Did 2017’s bummer summer leave you wanting a little more adventure in your life? Well, luckily the fall in and around Toronto is typically conducive to a good time. It doesn’t take much to escape city living in Toronto — drive a few hours in any direction, and you’re in the wilderness, sampling some of the province’s finest wine, or taking in the season’s lush colours on a scenic drive.
It’s so easy to plan a worthy weekend getaway without straying too far from home. Need to get away for a few days? Scroll down for some of our favourite fall weekend getaways.
Stroll through an apple orchard
What better way to enjoy the season than by sinking your teeth into a fresh crisp apple? Ontario is loaded with apple orchards, so there are a ton of options if you want to make it a road trip or stay close to the city. A long time favourite is Whittamore’s Farm, which will permanently close to the public after this fall season. So get out and get picking! Orchards within an hour from the city also include Brooks Farms in Mount Albert, Dixie Orchards and Albion Orchards in Caledon, and Orchalaw Farms in Brampton, among others.
Eat & Drink Through Prince Edward County
City-dwellers have been flocking to Prince Edward County for its beaches, wineries, antiquing, and B&Bs for decades, but when The Drake Hotel opened The Drake Devonshire in the quaint town of Wellington, it became an even bigger hot spot for Torontonians. If you’ve never been, it’s time to find out what all the fuss is about. Don’t miss the county-specific wines at Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard, which you can savour alongside pizza from an outdoor wood-fired oven on the small dining patio. You’ll also want to block-off an afternoon (or two) to spend at Sandbanks Provincial Park, where you can sunbathe on the sprawling, white-sand Outlet Beach or hike the massive sand dunes at Dunes Beach. Check out our lists for more things to do and food & drink guide.
Go for a scenic hike at the Bruce Trail & The Niagara Escarpment
Niagara is more than rushing water and wine. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, spend a weekend in the Niagara Escarpment and hike along the Bruce Trail. What’s unique about this hike are the many caves you explore along the way. Over 7,000 were carved into the escarpment, during the Ice Age, over 7,000 years ago.
Get your Fall on at Evergreen Brick Works
Evergreen Brickworks is one of Toronto’s most unique spots. Go shopping at the Evergreen Garden Market, take a guided tour through Evergreen’s beautiful grounds, or checkout their farmer’s market that runs right up until November 5. Whatever you do, the pretty Fall colours alone are enough to get you into the pumpkin spice spirit.
Get in Touch with Nature at Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada. It’s a sprawling park, at nearly 7,700 square kilometers with upwards of 2,400 lakes contained within its borders. Lush landscapes, camping sites that range from remote locations only accessible by canoe or kayak to car camping lots, with portages and trails suitable for all levels of hikers, Algonquin Park is a popular summer destination. It’s located roughly 3 hours-plus from Toronto so more suitable to camping than a day trip, but book your permits early because availability vanishes quickly.
Bask in Pure Ontario Beauty at Bon Echo
Algonquin does live up to the hype, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only provincial park in Ontario worth visiting. With a stunning blue lake that’s nearly 50 km around, hiking trails ranging from one to 17 kilometres long, every style of camping, and three natural sand beaches, there’s a lot to love about Bon Echo Provincial Park. But the park’s main attraction is Mazinaw Rock, a one-and-a-half-kilometre-long and 100-metre-high granite formation that juts straight out of the lower end of the lake. And it’s more than just a pretty sight: the rock features the country’s largest collection of Aboriginal pictographs, which are best seen by canoe and kayak. You can also hike to the top for a spectacular view of the lake, or if you’ve got some climbing experience under your belt, hop on a ferry and head straight up with the Alpine Club of Canada.
Take a drive through Forks of the Credit Road
This is a great way to appreciate Ontario’s beauty this Fall season. On the Forks of the Credit Road, the road dips, winds, climbs, and spirals through breathtaking orange, red, and yellow forests, fresh Fall air and soothing waters. The only expense here is gas, and you’re looking at about a 50 minute drive one way, so pack a thermos of hot cocoa and make a day trip out of it.
Scenic Stratford, Ontario
Stratford might be best known for its theatre productions, but that’s not all this lively little city has to offer. It’s also home to historic inns, a scenic river you can picnic beside, and a ton of culture. There’s the Stratford Fall Fair, and a worthwhile culinary scene that’s fueled by the rich agricultural community that surrounds the city.
Niagara-on-the-Lake: An essential wine lover destination
Arguably the most popular region for Ontario wine—growers and drinkers alike—is this expansive southern section of the province. A mere hour and a half journey from the downtown core, there is a ton of sights to see and a limitless amount of fun to be had. Trius Winery is not only a world-renowned vineyard, but they’ve also got a four-star restaurant (with an amazing wine list—duh). Stratus Vineyards is another winner—for wine tastings, tours and fine dining. And Konzelmann is an established estate winery that prides itself on its friendly, informative and educational pedigree. Honorable mention to Peller Estates, too.