Hamilton most likely has the tools to keep you fully entertained this fall, but it’s a universal fact that fun-filled day trips are an element in keeping the travel bug inside us satisfied. In my opinion, the best day trips are the spontaneous ones; the ones where you wake up in the morning and say to someone: “Hey, let’s get out of here!”
Whether the road trip is intended for hikes or the food scene, you'll definitely find a desired destination not too far from the city. Below, we’ve compiled a list of spontaneous adventures you should embark on during the fall.
Distance from Hamilton: 17 mins
While Burlington is only a twenty minute drive from Hamilton, it still feels like an entirely different area. A city scattered with adorable shops and cafes, along with a stunning waterfront that stretches far enough for a beautiful walk, a day spent here should definitely be added to your fall bucket list.
Distance from Hamilton: 25 mins
I’m not going to lie, I mostly come to Oakville since it’s the closest city with Cineplex VIP seating (I like to watch my movies in style, okay?!) but this city has a lot more to offer than waitered popcorn and a large screen featuring Tom Cruise’s aging face.
Distance from Hamilton: 31 mins
Like most Canadians, I live in a hockey-obsessed household, so I can’t talk about day trips without mentioning the hometown of the great Wayne Gretzky. Stuffed with a bunch of history (that isn’t always sport-related), Brantford is a city to explore this fall.
Distance from Hamilton: 34 mins
While it's not the Paris that we’d all rather be in, this Ontario town is pretty similar to it when it comes to picturesque scenery. Voted the “Prettiest Little Town in Canada” by Harrowsmith Magazine, Paris is the perfect place to retreat for a day.
Distance from Hamilton: 46 mins
I feel like the people of Guelph get the same reaction we do when we tell others we're from Hamilton: "Oh" *long pause* "That's cool." But I like Guelph. It is quite the interesting city that many people tend to only pass through, but what better way to explore it then packing all of it into a day trip?
Distance from Hamilton: 54 mins
From museums to the sprawling Victoria Park, Kitchener is the ultimate short-distance destination that people seem to forget about. So please don't forget about precious Kitchener this fall.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Distance from Hamilton: 57 mins
Niagara Falls is a top destination for a lot of people, but I’m mostly into it because of the breakfast-including bus route that Hamilton offers from Limeridge Mall. I mean, it’s meant for older people, but did that stop me and my friends from sneaking on because we all love a free buffet?
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr
Okay, this one is so obvious. Toronto is the tourist hub of Ontario, but there is a reason for that. Spending a day there, you can do anything from exploring their many patios (because patios are honestly better during the fall) to spending a night at one of their many epic bars.
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr 6 mins
A community within Centre Wellington, Elora is known for the Elora Gorge, which makes for a stunning hike in the fall - just make sure that you don't trip on anything while you become captivated by the beauty.
Buffalo, New York
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr 16 mins
Buffalo has gotten some attention recently due to Jason Tartick’s loyalty to the city during his season on The Bachelorette, but Canadians have loved coming to this American border town for years prior. A day trip here is spent shopping, more shopping, and then getting our only chance with dining at the Cracker Barrel.
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr 9 mins
Niagara-On-The-Lake is definitely different from Niagara Falls. With it’s picturesque small town vibes to the awesome wineries that scatter the area, this is the perfect spot to relax and unwind for a day.
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr 20 mins
Other than being the hometown of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, London has a reputation of having a pretty big party scene (because of you Western). While I have many stories that support this claim, it’s also a beautiful city that should be explored for its scenery and local restaurants.
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr 28 mins
Sitting on the west shore of Lake Simcoe, Barrie is quite the beautiful city. Known for its ski resorts and their various trails in Centennial Park, you can find many fall excursions in this exciting Ontario hub.
Lambton County, Ontario
Distance from Hamilton: 1 hr 56 mins
From Sarnia to Grand Bend, Lambton County is the ultimate autumn destination. This rings especially true with Pinery Provincial Park, which basically glows with colours when the leaves begin to change.
Distance from Hamilton: 2 hrs 12 mins
They say cottage country is the best during the summer, but I beg to differ on that. In the fall, the trees of Muskoka turn orange while the outdoor atmosphere and bonfires become a lot more relaxing. I mean come on, who prefers summer weather over sweater weather?!
Blue Mountains, Ontario
Distance from Hamilton: 2 hrs 13 mins
Blue Mountains is home to Blue Mountain Resort, one of Ontario’s most widely recognized attractions. In the summer, you have swimming and the chance to zipline, while winter is known for its ski hills - but in the fall? Think of hiking, spa retreats, and trees so colourful that you’ll never want to leave there.
Prince Edward County
Distance from Hamilton: 2 hrs 54 mins
Prince Edward County is on my bucket list - and it should be on yours, too. About three hours from Hamilton, this is a place that I’ve become obsessed with through pictures and articles. I mean, they have epic wineries, hiking trails, beautiful restaurants and breweries. What they don’t have? Me. But I’ll be making my way down there soon.
Distance from Hamilton: 3 hrs 29 mins
Dubbed as the “Gateway To The Thousand Islands”, Gananoque is a stunning town in the area of Leeds and Grenville. A population of around 5,000 people, the most popular tourist attraction is the boat line that runs across Saint Lawrence River. On this boat line, you can visit landmarks such as the Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay, New York.
Distance from Hamilton: 3 hrs 51 mins
Tobermory is a top destination during the summer, but it manages to get even prettier in the fall. With colourful hiking trails and paths, this area becomes so beautiful that you can even have a photoshoot with #nofilter.
Distance from Hamilton: 4 hrs 20 mins
A village-status municipality in Eastern Ontario, Merrickville-Wolford spans both shores of the Rideau River. Historic and beautiful, this charming town is the perfect getaway from the downtown hustle of Hamilton.
Distance from Hamilton: 4 hrs 23 mins
Ohhhhhio. I love this place. While it’s a cool state and all, I bet I know what you’re probably thinking - "another U.S. city? But we don’t want to support Trump by visiting!" I get it, and I agree, but Cleveland is a city filled with tons of hidden gems and it’s only four and a half hours away. So I think it’s worth it.
Distance from Hamilton: 4 hrs 40 mins
They call this one a "Gateway to the North Channel." A city on the northern shore of Georgian Bay in the Sudbury District of Ontario, Killarney is a breathtaking town filled with adventure and beauty. From the Killarney Provincial Park to the French River Provincial Park, a day trip here is far from the city vibes of Hamilton.
Distance from Hamilton: 5 hrs 13 mins
So this one is a bit of a stretch. A 5-hour drive is in itself a trip, but I mean let's be honest, it’s been done before. The destination of Ottawa may be the ultimate goal, but the road trip to there from Hamilton is probably just as fun. So pack a good soundtrack, even better snacks - and prepare to hit the road in the early morning. Also, you can’t tell me that the 5-hour drive isn’t worth their beaver tails. I mean - look at those things. Come on.