If you crave travel, love nature, and want to support conservation, an ecotourism trip is the perfect escape for you. Through ecotourism, you can explore, learn about the natural world, and travel with a focus on sustainability.
Mississauga is located among many idyllic and ecologically important natural spaces, including lakes, rivers, forests, and marshes, just to name a few. Whether you’re looking for a quick midday respite or a lengthy getaway, read our guide to the best ecotourism excursions in Mississauga to plan your perfect outdoor adventure.
Commune with Nature at the Riverwood Conservancy
In the heart of Mississauga sits an urban oasis – a nature preserve spanning 150 acres, running past the shores of the Credit River, woodlands, meadows, ravines and wetlands. With free entry and parking, the Riverwood Conservancy is an accessible spot to visit for a scenic hike, bike ride, birding or nature photography. Each season offers spectacular sights to see, but it’s especially lovely in the spring and summer when the five flower gardens are in bloom.
Throughout the year, Riverwood hosts unique events for all ages that are both entertaining and educational, helping visitors better understand our natural environment, connect to culture, and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings:
- Visit on select Wednesdays this summer as Culture at Riverwood hosts its special concert series.
- Explore Nighttime Nature to learn about nocturnal creatures and experience sights you can only see at night.
- Join the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for Astronomy Night to enjoy the starry sky.
- Practice mindfulness and deepen your connection to nature during Forest Bathing at Riverwood.
- Learn how to distinguish aquatic insects and try your hand at sampling freshwater habitats during Credit River Insects.
Don’t miss out on the Sensory Path, featuring a variety of tactile artifacts, samples and engravings, with specially designed features for individuals with vision loss.
Stay tuned to Riverwood’s event listings for the latest discovery programs to help you make the most of your visit.
Explore Wetlands at Rattray Marsh
Combining a convenient and beautiful boardwalk with incredible nature views, Rattray Marsh is a must-visit ecotourism destination, perfect for beginner hikers. This free conservation area contains five unique trails ranging from easy to moderate difficulty that take you past some stunning vistas. Highlights include:
- A natural wetland, home to wildlife including herons, beavers and turtles. In fact, Rattray Marsh is the last remaining lakefront marsh of its kind in the area, making it an essential locale for the creatures that inhabit it.
- A shale beach with picturesque water views.
This spot is best suited for hiking and walking – bikes are prohibited, but feel free to bring your leashed dog. Make sure to pack your camera or binoculars as there is plenty to see. This is an especially ideal spot for birders, but you may even spot some deer or foxes! After your walk, spend some time in Jack Darling Memorial Park right beside the marsh, where you can relax with a picnic while listening to the soothing sounds of the lake waves.
Find Something for Everyone at Meadowvale Conservation Area
If you’re travelling with a group and need to satisfy a range of interests, plan to visit Meadowvale Conservation Area. Nature lovers will enjoy journeying around the beloved David J. Culham Trail, which is suitable for hiking, biking and leashed pets, and takes you along the Credit River. Considered a fairly easy trail, it’s great for exploring with family or friends of various experience levels. Walking along the river provides a relaxing escape from the city, and you’ll certainly see lots of local flora and fauna during your trek.
Beyond hiking, anglers can enjoy fishing in the well-stocked river, while history buffs can explore the remnants of an early pioneer settlement. The 150-acre park also encompasses picnic areas with pavilions so you can take a break in the shade. Aside from the river, the park also has large green spaces, perfect for pick-up games. While the sights are very scenic in the spring, summer and fall, be sure to come back for snowshoeing in the winter for views of the sparkling, frozen river.
Take an Exciting Kayaking Excursion
For those who prefer to be on the water, kayaking is a thrilling way to travel, allowing you to experience the outdoors up close while limiting your environmental footprint. Many Mississauga parks border the shore of Lake Ontario, including Jack Darling Memorial Park, Lakeside Park and J.C. Saddington Park, providing easy launch spots.
During your journey, remember to avoid disturbing local wildlife. Stay safe by keeping to marked trails, and help in conservation efforts by keeping natural areas clean and litter-free. If you’d like to give back, consider getting involved with Credit Valley Conservation.