With the leaves changing colour and small-town markets coming to life, fall makes the perfect time for a long drive to explore somewhere new. Often a magical escape from the busy city, small-town charm can be highly contagious, and once you're in you may never want to leave. From locally-owned shops you can't find elsewhere to historical landmarks, trails, and other natural beauties, small Ontario towns have a lot to offer.

We've found some of the cutest little places for your fall 2019 road trips and they're nothing short of adorable! So load up the car and map out your next destination ASAP!

Huntsville

Address: Roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: Located in the heart of Muskoka, the beautiful town of Huntsville is surrounded by many breathtaking trails and lookout spots for you to explore. Most notably, the Lions Lookout Trail offers the most incredible views of fall foliage. For a more adrenaline-inducing view of the leaves, why not try ziplining overtop of the trees at Treetop Trekking?

After your beautiful outdoor adventure, head into town and fill up on delicious snacks at the variety of Insta-worthy coffee shops, bakeries, and farmers' markets throughout the downtown core. If you want to stay the night, there are plenty of adorable B&Bs, campgrounds, resorts, and hotels to choose from.


Merrickville-Wolford

Address: Just under four hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: Merrickville is the ideal place for a totally unique fall shopping experience. You can wander through the charming shops, admire cobblestone and ivory-covered buildings, and generally feel like you're one of the Gilmore Girls in Stars Hollow.

Situated along the picturesque Rideau Canal, this quaint town offers shopping with a view. After you've purchased enough must-have antiques and gifts, you can enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants in town. Be sure to find the adorable Yellow Canoe cafe and stop for a photo at the old red phone booth. 


Almonte

Address: Roughly four hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: Located along the (Canadian) Mississippi River, not far from Ottawa, Almonte is the definition of charming. There is so much beauty to take in, from the quaint streets lined with brick and stone buildings to the sweet little walkway along the riverside. You could spend the whole day wandering through shops, galleries, and museums. In fact, the town might even look familiar if you're a fan of Hallmark movies, as a handful of them have been filmed in Almonte

As you roam the streets, don't forget to stop in for a meal at one of the many fine dining establishments, or stop by the Dairy Distillery for some milk vodka โ€” yeah, we said milk vodka!


Paris 

Address: Less than two hours from Toronto via Hwy. 403

Why You Need To Go: Who needs an expensive plane ticket to France when we have our own Paris right in our backyard? Just kidding, you should definitely see France at some point, but if it's not in the budget this year, then Ontario's Paris is a sweet alternative.

Paris offers the perfect blend of modern and historic. From well-kept cobblestone buildings and open-air cafes to outdoor adventures near the water, there is a little something for everyone here.


Brighton

Address: Less than two hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: When it comes to visiting Brighton, fall may just be the best time to do it. Every year during the last full weekend of September, a giant Applefest takes over the town! You can indulge in some sweet apple treats while taking in the fall colours.

Once you've got your fill of candy apples, there are plenty of nearby hiking spots. Brighton is also home to Presquile Provincial Park which has one of the cutest boardwalks you've ever seen! You can even take a tour of the Proctor House Museum, which many claim is haunted. 


Norwood

Price: Free

Address: Less than two hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: Much like with Brighton, fall is an ideal time to visit Norwood. Each year over Thanksgiving weekend, the Norwood Fall Fair comes to town. From live taffy pulling to the midway and every farm animal and craft booth in between, the fair has been a Thanksgiving tradition since 1868.

If you can't make it that weekend, don't fret, because Norwood offers plenty of small-town shopping and antiquing. You can find breathtaking fall views from their numerous trails and parks as well.


Elora

Address: Less than two hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: We all know the Elora Gorge Conservation area is the place to be when summer rolls around, but the small town of Elora is a gem in the fall as well. Trade in your swimming tubes for hiking boots and prepare to be blown away.

You'll find stunning views of fall foliage, limestone cliffs and caves, and more. If wandering through nature isn't your thing, you'll love the little shops that line Elora's adorable streets. With unique furniture shops, galleries, cafes, and more, you're sure to find a few treasures. 


Bancroft

Address: Just under three hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: This town rocks, literally. Dubbed the "Mineral Capital of Canada," you can come and learn about the rich mining history and admire beautiful gems at the Bancroft Mineral Museum. Or wander along the various trails and abandoned rail tracks to take in the lush fall colours.

Though, the best place to see fall leaves might be the Eagles Nest Lookout, a must-see when you visit.


Grand Bend

Address: Just under three hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: If solitude and a break from people are what you're searching for this fall, then Grand Bend with its small population is perfect. With roughly 2,000 residents and exquisite views of the water, Grand Bend is the perfect peaceful destination.

The beaches, which are a popular tourist draw in the summer, become a tranquil spot to watch a fall sunset. Grand Bend's Beach House Observation Deck Elevator is an excellent spot to soak in even more views. The elevator remains open until Thanksgiving weekend and sometimes into October, weather permitting. 


Westport

Address: Roughly three hours from Toronto via Hwy. 401

Why You Need To Go: Westport is riddled with unique fashion, home decor, and garden shops as well as numerous one-of-a-kind boutiques where you can find plenty of treasures. 

However, the highlight of Westport might just be the Foley Mountain trails, which lead to a breathtaking lookout point. You can soak in the fall colours that reflect off of the water and get a birds-eye view of this precious little town. 


Picton

Address: Just over two hours from Toronto via Hwy 401

Why You Need To Go: If "rosรฉ all day" is a motto you subscribe to, then Picton Ontario is the place for you. Located within Prince Edward County, there's no shortage of wineries in and around town for you to sip your way through. Here you will also find numerous parks for a fall picnic, a life-sized statue of Sir John A Macdonald (who lived in the area for a few years), and plenty of crafty little shops. 

If a movie or a play sounds like fun, don't forget to check out the historic Regent Theatre


 

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