I was born and raised in Northern Ontario and grew up with an appreciation for all the beautiful nature surrounding my hometown. I have spent many years travelling around Ontario, finding all of the great places this province has to offer. I’ve lived in Sudbury, Ottawa and Toronto and explored these major cities. They all offer something different and are places I highly recommend visiting. I’ve also been lucky enough to spend my summers exploring the small Southern Ontario towns at farmer’s markets and beautiful beaches.
From big cities to off the grid nature trails, I’ve loved every part of this province and I want to help other people enjoy it. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve put together a list of my top four must visit places in Ontario to help you get started planning your trip. They are all beautiful and well worth a visit so start adding these four places to your must travel to list.
Prince Edward County
If you’re planning a trip to Ontario, one place you may not have heard of but NEED to visit is Prince Edward County. This beautiful part of Southern Ontario is home to tons of wineries, incredible beaches, lavender fields and delicious food. Spend the weekend exploring the many vineyards around the county and find some new wines to take home. There are a lot of great wine tours you can do and you can even take a guided bike tour to the wineries. However you choose to get them, you won’t regret it. They each have beautiful tasting rooms and many offer delicious snacks as well.
A trip to Prince Edward Country wouldn’t be complete without making a stop at Sandbanks National Park. Located on Lake Ontario, this beautiful National Park has some of the largest and most beautiful beaches in Ontario. You can easily spend a day lounging in the sun or out on the water kayaking. Before heading to the beach, stop by the Agrarian Market and pick up a picnic basket full of tasty snacks.
Sudbury and Manitoulin Island
Sudbury is my hometown so I may be a bit bias but I truly feel that the Nickel City and well worth making a stop in. Sudbury is home to over 300 lakes so it is the best place to spend a summer weekend. Visit Ramsey Lake and spend the day out on the water before heading it one of our many amazing local restaurants for dinner. I suggest Respect is Burning, Tucos Taco Lounge or P&M Kouzzina. After dinner head out on the town and take in some live music at the iconic Townehouse Tavern or stop by Red Fang to meet some locals at one of our favourite hot spots. If you’re travelling with your family, check out Science North and Dynamic Earth and make a stop at Flurples for vegan ice cream and cookie dough.
After a day or two in Sudbury, hop in the car and head over to Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest fresh water island with more than 100 inland lakes. In just two hours you will be in one of the most beautiful parts of Ontario and can experience what islasnd time is really like. You can rent a cottage and spend a few days enjoying this picturesque island. Start in Little Current with an ice cream from 3 Cows and a Cone and walk along the water front. Then make a trip the Kagawong to check out Bridal Veil Falls and head out for a hike at the Cup & Saucer Trail. If you’re a craft beer lover, Manitoulin Island has two breweries for you – Manitoulin Island Brewing and Split Rail Brewing. Both are worth making the stop.
Ottawa is Canada’s capital and another beautiful Ontario city. Although it may not seem as exciting as some of Canada’s other cities, Ottawa is home to some really great historic sites and the perfect place to visit to learn more about Canada’s history. Spend an afternoon at the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery of Canada or the Canadian War Museum. You can explore Parliament Hill and watch the sound and light show before walking over to the Byward Market which is a farmer’s market and shopping district full of unique stores and amazing patios.
If you’re visiting Ottawa in the winter months bring your skates (or rent them on site) and skate along the Rideau Canal. Stop along the way to try our famous Beaver Tails. If you want a truly Canadian experience, check out one of the maple syrup farms around Ottawa. I suggest Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush. Plan your trip around Winterlude and you will be able to explore Ottawa’s winter festival and see some really amazing ice-carvings, the Byward Market Stew cook-off, the Annual Bed Race and many other great activities.
Toronto and Niagara Falls
Obviously one of the must visit places in in Ontario is Canada’s largest and most multi-cultural city, Toronto. I’ve already written a full guide for things to do in Toronto so check out the guide and find out why you need to visit Toronto if you’re planning a trip to Canada. There is always something going on in Toronto and no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll be able to fill your days with amazing activities, delicious food and fun events. Toronto is the most visited city in Canada and once you’re there, you will quickly see why.
Less than two hours from Toronto you’ll find Niagara Falls, home to our famous waterfalls. Niagara Falls is a great place to bring your family for a visit and has many tourist attractions for visitors of all ages. Get on a boat tour and witness the falls up close and then visit the family friendly attractions along Clifton Hill. If you’re an adrenaline junky you can zip line across the falls for a whole new view of the falls.
Wine lovers will want to make the short drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake to spend the day exploring all of the amazing wineries. This is Canada’s most active wine region with more than 90 wineries. Niagara is a great place to spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto.
Ontario is a beautiful province with so many great cities. Whether you want to get out in nature and explore or spend some time in bigger cities, there is something for everyone. You can explore Ottawa and learn more about Canadian history or immerse yourself in the different cultures found in Toronto. Spend a day out on a boat tour of Niagara Falls or hike the many trails around Manitoulin Island. However you plan to spend your time in Ontario, I can guarantee you will love it and plan to make a trip or two back in the future.