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Your guide to Haliburton
All About Haliburton
Located in central Ontario just over three hours from Toronto, the city of Haliburton is quintessential Canadian cottage country, with expansive forests, a sparkling lake, and plenty of things to do in both. In summer, lakeside cottages fill with vacationers, including a significant number of artists who flock here to be inspired by the natural beauty of the Haliburton Highlands. Hiking and fishing are huge here, as is walking around the woods with binoculars spotting moose and birds like the yellow-bellied sapsucker.
In town, it’s all about the art. Check out the studios, galleries, and workshops where you can throw pottery, blow glass, paint, or sketch, or go on a scavenger hunt in the Haliburton Sculpture Forest and admire work by Canadian and international artists. And don’t go home without stopping by one of the town’s legendary sugar shacks for some local maple syrup.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Haliburton
The best time for enjoying one of the area’s cottage rentals is during June and July, when the weather is at its warmest. There’s a drive-in movie theater at Abbey Gardens that shows classic films through September, and is wildly popular on warm nights. Also in summer is the Highlands Festival with live theatre and music. Temperatures usually drop in October and remain cold until May. January can be severely cold and snowy, however it’s a popular time for winter sports enthusiasts, who come here to snowmobile, snowshoe, ice skate, and ice fish on the frozen Haliburton Lake. If you’re visiting in December, check out the Santa Claus Parade, and steel-nerved locals plunge into Head Lake during the February Frost Festival.
Top things to do in Haliburton
Situated on 300 acres, Abbey Gardens is a green space that is home to hiking trails, youth programs, a local produce market, and organic gardens where you can learn about sustainable farming during a class or workshop. Visit the Food Hub for local eats or try craft beers at a local brewery. Experience the five-acre pony paddock, three spring-fed ponds, and hiking trails through the 140-acre forest.
An hour south of Haliburton is Kawartha Lakes, where you’ll find 14 different lakes and a number of unique communities, each with their own charm. You can spend a day hopping between the different towns, exploring the local shops, galleries, and farms, or relaxing at one of the beaches. Or, simply drive through the winding roads of this area, admiring the lush forests and pristine lakes.
Haliburton Sculpture Forest
The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is a unique outdoor gallery with 34 unique, larger than life sculptures and six handcrafted benches from Canadian and international artists. You can wander around the trails at your own pace or with a tour guide, coming across the structures nestled amongst the trees along the path. During summer you can walk or bike ride through the park, and in winter you’re able to cross country ski or snowshoe along most of the trails.