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8 Charming Small Towns In Ontario That Are Even More Spectacular In The Summer

You can even explore one by kayak! 🚣

A woman sits on a patio in a small town in Prince Edward County. Right: Kayakers paddle along a river in eastern Ontario.

A woman sits on a patio in a small town in Prince Edward County. Right: Kayakers paddle along a river in eastern Ontario.

Staff Writer

Do you crave an escape from the city? These adorable small towns in Ontario are even more spectacular in the summer — whether you want to picnic along the Grand River or a taste of small town living.

From a turquoise swimming hole to patios overlooking Lake Ontario, we have eight of the best small towns you'll want to check out for yourself.

So the next time you're looking for something fun to do, consider a trip to southwestern Ontario, the Niagara region, or any of the other charming small towns on this list.


Address: Paris, ON

Why You Need To Go: While in the picturesque town of Paris in southern Ontario, you can enjoy spectacular waterfront views from many walkways and patios overlooking the scenic Grand River. There's no Eiffel Tower in this town, but it's the closest you'll get in North America.

Brant County website


Address: Picton, ON

Why You Need To Go: This small town in Prince Edward County is a peaceful retreat just two hours from Toronto. Take a trip to the beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park and swim in Lake Ontario's cool water. Another spot you'll want to add to your list is the colourful patio at the Vic Drive-In, where you can start the day with pancakes.

Town of Picton website


Address: Perth, ON

Why You Need To Go: Over in eastern Ontario, you can explore the Town of Perth and its many outdoor activities. This charming town is a great place to get out on the water and kayak or canoe along the Tay River. You can rent one for the afternoon from Perth Major Outfitters.

Town of Perth website


Address: Cambridge, ON

Why You Need To Go: Another small town on the Grand River, Cambridge is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Walk along Main Street and marvel at the antique lampposts and stone facades. This town is even home to two national historic sites!

City of Cambridge website


Address: Elora, ON

Why You Need To Go: When thinking of the best small towns in Ontario, Elora has to make the list. With its impressive 19th-century limestone architecture and scenic view of the Niagara Escarpment, this quaint town in Wellington County is made only more beautiful by spring blooms and summer sun.

Elora & Fergus website


Address: Campbellford, ON

Why You Need To Go: In this waterfront town, you'll want to marvel at all the old buildings and explore the incredible bakeries that are part of the Butter Tart Trail that stretches all the way up to the Kawartha Lakes.

Campbellford website


Address: Almonte, ON

Why You Need To Go: For a picture-perfect day, take a short walk to see the Grand Falls before stopping at the Almonte Ice Cream Shop — the best place to cool off after an outdoor adventure. Self-described as "The Friendly Town," you should be in for a pleasant visit.

Almonte website


Address: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Why You Need To Go: Last but not least of the best small towns is Niagara-on-the-Lake, a walkable city surrounded by impressive wineries. Sitting on the southern shore of Ontario, this town is only a 30-minute drive from the next Great Lake — Lake Erie!

Niagara-on-the-Lake website

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

This article has been updated since it was originally published on July 15, 2021.

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