sugar Ridge
Get back in touch with nature at Sugar Ridge, a vegan retreat centre 1.5 hours north of Toronto. All food is organic and locally bought, or harvested from an on-site garden. Weekend yoga and meditation retreats are available year-round, but if you aren’t able to stay overnight, the centre also has day-long workshops. Retreats focus on healing the body, mind and soul; dealing with trauma; and chakra clearing.
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7. Northumberland Heights
This revitalized farmhouse in Northumberland, just 90 minutes from Toronto, has been transformed into an overnight spa resort. Spa therapies and massages are numerous and unique, ranging from mud body wraps and caviar treatments, to hot stone massages and foot pressure point reflexology. Set in the gorgeous Northumberland countryside, there are also plenty of options for outdoor activities in between spa treatments, too, like hiking and kayaking. Handy tip: If you take the VIA Rail to Cobourg station, Northumberland Heights has a complimentary shuttle service to and from the resort.
8. Northern Edge Algonquin
Tucked away in a peaceful corner of Algonquin Park lies Northern Edge, a sprawling forest retreat centre. They’ve been hosting transformational retreats for more than 20 years, with an emphasis on inspiring your inner leader and nurturing community. By day, you’ll either partake in nature excursions like moose-spotting on the river, or holistic activities like sound meditations. In the evening, share stories or play music under the stars before retiring to an ecoluxe cabin.
9. Pure Lotus wellness retreat
Taking pride in its simple, natural setting that's completely sans-frills, Pure Lotus wellness retreat is set on five acres of private country land near Ottawa. Get in touch with yourself and heal on a day visit with integrated energy therapy, Reiki classes or one of the many other workshops at Pure Lotus. We recommend visiting for their "Wellness Wednesday" retreats that include two treatments, a wellness class, catered lunch and outdoor area access. Pure Lotus doesn't have any overnight accommodations on-site, but you can easily find an available hotel nearby and spend a few days in the area.
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10. Rustic Mama Retreats
Rustic Mama Retreats hold women's-only retreats in different locations throughout the year. Their all-inclusive, three-day Women's Wellness Weekends take place at Camp Arowhon in Muskoka, or Ganaraska Forest Centre near Peterborough. You'll spend mornings in a variety of breakout sessions with quiet reflection and meditation, or group yoga classes and emotional Chakradances.
11. Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat
Two nights and three days of wine, relaxation and yoga at Whispering Springs sounds like it would solve all of our problems. This glamping spot organizes one retreat per season, and it’s chock-full of easy-going, restorative fun. You’ll stay in a luxe tent with a cozy king-sized bed and partake in daily yoga classes for the duration of the retreat. There’s also a tasting of Prince Edward County wines, as well as guided forest workshops and campfire song sessions in the evening.