Brighton Ontario is a picturesque small town in the Bay of Quinte region, just on the edge of southeastern Ontario. You’ll find Brighton on the coastline of Lake Ontario, and it’s about two hours from Toronto and three hours from Ottawa. If you’re looking to explore one of Ontario’s charming small towns while enjoying the wonders of the great outdoors, Brighton is the destination for you.
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There are so many things to see and do in Brighton Ontario. You can go hiking at a provincial park and 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.
Brighton and the Bay of Quinte region is one of the best places to go on a road trip in Ontario. First, I’m going to show you one of the cutest and most memorable accommodations that I’ve ever called home, and it’s right here in Brighton, Ontario.
Stay in a Tiny House
Have you ever stayed at a tiny house? This Airbnb accommodation in Brighton is called “Tiny House, Big View” and as you can imagine, it lives up to its name! Before I take you on a tour of the interior of this cozy little cabin, I’m going to show you why it’s called Tiny House/Big View in photos.
This cute cottage sits right on the edge of Lake Ontario. Walk just a few steps from the back deck to the lake. There are a couple of lawn chairs and even a little fire pit so you can soak up those beautiful views by day or night. It’s the most tranquil and secluded place. I didn’t see or hear anyone else throughout my stay.
Inside the Tiny House
Wondering what this tiny home looks like from the inside? It’s more spacious than you’d expect. In fact, I found that it was pretty roomy and the ideal place for a couples getaway. The layout of the home is creatively planned so there’s room for everything in a smaller space.
The tiny house has a living space with a couch, a couple of small tables, and enchanting views of the lake through large windows. There’s also a fireplace and a heater in case you get cold at night. Since the home is small, it doesn’t take much to heat the whole place.
There’s a kitchenette with a small fridge, sink, cooktop, dishes, and a Keurig coffee maker. The owner of the home, Ted, will leave a container of drinking water on the counter for you. In the bathroom, there’s a small sink, a shower, a little shelf to store your belongings, and a hair dryer. The toilet is a composting toilet. It really isn’t too much to fuss over, and Ted leaves clear instructions on how to properly use it.
The king-sized bed (yes, it’s a large bed for a tiny house!) is smartly placed in a loft area above the kitchen and bathroom. You’ll need to climb a small set of stairs to reach the bed. While the bed takes up most of the loft space, it’s a really comfortable place to rest your head at night. I actually ended up relaxing for most of the evening in bed because there’s also a TV up there, too.
Book Your Stay at the Tiny House
I absolutely loved my little cabin right on the lake, and I highly recommend that you stay there, too. Book your stay at Brighton’s Tiny House. Please note that the owner is only opening bookings up one month at a time. If you don’t see your preferred dates listed (especially if it’s more than a month ahead of time), please keep checking back or contact the owner to see if you can reserve.
If the Tiny House is unavailable, I welcome you to browse this map of Airbnb accommodations in Brighton to choose another lovely place to stay.
Go Hiking in Brighton Ontario
While Brighton Ontario is perched on the edge of Lake Ontario, there’s a lot more to Brighton than the gorgeous lake views. There’s lots of nature to explore beyond the lake. Some of those spots offer the best of both worlds: lakefront scenery and beautiful forests. Proctor Park Conservation Area and Presqu’ile Provincial Park are two places to go hiking in Brighton that you need to visit.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario, five minutes south of the town of Brighton. It’s really easy to access this spectacular outdoor space as it’s really close to the town. My day pass to drive into Presqu’ile Provincial Park cost $15.50.
There are over 16km of hiking trails at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, making it the perfect place to spend a few hours, the entire day, or even longer should you decide to camp there. In the winter, you can also go cross-country skiing at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. I visited in October where the fall colours were nothing short of magnificent.
I wandered around the Newcastle Trail, which is a 4.3km loop trail that follows the orange trail markers through the forest. You’ll find tall trees and vast boardwalks along this stunning trail. I spotted lots of birds, including some woodpeckers, as well as a deer at one point. At about the halfway point on your journey, I suggest that you take a small detour down the road to visit the park’s historic lighthouse. The entire Newcastle Trail, including a trip to the lighthouse, will likely take you around two hours to complete.
I also ventured around the Jobes Woods Trail, which is a much shorter loop trail through old growth forest. There’s a wooden boardwalk that wraps around nearly the entire trail, making it accessible for wheelchair users and strollers. It will only take you about 30 minutes to walk around this trail, making it ideal for those looking for a shorter trek.
Proctor Park Conservation Area
When I first arrived at Proctor Park Conservation Area, I noticed a few trees and a large green space for picnics. Who knew that such a pretty conservation area and forest existed just beyond the parking lot? It’s a wonderful place to go for a hike. While there are fewer trails than Presqu’ile Provincial Park, I think that I may have enjoyed hiking here even more (and it’s free to visit, too!).
There is one loop trail at Proctor Park Conservation Area, as well as one shortcut trail if you’d like to do a much shorter walk. The entire loop trail is a little less than 3km, so I suggest that you hike the whole thing. The trail ascends up and down some hills through the Butler Creek Valley, and there are a couple of short bridges to cross. It’s very scenic and picturesque, especially in the fall.
The Proctor House Museum is also located at the entrance of Proctor Park Conservation Area, although it was sadly closed when I visited. The Proctor House Museum is open in July and August for tours (Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm). You can learn more about this historic home with photos on the official website.
Go Shopping in Brighton Ontario
Brighton Ontario has so many unique boutiques and shops where you’ll find something for everyone. There are intriguing gifts, delicious treats, and even an entire shop dedicated to the birds. You’ll find some of these shops along the charming main street of downtown Brighton, and others sprinkled around town. Here are a few of my favourite shops in the town of Brighton.
The Birdhouse Nature Store
The Birdhouse Nature Store is around the corner from the entrance to Presqu’ile Provincial Park, so it’s easy to combine a visit to the shop before or after your park visit. They’ve got all of your essential bird feeding needs, whether you’re looking for bird houses, bird feeders, or bird seed.
The Birdhouse Nature Store has some really adorable bird houses, and the staff is super knowledgeable if you have any questions. They’ll be able to recommend specific bird feeders and seed if you’re trying to attract a certain kind of bird to your yard. Personally, I’d be delighted to see any and all birds around my home, and I don’t mind feeding the chipmunks and the squirrels either!
Mrs. B’s Country Candy
Mrs. B’s Country Candy is a local Brighton chocolate shop where the chocolate treats are made the old fashioned way: hand made and one batch at a time. You’ll savour the finest chocolate that’s high quality, super fresh, and contains no preservatives.
You can find chocolate bars made of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate (their dark chocolate is vegan and dairy-free). They also have chocolates in all sorts of unique shapes and sizes to celebrate specific occasions or interests. Naturally, I returned from Brighton with all kinds of delicious chocolate to enjoy at home (okay, maybe I ate some of it at night at the tiny house!). If you aren’t in the Brighton area, you can order Mrs. B’s chocolate online from the website.
Special Effects Lifestyle Boutique
Special Effects Lifestyle Boutique is a wonderful local shop featuring so many treasures and gifts. You’ll find the shop inside a charming home from the 1850s, where you can wander through the rooms to find delightful surprises around each turn.
They sell boutique clothing and accessories, unique home decor items, and locally made products in their gourmet market. There are lots of beautiful art pieces for the home, and delicious treats by other small businesses in the region. If you’re looking for a gift for that special someone, you’re sure to find exactly the right present at Special Effects.
Sunflower Health Shop & Services
Sunflower Health Shop & Services is right on Main Street in Brighton, and it’s the one stop shop for health and wellness products. You’ll find vitamins, organic foods, spices and herbs, organic and cruelty-free body care products, and so much more.
They carry products that are eco-conscious, organic, support sustainability, and they’re a locally owned business. As someone who is a longtime vegan, Sunflower Health Shop has so many wonderful products that align with my diet and lifestyle.
Pick-Your-Own Produce and Farm Shops
When you make the trip to Brighton Ontario, you must sample the local flavours of the region. There are some idyllic farm shops and opportunities to pick your own fruits, depending on the season. I visited Brighton in the fall, and it’s possible to pick apples, berries, and even pumpkins in the fields. Here are my recommended farms and farm shops to check out in Brighton.
Cricklewood Farms is a family owned and operated farm and farm shop in Brighton Ontario. The farm has been in their family since the mid-1800s, and it’s been passed down through the generations. In the last few decades, the family decided to start selling some of their apples directly to the public at a farm stand, and it was a huge success. They’ve fully expanded to a retail business where you can bring the whole family out to enjoy fun on the farm.
Visiting Cricklewood Farms is an enjoyable experience for people of all ages. First, you can buy fresh produce and locally made food items at their farm shop. But, a trip to Cricklewood Farms can go far beyond shopping alone. They’ve got apple picking, pumpkin picking, and raspberry picking. There’s also a full sized corn maze with a different pattern carved into it each year, as well as a mini corn maze for the little ones. You can find hours of entertainment for people young and old at Cricklewood Farms.
Cheer Farms is a popular farm and farm stand that has supplied the community with farm fresh produce for decades. What they have in stock changes with the seasons, although you’re sure to find tons of fruits and vegetables for a good part of the year. When I visited, there were many varieties of apples, pumpkins, squash, and tons of veggies.
While there’s an impressive display of fruits and vegetables just outside the shop doors, there’s a sizable market inside the shop, too. This is where you’ll find Cheer Farms’ famous baked goods, like pies, pastries, candy apples, butter tarts, and apple crisps. Unfortunately, their baked goods aren’t vegan so I wasn’t able to sample them, but I’ve heard they are absolutely divine.
Dunnett Orchards is a massive apple orchard that’s existed in Brighton since 1909. It’s a staple in the community, and it’s the best place in Brighton for apple picking for those in the know. I spoke briefly to the owner of Dunnett Orchards, and he said that he prefers to keep a low profile online. You won’t find any official website or social media for Dunnett Orchards, but it’s a hidden gem that you won’t want to miss.
You can wander the orchards and pick your own apples, and they also have freshly picked apples if you’d like to grab some and go. These are some of the best apples I’ve ever tasted in my life! They’re so fresh and crisp, picked right off the tree. If you’re looking for some apples to eat fresh or bake a pie, head straight to Dunnett Orchards to pick apples at this 100+ year old orchard.
Vegan Dining in Brighton Ontario
While there aren’t any strictly vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Brighton, there are a few establishments where you can find some plant-based meals on the menu. Here’s where I dined in Brighton, and I highly recommend that you check out these spots for vegan food.
Lola’s Cafe is my top choice for vegan dining in Brighton Ontario, and it’s also a great place to stop for coffee, too. They cater to all diets, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. The veggie and gluten-free options are clearly marked on the menu (vegan has a VG).
While they had a delicious sounding vegan grilled cheese sandwich and soup option, I decided to order the rice and bean burrito. They added vegan cheese inside the burrito in place of the dairy cheese. The burrito was really yummy and satisfying, and it came with a side of potato chips. There’s a calm and casual dining atmosphere indoors, and you can also sit out on a small patio out front.
The Rendezvous at Timber House Resort
The Rendezvous is an adorable Airstream turned into a food truck outside of the Timber House Resort. There’s a patio outside of the food truck, but you can also dine indoors as well. You’ll find a lot of yummy fried food here and there are a couple of vegetarian and vegan options as well.
I ordered the black bean vegan burger with a side of fries (aka a mountain of fries!), and it was absolutely delicious. The burger is really flavourful and there was a really large helping of fries alongside it. There’s also a vegan chana masala on the menu, and a number of other vegetarian meals. The service was fast and the employees were really friendly.
The Whistling Duck
The Whistling Duck is a local favourite featuring a patio that’s right on the waterfront. You can enjoy your meals at this delightful restaurant with a beautiful view, which looks especially stunning at dusk. In terms of vegan options, The Whistling Duck has a veggie burger on the menu.
As I had a veggie burger the previous evening at Rendezvous, I decided to order some bruschetta bread and a garden salad for a lighter meal that evening. The order of bruschetta bread was so big that I got to enjoy a second meal later that night back at the tiny house! The food was great, the service was excellent, and the view was fabulous.
This article is brought to you by Bay of Quinte Tourism. Thank you so much for hosting my stay. I highly recommend that you visit this wonderful region of southeastern Ontario.