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8 Things To Do In Kingston That Prove It's A Hidden Gem Worthy Of A Road Trip

Fun for foodies, history buffs & everyone in between.

Ottawa Staff Writer
Sipping wine on a historic boat cruise. Right: Having a cocktail on a brewery patio.

Sipping wine on a historic boat cruise. Right: Having a cocktail on a brewery patio.

If you're looking for a new road trip stop in Ontario, the city of Kingston has so much more to offer than limestone buildings and historic landmarks (but those shouldn't be overlooked).

The city is about three hours away from Toronto and two hours from Ottawa, which can make it a great meet-up spot to explore more of Ontario.

From unique tours to picturesque restaurant patios and scenic blue waters, there is something here for everyone to enjoy. So it might just be time to pack up the car and head to this waterfront town.

Eat your way through the city

Price: $89 per person for the Classic Kingston tour, and $99 per person for the Tapas tour

Address: Starting from 209 Ontario St., Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: You can discover tons of different hot spots in Kingston without having to plan a single thing with these food tours. You have the option of a classic food crawl or a tour of tapas restaurants, where you'll learn more about the area as you eat. Various samples and pairings are included.

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Put yourself behind bars in a prison

Price: $40+ per tour

Address: 560 King St. W., Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: You can trace the steps of former inmates and guards as you join one of four different tours of the Kingston Penitentiary. Canada's oldest maximum-security prison is rich in history, has stunning architecture, and is also a filming location for some shows you may even recognize.

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Enjoy a sparkling boat cruise

Price: Starting at $38+ per person

Address: 248 Ontario St., Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: No matter what type of cruise experience you're looking for, you can hit the water and find it with Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises. You can discover the history of the 1000 islands as you take in the views or enjoy a magical sunset ride as you sip cocktails.

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Shop and wander downtown

Price: Free

Address: Princess St. & Queen St., Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: Kingston has a vibrant downtown with historic and even colourful buildings, signs and monuments and so many shops and restaurants to visit. You can stroll down Princess and Queen Street to take your photo with the "Kingston" sign and spend the entire afternoon shopping.

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Learn about some spooky history on a trolley

Price: $30 per person, or $39 per person for the Ghost and Mystery Tour

Address: 248 Ontario St., Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: You can check out all of Kingston's highlights and learn over 300 years of history as you ride in a vintage-looking red trolley. If you prefer to be spooked, you can take the Ghost and Mystery Tour where you'll hear about ghost encounters and chilling tales.

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Sip away on a pretty patio

Price: Starting at $5.50+ per beer

Address: 675 Development Dr., Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for a beautiful patio to sit at and spend the afternoon, you can swing down to Spearhead Brewing Co. If you don't love beer, they also offer an extensive list of liquors, wine, and cider on their garden-like patio, along with a rotating food menu.

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Take a ferry to a hidden beach

Price: $10 per adult visitor

Address: Big Sandy Bay Beach, Wolfe Island, ON

Why You Need To Go: Big Sandy Bay Beach is a hidden beach found on Wolfe Island and it will transport you to someplace tropical. You will take a quick ferry from Kingston and follow a short walking trail to a sandy beachfront with stunning blue water.

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Test your skills at a ​​"Harry Potter​​" escape room

Price: $89.85+ minimum per group ($29.95+ per person for more than three people)

Address: 303 Bagot St. Suite 16B, Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: You can test your sorcery skills and knowledge of potions as you immerse yourself in this magical escape room at Improbable Escapes. You'll think you've gotten your acceptance letter.

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