If you’re looking for things to do in Napanee on an Ontario road trip –– we got you! This post will guide you through the best Napanee tourism and attractions in Lennox & Addington County (aka L&A).
On the whole, Napanee and Lennox & Addington County have always been a place that We’d drive past or through on the way to Kingston or Ottawa while saying to ourselves, “This is where Avril Lavigne used to live” while blasting her hit song “Sk8er Boi” on the radio.
Now that we got you humming that song, Napanee, Greater Napanee & Lennox & Addington County, on the whole, is well worth the detour off Highway 401. It inspired our Road Trip Ontario quote: Life is a highway. But if you don’t get off it every now and then, you’re missing the magic! Towns/cities like Napanee are what we’re talking about.
This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
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 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 2.5-hour drive is right for a weekend getaway or road trip stop towards Kingston, Ottawa or Montreal. We took the 401 after peak traffic and arrived in Napanee in the evening.
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 surprisingly 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.
Coffee Cravings in Downtown Napanee, which was once a bank is the perfect place to start your day. Fuel up with a cup of Joe while enjoying a cozy atmosphere with an extensive menu of delectable hot and cold beverages and tasty desserts.
Choose from hot lattes, cappuccinos, gourmet coffees, and teas, or opt for one of our refreshing smoothies.
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 quickly strolled 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 interested in the history of L&A, you can look at the Museum&Archives exhibitions behind the L&A courthouse. These fascinating exhibits tell the story of early settlers in the county and their development over the years.
The Lennox & Addington County Museum
The Lennox & Addington County Museum proudly presents a variety of themed exhibits that feature artifacts from the textile, furniture, domestic arts, tools and equipment collections. Additionally, the museum houses rotating guest exhibitions.
The Archives within the museum house documents, photographs, oral histories and other documents that focus on the culture and history of the area and its residents.
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 stretching around 30m along the Napanee River. With a crest of 6m, it’s not the most 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 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 charming, and you can plan a picnic to enjoy by the riverside on the park lawns. There are also facilities on the grounds and a skatepark for young skaters. Your 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 is abundant with scenic walking and biking trails. There’s also a big playground with slides and a jungle gym for the young.
Ellena’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 returned to the Napanee Conservation Park to relax.
Ellena’s Cafe & Kitchen Shop is renowned for its hand-crafted small-batch baking. They provide a variety of meals, including sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts, specialty coffee, Ontario cheeses, and cured meats. Their cafe also features a kitchen shop with a variety of goods.
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. Delicious period.
Shopping In Napanee
If you’re keen to shop, jumping off the highway in Napanee is well worth it. Many women pop into town from other parts of Ontario, like Kingston and Ottawa, for the many elegant boutique stores to browse.
Lansing Gifts and Gallery
Lansing Gifts and Gallery is your go-to destination for the perfect gift, with an extensive home decor selection containing candles, stationery products, giftware, special occasion cards, pet supplies and retro toys.
They take great pride in offering a wide range of art from local artists, making it easy to bring a touch of the area’s beauty into your home.
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.
Starlet opened its doors in 2006 to give every woman the royal treatment they deserve. They boast an incredibly unique collection of jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and humorous greeting cards from renowned Canadian brands.
Dead Leaf Distinguished Gentleman
After shopping, we (he) were determined to try the whiskey at Dead Leaf Distinguished Gentleman. This cool spot is a men’s salon, barbershop, and haberdashery all in one. It’s also a haven for the wandering husbands 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.
Convenient Candy Shop
They say they sell candy –– conveniently.
If you’re passing through Napanee and need to stock up on road trip snacks, this is the place for you! Jellies, candies, chocolates with raisins, chocolate with nuts, chocolate bars, licorice, lollipops and more. We think you get the idea.
Black Barn Co.
Black Barn Co., located in Lennox & Addington, is an ethical-sourced shopping destination for your home & lifestyle goods needs. Black Barn Co. offers something for everyone, featuring high-quality goods from decor items to housewares and personal care. Not only that, they also showcase work from a local artist each month.
MacPherson House & Park
Allan Macpherson, who was Napanee’s first postmaster, magistrate, militia leader, and leading local businessman, had this two-story frame house built near his general store on Dundas Street. “The Laird of Napanee,” as he was known, was exceptionally well-known throughout the area, and Sir John A. MacDonald, a relation of the Macpherson family, often visited the house.
The house is a classic example of vernacular Georgian design, symmetrically divided into five bays with a neoclassical entranceway and two flanking windows.
Waterfront Pub & Terrace
We sat at the Waterfront Pub & Terrace for dinner 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 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 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. 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 on weekends during the summer.
Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider Co.
Bergeron Estate and 33 Vines are parts of the Prince Edward County Wine Region. You can shop in the boutique winery at Bergeron, take a bottle home, or tour the remarkable 10-acre estate. This is a great spot to indulge in wine tasting and pairings, accompanied by a scenic view and delicious pizza from their stone oven.
Suppose you happen to be in Prince Edward County on a wine tour. In that case, 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 – Conway’s cutest little craft store. This shop has 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 travelled 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 country store one day. We will never know why the original store had goats on the roof.
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, a maple square, and a 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 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 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 more local honey. We get 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)
We enjoyed a beautiful sunset picnic in Bon Echo Park to end a memorable trip. 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 fabulous 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 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 while waiting for a bite.
Napanee Accommodation + Map
To help you plan a great trip, look at our fabulous accommodations in Napanee, Canada.
Airbnb – CLARKELAND Farms – Apt in 1856 Limestone house
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 quickly explore a range of locations.
Use this itinerary as a guideline and head off on your Greater Napanee summer getaway.
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Thanks for including us! It was lovely to meet you this past summer! Just and FYI, you spelled our name wrong in the headings as “Ellana’s” and should be “Ellena’s” but it was correct in the description of the cafe! Not sure that it matters but thought that you would like to know! Safe travels!
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