I shared with you my favorite destinations for three weeks worth of one-day trips. For the fourth week, I gathered the best towns where I’ve been. Read until the end to learn my ultimate guide on cities in Ontario. Remember that traveling now is not recommended; this serves as an inspiration. If you still decide to go – follow all the sanitary norms and be very responsible!
I already described other gorgeous towns in Ontario, such as Elora, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Blue Mountain Village, Paris, etc., so check them out as well on the other pages.
Opening the list is a beautiful town in eastern Ontario – Carleton Place. This gem is in the Ottawa Valley, so if you come from Ottawa – it only takes 45 minutes. The distance from Toronto is around 360km or approximately four hours 40 minutes drive to reach Carleton Place. But you might ask me: “Why is it worth it?”
Well, the town is situated on the Mississippi River and has it all:
- picturesque views
- scenic trails
- beautiful old buildings
- a friendly atmosphere.
Besides its natural beauty, the town also has a lot of cultural value. I enjoyed the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth – a round-shaped labyrinth that opened in 2011. It works all-day-long and entrance is free. I want you to get prepared to see lots of murals all over the town. Some of the most memorable murals include
- Stompin’ Tom
- Roy Brown
- Window to the Past
- Six murals in the Town Hall Square.
You should consider taking a walk to the Carleton Place Town Hall. Not only a beautiful building but also with a gorgeous view of the river. You can also
- hike along the many trails the town has.
Or you can go to the Stalwart Brewing Company to taste their innovative and delicious grapefruit-vanilla IPA. You heard that right, grapefruit-vanilla IPA that they call Dos Jefes.
Carleton Place is truly a gorgeous town, with beautiful streets and nature.
The Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail connects Carleton Place to Almonte – another charming town in Eastern Ontario. It is the furthest town from Toronto on this list. The driving distance between Almonte and Toronto is 392 km, which will take you about 5 hours. But this is just a top-tier town in terms of cuteness, and nobody can prove me wrong. Let me tell you step-by-step, what is making Almonte as lovely as it is?
Every town is better if it’s on a river, and Almonte is on the Mississippi River. That’s why the Riverwalk in Almonte is so charming. I would say walking on this path is a must because it shows the scenic and the historical views of the town. On your way, you will see waterfalls too. If you follow the Riverwalk, you’ll get from the Old Town Hall to the Metcalfe Geoheritage Park. I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the view of the Canadian Mississippi. You also have options for canoeing and kayaking here – and this is my favorite adventure!
My following favorite things to do in Almonte, besides its nature, are by far the shops and the eateries. I loved coming to Hummingbird Chocolate to try out all the different types of chocolate they have. They even offer chocolate tasting tours sometimes. I want you to visit a little shop, “Tin Barn Market.” It has a variety of hand-made pieces and antiques to decorate your home – just my vibe.
For dining places, I recommend
- North Market Café and Catering – a delightful café with menus changing every day and artwork right inside the café.
- Heirloom Café and Bistro – serving their fine meals in one of the town’s old mills with an exceptional atmosphere.
I will be forever biased towards Almonte because it’s just my favorite town in Ontario.
Next on the list is beauty, only 40km away from Toronto. It will take you only 20 minutes to arrive in Kleinburg, and you will enjoy your time spent in this peaceful and elegant town.
Besides the town’s spas, restaurants, and shops, the most popular attraction in Kleinburg are the McMichael Canadian Art Collection – the prestigious art museum. You should take a walk on the town’s streets, visit the Kleinburg Railway Station or Kline House. But I want you to get a coffee at Balzac’s Coffee Roasters – one of my favorite cafés, located in Islington Ave. If you’re going to try some other places to eat, I recommend Belsito Trattoria – for fine Italian cuisine.
Kleinburg was a true discovery for me. It’s so close to Toronto, yet so relaxed and graceful. I come back here every once in a while to show it to my friends or family.
Bayfield is a hidden gem located 217km away from Toronto. Driving by car, you will get here in about 3 hours. This lovely town has beautiful
- exciting hiking trails
- parks and numerous shops.
I want you to start discovering the town by walking along its streets. I’m sure it will bring you back in time, because of its brick houses. The buildings here are memorable. Then continue with Bayfield’s Historic Main Street, where you will also find Clan Gregor Square. It is a beautiful park worth seeing. The most popular park in Bayfield is Pioneer Park. And rightfully so, the park has access to the beach and one of the most beautiful sunsets you can imagine.
Bayfield also offers numerous hiking trails, where you will be able to discover the town’s fantastic nature fully. It also has many little shops and art galleries. To me, a day in Bayfield is a day spent in a safe and friendly town!
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth said that Goderiсh is Canada’s prettiest town? Goderich is in Huron County, 225km away from Toronto, driving by car. When I go to this architecturally rich town, it will take about 3 hours. But guess what? If you stopped in Bayfield, Goderich is just a 20-minute drive away. I am just saying.
Goderich has a lot to show – it’s got a stunning shoreline and a unique downtown. I would recommend you to check three breath-taking beaches:
- The Main Beach
- St. Christopher’s Beach
- Rotary Cove Beach.
All three are very close to each other. Most of Goderich’s parks overlook Huron Lake. I highly recommend going to the Godrich Lighthouse – as it gives you a distinctive look out over the beautiful turquoise waters and visiting Lions Harbour Park.
Downtown, you just must see this place in Goderich. I want to tell you that it has a substantial historical value, and it is unique for its shape. Just imagine it has an octagonal shape, with its heart being The Square. To me, it’s a breathtaking view! You cannot leave without visiting the Huron County Museum. It has a lot of historical information about the county, regular exhibits, and occasional ones that change throughout the year.
Goderich has awe-inspiring views and architecture, with activities and just an overall friendliness. Don’t hesitate to give it a visit!
What do you know about Saint Marys
St. Marys is a tiny little town in southwestern Ontario, and it’s very close to Toronto, just 169km. Getting here will take me a bit more than 2 hours to drive by car.
The town has a lot of limestone buildings, the most ancient ones built in the 19th century!! Some of the most famous and most beautiful ones are
- The Town Hall
- The Opera House
- The Public Library.
I would recommend you to visit downtown St. Marys; you should check out this pretty area.
I want you to keep in mind to discover St. Marys Quarry – Canada’s largest outdoor swimming pool. It’s a great place if you come in the summer. A notable museum here is the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which is relatively small, to be honest, but still worth seeing. My true discovery here was the Pass It On Store. It is a vintage/thrift store where you can find clothes, books, dishes, and many more. I loved this place. The “souvenirs” of the town I bought here still lay on my shelf.
Now it’s time for Port Rowan – the last city for this week. If you check the map, you’ll find it in Norfolk County, 168km away from Toronto. I got here in a little more than 2 hours.
Port Rowan goes hand-in-hand with Long Point. You can’t imagine one without the other. Even if Port Rowan is a lesser-known tourist destination, it has its colors. You have to visit the Long Point Provincial Park; I recommend it during spring or fall when thousands of migrating birds fly here. Franni’s Attic is another place to see. I found here lots of antiques and furniture at different levels of quality. You’ll be pleased if you are a vintage lover.
Ontario has so many beautiful places you can escape to or just go for a relaxing weekend, and we often overlook so many of them. It’s always fascinating to see how these towns are so peaceful and charming, so far from the urban noise, yet close enough to the action.
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