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25 Best Road Trips in Ontario: Amazing Places You Need to See

These are the best road trips in Ontario that you’ll want to experience as soon as possible. I’m going to take you around southern Ontario and show you some fantastic destinations. There are a few popular ones in the mix, but I’m hoping to introduce you to some new ideas for southern Ontario road trips, too.

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Spending hours in the car might not seem like a lot of fun at first. However, I’ve got some great road trip tips to help make the journey almost as enjoyable as the destination. Some of the essentials include yummy food and drink (coffee is an absolute must for me!), an epic road trip music playlist, downloadable maps, and don’t forget your sunglasses!

Best road trips in Ontario

Oops…did you forget some snacks? Or maybe your sunglasses? Don’t panic. For this article, I’ve partnered with ONroute to not only show you some excellent Ontario road trip ideas, but also to help you along the way. Whether you need to refuel (your car or grab some lunch), stop for a restroom break, or grab the essentials that you forgot, ONroute has got you covered.

ONroute highway sign

I’m going to pair each of these awesome Ontario road trip ideas with the nearest ONroute location. That way, you can be fully recharged, relaxed, and refueled when venturing out on your choice of the best Ontario road trips.

Best Road Trips in Ontario: 1000 Islands

1000 Islands from above

The Thousand Islands region is an incredible destination for lovers of outdoor adventures. Hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding. You name it and you’ll likely be able to do it in the 1000 Islands. There’s also delicious food and drink, fascinating history, and it’s oozing with small town charm.

The town of Gananoque is considered to be the “gateway to the Thousand Islands”. This is likely where you’ll want to base yourself for the night. There’s a quaint downtown core with shops, restaurants, and even a brewery.

This is also a jumping off point for many popular attractions, like a kayaking tour or a boat cruise of the 1000 Islands. Then, it’s easy to explore the rest of the region from Gananoque, such as the Thousand Islands National Park. I stayed at the comfortable and conveniently located Colonial Resort & Spa.

ONroute Location to Visit: Odessa (Tim Hortons, Burger King, Freshii, ONmarket, Popeyes)

Southern Ontario Road Trips: Grand Bend

Grand Bend is home to one of the best beaches in Ontario, and that’s a good enough reason to plan your Ontario road trip there. Beyond the beautiful beach, there’s also a wonderful provincial park (that also has a pretty beach!), a resort with a spa and golf course, two wineries, and fantastic restaurants.

In this blog post, I show you how to spend a day or two in Grand Bend, while taking a day trip to nearby Sarnia. No matter what you end up doing, don’t miss the sunsets in Grand Bend. They are among the best in the province, Canada, and possibly the world!

If you’re looking for where to stay in Grand Bend, check out Oakwood Resort. Not only is there a spa and golf course, but there’s also great dining options and a pristine section of the beach that you can access straight from the property.

ONroute Location to Visit: Cambridge North (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, Popeyes, Freshii, ONmarket, outdoor farmers market)

Places to Visit in Ontario: Port Stanley

Port Stanley

Port Stanley is another one of the best road trips in Ontario that you can take this summer. I recommend visiting both Port Stanley and the nearby village of Sparta, as you can see in my Port Stanley itinerary. Located on the shores of Lake Erie in Elgin County, Port Stanley is one of the cutest small towns in Ontario and an awesome road trip destination.

There are so many things to do in Port Stanley that make for a memorable getaway: shopping, renting a bike and riding around town, having a beach day or two, visiting a lavender farm, frequenting a winery, and even going for a hike. And don’t forget all of the delectable restaurants and coffee shops.

When you visit Port Stanley, I suggest staying at one of the Carriage Houses at The Windjammer Inn. My Carriage House had so many wonderful amenities, like a kitchenette, a Jacuzzi tub, and a little patio out front. Plus, your stay comes with one of the tastiest breakfasts I’ve ever enjoyed at a hotel.

ONroute Location to Visit: Ingersoll (Tim Hortons, Subway, Freshii, ONmarket)

Ontario Weekend Road Trips: Stratford

Stratford Ontario - Ontario road trips

Stratford is another amazing city in Ontario that has small town vibes, especially around its historic downtown. You might know Stratford best for the Stratford Festival or the fact that it’s the hometown of Justin Bieber, but there are so many things to see in this picturesque Ontario city.

Downtown Stratford has many unique boutiques and small businesses you’ll love. As an artsy city, there’s no shortage of festivities, public art, and local galleries. Stratford is nestled on the banks of the Avon River, so you can soak up beautiful views and explore its scenic trails.

Add delicious food and beverages to the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a delightful trip to Stratford, Ontario. Some of my favorite restaurants include Grounded (“Purely Plant Based Cafe”) and The Planet Diner (vegan comfort food). Spend the night at Foster’s Inn, conveniently located in Stratford’s downtown core.

ONroute Location to Visit: Cambridge North (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, Popeyes, Freshii, ONmarket, outdoor farmers market)

Road Trip to London, Ontario

Boler Mountain in London Ontario - Ontario road trips

London, Ontario is a big city with small town vibes. As I strolled down Richmond Row, the historic shopping district in London’s downtown core, the old buildings seamlessly merged with modern boutiques. It’s also known as “The Forest City”, so you can imagine that there are lots of great outdoor activities in nature.

Here’s why a trip to London is one of the best road trips in Ontario: there are outdoor adventures, fantastic restaurants, brilliant museums, and even a gigantic arcade with tons of video games. I recommend going treetop trekking at Boler Mountain, admiring the thoughtful art displays at Museum London, and playing games at the Rec Room.

For food and drink, sampling tea and eats at The Tea Lounge is a must. Love craft beer? Head over to Curley Brewing Company for refreshing beer and tasty pub fare. Stay at The Park Hotel with its modern and dazzling suites, centrally located in the middle of it all.

ONroute Location to Visit: Ingersoll (Tim Hortons, Subway, Freshii, ONmarket)

Woodstock and Oxford County

Oxford County - Sunflower Farm in Tillsonburg

Woodstock and Oxford County is another overlooked region of Ontario that I loved visiting. I spent a day in Woodstock and a day in Otterville and Tillsonburg

In Woodstock, I frequented a lot of amazing local businesses like Early Bird Coffee, Wild Comfort Body Care, Habitual Chocolate, and Upper Thames Brewing Company. One thing that I really loved was how each small business worked with one another. For instance, the brewery provided beer to make body care products. The chocolate shop offered cacao nibs for a stout beer.

I also loved picking my own veggies at Thames River Melons (the same farm that has a stand at the Cambridge ONroute locations!). You can pick fruits and veggies, depending on what’s in season, fresh from the farm.

Otterville and Tillsonburg were also pleasant surprises to check out. Otterville has lots of opportunities to explore history and nature, and it’s a great place to go kayaking. In Tillsonburg, I cut my own flowers at a local flower farm, attended an outdoor yoga class, and ate lots of yummy food. Combine a trip to Woodstock, Otterville, and Tillsonburg for one of the most epic Ontario road trips.

ONroute Location to Visit: Woodstock (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, New York Fries, Freshii, ONmarket)

Road Trips in Southern Ontario: Windsor

Windsor Ontario: Stand up paddleboarding

Have you visited Windsor yet? It’s one of my top southern Ontario road trips, especially if you are up for an eco-friendly getaway. While Windsor might be known historically as the automotive capital, there are lots of awesome adventures in the city.

I spent the majority of my time in Tecumseh as there are many fantastic activities near Lake St. Clair. You can go standup paddleboarding (I highly recommend the sunset SUP tour). There are lots of cycling paths and trails to explore.

Plus, I loved all of the yummy vegan eats! There’s a vegan donut shop that captured my heart (Plant Joy), especially since you can get your name spelled out in donuts. Also, be sure to dine at Nooch, Healthy Mama, Carrots n’ Dates, and Thyme Kitchen.

ONroute Location to Visit: Tilbury North (Tim Hortons, Burger King, Freshii, ONmarket)

Best Road Trips From Toronto: Muskoka Region

Bracebridge - Southern Ontario road trips

There are so many amazing things to do in Muskoka, especially in the summertime. There are kayaking and paddling trips, exploring the hiking trails, or relaxing on a dock with a frosty pint. If you’re looking for places to visit in the Muskoka region, I suggest road tripping through Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Huntsville, to name a few.

In Bracebridge, there are numerous waterfalls along the Trans Canada Trail. Gravenhurst is another cute town that you’ll want to explore on the way to beautiful outdoor spaces. Huntsville is a gem of a town with a delightful downtown core, a brewery, and patios upon patios.

Muskoka has approximately 1600 lakes and 14m000 kilometers of shoreline, with no shortage of beautiful beaches and places to explore. You can visit again and again for new experiences each time, making it one of the best road trips in Ontario.

ONroute Location to Visit: Barrie (Tim Hortons, A&W, Freshii, ONmarket, Popeyes)

Road Trip to Kingston, Ontario

Kingston Ontario: Best road trips in Ontario

Kingston is another amazing city in Ontario and one of the best road trips from Toronto. Downtown Kingston has charming inns, delectable dining options, and lots of water sports on the St. Lawrence River. Justin and I went standup paddleboarding for the first time in Kingston, and we had a total blast!

There are many Kingston attractions that you’ll want to check out. You can visit historic Fort Henry, take the ferry to Wolfe Island, and tour the Kingston Penitentiary. Lemoine Point Conservation Area is a great place to go for a hike, and going for a ride on the Kingston Trolley Tour is super iconic.

ONroute Location to Visit: Odessa (Tim Hortons, Burger King, Freshii, ONmarket, Popeyes)

Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula

Tobermory Ontario - Best road trips in Ontario

What kind of a “best road trips in Ontario” article would this be if I didn’t mention Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula? Tobermory is known as the “freshwater scuba diving capital of the world” for its intriguing shipwrecks in Fathom Five National Marine Park, Canada’s first national marine conservation area.

It’s also home to Bruce Peninsula National Park and its famous Grotto cave. Hikers will absolutely love the Bruce Peninsula as there are incredible trails at the national park, Flowerpot Island, and Lions Head Provincial Park.

Even if you aren’t massively into hiking, there are amazing views for days from the town itself or one of the easier walking paths. In the harbour, you’ll find restaurants and a brewery. It’s a sweet place to visit, although it does get very busy during the summer months. I suggest going there in May, June, September or October.

ONroute Location to Visit: King City (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, New York Fries, Freshii, ONmarket, Popeyes)

Point Pelee and Pelee Island

Point Pelee

Point Pelee National Park is the southernmost portion of mainland Canada, just south of Leamington. You’ll discover five unique Carolinian habitats and the opportunity to witness over 370 species of birds throughout the year.

While I highly recommend visiting Point Pelee by day, you can also have an entirely new experience at night. Point Pelee National Park is one of the best dark sky preserves in Ontario. The best times to see the stars at Point Pelee National Park are during the new moon (when you can’t see the moon in the sky). During these nights, the park will stay open until midnight, which are longer operating hours than usual.

From Leamington, you can also take the ferry over to Pelee Island. It’s the southernmost inhabited place in Canada. There are a few relaxing hikes, a lighthouse, and a winery. Pelee Island is a great place to rest and unwind.

ONroute Location to Visit: West Lorne (Tim Hortons, A&W, Freshii, ONmarket, Popeyes)

Cute Small Town in Ontario: Elora

Elora Ontario at sunset - Best road trips in Ontario

Is Elora quite possibly the cutest town in Ontario? I don’t like to pick favorites, but Elora really captured my heart. It’s one of the best places in Ontario to visit for the weekend, just an hour outside of Toronto. So, if you’re looking for the best road trips from Toronto, Elora is a great one to consider. Plus, you can visit the nearby town of Fergus in the same trip.

There are plenty of outdoor adventures in Elora, like hiking at Elora Gorge Conservation Area, going tubing, or swimming at the Elora Quarry. Treat yourself to afternoon tea in a pretty garden patio at The Wild Tart. Go shopping along the main street. If you really want to treat yourself, a spa day at Elora Mill is absolutely divine.

Elora also has an assortment of cafes, a brewery, pubs, and restaurants. I suggest spending the night at the cozy Cheshire Cat B&B for a warm and welcoming spot in town.

ONroute Location to Visit: Cambridge North (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, Popeyes, Freshii, ONmarket, outdoor farmers market)

Brighton and the Bay of Quinte

Brighton Ontario in the fall - Ontario road trips

Brighton and the Bay of Quinte region is another excellent Ontario weekend road trip you need to take. You’ll find Brighton on the coastline of Lake Ontario, about two hours from Toronto and three hours from Ottawa. This is one of Ontario’s most charming small towns that also has an abundance of outdoor adventures.

There are so many things to see and do in Brighton. You can go hiking at Presqu’ile Provincial Park and Proctor Park Conservation Area. There’s a quaint downtown core with local shops that offer unique finds. Plus, Brighton is surrounded by countryside and farms with the freshest produce around. I also suggest driving to nearby places like Trenton and Belleville to the east, and Cobourg and Port Hope to the west.

ONroute Location to Visit: Trenton South (Tim Hortons, Subway, A&W, Freshii, ONmarket)

Perth and Lanark County

Perth and Lanark County - Best road trips in Ontario

Have you heard about the Lanark Highlands or the town of Perth? Make sure you don’t overlook this beautiful region of Ontario as it’s one of the best Ontario road trips. If you’re looking for a getaway in Ontario that offers peace and tranquility, delicious food, welcoming festivals, and something a little out of the ordinary, it’s time to spend a weekend in Lanark County.

Where else can you spend the night in an old church, visit a basket museum, and attend a garlic festival? There’s also an adorable town to wander around, plus farmers markets are plentiful. It’s easy to find farm fresh meals and fresh produce in Lanark County, so it’s an absolute delight for foodies to visit.

ONroute Location to Visit: Mallorytown South (Tim Hortons, A&W, New York Fries, Freshii, ONmarket)

More About ONroute

ONroute in Cambridge, Ontario

On summer road trips, the journey is just as fun as the destination! If you’re taking a road trip in Ontario this summer, ONroute has got you covered.

ONroute map of locations

They’ve got 23 locations across Ontario, located conveniently off Highways 400 & 401. There are so many reasons to stop at ONroute, and some of these might surprise you:

  • Fast food (Subway, Burger King, Popeyes, New York Fries, to name a few)
  • Coffee (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and self-serve coffee is always available 24/7)
  • Restrooms
  • Groceries (including Freshii healthy food and drink options)
  • Gas
  • Seasonal rest areas (have a picnic!)
  • Cambridge locations have farmers markets
  • Stand-alone Starbucks locations with drive-thru AND pickup window options
ONroute fast food locations
ONroute Starbucks
ONroute ONmarket
ONroute Freshii

They’ve got all the essentials for an amazing road trip and they’re open 24/7. I personally love stopping for coffee and snacks because you can never have enough of either. Whether you’re traveling during the day, early in the morning, or late at night, ONroute has got you covered.

ONroute coffee
ONroute farmers market
ONroute farmers market
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