Things To Do In Perth Ontario | Embrace The Small Town Charm

things to do in perth ontario

Are you tired of the same old weekend destinations and touristy spots? If so, look no further than Perth, Ontario, and boy, do we have some things to do in Perth Ontario! This small town is just a few hours drive from Toronto, yet it often flies under the radar. We’re honestly not sure why!

You’ll feel like you stepped into a Hallmark movie from the moment you arrive. The streets are lined with unique shops, farm-to-table restaurants, handcrafted breweries, and historic architecture. Whether you’re planning a special couple’s getaway or simply looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you won’t be disappointed.

Start planning your next Ontario road trip with this list of the best things to do in Perth, Ontario: 

things to do in perth ontario

History of Perth, Ontario

  • It was established in 1816 as a military settlement due to the War of 1812.
  • The area’s first settlers were offered land in return for their military service. They came from many countries, including Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, and Poland.
  • Home to Canada’s oldest pioneer burial ground. Originally called The Old Methodist Burying Ground, it is now known as St. Paul’s United Church Cemetery.
  • The town was the location of the last fatal duel in Upper Canada, which occurred on June 13, 1833, between Robert Lyon and John Wilson. The duel resulted from a fight over a woman, Elizabeth Hughes. 

Places to Stay in Perth, Ontario (and Surrounding Areas)

Despite being a smaller town, there are many different options for accommodations in Perth, Ontario. You will find options for any style of travel, including hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, short-term rentals, off-grid cabins, and even more rustic camping. Here are a few options we recommend:

Best Western Perth Parkside Inn & Spa

82 Peter St

There aren’t many hotels in Perth, Ontario, but that certainly doesn’t mean you have to settle. The Best Western Perth Parkside Inn & Spa is comfortable and welcoming, with its clean and modern appearance. Guests enjoy a complimentary breakfast, and you can pick up dinner at the onsite steak and seafood restaurant, The Locks. For those who love a little pampering, the hotel is also home to Perth’s day spa, the Parkside Spa, where you can splurge on a massage or a facial.

Aquarius Motel

17518 Hwy 7

While motels often get a bad name, there are some highly rated Perth, Ontario motels to consider that will offer a clean and cozy place to rest your head after a day of exploring the town. The Aquarius Motel is a great example. It’s a convenient spot, just 2 km from attractions like The Perth Museum. It should be noted that all rooms at the motel are non-smoking.

Cabinscape: Rhya Cabin & Mica Cabin

While these tiny off-grid cabins aren’t found in the town of Perth, they are just a short 15-minute drive away. Both the Rhya and Mica Cabins are located on Rideau Valley Conservation land with a stunning waterfront view and a remote location that allows you to relax completely, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

hotels in perth ontario

During our trip, we stayed at the Mica Cabin. While these two cabins are off-grid, they still offer a luxury experience. Solar power and generators ensure you have power, a compostable toilet is available in the indoor bathroom, and the kitchen area includes a propane stovetop, mini fridge, and running water. The best part? Large windows along the front of the cabin ensure you can enjoy the stunning views even when relaxing indoors.

accommodation in perth ontario

Camping in Perth, Ontario

If you would prefer a more rustic getaway, whether you enjoy tenting or camping in a trailer or RV, there are several options in and around Perth. McCullough’s Landing is a private campground on the shores of Mississippi Lake, just 15 minutes from Perth. You can also drive 15 minutes in the opposite direction from the town and camp at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park on Big Rideau Lake. 

9 Things to Do in Perth, Ontario During Your Visit

Don’t let the fact Perth is a small town fool you. This adorable little town has something to offer for everyone, from delicious sweets to the area’s natural beauty – it’s easy to fill a weekend itinerary for a fun-filled trip. Here are our suggestions for what to do in Perth, Ontario:  

Grab a Drink at Perth Brewery

121 Dufferin St

Long-time craft beer enthusiast Terry Steeves moved his beer-making hobby from his kitchen to an official brewery in 1993, forming the Perth Brewing Company (PBC). The Ontario government had just started licensing Brew-on-Premise beer making, making PBC one of the original craft breweries in the province.

restaurants in perth ontario

Over the years, the brewery has grown and evolved, driven by the popularity it attracted in the area. Today, you can find over 20 beer styles for craft beer lovers of all tastes. You can enjoy your beer on-site in the taproom paired with their on-site woodfired pizza or grab your favourites to go. We brought a few back to the cabin, including our favourite, the Calypso IPA. 

restaurants in perth ontario

Enjoy the History of Perth Town Hall

80 Gore St E

Built in 1863-1864, Perth Town Hall was designed not only to serve as the local town hall for a growing town but also to offer space for a fire hall, police station, post office, concert hall, and market. The result was a stunning stone building that continues to stand strong in the heart of the town. It was designated a historic site in 1984. Today, the building continues to function as a central hub for the community. 

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Visit the Mammoth Cheese

This one-of-a-kind attraction has a fun, unique story behind it. In 1893, the cheese was created to demonstrate Canada’s cheese-making prowess. It was made to be exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. 

The 22,000-lb cheese, known as the Mammoth Cheese, was made with milk from twelve Lanark County cheese makers and stood an impressive 6 feet high. News of the cheese quickly spread, creating a stir of interest across North America and Europe. 

The monument displays a replica of the cart that carried the cheese, but a piece of the original cheese is still preserved at the Perth Museum.  

accommodation in perth ontario

Go Hiking at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park

2243 Elmgrove Road

As we mentioned when discussing camping in Perth, Ontario, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park is just a 15-minute drive from the town. This beautiful park on Big Rideau Lake is a great spot to embrace the local beauty, with five hiking trails, fishing, canoeing, and swimming.

If you visit during the snowy season, several of the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing, while others are non-groomed and available for snowshoeing. The campground doesn’t open until late spring (May 10 for the 2024 season), and the park’s gate is closed, but you can park in the lot by the gate and walk in.

For those interested in the area’s mining history, you can hike the self-guided Silver Queen Mine Trail to an early 1900s partially open-pit mica mine. The area also showcases a rebuilt miner’s bunkhouse and heritage displays. The area is open for all guests to explore outdoors. However, you must join a scheduled guided tour to see inside the mine and bunkhouse. Call the park directly for more information: 613-267-5060.

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Purchase Hand-Crafted, Small Batch Spirits at Top Shelf Distillers

14 Warren Cres

Is craft beer not your drink of choice? Don’t worry – Top Shelf Distillers has you covered. This small-town distillery is known for making high-quality, handcrafted, small-batch spirits with a fun and unique twist.

Some options that stood out to us were the Reunion Ontario Cherry Moonshine, Reunion French Toast Moonshine, Butter Tart Cream Liquor, and Rideau Maple Whisky Liqueur. But there are so many options, you must visit to see them all for yourself. For the full Perth experience, pair your drink of choice with Mrs. Garrett’s famous butter tarts.  

what to do in perth ontario

Grab a Donut at Blackfly Grub Hub

17 Wilson St E

This is one of the true hidden gems in Perth. One of the locals gave us a heads-up when we asked about what we should make a point of visiting during our trip, and we’re happy we listened! All donuts are handmade on-site. While there are some more “standard” favourites, we quickly fell in love with the many flavours and variations available. There are also vegan options.

what to do in perth ontario-1

We purchased a six-pack of donuts, including maple bacon, peanut butter and chocolate cup, apple fritter, and chocolate mint after eight.

If you’re searching for quick and easy restaurants in Perth, Ontario, be sure to add Blackfly Grub Hub to your list. In addition to their famous donuts, they also offer delicious gourmet hotdogs. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a tasty meal while supporting a local small business. 

what to do in perth ontario-1

Enjoy a Craft Brew at Bridge Masters Brewing Company

29 Beckwith St E

This brewery gets its name from its location at the foot of Canada’s oldest metal swing bridge. While the brewery itself is relatively new, the owners have paid careful attention to honouring the area’s history through branding, décor choices, and the events they host.

Stop in for a cold beer and a bite to eat from their delicious menu featuring tasty options like the bison burger and braised beef sliders. You can also enjoy live local music if you’re in town on a Friday night.   

restaurants in perth ontario

Tour the Perth Museum

11 Gore St E

Located inside the historic Matheson House, a stone mansion built in 1840, the Perth Museum offers a unique look at life in the area in the 1840s. It features four period rooms, restored and furnished to reflect how it would have looked for the Matheson family during that era.

The house itself was nearly lost, having been slated for demolition. There was even a wrecking ball on the property when the Town of Perth stepped in to purchase the home and move the museum, once located in the Carnegie Library, to the location in 1967.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM. There is no set admission fee; visitors are encouraged to make a donation of their choosing at the door. 

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Perth Chocolate Works

17 Wilson St E

In the same building as Blackfly Grub Hub, Perth Chocolate Works is a family-run specialty chocolatier specializing in high-quality, handcrafted chocolates in small batches. When you visit, you have the opportunity to watch the talented chocolate makers at work.

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If you have a sweet tooth, be warned. With so many incredible options available, it can be hard to choose! Our favourites include the Sweet & Salty Bark, Peanut Smoothie Bar, and mixed chocolate-covered fruit. However, regardless of what you choose, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed! 

restaurants in perth ontario

Take a Stroll Through Stewart Park 

41 Mill St

Located in the heart of Perth, Stewart Park is a central gathering space for the town. Depending on when you visit, you will find a wide selection of events, performers, and festivities.  The Stewart Park Festival (July 19-21, 2024), in particular, is a weekend completely dedicated to celebrating Perth and all the town has to offer, including local businesses, musicians, and more.

camping in perth ontario

The park offers walking trails perfect for a casual stroll. Just outside the park, you can also visit The Haggarts home, a historic stone mansion built by John Haggart in 1837. He was a stone mason who worked on the Welland and Rideau Canals. The house was then passed down to his son, John Graham Haggart, who served as the mayor of Perth before moving on to more prominent positions in Ontario politics. 

perth day spa

Feel the Small-Town Spirit in Perth, Ontario 

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, this charming town is well worth the trip. With so many things to do in Perth, Ontario, we’re sure you will make lasting memories. If you’re like us, you’ll even leave with plans to return in the near future! This hidden gem proves that some of the best road trip destinations are just waiting to be discovered in our own backyards. 

Things to do in Perth
Things to do in Perth

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