Top Ten

10 Best Fall Drives in Ontario 

Here are 10 fall drives in and around Toronto that you have to see in October.

By Yuki Hayashi Wheels.ca

Oct 7, 2015 6 min. read

Article was updated 8 years ago

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October is the perfect time to hit the road for a scenic fall drive. Forests are in peak colour, pumpkin lattes are brewing, and autumn temperatures make exploring pleasant as long as you bring your jacket! Here are 10 drives within a 3-hour radius of Toronto, ideal for day trips or weekend getaways.

1. Waterdown & Dundas

Why we love it: These picturesque towns boast quiet, tree-lined streets that merge into driver-pleasing countryside. Cafes, gourmet shops and farms characterize the areas, both technically part of the City of Hamilton.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Snake Road: a winding, tree canopied driver’s (and cyclists’) delight starts in Burlington and leads you to Waterdown

  • Dyments Pumpkin Patch & Farm: this Dundas farm market sits just past the crest of Sydenham Hill, offering epic views from the top of the Niagara Escarpment

  • Detour Café: Great brunches and the city’s best coffee, located in the heart of Dundas’s quaint retail strip.

Best for: Saturday afternoon

2. Huntsville

Why we love it: There’s nothing like visiting a provincial park once the summer crowds are gone. It’s peak colour in Muskoka, so take in the roadside natural attractions, and then explore the wilderness by foot (or, for the brave, by canoe).

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Those who want an easy escape should drive to Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville, where heated cabins are available to rent.

  • Adventure lovers know that as the paved road gives way to gravel, your city stress dissolves, courtesy of Algonquin Provincial Park’s trees and lakes. Pick up your rental canoe in Kearney, secure your car and portage into Algonquin’s famous backcountry via Magnetawan Lake.

Best for: A long weekend

Image source: Discover Muskoka
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3. Schomberg

Why we love it: There are plenty of amber farmer’s fields and blazing trees on the route to this small but appealing village north of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Cold Creek Conservation Area: Park the car and go for a walk along the Humber River watershed, a designated Canadian Heritage River.

  • Grackle Coffee: This Schomberg pit-stop offers fair trade Joe and plenty of delicious baked goods. Explore the rest of Main Street, with its cute bakeries and shops.

Best for: Saturday afternoon

4. Hamilton

Why we love it: The Hammer is going through a cultural Renaissance with vibrant galleries, restaurants and boutiques. The drive out isn’t much to write home about…unless you take the scenic route along Lakeshore Road, which is replete with expansive lake views and leafy residential enclaves.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • The Royal Botanical Gardens: Technically in Burlington, the RBG bridges Hamilton and its neighbour. Its world-renowned gardens and trails are ideal for fall leaf viewing.

  • Locke Street South: This quaint residential/shopping district delights with its cheese shops, tearooms and locavore cuisine.

  • James Street North: The heart of the arts district, the recently revitalized area around James and Cannon boasts galleries, artsy shops and indie cafes.

Best for: Day trips

Image source: Urban Toronto

5. Caledon

Why we love it: Scenic rolling hills make for pleasant weekend driving, and the close proximity of local conservation areas add up to a fun Sunday destination.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Forks of the Credit Provincial Park: Mile-long views make this a hit with fall hikers of all ages.

  • Forks of the Credit Road: The quintessential fall drive, it’s a sensory overload of colourful leaves. The route ends in Belfountain, where you can grab a pumpkin spice latte at a local café.

  • Cheltenham Badlands: The strikingly eroded formation is currently fenced off by local conservation authorities, but you can park by the roadside and grab photos from Old Baseline Road.

Best for: A scenic Sunday drive

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6. Crawford Lake Conservation Area

Why we love it: Beautiful country scenery and relaxed back roads with just enough curves and hills to keep things interesting.

Set your GPS for this attraction:

  • Crawford Lake Conservation Area: A variety of easy to potentially treacherous hiking routes will please everyone from mostly sedentary leaf lovers to hardcore trail runners. Replica longhouses provide visitors with newfound appreciation for First Nations history.

Best for: A scenic Sunday drive

7. Pelee Island

Why we love it: Canada’s southernmost island boasts world-class bird watching, a winery, local cuisine and relaxed exploration by car (or bike).

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Pelee Island Ferry: The only way to get to Pelee Island is via passenger (and car) ferry. Drive onboard in either Leamington or Kingsville, ON.

  • Pelee Island: although it’s too late for the fall Monarch butterfly migration, there’s plenty of birding, not to mention lots of local colour to drink in on your scenic drives. Check out the Ice Age-era glacial grooves and Lighthouse Point Nature Reserve.

Best for: A long weekend

8. Niagara’s wine country

Why we love it: Niagara is home to dozens of world-class wineries, with plenty of restaurants to match. Vineyards and escarpment views turn any road trip into a stop-and-go drive with moments where you’ll want to step out the car to snap Instagram-perfect photos.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Jordan, Lincoln: Home to Cave Spring Cellars, Jordan’s main strip has quaint boutiques and restaurants.

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake: This tiny hamlet is home to some of Ontario’s top wineries, including Inniskillin Wines, Konzelmann Estate Winery, and Palatine Hills Estate.

  • Beamsville: More wineries, including the eco-centric Malivoire Wines.

Best for: An overnight escape

9. Prince Edward County

Why we love it: PEC is one of Canada’s hottest food and wine destinations. Drink in the fall foliage and sample the local fare on the bucolic Taste Trail, a feast for your eyes as well as taste buds.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Picton: Picton is home to several up-and-coming PEC wineries including Three Dog Winery and Black Prince Winery.

  • Bloomfield: Check out the trove of local artist and artisan studios and galleries, many of which are a short drive from one another.

Best for: An overnight escape

10. Guelph and Elora

Why we love it: The Grand River Country is a pleasure to drive any season – but especially in fall when historic attractions (old mills abound) pop against colourful foliage.

Set your GPS for these attractions:

  • Elora Gorge Conservation Area: While you can’t river-tube like in summer, autumn in the gorge is a riot of colour and beauty with autumn leaves, the rushing Grand River and sheer cliff to create Instagram magic.

  • Downtown Guelph: After exploring by car, park in downtown Guelph and check out the local scene. The farmer’s market is open with crafts, gift items and farm-fresh foods year-round, and local cafes offer the perfect spot to rest and refuel before your drive home.

Best for: Saturday afternoo

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