Are you looking for the best small towns in Northern Ontario to visit? These are great destinations if you are taking a road trip across the province. Whether you are looking for amazing outdoor adventures or stunning lakeside views you will not be disappointed.

Northern Ontario’s small towns are quite remote but are always worth the journey because you will experience true Canadian culture every step of the way! You do not want to miss these remarkable places!

You will instantly fall in love with this slice of the world. There are so many undiscovered places in this region like these Best Attractions in Northern Ontario. There are lots to enjoy and beautiful places to see. Keep reading to see the best small towns in Northern Ontario to visit!

Multicoloured smooth pebbles on a beach with turquoise water. There is a dark sky with streaks of pink and an island with pine trees.

15 Best Small Towns In Northern Ontario To Visit

Callander

Population: 3,964 (2021)

One of the best small towns to visit in Northern Ontario is Callander. Located just 15 minutes south of North Bay ON on the eastern shores of Lake Nippissing. Your trip to Callander will be full of lush greenery and sandy beaches with clear blue water.

The town lies right at the heart of Callander Bay, one of 8 known volcanic sites in Ontario. The bay is an eroded prehistoric volcanic pipe formed by a deep eruption approximately 500 million years ago.

Northern Ontario small towns are known for being rich in nature. If you love the outdoors then Callander is a great choice for your next trip to the north. Make sure you stay until the evening to catch one of the gorgeous northern sunsets!

An aging light house on a very small island on a clear reflective lake with a clear sky. Callander ON, is one of the best Northern Ontario small towns to visit!

Hearst

Population: 4,794 (2021)

Visit Hearst and experience one of the most unique small towns in Northern Ontario. Located two hours west of Cochrane ON, to get here you will need to take one of the most remote highways in the province.

Did you know that Canada has 2 official languages French and English? Hearst has the highest percentage of French speakers in Ontario. Visiting Hearst will provide you with an amazing cultural experience. Feel the French presence!

Hearst is one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario to visit in the winter. you can explore over 1000 km of snowmobile trails, it is a great way to explore the region.

A bright orange canoe in a blue lake  paddling around a large square grey rock with green pine trees on either side of the water.
Credit: Algoma County

Temiskaming Shores

Population: 9,634 (2021)

If you are taking a trip to Northeastern Ontario you do not want to miss the town of Temiskaming Shores. It is one of the most beautiful small towns in Northern Ontario to visit. Temiskaming Shores is located an hour and a half north of North Bay ON!

This region is known for having some of the cleanest air quality in the province. In Temiskaming Shores, you will be completely surrounded by miles of forests and water.

When you visit one of the most exceptional small towns in Northern Ontario, you will fall in love with the entire region. You will want to take many trips to Temiskaming Shores!

A small island in a lake with green pine trees.

Kapuskasking

Population: 8,292 (2021)

Locals call it Kap! While you are in the North you should definitely visit Kapuskasing, one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario near Cochrane. Just take a quick drive an hour west of the city!

Kapuskasing is best known for being the site of one of the largest World War 1 prisoner of war internment camps in Canada. But while you are here you can also enjoy delicious artisan cheese and the best golfing in Northern Ontario.

There are so many lakes around here, experience them by jumping right in, or hiring a local to give you a fishing tour. This is one of the perfect small towns in Northern Ontario for a weekend getaway!

Large rocks with cascading water creating rapids. Blue sky with clouds. Kapuskasking is one of the most beautiful small towns in Northern Ontario.

Kenora

Population: 14,967 (2021)

Kenora ON, is North America’s premier lake boating destination. It is one of the most beautiful small towns in Northern Ontario to visit if you love the outdoors. Located an hour east of the Manitoba border, this is a great place to stop between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg!

This region is the gateway to the 14,522 islands in Lake of the Woods. Visiting here gives you endless opportunities to explore. There are many activities and attractions that are especially great to experience in the summer!

Kenora is Best small Northern Ontario towns for golfing. Plus, there are beaches, parks, fishing and hiking trails you will love exploring! There are so many things to do in Kenora! The city is also home to Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, you will want to give their Northern Lager a try!

Aerial View of Kenora, one of the best small towns to visit in Northern Ontario at sunset in summer.

Marathon

Population: 3,273 (2021)

Located on the North Shore of Lake Superior Marathon ON, is one of the best small towns to visit in Northern Ontario. Located just north of Puskawa National park if you are taking in lake superior make sure to add Marathon ON, to your list!

White water rafting, sea kayaking, golf clubs, cross-country skiing, hiking, and exploring, Marathon has got it all! This is one of the greatest small towns in Northern Ontario to experience the outdoors!

Marathon is the midpoint between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, and is located in the heart of the Canadian Shield. Find your home away from home in Marathon on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Marathon is one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario to visit. there is blue water and a rocky beach with at sunset.

Rossport

Population: 65 (2021)

One of the most romantic small towns in Northern Ontario to visit is Rossport. This small dreamy town is a great place for a romantic beach getaway or even a honeymoon!

The drive to Rossport has spectacular views of Lake Superior’s shiny blue water and the Canadian Shield! If you like beachcombing this is one of the best spots on the Great Lakes. Rossport is also a hotspot for local artists, check out Island Pottery to take home a northern souvenir.

The Rossport Islands are a massive freshwater archipelago, recently designated as Canada’s newest National Marine Park. There is an awesome shipwreck, the Gunilda that lies nearby offshore. It is a great spot for diving!

Multicoloured smooth pebbles on a beach with turquoise water. There is a dark sky with streaks of pink and an island with pine trees.

Manitouwadge

Population: 1,974 (2021)

Manitouwadge is one of the best small towns to visit in Northern Ontario for families. There is an awesome ski club here, making it the perfect year-round destination.

The friendly community here will show you true northern hospitality. Manitouwadge is the perfect place to add as a stop between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay!

Located north of Lake Superior nestled in the heart of the boreal forest, this is one of the most memorable small towns in Northern Ontario to visit! If you are looking to get back into nature this is the vacation spot for you!

An arial view of a small town with a rainbow in the sky and lots of greenery.
Credit: Reddit.com

Red Rock & Nipigon

Population: 895 – Red Rock, 1,473 – Nipigon (2021)

If you are looking for great small towns to visit in Northern Ontario you should try Red Rock & Nipigon for a true north experience. Traditionally this region served as a crossroads between eastern and western Canada.

These two towns are adjacent to the Nipigon River and overlook the dramatic shorelines of vast Lake Superior. The towns are less than 5 minutes apart! This area has a rich culture, heritage and natural history.

You can also visit Lake Nipigon which is a perfect spot to do some kayaking or canoeing! Red Rock is famous for its rust-coloured stone. If you love live local music then you should visit the town for the annual Folkfest in late summer to see some great country and folk bands.

A dock extending out to a sapphire blue calm lake. With green trees on either side. This area has two great Northern Ontario small towns to visit.

Fort Frances

Population: 7,466 (2021)

If you are looking to get back into nature visiting small towns in northern Ontario like Fort Frances is just for you! This is the largest town in the Rainy-River district and is a great place to explore in Northwestern Ontario!

Located across a bridge from its sister city International Falls Minnesota, USA. If you are looking to head stateside it is a great place to do some shopping. Visiting Minnesota was one of my favourite trips growing up, it is a popular day trip for many Northern Ontario locals.

This region has some of the most beautiful scenery in the province. You can take a swim in one of the many blue lakes or you can pack a picnic and enjoy it in the forest or a park!

Fort Frances is one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario, this is a river, trees and a small boat with houses on the background.

Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls

Population: 567 (2021)

The township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls has some of the greatest wildlife experiences in the country. This is one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario for camping.

Located on the eastern shore of Lake of the Woods. With three provincial Parks, nearby Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls is a great place to get outside and experience nature! Check out Eagle-Dogtooth Provincial Park, Sioux Narrows Provincial Park, or Caliper Lake Provincial Park and Campground.

Hiking trails, canoeing, and awesome cottage rentals mean you will have so much to do when you visit one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario for camping. Travelling to Lake of the Woods you will find a great spot for car camping or a backcountry site!

Rocky white water rapids below a bridge. Lots of green foliage on the river banks.

Echo Bay

Population: 1,600 (2021)

The home of the Loonie! Echo Bay is one of the greatest Northern Ontario small towns to visit. If you are looking for a day trip from Sault Ste. Marie, this is a great choice! Echo Bay is just 25 minutes east of the city!

You will love learning about the local history. Don’t forget to snap a picture of the large Loon Dollar Monument! The big loonie was built in 1992 and dedicated to Robert R. Carmichael.

Echo Bay is also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts! Visit the picturesque Lake George or Lake Superior and take in the wetlands. Get ready to see all of the wildlife or experience the friendly community!

Chapleau

Population: 1,942 (2021)

This is one of the most remote small towns in Northern Ontario near Sudbury you can visit. You will love experiencing nature in Chapleau. It is a great destination for a day trip!

Chapleau is home to the world’s largest crown game wildlife preservation area, that spans an area of more than 2 million acres! This region is extremely biodiverse. The preserve is home to many different species including deer, moose, black bear, eagles, and more!

Situated in the Arctic watershed region this is one of the most beautiful small towns to visit in Northern Ontario to visit in the winter. The reserve can be enjoyed all year round. Snowshoeing is a great winter activity!

Rippling silver water in a lake. A line of pine trees in the backdrop and a bright sunshine sky.

Terrace Bay

Population: 1,528 (2021)

Terrace Bay is one of the best-hidden gems in Northern Ontario. With sandy beaches, shopping and an important history this is one of the best small towns in Northern Ontario, you will love it!

The name of the town originates from a series of lake terraces formed in Lake Superior during the last ice age. There is a lot of history in this beautiful community. One of the best attractions is Aguasabon Falls and Gorge just 5 minutes outside of town.

There are 9 white sand beaches near terrace bay Ontario for you to enjoy! While you are here check out, Slate Islands Provincial Park one of Lake Superior’s best-kept secrets.

Large waterfall dropping into a canyon with mossy rock cliffs. Aguasabon Falls and Gorge in Terrace Bay is one of the best small towns to visit in Northern Ontario.
Aguasabon Falls and Gorge. Terrace Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Ignace

Population: 1,206 (2021)

One of the best small towns in Northern Ontario to visit year-round is Ignace. Located in the heart of Ontario’s sunset count, this northwestern Ontario hidden gem is two and a half hours northwest of Thunder Bay ON.

You can have amazing adventures in the winter and the summer experiencing the best fishing and wildlife tourism in Ontario! Ignace has easy access to the rivers, lakes, and forests that make northwestern Ontario so unique.

From outdoor excursions, historical learning, or archeological adventures, Ignace has something to offer for everyone. This is a great place to stop if you are taking a drive and are looking for things to do from Thunder Bay and Winnipeg!

A beach with a lake and pine trees. Blue sky.

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