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Choose Your Own Lake Ontario Adventure

There’s a reason it’s called a “great lake,” after all. Here’s how to make the most of a day along the water, no matter what type of lake person you are.

If You Want to Reel in the Big One

The crisp, cold waters of Lake Ontario are popular with trophy-worthy salmon and trout, especially along the Niagara Bar, where the Niagara River meets the lake. Book a charter to navigate toward the best honey holes, or bring your own rig — even in this current high water, the boat launches at Fort Niagara State Park, Golden Hill State Park and Wilson Tuscarora State Park are open.

If You’ve Got the Family in Tow

Pack a lunch and head to scenic Krull Park in the quaint-as-can-be shoreside hamlet known as Olcott, where you’ll find picnic pavilions, a splash pad and playgrounds aplenty. From there, take advantage of the 25-cent carousel rides at the historic Olcott Beach Carousel Park, which is just a short stroll away, or hit the boardwalk at the Lakeview Village Shoppes to browse the wares or grab a sweet treat.

If You Want Your Strip Steak with a Side of Lake Views

For a taste of the nautical life, head to the Wilson Boat House for dockside drinks, live music on the patio and dinner with a picture-perfect sunset view. Open since 1907, this recently remodeled space is the perfect place to spend a summer evening on the harbor. 

If You Want a History Lesson

Located where the mighty Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, Old Fort Niagara was built by the French in 1726 to protect its interests in the Great Lakes region. These days, it’s a way to step back into the 18th Century with live re-enactments and demonstrations — and also the perfect place to soak up panoramic views of the Lake Ontario horizon.

If You’re Seeking Thrills

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours operates along the Niagara River, offering white-knuckle trips through the Niagara Gorge and into its Class-V rapids. You can either stay wet or dry — your choice — but you won’t be able to escape the thrills and chills of this high-speed adventure.

If You Want a Taste of the Region

Many of the wineries along the famed Niagara Wine Trail, USA, are in cork-throwing distance of the Lake Ontario shoreline. Chart your own course (or just use Uber or Lyft!) or hire a private car, or just settle into one winery for the afternoon.