If you’re looking for things to do in Napanee on an Ontario road trip, look no further. This post will guide you through the best of Napanee tourism and attractions in Lennox & Addington County (L&A).
Napanee and Lennox & Addington County, on the whole, has always been a place that I’d drive past or through on the way to Kingston or Ottawa, while saying to myself, “This is where Avril Lavigne used to live.” Napanee, Greater Napanee & Lennox & Addington County, on the whole, is well worth the detour off Highway 401. Start planning your trip to Napanee today!
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History of Napanee, Greater Napanee & Lennox & Addington County
- Established in the late 18th century, L&A County includes the Greater Napanee and four other municipalities in Ontario. Napanee is one of the oldest municipalities in the county.
- Today, Greater Napanee, Ontario, is home to the festive Big Bright Light Season from November to January. The annual light show includes over 750,000 LED lights twinkling downtown.
- Napanee is also known for its famous native celebrities, including Avril Lavigne, Brittany Benn, Leroy Blugh, and John Gibbard!
Where is Napanee, Ontario?
Napanee is in the southeast of Ontario, about 45 kilometres from Kingston.
The Night Before Your Adventures
Loaf N’ Ale
After a long drive, dinner at Loaf N’ Ale could not have come quicker. We had some hearty pub grub – with a surprising classy twist before calling it a night.
Day 1- Things To Do In Napanee Ontario
After some delicious breakfast pastries at Coffee Cravings, we went to the County of L&A Museum & Archives to see their exhibitions on 19th-century life. Here’s what we did for the rest of the day.
Explore Greater Napanee Attractions and Enjoy Dinner
We stopped at the town courthouse, The Canadian Piano Museum, City Hall, and the Old Post Office. We then took a quick stroll along the Spring Side Park Trail before heading to Napanee Falls.
The Canadian Piano Museum
This niche museum in Napanee celebrates the Canadian piano and organ industry of the 1800s. You can hear what a 19th-century harpsichord sounds like or marvel at the craftsmanship of the antique gramophones on display.
This is an excellent spot if you’re into obscure history, and the building the museum is housed in is historical, too. The Stevenson House was built way back in 1859!
The Greater Napanee Town Hall is a grand 19th-century building with impressive columns and a blinding white exterior. The imposing hall is a National Historic Site of Canada dating back to 1856
Inside, you’ll find mostly offices and the town council chambers, but you’ve got to see the building from the outside. The City Hall is an important piece of Napanee’s history and a must-see on your trip to L&A.
Courthouse & The Museum & Archives of Lennox & Addington County
If you’re really interested in the history of L&A, you can take a look at the Museum&Archives exhibitions that take place behind the L&A courthouse. These fascinating exhibits tell the story of early settlers in the county and its development over the years.
Old Post Office
Another Canadian National Historic Site, the Napanee Post Office is a local landmark in the heart of Napanee downtown, its historic centre. Built in 1887, this is the only building in town constructed of limestone and brick. It also boats an impressive clock tower that’s become a signature feature of the town’s skyline.
Napanee Falls boasts a long cascade that stretches for around 30m along the Napanee River. With a crest of 6m, it’s not the dramatic waterfall out there. However, listening to the sounds of the bubbling waters makes for a peaceful way to spend an afternoon. There is also beautiful scenery surrounding the river.
Spring Side Park Trail
Head over to Spring Side Park for a peaceful boardwalk stroll along the Napanee River. The river water cascades over waterfalls that will rush past you as you enjoy your walk in the park.
The boardwalk stretches from Spring Side to the Conservation Park, and there are lovely biking trails you can try out, too. The scenery is more than charming, and you can lay out a picnic to enjoy by the riverside on the park lawns. There are also facilities on the grounds and a skatepark for any young skaters out there. You kids may adore this spot.
You can take the Spring Side Park Trail that loops around the park and past the river. It’s a short 1.9-kilometre loop and is appropriate for all skill levels. It’s also a great trail for birdwatching, so bring your binoculars along.
Napanee Conservation Park
This park is a favourite amongst locals and abundant with scenic walking and biking trails. There’s also a big playground with slides and a jungle gym for the young ones to enjoy.
Ellana’s Cafe & Pantry
We were ravenous after sightseeing, so we stopped at Ellena’s Cafe & Pantry. It’s a cute spot if you’re looking for homemade goodness. We fuelled up, grabbed a few County Bounty Sodas, and headed back to the Napanee Conservation Park to relax.
County Bounty Soda
County Bounty Artisan Sodas are hand-crafted, farm-to-glass sodas made from locally grown fruits. We loved sipping on these delicious drinks, especially knowing they were made in the lovely town of Napanee.
If you’re keen to go shopping in Napanee, you can’t go wrong with Lansing Gifts & Gallery for souvenirs. Many women also shop in other parts of Ontario like Kingston, as there are loads of elegant boutique stores to browse in the area.
We (She) also stopped at the Starlet to have a browse. Napanee is a great spot for women’s fashion, and there are even more boutiques inside the mall for you to peruse.
Dead Leaf Distinguished Gentleman
After shopping, we (Me) were determined to try the whiskey at Dead Leaf Distinguished Gentleman. This cool spot is a men’s salon and barbershop, a bar, and a haberdashery all in one. It’s also a haven for the wandering husbands (Me) whose wives have disappeared on shopping sprees.
Napanee Beer Company
You can also do a craft beer tasting at the Napanee Beer Company. It’s unfortunately closed due to COVID regulations, but keep your eye on their website to see when you can grab a cold one again.
Waterfront Pub & Terrace
For dinner, we sat down at the Waterfront Pub & Terrace with even more delicious craft beer! The view from the patio is lovely at night, with the moonlight reflecting on the water.
Day 2 – Activities In and Around Napanee, Ont
On Day 2, you can visit the attractions and restaurants in Greater Napanee Township, Napanee, and Greater Napanee itself. We’ve also outlined some cool spots to visit in Adolphustown and Conway.
Breakfast in Greater Napanee at the Itty Bitty Diner
Stop by the Itty Bitty Diner for some homestyle breakfast grub. It’s a cozy, friendly joint and the home fries are to die for.
Visit Hickory Lane Alpacas in Greater Napanee
Hickory Lane Alpacas was an enjoyable way to spend a day in Napanee. Few people aren’t charmed by alpacas, so why not visit an Alpaca farm? The farm usually opens at 6 am, but the tours only begin at 10 am. Believe it or not, they also offer yoga sessions with alpacas for kids!
Hive & Hearthstone
We also stopped at Hive & Hearthstone, a magical apiary, honey stand, and artisan bakery. It’s always nice to get some locally made ingredients on vacation. Make sure you bring some cash along with you to buy delicious honey.
Do Wine Tasting in Adolphustown
We took a 30-minute drive to Adolphustown for a wine tasting at the Dragon’s Reach Estate Vineyard. The grounds boast stunning lake views to go with your vino.
Old Hay Bay Church
Then it was a quick journey to Old Hay Bay Church, the oldest surviving Methodist church in all of Canada! If you’re still looking for more things to see in Adolphustown, try the spots below:
UEL Heritage Park Centre and Park
This Napanee Park boasts over 70 acres of land and the beautiful Bay of Quinte shoreline. You’ll love camping here with the kids or simply stopping by for a fun day trip in nature. You can pitch a tent, catch some rays on the shoreline, or go birdwatching on the walking trails.
Saint Alban Centre
The Saint Alban’s Centre is a former Anglican Church with a tall bell tower. It looks a bit like a miniature cathedral. Inside you’ll see stunning stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings, and detailed tilework from the 19th century. It has been repurposed into St. Alban’s Centre that hosts events, tours and has a cafe open weekends during the summer.
Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider Co.
Bergeron Estate and 33 Vines are both part of the Prince Edward County Wine Region. You can shop in the boutique winery at Bergeron and take a bottle home or tour the remarkable 10-acre estate. This is a great spot to indulge in some wine tasting and pairings accompanied by a scenic view and delicious pizza from their stone oven.
If you happen to be in Prince Edward County on a wine tour, you can take the Glenora Ferry from Glenora Dock to Adulphustown Dock in Adulphustown, Greater Napanee to visit Bergeron and 33 Vines in one wine-filled adventure.
Loyalist Trading Company
Be sure to stop at the Loyalist Trading Company – the cutest little craft store in Conway. This shop is filled with delightful Ontarian bites and trinkets you can give away as souvenirs. And that’s not all. Nubian goats are living on the roof!
The owners, Sandy and her husband, told me the story behind the mysterious goats. One day, the couple was travelling down the highway to Tofino when Sandy suddenly told her husband to stop the car.
They had passed a building with goats on the roof. They stayed behind to take pictures that day and decided they would have the same bizarre anecdote for their own country store one day. Why the original store had goats on the roof, I guess we will never know.
Dinner in Napanee at The Royal Coachman
Check out The Royal Coachman for a fun experience that blends history with casual dining. This restaurant was once a stagecoach stop in the 19th century and today offers delectable dishes and an exquisite dining experience.
Day 3 – Places to Visit in Lennox & Adding County
On Day 3, we explored even more of L&A County. You can check out some of our favourite places below.
Stone Mills (Township)
Stone Mills is a 30-minute drive from Greater Napanee. You can visit Abrams Bakery in the small town for some delicious breakfast. We got takeaway coffees and fresh bagels with cream cheese and a maple square and lemon square for dessert. We then had a gorgeous day lounging around in the Newburgh Conservation Park.
Stop by Abrams Bakery during your trip for freshly baked bread and pastries. This is a cute spot to enjoy lunch with your travelling buddy or pick up some delicious artisan bread to take home.
Newburgh Conservation Park
Here’s another delightful waterfront spot where you check out the Napanee River. You can simply walk along the pathways and stare at the abundance of tall trees in the park. It’s a lovely way to catch some sun or get a morning walk in.
Strathcona is a quick 15-minute drive from Napanee, and it was well worth it for the collectables we found. If you’re a fan of antiquing, you’ll love Hawkvale Antiques and Old Stuff.
Hawkvale Antiques and Old Stuff
Hawkvale Antiques is owned by a lovely couple, Pam and her husband. Pam told us that the store has been in her husband’s family’s name for three generations now. It used to be a farm for horses, but today is an intriguing shopping spot for antique goodies.
Gordana bought a beautiful teacup there that she loves collecting and using in the mornings with her fresh mint tea..
Loyalist is a charming Township just 20 minutes from Greater Napanee. The cheese shop in town is a great spot to grab some local eats.
Wilton Cheese Factory
Check out the Wilton Cheese Shoppe in Loyalist. There are endless rows of artisanal cheeses to try, not to mention a gift shop and a deli where you can pick up some tasty treats. We stopped by and bought some amazing cheese curds you’ve got to try for yourself.
Odessa exudes small-town charm, and we couldn’t end our trip without a visit to the Babcock Mill. The mill is home to machinery dating back to the early 1900s. Built in 1856, this is a historical site in Odessa. We then grabbed some lunch at the Jiffy Grill before getting back on the road.
Close to Loyalist is the small town of Bath, where we peeked in at Books on Main for some old paperbacks. We then had a cappuccino at the Lodge Coffee House before visiting the Lakeside Studio Gallery to see some local art.
For more interesting things to do in Bath, try the places we visited below:
- MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company
- Fairfield-Gutzeit House
- J & P’s Family Restaurant
Stone Mills (Township)
Check out Stone Mills Township in Erinsville while you’re in L&A. We visited the Sheffield Conservation Area, a Dark Sky Viewing Area (DSVA) that will take your breath away. DSVAs essentially have minimal light pollution, so you can enjoy a magnificent starry night like nothing you’ve seen in the big city.
Day 4 & 5 – Last of Your Lennox & Adding County Road Trip
On our L&A trip, we stopped in Tamworth and Addington Heights to look around on the final two days of our L&A trip.
Stone Mills (Township)
Tamworth is a small community in Stone Mills where we stopped for some more local honey. We got our goods at The Bee Spot as they sell raw, naturally-made honey that’s environmentally friendly.
The Bee Spot
The Bee Spot is a small family-run business that essentially started beekeeping as a hobby – which slowly transitioned into business. A business that not only sells honey and candles but educates people about pollinators and the benefits of buying local.
Addington Highlands (Township)
To put an end to a memorable trip, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset picnic in Bon Echo Park. Anyone who’s travelled in Canada before will know how stunning it is at the park. Don’t forget to skip some ricks over the water from the romantic wooden bridge while you’re there.
Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo Park is a fabulous place for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, camping, and kayaking. It’s home to several gorgeous lakes, including part of the Mazinaw Lake, one of Ontario’s top ten deepest lakes.
There are some great family-friendly canoe routes you can take and over 30 backcountry hiking routes. The park is also a sacred place once home to Indigenous tribes, and you can still see hundreds of Indigenous pictographs on different rock formations around the park.
Besides the fascinating history of Bon Echo, there are also great campgrounds where you can spend the night. You can choose from rustic cabins, fully-serviced cabins, yurts, and tents.
You can’t visit Bon Echo without seeing its most famous feature, Mazinaw Rock. This 100-metre tall rock cliff is a majestic sight that drops into the Mazinaw Lake waters below. You can take your fishing boat out on the lake and marvel at the cliff as you wait for a bite.
To help you plan a great trip, take a look at the fabulous accommodations we stayed in during our trip to Napanee, Canada.
Discover Lennox & Addington County and Napanee – Ontario, Canada
From cute craft stores to groovy breweries and everything in between, Lennox & Addington County – and Napanee especially – makes for a fantastic road trip destination. With the many smaller towns scattered throughout the county, you can explore a range of locations in a short time.
Use this itinerary as a guideline and head off on your own Greater Napanee summer getaway.
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