This 5-7 day road trip takes you through the best of Ontario’s countryside with stops at Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Prince Edward County, 3 Provincial Parks plus a little urban exploration in capital city, Ottawa.
Niagara Falls is made up of three falls with Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three, on the Canadian side. Enjoy clear views of Horseshoe Falls and stay past sundown for a chance to see the falls illuminated any night of the year. During the summer and early winter staying past sundown will see you treated to a fireworks show.
Don’t leave the Niagara region without visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake. Begin exploring this famous wine region with the gorgeous scenic drive from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Summer is peak season, but fall harvest season, and January’s Icewine Festival, can also be great times to visit.
For an amazing day that can be done entirely by RV, begin with a stop at the historic Fort George. Grab a picnic lunch at the charming Walker’s Country Market. After lunch head to world-renown Inniskillin for some wine tasting. Be sure to try the region’s specialty–icewine. Icewine is unique because it’s harvested from frozen grapes. Because frozen grapes yield less juice, icewine can be expensive, but you can always stop at just a taste. If you prefer red and white wines, there are plenty of options at Inniskillin and other nearby wineries like Peller Estates.
Awenda Provincial Park
The beautiful southern shores of the Georgian Bay await you at Awenda Provincial Park. For some time spent closer to nature, enjoy a quiet hike. If you’re arriving close to nightfall, Beaver Pond is an easy hike that takes an estimated 15 minutes to complete. The Bluff Trail, rated difficult, is the longest hike at an estimated 2.5 hours, so you may find it possible to get a hike in before continuing on the next morning. The 1km Nipissing Trail is the best known as it allows you to descend a 155 step staircase down the face of the Nipissing Bluff, which is the dominant glacial feature at Awenda.
If you travel with a furry friend you know how hard it can be to find a pet beach. At Awenda, however, you can treat your Fido to some beach time at the pet-friendly beach area between 1st Beach and 2nd Beach. Six campgrounds (all pet-friendly except for Snake campground) and 333 campsites make Awenda a great place to spend the night.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Ontario’s first Provincial Park, Algonquin is perfect for canoeing and paddle sports. The forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife have also made Algonquin Ontario’s most famous Provincial Park. And, if you go out for a hike at dawn or early morning, you just may catch a glimpse of some of the 50 mammals, 30 reptiles and amphibians, or 133 bird species in Algonquin. Be prepared for the fact that one visit won’t be enough to see Algonquin in its entirety. It’s vast backcountry alone has 3 backpacking trails and more than 2,000 km of backcountry canoe routes.
If you’re looking for adventures in the more developed areas you’ll primarily want to stick to the Highway 60 corridor. This 56 km stretch of Highway 60, cuts across all of Algonquin from east to west. Along the Highway 60 corridor you’ll find 9 campgrounds, 2 museums, a historic interpretive center, 15 walking trails, 2 bicycle trails, restaurants, and picnic areas. Do note that the main Visitors Center is very close to the East Gate of the park. Mew Lake, Two Rivers, and Pog Lake are your best bets for a campground stay right on Highway 60. There are 2 RV Dump stations in Algonquin, both on the East side of the highway 60 corridor. One is at Kilometer Marking 35.6 along Highway 60 and the other is 8 km south of Highway 60 in Rock Lake campground.
Closson Chase Vineyards
This island on the north shore of Lake Ontario is your perfect countryside escape, full of wineries and culinary delights to discover. Open February to December, your tour of Prince Edward County is not complete without first stopping at Closson Chase Vineyards, a pioneer of Prince Edward County’s wine industry. You won’t be able to resist snapping a few pics of its charming purple barn as you make your way in. Once inside you can order off a tasting menu or by the glass. Weather permitting, take your wine out back, to the rustic patio and sit or swing as you sip and take in the beautiful vineyard. Don’t forget to grab one of The Swinery’s artisanal sandwiches to go with your wine.
To further immerse yourself in a true countryside experience, stop in at The Grange (Grange of Prince Edward County Winery). Here you can order a ready-to-go picnic right off the menu.The mother and daughter team behind this winery will pack guests their very own picnic (complete with wicker picnic basket!) to enjoy on a blanket among the vineyard’s rolling hills.
There’s more than wine to delight the senses in Prince Edward County. Pop into various barns turned art studios and art galleries. Discover farm to table restaurants, ice-creameries, and cideries along Prince Edward County’s country roads. Finally, find a tranquil spot to stay the night along with beaches to explore at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo has 526 wooded, tranquil campsites with above average privacy. If you’re looking to do a little bit of reading, sketching, or swinging in a hammock, this is the perfect provincial park. Bon Echo is well-known for its pictographs and Mazinaw Rock. Mazinaw Rock can be seen rising 100 meters above Mazinaw Lake from a lovely beach and picnic area.
Try renting a canoe and paddling Lake Mazinaw. Or, for a backcountry adventure, try the Abes and Essens Hiking Trail. The Abes Loop is a full-day hike estimated at 7 hours, but there are two shorter loops as well. Starting and finishing at the Canoe rental concession stand is the Kishkebus Canoe route. This 6-hour, 21 km canoe route takes you behind Mazinaw Rock. The most challenging part of the loop is a 1.5 km portage between Lake Mazinaw and Lake Kishkebus. If you take the route going north, you’ll be able to carry the canoe for the 1.5 km at the beginning while you’re still fresh.
If you’re traveling with a furry friend, there is an off-leash pet exercise area and a designated pet swimming area at Bon Echo that you can enjoy together.
Ottawa, located just on the Quebec border, is the Canadian capital. Ottawa is home to Parliament Hill and is known for having Canada’s largest Canada Day celebration. Be sure to stop at the Rideau Canal which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other must-see landmarks in the Canadian Capital include the Royal Canadian Mint, the National Gallery of Canada, and the ByWard Market. You’ll be sure to want to snap a picture of the giant spider sculpture outside the National Gallery. At the ByWard Market, try a pastry at Moulin Rouge de Provence, browse the rare books at Patrick McGahern Antiquarian books, or grab tacos at Zak’s Cantina–or at least look at the converted Blue Bird bus through the window.
Save some time to take a sunset stroll in Major Hill’s Park and catch some of the best views of Parliament Hill, and some of the Rideau Canal locks.