This fall, escape the city and head to Hamilton Halton Brant for places that are big on small-town charm.  From riverside appeal to fetching downtowns and heritage beauty, this is the season to head to some of Ontario’s sweetest small towns to soak in their history and character. These day trip options will also lead you to great shopping, tasty eats and knockout nature along the way.

  • Brant
    Paris
    Brant

    Spend a Day in Paris

    Located at the Forks of the Grand and Nith Rivers in Brant County

    Who needs a fall trip to Europe when the dreamy riverside town of Paris delivers such a postcard-perfect alternative? The downtown embodies a number of architectural styles—Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic, and Post Modern—but Paris is renowned for its cobblestone buildings, including two churches and 10 residences that are still in use today. It’s no surprise that this spot has been voted the “prettiest town in Canada”.

    A large river, The Grand, flows right through the town. Although the weather may no longer be warm enough for swimming, you can spend the day alongside it and cross your fingers for fresh fall patio weather. Area outfitters, like Grand Experiences and Grand River Rafting, also offer fall paddling trips. Don’t miss the open-air cafés, bakeries, award-winning fine dining restaurants, unique shops and picturesque photo-ops.

    Don’t Miss:
    • French bistro fare at Juniper Dining Co., creative cuisine and cocktails at Edit at The Arlington Hotel, or eating on the patio at Stillwaters Plate and Pour.
    • The Paris Wincey Mills Co., a historic building that is home to a year round farm-to-table market hall and comfortable café.
    • Paddling on the Grand River, whether you “turbo tube” or pedal and paddle.

  • Hamilton
    Ancaster Mill, Ancaster
    Hamilton

    Spend a Day in Dundas and Ancaster

    Located a short drive from the city of Hamilton

    Autumn calls for street strolling, and you’ll find walk-worthy downtowns in two places just outside of Hamilton. Travel to the quiet little find that is Dundas and stroll its vibrant main street, featuring longstanding restaurants, boutiques, and businesses with well-preserved 19th-century architecture. The town’s geographical location in a valley makes it the perfect starting point for exploring the surrounding conservation areas that include a wealth of trails and waterfalls.

    A short drive away is the village of Ancaster, one of the oldest communities in Ontario. For a century the town was a gristmill hamlet, and its rebuilt historic mill now operates as a restaurant. Its heritage is also evident in the area architecture, best enjoyed by a walk through the downtown with its quaint shops, restaurants and historic buildings. The character and beauty of the community is intertwined with the Niagara Escarpment, so take some time to enjoy its natural geography and hiking opportunities this fall.

    Don’t miss:
    • The Dundas Museum and Archives, located on one of Dundas’ most sublime residential streets.
    Quatrefoil, Dundas’ five-star dining pride and joy, or its acclaimed coffee house, Detour Café.
    • The Ancaster Mill, a scenic creek side eatery in a restored mill that offers farm-to-table entrees and a fixed price lunch.
    Tiffany Falls Conservation Area, with its eponymous waterfall and hiking along the Heritage and Bruce Trails.

  • Halton
    Georgetown, Halton Hills
    Halton

    Spend a Day in Halton Hills

    Located in the northwestern end of the Greater Toronto Area

    Small town seekers often enjoy the drive as much as the destination. Take a ramble along the rural roads of the Halton Hills and you’ll come across an abundance of small towns, villages and hamlets that are in spring bloom. Start your day in Georgetown, founded in 1823. Wander through the historic downtown where many original historic buildings still stand, making it one of the most frequently filmed towns in Ontario.

    Nestled on the banks of the Credit River Valley at the north end of Georgetown along the Niagara Escarpment, Glen Williams is home to many visual artists, and contains a collection of artist’s studios. This small hamlet is also noteworthy for its antique market and antique stores. From the Georgetown area, a short drive will take you to Acton, another location that can make a claim as one of the oldest communities in Ontario. The town is also affectionately known as “Canada’s Leathertown” and “the last small town near Toronto”.

    Don’t miss:
    • Browsing the works of thirty artists and artisans in the four historic buildings of the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre in Glen Williams.
    The Credit Valley Footpath, a 16 km trail that takes you through Glen Williams and to a beautiful view overlooking the hamlet.
    The Hide House in Acton, widely known as Canada’s largest leather store with a large selection of fashions, accessories and furniture.

  • Brant
    St. George Applefest
    Brant

    Spend a Day in St. George

    Located south of Cambridge in Brant County

    Antiques and artisans are the draw for those travelling to the small town of St. George and its environs. Reminiscent of a small British village, the single block downtown core offers numerous antique stores, some with multiple co-operative dealers and others specializing in furniture, china and collectibles. Head outside of town to visit local studio and craft artists that call the area their home, or pick a spot close by to access the Grand River for canoeing or the Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail for spring hiking.

    Don’t miss:
    • The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, the birthplace of the co-founder of the Women’s Institute Movement.
    • The studio and store at Donn Zver Pottery, a few kilometres east of town, where you can purchase dishes and serving pieces or eat from them at the on site cafe.
    • The showroom at Robert Hall Originals, home of unique pewter products, petrified wood “statues” and dazzling amethyst geodes.

Travel Deals View All >>

Experiences & Tours View All >>

Now thru December 31

Introductory Flight Lesson

Brantford Flight Centre

110 Aviation Ave. Brantford, ON N3T 5L7, Canada

Dates: All year round Cost: $152.55 including HST

Now thru August 31

Downtown Burlington Explorer Walking Tour

Staycation Beach and Boat Rentals Inc.

5050 Harrison Road, Binbrook, Ontario

Date and Times: Thursdays - 10:30am & 1:30pm, Saturdays - 1:30pm Length: approx. 1.5 -...

Now thru October 10

Guided Sunset Paddles

Six Nations Tourism

Brant County Highway 54, Ohsweken, ON

Dates and Times: June 27th, Jul 8th, Jul 15th, Jul 25th, Aug 1st, Aug 5th,...

Now thru October 29

Grand Experiences: 4-Hour Guided Tour

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

113 Grand River Street North, Paris

Date & Times: Every day, starting at 9:30am Price: varies depending on choice of boat

Now thru August 4

Adventures in the Valley Summer Camp

Dundas Valley Conservation Area, 650 Governors Road, Dundas, ON, Canada

Dates & Times: July 10th - 14th July 17th - 21st July 24th - 28th...

Now thru December 31

Home of #99 Taste Adventure

Tasty Road Trips Food Tours

Paris, Ontario

Tour Details: This tour is a five+ hour all-inclusive self-guided tour with all food, sips,...

Now thru December 6

Poetry Night at Dog-Eared Cafe

Dog-Eared Cafe

121 Grand River St N, Paris, ON

Dates and Times: 1st Fri of every month - 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Now thru November 30

Grand Experiences: Bruce Trail 2 Day Hiking Package (Guided Trip)

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

113 Grand River Street North, Paris

Dates and Times: Available every day of the week - book in advance! Price: $525.00...

Now thru August 24

Worlds of the Night – Exhibition at Joseph Brant Museum

Joseph Brant Museum

1240 North Shore Boulevard East, Burlington, ON, L7S 1C5

Date & Times: Tuesday - Friday, 10:00AM - 4:00PM, included in the cost of regular...

Now thru October 20

Grand River Rafting: Glen Morris to Paris (Self-Guided)

Grand River Rafting Company

142 West River Road, Brant

Date & Times: Various across Seasons and Days Price: $40 to $60 per person depending...

August 23

Grand River Dinner Cruises – River Talks: Six Nations Land Claims

Grand River Dinner Cruises

36 Brant County Road 22, Caledonia, ON, N3W 2G9

Date and Time: Aug 23rd - 10:15am to 3:00pm Price: $100 per person (tax included)

Now thru September 17

Expressive Abstract Painting Party with Studio K2

studio k2

The Cotton Factory, DyeWorks Building, 9 Landsdowne Avenue, Hamilton

Date & Time: Third Wednesday each month, 7:00pm - 9:00pm Workshop Price: $50/person +HST

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