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15 Places To Visit in Fall in Ontario | Best Autumn Activities

Places To Visit in Fall in Ontario

Ontario provides a charming setting for a relaxing getaway as the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to turn. Ontario is nestled in east-central Canada for those unfamiliar with our beautiful province. It is home to breathtaking lakes, lush forests, extensive national parks, and the renowned Niagara Falls. With these 15 places to visit in fall in Ontario, it’s the perfect excuse to push for that final road trip!

Our bias aside, Ontario is beautiful year-round. Still, the fall season offers awe-inspiring scenic views as the foliage turns from bright greens to vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. From relaxing near a lake to tackling an exhilarating hiking trail, there are plenty of fall getaways in Ontario with loads of adventure.

Whether you’re heading on a fun family vacation or a romantic getaway in Ontario, a few spots are an absolute must to visit during the fall season. And as luck would have it, you’ll find them in this guide, as we’ve listed our favourite spots to visit during autumn in Ontario.

Last Updated: July 26, 2023

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Fall in Ontario

Before diving into the best attractions, let’s consider what you can expect when spending time in Ontario. Autumn provides crisp winds with classic leafy views from September to November.

One of the most sought-after experiences attracting local and international travellers is viewing the beautiful Ontario fall colours. The best time to view the striking foliage is mid-September and late October.

As the leaves begin to fall to the ground, some regions experience rainy weather. And the snow may come as early as October in northern areas like the city of North Bay. So, we’d recommend packing your favourite rain jacket to prepare for the Ontario weather.

If you are looking for amazing fall drives from Eastern Ontario, our good friends at Ottawa Road Trips put together Three gorgeous fall drives in Eastern Ontario!

base of a waterfall surrounded by rock | places to visit in fall in ontario
Image by Joe deSousa

Places with the Top Fall Activities in Ontario

Whether you’re looking for eastern Ontario points of interest or top attractions in the southern region, plenty of places offer an enjoyable experience. Here is a list of a few must-visit attractions for your next fall adventure.

Thousand Islands | Thousand Islands National Park

Located about 40 minutes from Kingston and one hour from Napanee and Bath, the Thousand Islands is an extensive group of over 1800 islands in the St. Lawrence River. It is home to captivating natural beauty, rich history, and more than 49 kilometres of walking trails.

The islands provide plenty of fun things to do in eastern Ontario, such as boat trips, fishing, scenic walks, and helicopter tours. You’ll come across charming lighthouses and historic castles on the islands. For the best panoramic viewing opportunities of the picturesque fall foliage, head to the Thousand Island Tower. 

The tower features three observation decks and an elevator that runs continuously. It provides a view of over 80 kilometres of the region. It is undoubtedly a top spot to get those Instagram-worthy fall pictures.

If you’re travelling with kids, there are numerous attractions in proximity to keep your little ones entertained. Check out the Arthur Child Heritage Museum, 1000 Island Boat Museum, and Jones Creek. 

**Be sure to bring your passport as some of the boat tours will take you over to the USA’s side of the border**

stone castle structure at the edge of a lake | fall in ontario
Image by Amanda

Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County is a great place to go if you want to see some beautiful autumn leaves. Here you’ll find two great Provincial Parks: Sandbanks Provincial Park and Presqu’ile National Park. Both provide beautiful hikes through the woods and stunning views of the lake. Sandbanks is the more popular option due to their unique rolling sand dunes.

Prince Edward County is also known for its beautiful wineries. During the cool autumn months, visitors can visit several of these wineries and taste wines from the region. Many serve light snacks or charcuterie boards with local cheeses and meats to accompany their wines.

boardwalk leading through a sandy beach area | sandbanks ontario

Kawartha Lakes

When considering fall trips in Ontario, Kawartha Lakes is one of the best destinations to visit. It is home to rich local culture, vibrant arts, lush scenery, historic sites, and countless activities such as scenic drives and fall fairs.

One of our favourites is the Bobcaygeon Fall Fair which honours local agricultural businesses. The fair comprises several fun rides, competitions, live music, and yummy treats from local vendors.

Another epic experience in the area is touring the Arts and Heritage Trail. Here you’ll discover the captivating heritage and artistic talent of the region. It comprises various attractions and local stores, such as galleries, craft shops, artisan studios, and historical sites. 

You can explore the entire trail in a day or pick a few fascinating destinations. Some of our favourites include the Kawartha Settlers’ Village, Olde Gaol Museum and Austin Sawmill. It’s an exceptional adventure for history buffs and those looking to explore local legends and hidden gems.

wooded area in autumn | places to visit in fall in ontario (1)

Algonquin Provincial Park

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Algonquin Provincial Park is a fitting destination. Established in 1893, it is one of the oldest provincial parks in Canada. The park encompasses 7,653 square kilometres of breathtaking wilderness.

It is one of the best places to see in Ontario. It offers plenty of fun activities, such as scenic hiking trails, wildlife watching, fishing, and biking. You’ll also find a network of canoe-friendly routes that stretches for around 2,000 kilometres.

The park boasts picturesque fall foliage, making it an ideal destination to see some of the best fall colours in Ontario. Amongst the maple and birch trees, there are several wildlife species. Keep an eye out for animals like moose, beavers, white-tailed moose, and black bears wandering in the forest. 

You might want to stay a few extra days with so much to explore. Fortunately, the park features several developed campsites and is an excellent spot for camping in the backcountry. If you’re not a traditional camper, consider glamping in Ontario for a more luxurious experience.

front of a canoe on a lake | places to visit in ontario in fall
Image by David Gomez

Muskoka Region

Muskoka Region, aka Cottage Country, has some of the best scenery in Canada during autumn, with acres of trees turning colours and changing foliage.

So many things to do in Muskoka during the fall, including hiking to various lookout points, attending the Bala Cranberry Festival, and visiting the Georgian Bay Islands National Park (which is next on this list)

The biggest town in Muskoka is the Town of Huntsville. It is perfect for your base accommodations for a great long weekend getaway.

Things to Do in Huntsville, Ontario | Ultimate Weekend Itinerary

For more information on nearby trails, check out our guide:

Huntsville Hikes, ON | 10 Best Muskoka Hiking Trails

Bookmark these great Huntsville blog post blog posts for your summer road trips:

Huntsville Camping | Best Huntsville Campgrounds for an Epic Weekend Getaway 

Huntsville Fishing Spots: The Top 5 In The Muskoka Region

natural treed area next to a lake | Huntsville Hikes,

Arrowhead Provincial Park

About 10 minutes away from Huntsville is Arrowhead Provincial Park. The park offers visitors an excellent chance to enjoy several fall activities in Ontario.

The fall colours of Arrowhead are vivid with brilliant red and gold foliage. While in the park, be sure not to miss the Big Bend Viewing Point. You can see a massive curve in the river below from this lookout. After Big Bend, take a short hike to Stubbs Falls. This is the most popular hike in the park, with loads of beautiful autumn leaves.

treed area surrounded by water | huntsville attractions - arrowhead provincial park

Georgian Bay Islands National Park

If you’re looking for scenic places to visit near Toronto in fall, the Georgian Bay Islands National Park is an excellent option. It is located in Honey Harbour, just two hours north of Toronto.

The park comprises around 13.5 square kilometres and 63 small islands. It is only accessible by boat and boasts a rich history, ancient forests, and vast wetlands. During fall, the park is open from September 7th to October 11th.

There are numerous activities on these scenic shores, such as kayaking, boating, birding, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, and canoeing. If you’re looking to get your boots dirty, there are also several hiking trails.

Hiking in the fall is an epic experience. You’ll walk through beautiful maple and fine forests with breathtaking lake views. Some of our top picks for an enjoyable hike include the Fairy trail, Huron trail, and the Cambrian trail.

red Adirondack chair overlooking a wooded area in fall colours | places to visit in ontario in fall (1)

Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of the best destinations for fall getaways Ontario has to offer. Nestled on the breathtaking Bruce Peninsula, the park comprises 156 square kilometres of protected land. It is situated on a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve site, the Niagara Escarpment.

The vast lakeshores and woodlands provide abundant activities, such as swimming in glistening waters and exploring the rocky Georgian Bay coastline. There are several scenic hiking trails in the area with varying difficulty levels.

For an epic experience, we recommend hiking up the Bruce Trail and admiring the beautiful changing foliage. Other exhilarating activities at the park include canoeing, cycling, kayaking, bouldering, animal watching, and fishing.

With so many things to do, it’s one of our favourite places to visit in Ontario for the weekend. As the park receives countless visitors each year, it would be best to arrive early to avoid crowds.
In between Georgian Bay Islands National Park and Bruce Peninsula National Park, you’ll find Collingwood & Blue Mountain Resort.

large stone structures at the edge of a lake | things to do in eastern ontario

Manitoulin Island

During fall, Manitoulin is one of the most beautiful islands in Canada. It has an abundance of authentic First Nations experiences.

Spend time immersing yourself in the island’s best things, like traditional crafts, art, museums, drum­ming, hiking, and local cuisine. Hike the most popular trail in Ontario — The Cup & Saucer Trail!

boat dock on a lake at sunset | ontario autumn

Whitefish Island

Whitefish Island is a beautiful place to visit during autumn. First Nations people have inhabited it since before European contact. Today, it belongs to the Batchewana band, with outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking etc. Suppose you’re looking to enjoy the glorious autumn colours. Consider taking the spectacular Agawa Canyon Railway Tour and exploring the Canadian Shield with its rugged beauty, pristine forests and beautiful river valleys.

train travelling through a wooded area | fall in ontario

Agawa Canyon

The Agawa Canyon offers a spectacular experience in northern Ontario in the Algoma District. This shallow canyon was created around 1.2 billion years ago from faulting by the Canadian Shield and enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River.

With glowing vistas and cascading waterfalls, the Agawa Canyon is one of the world’s most popular destinations. The canyon is open throughout the year, but fall is possibly the best time to visit. Some common animals include otters, beavers, wood ducks, and chipmunks.

Although the canyon is not accessible by car, you can enjoy the awe-inspiring views aboard the Agawa Canyon Train Tour on the Algoma Central Railway. The train provides a comfy 228-mile ride with wildlife sightings and magnificent panoramas of forests and waterfalls.  

overview of a train passing through a wooded area | fall activities in ontario
Image by Thomassalzano

Niagara Falls

The world-renowned Niagara Falls. It is one of Canada’s top attractions that attracts countless travellers annually. It comprises three waterfalls: Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil Falls.

The waterfalls straddle the border between Canada and the United States. In Ontario, you’ll find Horseshoe Falls. It is the largest of the three waterfalls and has a tremendous hydraulic power source.

You can experience this magnificent natural wonder by walking behind, cruising, gliding past, or simply gazing at it. Viewing the fall colours in this idyllic setting is an out-of-this-world sightseeing experience.
We recommend heading on a Niagara Hornblower Cruise and experiencing the stunning vistas from the base of the Falls. You can also view the thundering water from above at the Table Rock watching spot. Other fun activities include the Niagara Skywheel, yoga, ziplining, jet boat tours, and helicopter rides.

Niagara Falls waterfall surrounded by trees in fall colours | autumn in ontario
Image by KiethJJ

 Long Point Provincial Park

Long Point Provincial Park is fantastic for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. It is important to note that its varied natural landscape is recognized as one of UNESCO’s World Biosphere Reserves.

Fall offers many outdoor activities, including kayaking, biking, and Long Point Eco Adventures. If you’re looking for something different, there are plenty of options along the South Coast Wine Country of Norfolk County. We recommend the Ride The Bine Tour. Ride the Bine offers local beer, wine, ciders, and distilleries tours in Ontario and aims to bring consumers closer to where their foods come from.

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Ouimet Canyon

Suppose you’re looking for a place where you can experience unaltered landscapes and complete peace. In that case, the Ouimette Canyon is perfect for you!

Fall is one of the best times of year for hiking because there are so many beautiful sights to see. You’ll be able to enjoy spectacular scenery, including stunning vistas of a 150-metre wide gorge and sheer cliffs that drop straight into the canyon floor.

The canyon offers an exciting landscape for a fun afternoon, including hiking and wildlife viewing. Be sure to keep your eyes open for unusual plant life at the base of the canyon; some plants usually are only found in the Arctic but thrive here.

rock canyon location covered with trees and greenery | where to go in ontario

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park | Kakabeka Falls

Located in the Kakabeke Falls Provincial Park, the falls on the Kaministiquia River are the second highest in Ontario at 40 metres in length.

The boardwalks installed at the top of each waterfall provide breathtaking views of the surrounding area, especially during the fall season.

In addition to offering tent and RV camping at three campground locations, Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park offers numerous hiking trails for different skill levels, bird watching, bike riding, and nature education.

bridge above a waterfall | ontario fall colours

Learn more about Ouimet Canyon and Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park here: Fun Things To Do In Thunder Bay | Food, Art, History & Incredible Indigenous Experiences.

A Footnote on Places To Visit in Ontario in Fall

Ontario is a haven of natural beauty with an abundance of attractions. From hiking amongst maple trees to exploring the region’s historical treasures, there are adventures for all.

Whether you’re seeking thrilling activities or a relaxing lakeside experience, the vibrant foliage and crisp air provide the perfect setting for a rejuvenating getaway. As the Ontario beach days come to an end, fall promises stunning backdrops where you can enjoy those pumpkin-spiced treats.

FAQs

What is the best time to see fall colours in Ontario?

The fall colours are highly influenced by several different outside factors, including the seasonal temperatures and the weather heading into the fall season. However, a general rule of thumb for most of the province is that the fall colours will be visible from late September through mid to late October. If you are planning fall getaways in Northern Ontario, the fall colours may start as early as late August!  

The fact that this window of time can change from year to year means that you will need to track the colour changes in the area you plan to visit. The Fall Colours Report on the Ontario Parks website is an excellent tool for accessing up-to-date information. For travellers that are set on seeing the autumn colours in all their glory, you may need to be flexible with your travel dates.

Where are the fall colours in Ontario?

When planning your Ontario fall getaways, you may wonder which locations will deliver the best display of fall colours. While you can see the changing colours anywhere in the province, some areas have earned a reputation for putting on an incredible show each year.  

Any of the destinations listed in the article above would make for a memorable fall adventure. But some of the renowned lookouts and best places to see fall colours in Ontario include:

  • Algonquin Provincial Park
  • 1000 Islands National Park
  • Agawa Canyon
  • Point Pelee National Park
  • Huron Natural Area
  • Cup and Saucer Nature Reserve

Where is the best place near Toronto to see the fall colours?

When asking for the best places to see fall colours in Ontario, most travellers will focus on destinations in the Northern Ontario area. However, many beautiful destinations can be found closer to Toronto for an easy day trip. A few must-see locations for beautiful fall colours in Ontario include the following:

  • Forks of the Credit Provincial Park
  • Rouge National Urban Park
  • Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
  • Belfountain Conservation Area
  • Dundas Peak in Hamilton
  • Sherman Falls (Bruce Trail in Hamilton)

Which park in Toronto has fall colours?

Are you eager to see the fall colours but unable to leave Toronto at that time of year? Don’t worry; there are many great viewing opportunities within the city for you to explore. Here are a few of the best places to see fall colours in Toronto:

  • High Park
  • Trinity Bellwoods Park
  • Taylor Creek Park
  • David A. Balfour Park
  • Evergreen Brickworks
  • Crothers woods

Wherever you choose to visit, be sure to bring your camera or fully charge your phone so that you can capture all the beauty the season has to offer.

Is there anything specific I should bring when heading out to see the fall colours?

One of the best things about heading out to see these beautiful colours is that there is no “right way” or “wrong way” to do it.  For some, this could mean driving around their local area, pulling over to see the colours from the comfort of their heated vehicle. For others, it could mean a hike into the wilderness to immerse themselves in the colours of the season entirely.

If you plan on hiking or spending an extended time outside, you must dress for the weather.  Depending on where you are in the province, this could range from a warm fleece sweater to an insulated ski jacket. If you plan on taking photos, wear touch-screen compatible gloves so you don’t have to remove them to use your phone or camera.

Now that we’ve covered 15 places to go in fall in Ontario, which one are you heading to before winter hits? Share your favourite fall destination in the comments below.

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4 Comments

  1. I would add Haliburton Forest to the list! It borders Algonquin with similar stunning views plus they have the Wolf Centre where you can learn more about the local wildlife and see the wolves up close and personal. It really is an incredible experience.

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