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.


We Look Forward To Seeing You Safely

As the COVID-19 situation in Ontario continues to change, a minute or two of extra planning is an important step in ensuring hiccup-free fall adventures. Follow the latest travel guidelines for your community and any communities you plan to visit. Check with the places you plan to go to in advance to see if reservations or activity bookings are required. On the day of your trip, do a quick check to verify the places on your agenda are open and serving visitors in the way you’re expecting.

Don’t forget to share pictures of your foodie finds with us by tagging them with #greatcanadiandaytrip.

Travel Deals View All >>

Experiences & Tours View All >>

October 11 - 31

Taste of Burlington – Fall 2022

Tourism Burlington

414 LocuStreet Street, Burlington, ON, L7S 1T7

At participating restaurants.

Now thru October 15

Canoeing Basic Skills Certification

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

This trip is offered on: Sun Between: May 5, 2022 and Oct 15, 2022

Now thru December 31

Guided Walking Tours in Milton

16 James Street, Milton, ON, Canada

Now thru November 30

Camping at Valens Lake

Valens Lake Conservation Area

1691 Regional Road 97, Flamborough, ON, N1R 5S7

Now thru October 15

The Grand Canoe Camping Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

This trip is offered on: Daily Between: Apr 30, 2021 and Oct 15, 2022

Now thru March 31

RBC Artist In Residence: Nathan Eugene Carson

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Now thru October 28

Pedal & Paddle – Canadian Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

This trip is offered on: Daily Between: Apr 10, 2022 and Oct 28, 2022

Now thru June 1

Hamilton Beer Tour

The Beer Tour Company

All patrons must be 19yrs of age or older. By booking you are accepting our...

Now thru October 31

2-Day Bruce Trail Hiking Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

This trip is offered on: Daily Between: Nov 14, 2021 and Oct 31, 2022

October 24

Youth Group Night: Pumpkins in the Park

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON, L7T 4H4

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Now thru December 31

The Bigger Picture: Art in Hamilton 1950-2000

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

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