As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to turn, Ontario provides a charming setting for a relaxing getaway. Nestled in east-central Canada, it is home to breathtaking lakes, lush forests, extensive national parks, and the renowned Niagara Falls.
Ontario is beautiful year-round, but the fall season offers awe-inspiring scenic views as the foliage begins to turn from bright greens to vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. From relaxing near a lake to tackling an exhilarating hiking trail, there are plenty of places to visit in fall in Ontario with loads of adventure on offer.
Whether you’re heading on a fun family vacation or a romantic getaway in Ontario, there are a few spots that 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.
Fall in Ontario
Before we dive into the best attractions, let’s have a look at what you can expect when spending time in Ontario. The Autumn season provides crisp winds with classic leafy views from September to November.
One of the most sought-after experiences that attract both local and international travellers is viewing Ontario fall colours. The best time to view the striking foliage is between 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.
Place with the Top Fall Activities in Ontario
Whether you’re looking for eastern Ontario points of interest or top attractions in the southern region, there are plenty of places that offer an enjoyable experience. Here is a list of a few must-visit attractions for your next fall adventure.
Algonquin Provincial Park
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a peaceful escape surrounded by nature, 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 for you to explore.
It is one of the best places to see in Ontario that 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. And 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.
With so much to explore, you might want to stay a few extra days. 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.
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 an abundance of activities for all, such as swimming in glistening waters and exploring the rocky Georgian Bay coastline. There are several scenic hiking trails in the area with varying levels of difficulty.
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 the crowds.
The Thousand Islands
Located near Kingston, 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 and is certainly 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. Be sure to check out the Arthur Child Heritage Museum, 1000 Island Boat Museum, and Jones Creek.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
If you’re seeking 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, made up of 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 to enjoy 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 in the area.
Some of our top picks for an enjoyable hike include the Fairy trail, Huron trail, and the Cambrian trail. Hiking in fall is an epic experience, as you’ll walk through beautiful maple and fine forests with breathtaking lake views. For more information on nearby trails, check out our guide on Huntsville hikes.
Located in the Algoma District, the Agawa Canyon offers a spectacular experience in northern Ontario. 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.
The canyon is open throughout the year, but fall is possibly the best time to visit. With glowing vistas and cascading waterfalls, visiting the Agawa Canyon is on many travellers’ bucket lists. The area is home to fascinating fauna and flora. Some common animals that you’ll find in and around the Agawa River 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.
Kawartha Lakes is one of the best destinations to visit on Ontario road trips. 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 that 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.
Last but certainly not least is the world-renowned Niagara Falls. It is one of Canada’s top attractions that attracts countless travellers each year. It comprises three sets of 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 a great source of hydraulic power.
You can experience this magnificent natural wonder by walking behind, cruising up, 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 in the area include the Niagara Skywheel, yoga, ziplining, jet boat tours, and helicopter rides.
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.
Now that we’ve covered where to go in Ontario, which one are you heading to before winter hits? Share your favourite fall destination in the comments below.