8 Stunning Vacation Spots In Ontario That Have Made My List Of All-Time Faves (PHOTOS)
You'll want to add these to your bucket list.
Planning your next weekend getaway in Ontario but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.
I was born and raised in Toronto and have had the pleasure of visiting all the usual vacation spots, from Niagara Falls and Muskoka to Elora, Prince Edward County, and Blue Mountain Village. But some of these destinations shine much brighter than others, boasting breathtaking beaches, rejuvenating spas, delightful wineries, and refreshing swimming holes.
So believe me when I say there are some truly gorgeous Ontario getaways that will not only leave you in awe but also spare you the cost of a plane ticket.
Don't get me wrong, as a 30-something who loves to travel, I've been around the world, yet there are still over a handful of destinations right here in our own backyard that have secured a place on my all-time favourites list.
So whether you're looking to stay at a luxurious Ontario resort with loads of history, a modern Airbnb surrounded by vineyards, or just take a day trip to a charming ranch for a horseback ride at sunset, this list has it all.
Cambridge earns a shoutout for one spot in particular. Langdon Hall Country House & Spa has become one of my absolute favourite go-to places to visit. It’s a bit pricey (be prepared to pay roughly $520 a night or more), but trust me when I say it’s worth the splurge. I went in February and personally think it’s even more magical in the winter. The estate has its own restaurant (the food is phenomenal), there’s a spa right on site (highly recommend booking a massage and hitting the hot tub afterward) and the bar makes a mean dirty martini. The whole place is a great vibe — it has tons of history and character, with a splash of pizzazz that makes every room look more Instagrammable than the next. The estate may even look familiar if you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale — it actually doubled as the Gilead brothel, Jezebel's, in the hit drama on Amazon Prime.
Langdon Hall also has 12 km of walking trails and we actually spotted eight deer grazing on the lawn right in front of the estate when on a nighttime stroll. There’s a fiery scent that lingers in the air as you walk the grounds and the estate’s open-air Winter House is the perfect spot to end your night. You can cozy up by the fire under a complimentary blanket (don’t worry, there are patio heaters, too), and enjoy a couple of smores along with a boozy nightcap — like a hot chocolate or apple cider. Yum! Or if you book an overnight stay at one of their cloister rooms as I did, you can end your night with a romantic fire for two in your own room.
I stumbled upon the ultimate itinerary for a weekend in St. Catharines a few years ago and am so fond of it, I almost don’t want to share it. I stayed at this stunning Airbnb right next to 13th Street Winery which is absolutely perfect for large groups. The modern farmhouse rental has four bedrooms and four bathrooms with vineyards visible from almost every window. The best part? It’s actually affiliated with the winery, so it’s right on the grounds and you can book a tasting experience and just walk right over (it’s a 2-minute stroll past the vineyards). From there, you can sip on wine in their beautiful garden, shop at the store, get a few goods from their bakery, and check out the art gallery or sculpture garden. Then it’s just a quick jaunt back to the farmhouse for a fire.
It’s in a great location in St. Catharines, too, surrounded by farms with adorable local markets that sell berries, flowers, corn, and more. Plus, it’s a four-minute drive to Restaurant Pearl Morisette — a fine dining destination that’s been on so many “best restaurant” lists in Canada, that it’s actually hard to keep track.And if you fancy a hike while you’re there for the weekend, the Balls Falls Conservation area is also just a 10-minute drive away. It boasts stunning gardens, a gorgeous waterfall, and some beautiful historic buildings that have been preserved onsite as well.
Who doesn’t love Elora, really? It’s the cutest little town that feels very reminiscent of some European cities I’ve traveled to with adorable little shops, restaurants, and breweries. The Elora Mill Hotel & Spa is a stunning wedding venue and getaway spot, although it is pricey.
Some friends and I did a day trip to Elora a little while ago, where we lunched in the town, had a few drinks, and then headed over to a great swim spot called the Elora Quarry. Highly recommend bringing a cooler filled with drinks and snacks and enough floaties for the group. The beach is small and can get crowded, but once you’re out in the water soaking up the sun on a floaty surrounded by limestone cliffs, it’s a pretty awesome way to spend your day. Be advised though, you need to book your tickets to the quarry in advance — they’re released on Friday afternoons for the following week ($10.50 for adults, $5.00 for kids).
Elora Quarry website
Blue Mountain Village is a staple getaway spot in Ontario, it’s true. So probably not surprising it made my list, but I did my bachelorette there last year and it was a great time. We booked an Airbnb within walking distance to the village (because everyone knows the public transit there can feel like it takes forever, and getting a cab can be equally difficult past midnight). We walked over to Twist Kitchen & Cocktail for dinner and would highly recommend the spot to anyone — it has a great vibe, delicious food, and even tastier cocktails. After that, we spent the night bar-hopping around the village.
The next morning we woke up early and drove over to the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain for the ultimate hangover cure. We donned our comfy white robes and slippers, and circulated through their thermal pools, trying out their hot, cold, relax circuit. There’s also a lounging area for forest bathing, a sauna, delicious complimentary tea to sip on, and a relaxing steam room to enjoy. Everything you need for a perfect weekend.
Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain website
The town of Mono is one of Ontario’s many hidden gems and happens to be super underrated in my opinion. I stayed at Hockley Valley Resort a few years back and found it to be a really cute hotel with a fantastic golf course, relaxing spa, and beautiful grounds that include an outdoor pool, and garden area with summer globes you can dine in. But if you’d rather eat elsewhere, Adamo Estate Winery is right next door (just a three-minute drive away), and it’s got a beautiful patio overlooking the vineyard that makes it a perfect dinner spot. They even had an acoustic guitar player there to serenade us the night we went.
But if you’re looking to explore the area, the Avalon Lavender Farm is just an 11-minute drive away, where you can walk through fields of sunflowers and lavender, pet a few horses, and shop from their barn. Even better? They host high tea picnics! While I absolutely adored this spot, I have to admit I’m biased — it holds a special place in my heart because it’s where my husband and I got engaged. But even so, it’s a fave.Lastly, if you’re looking to go for a hike, you can always venture over to the 1-km trail that runs through a breathtaking canyon at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.
Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County is a common fave and for good reason. There are tons of wineries to explore and plenty of tour companies that will chauffeur you around from vineyard to vineyard as you drink the day away. Plus, there’s no shortage of cute Airbnbs in the area, so you’ll have your pick of spots to sleep for the night. Some of the highlights I’ve enjoyed over the years include Casa-Dea Winery & Banquet Hall and the Grange of Prince Edward for some wine tasting, and then a quick stop at Millefleurs Lavender Farm to stop and smell the flowers before spending time with some adorable alpacas at SHED Chetwyn Farms.
Casa-Dea Winery & Banquet Hall website
Don’t sleep on Ottawa. Canada’s capital is a surprisingly fun getaway spot in Ontario, and especially during the tulip festival in May. I recommend starting your day off in the ByWard Market where you can check out the shops or do an escape room, then walk over to Tavern at the Gallery where you can dine on the patio under a pink canopy of cherry blossoms. From there, you can walk through Major’s Hill Park and admire the tulips, before passing the Rideau Canal on your way over to Parliament Hill and ending your night with cocktails overlooking the city at the rooftop lounge Copper Spirits & Sights in the Andaz Hotel. The best day!
Tavern at the Gallery website
Fallbrook Trail Ranch is a stunning horseback riding trail in Ontario and one that I visit regularly every year. It’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colour, and you can go on a guided horseback ride through the forest and into a clearing where you can trot, canter or even gallop — depending on your comfort and skill level. A one-hour trail ride costs $65 per person, but they also have hay wagon rides, bbq lunches, and a cafe on site where you can grab a bite. Or if you’re looking to book an event there, they host various parties and weddings, too. It remains one of my favourite places to escape and get back to nature.