When Ontario comes alive with vibrant colours in autumn, cities and towns across the province offer a unique environment, and distinct character for visitors and locals to truly explore. No matter what you choose to do in Ontario, there are hundreds of fun things you’ll want to add to your bucket list this fall. Here are just 25+ ideas to add to your Fall bucket list.
**We have given about 3 to 5 places where you can visit for each idea. To reduce travel during COVID-19, search for similar places near you. Kindly follow health guidelines, local bylaws and please leave no trace.**
1. See Salmon Run
As the temperature cools, Pacific Salmon (Coho, Chinook) migrate upstream from Ontario’s Great Lakes to lay their eggs in the shallows before winter settles in. Here are a few places to see the silver-coloured fish,that is now almost black in colour, making the final trip of their lives. Visit from late September to early October.
- Owen Sound: Walk the trail from Harrison Park to Inglis Falls Conservation Area and see Salmon migrate up the Mill Dam & Fish Ladder.
- Port Hope – Ganaraska River: Exit Hwy 401 at exit 464 and head to Jocelyn Street, turn right and follow it until you meet the Ganaraska River where you can experience the wonder of migration.
- Various Locations in GTA
2. Harvest Some Cranberries
Harvest your own cranberries or see how cranberries are harvested at Ontario’s Cranberry Farms.
- Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, 1074 Cranberry Rd, Bala (September 26 to October 31, 2020)
- Upper Canada Cranberries, 2283 Stagecoach Rd, Osgoode/Ottawa (Mid September to Early November)
3. Navigate a corn maze
Corn mazes are a fall staple where you can immerse yourself in a memorable experience with friends and family and navigate your way through an in-person puzzle. List of Corn Mazes in Ontario.
- The Hanes Corn Maze, #1001 HWY #5 West, Dundas
- Wagon Wheel Produce & Corn Maze, 1371 Charlotteville Rd 7, Simcoe
- Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze, 266 Ashworth Rd, Zephyr
- Cricklewood Farm, 14953 County 2 Rd, Brighton
- Strom’s Farm & Bakery, 5089 Wellington Rd 32, Guelph
4. See Lighted Pumpkin Displays
Take a tour on foot or by car and check out some pumpkin displays to brighten up your evening.
- Pumpkinferno: Take a tour through this spectacular outdoor art exhibit of 7,000 handcrafted pumpkins all lit at night along a kilometer long path in a picturesque 19th century backdrop @ Upper Canada Village, Village Rd, Morrisburg
- Pumpkins After Dark Drive Thru: Over 150 one-of-a-kind pumpkin sculptures, displayed with a showcase of jack-o-lanterns, will light up the grounds at Country Heritage Park in Milton.
- PumpkInferno: See magical outdoor exhibits of artificial hand-carved pumpkins located on the grounds of Discovery Harbour.(Dates TBA)
- The Great Pumpkin Trail, Hendrie Park – Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd W, Burlington
- Halloween Nights of Lights(This is a lighted Halloween attraction), Improve Canada, 7250 Keele Street, Vaughan
5. Experience Autumn Colours at an Ontario park
Head over to an Ontario park and marvel at the changing fall scenery including the red, orange, and yellow leaves, while you take in the cool air on a hike or on a bike ride. Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report.
6. Go on a Cruise
Perhaps the best way to see fall colours is to go on a cruise across Ontario’s waterways. Traverse the Trent-Severn lift locks, or enjoy various scenarios of Ontario’s Cottage County, as you cruise the myriad waterways. Thanksgiving weekend is the last day of operation for many cruise operators and is also one of the most popular weekends for fall colour tours. So book soon, if you are planning to go on one. All the following are tours are operating during COVID-19.
- Tom Thomson, 7 James Bartleman Way, Port Carling
- The Island Queen Cruise, 9 Bay Street, Parry Sound
- Liftlock & The Riverboat Cruises, Peterborough
- Grand River Cruises, 36 Brant County Road 22, Caledonia
- Heart of the 1000 Islands Cruise, Gananoque
7. Go Apple Picking
- The Apple Orchard Inc, 1668 ON-6, Hamilton
- Apple Land Station, 329 Richmond St, Thorndale
- JC Agri Orchards, 3105 16th Sideroad, King City
- Mountain Orchards, 10175 Clark Rd, Mountain
- Pine Hill Orchard, Saint Félix Road, Bourget
8. Watch Fall Bird (Hawk) Migration
As fall arrives, birds start to migrate south to escape Canadian winters. Many of Ontario’s parks are perfect to see this phenomenon occur, including the famous Point Pelee National Park.
- Point Pelee National Park, 1118 Point Pelee Dr, Leamington
- Long Point Provincial Park, 350 Erie Blvd, Port Rowan
- Holiday Beach Conservation Area, 6952 50 Cr, Amherstburg
- Port Burwell Provincial Park, 9 Wilson Ln, Port Burwell
- Hawk Cliff, Port Stanley
- Rosetta McClain Gardens, Scarborough
- Kingsville Migration Festival – October 15 to 18, 2020
9. Fall Waterfall Chasing
Experience the beauty of fall surrounding serene waterfalls of Ontario. Visit waterfalls in Ontario Conservation areas and Parks to enjoy the best of nature.
- Ragged Falls, Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls Provincial Park
- Hatchery Falls, Hwy 141, Utterson
- High Falls, Bracebridge
- Hilton Falls, 4985 Campbellville Rd, Burlington
- Balls Falls, 3292 Sixth Ave, Lincoln
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10. Pick Your Own Pumpkin at a Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkins are synonymous with fall, and you can go out and pick your own pumpkins at a wonderful array of pumpkin patches across Ontario.
- Warner Ranch and Pumpkin Farm,7705 Schisler Rd, Welland
- Snyder’s Family Farm, 936685 Blenheim Rd, Bright
- Merry Farms, 1974 Concession 2 Rd W, Lynden
- Pepe’s Pumpkin Patch, 2651 Front Rd, Windsor
- Proulx Maple & Berry Farm, 1865 O’Toole Rd, Ottawa
11. Go on a Ghost Tour
This fall, take a ghost tour and learn about the haunted places you visit while you listen to stories from your tour guide.
- Haunted Ghost Drive-Thru Tour– Pickering Museum Village, Concession Road 6, Greenwood
- The Haunted Walks
- The Haunted Walk of Kingston, 200 Ontario St, Kingston (various tours)
- The Haunted Walk of Toronto, 30 Gristmill Lane, Toronto (various tours)
- Haunted Walk of Ottawa, 46 ½ Sparks St., Ottawa (various tours)
- Ghost Tours of Niagara at Fort George, 55 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Haunted Trolley Tour — Kingston Trolley Tours, 209 Ontario St, Kingston
- The Ghost Walks
- 126 Queen St, Niagara-on-the-Lake (various tours)
- Various Tours in Hamilton
- The Unfortunate Man Tour – Guelph (This is a Halloween edition history tour)
- Paranormal Investigationin Fort Henry, Kingston
12. Stay at a Resort
Go for a staycation at one of Ontario’s resorts where they offer fall activities and ways to relax and take a breather away from the city.
- Beachwood Resort, 3043 Beachwood Dr, Lakefield
- Severn Lodge, 116 Gloucester Trail, Port Severn
- Blue Waters Acres Resort, 1052 Rat Bay Rd, Huntsville
- Cedar Grove Lodge, Peninsula Lake, 167 Grassmere Resort Rd, Huntsville
- Elmhirst’s Resort, 1054 Settlers Line, Keene
13. Do an ‘Oktoberfest’ Brewery Tour
Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival, the Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest is cancelled for 2020 and so are most small scale beer festivals held in October. Instead, choose a designated driver and go on a brewery route tour. A great way to enjoy classic fall sceneries and celebrate Ontario’s craft breweries!
- Windsor Essex — Barrels Bottles & Brews
- Simcoe, Bruce and Grey Counties — Saints & Sinners Tour
- Almaquin, Haliburton, Muskoka, Parry Sound — Cottage Country Beer Trail
- Peterborough & the Kawarthas — Brews, Bites and Barns
- In and around Ottawa — Backroom Deals and Muddy Wheels Trail
14. Visit a Sculpture Garden
Sculpture gardens are especially beautiful during fall – explore outdoor galleries with unique, handcrafted art pieces that can be found backdropped with fall colours. As you stroll or bike through these outdoor galleries, you’ll find yourself experiencing a unique story at each location.
- Screaming Heads Midlothian Castle & Gallery, Midlothian Road, approximately 5 km from Hwy 520, Burk’s Falls.
- Cambridge Sculpture Park, 53 Grand Ave S, Cambridge
- Haliburton Sculpture Forest, 297 College Dr, Haliburton
- ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery, 855 Second Line Rd, Bailieboro
- McMichael’s Canadian Collection, 10365 Islington Ave, Kleinburg
15. See Fall Colours From a Scenic Lookout
Marvel at the beauty of Fall at a scenic lookout that gives you a view of escarpments, forests, flora, and fauna. (Some of the scenic locations in Cottage country like the Dorset Lookout Tower is closed due to COVID-19.)
- Eagle’s Nest Lookout, Greater Madawaska
- Rattlesnake Point, 7200 Appleby Line, Milton
- 1000 Islands Tower, 716 Highway 137 Hill Island, Lansdowne
- Foley Mountain Conservation Area, 105 Foley Mountain Ln, Westport
- Sir Sam’s Ski Area, 1054 Liswood Road, Eagle Lake
- 15 Scenic Lookouts In and Around Ottawa
16. Do a Fall Canopy Tour
Challenge yourself physically and mentally at a treetop adventure park. Explore the tree canopies while you navigate your way through an exciting obstacle course and you can enjoy fall colours at the same time.
- Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, 1095 Redkenn Rd, Dysart et al
- Treetop Trekking, Various locations in Ontario
- Treetop Eco-Adventure Park, 53 Snow Ridge Court, Oshawa
- Boler Mountain, 689 Griffith St, London
17. Step Back in Time at a Pioneer Village
Found around the province, pioneer villages are an interactive and fun way to learn about Canadian history. Pioneer Villages are especially a great visit in the fall as you can enjoy thanksgiving activities and explore heritage buildings (makes for great pictures) surrounded by fall colours.
- Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto
- Fanshawe Pioneer Village,2609 Fanshawe Park Rd E, London (Enter at 1424 Clark Road)
- Backus Heritage Conservation Area, 1267 2nd Concession Rd, RR #1 Port Rowan
- Upper Canada Village, 13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg
- Lang Pioneer Village, 104 Lang Road, Keene
18. Take a Train Tour
A rarity during this time (COVID-19) as many train tours like Agawa Canyon Tour Train has paused, a few beautiful train tours are still running which offer some unique ways to see fall colours.
- York-Durhan Heritage Railway, 19 Railway Street, Uxbridge (there are no specific fall colour tours this year, but there is a wizard festival in October and Santa trains in November)
- South Simcoe Railway, 28 Mill St W, Tottenham
- Polar Bear Express, Cochrane and Moosonee (This is a regular train service)
- Muskoka Heritage Place, 88 Brunel Road, Huntsville
19. Go Canoeing
Row your way through the waters and enjoy fall colours from a new perspective.
- Algonquin Canoe Tours, 1023 Copper Lake Rd., Dwight
- Ahoy Rentals, 21 Ontario St., Kingston
- Killarney Outfitters, 1076 ON-637, Killarney
- Canoeing The Grand, 3734 King St E, Kitchener
- Frontenac Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Centre, 6674 Bedford Rd, Sydenham (Frontenac Provincial Park)
20. Enjoy a Wagon/Trail Rides
A timeless activity, a trail ride will take you through valleys, fields, and past hills and bodies of water on a relaxing journey.
- Duel Acres, Fire No. 300218 Grey Road 170, Shallow Lake
- HorsePlay Niagara, 11061 Ellsworth Rd N, Port Colborne
- Pathways on Pleasure Valley, 2499 Brock Rd, Uxbridge
- Texas Longhorn Ranch, Strathroy
- Von Doeler’s Ranch, 1286 von Doeler Rd., Rutherglen
21. Visit a Ghost Town for Halloween
Ontario is dotted with abandoned ghost towns that have an extensive and intriguing history. Visit some or all this fall.
- Swords, Seguin, Parry Sound
- Cooper’s Falls, Black River, Ramara Township (Near the village of Washago)
- Newfoundout, Opeongo Road, Renfrew
- Balaclava, Renfrew County
- Indiana, Part of Ruthven Park National Historic Site (North of Haldimand County)
- 14 Ruins to Explore in Ontario
22. Visit Ontario’s Wine Country/ Wine Festivals
Late summer/early fall is harvest time for Ontario wineries and a perfect time for a quick getaway. A winery experience can provide you with an intimate time taste testing great wines, touring the site, and perhaps indulging in farm-to-table cooking too.
There are still few festivals hosted in a safe way so that everyone can still experience wine-related activities and sample incredible wines.
- Niagara Grape & Wine Festival – September 11 to 27, 2020
- Wassail Wine Festival – Prince Edward County – November 16 to December 1, 2020
- Niagara-on-the-Lake Cycle and Wine-Tasting Tour
- Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Country Tasting Tour
23. Check out Some Stops on the Apple Pie Trail
Explore South Georgian Bay and tour Meaford, Thornbury, the Blue Mountains, Beaver Valley, and beyond on the Apple Pie Trail. The Apple Pie Trail is an apple-inspired regional trail where you can explore art, delectable seasonal menus, award-winning local ciders, apple tarts & treats, and apple pies at 28 local orchards, restaurants, cafes, wineries, cider houses, shops and farmer’s markets.
24. Enjoy Fall Colours From a Suspension/Scenic Bridge
Suspension bridges are a fantastic man-made asset to complement nature, a place where you can look out at incredible views, whether fall sceneries great rocky heights, and other aspects of nature’s beauty.
- White River Suspension Bridge, Pukaskwa National Park
- Eagle Canyon Adventures Suspension Bridge, Dorion
- Roy Wilson Suspension Bridge, Dryden
- Menesetung Bridge, Goderich (not a suspension bridge)
- Scenic Caves Suspension Bridge, 223-401 Scenic Caves Rd, The Blue Mountains
25. Visit a “Haunted Farm”
Make your way through a corn maze or a farm at night with only a flashlight. Some farms have live actors and other scares placed within the corn maze and farms.
- Mocking Hill Bird Farm, 943 Landslide Road, Sault Ste. Marie
- Fear Farm, 936685 Blenheim Rd, New Dundee
- Kustermans Berry Farm, 23188 Springwell Road, Mount Brydges
- Acres of Terror, Cannamore Orchard, 1480 County Rd 32, Crysler
- Talbotville Berry Farm, 10054 Sunset Road, St. Thomas
- Cooper’s Night Corn Maze, Uxbridge (only on Oct 30 this year)
26. Scream Your Way Through Halloween Haunts
Pay money to get scared!
- Screemers, Toronto – Scheduled for 2020
- Grimm Grounds Hallowe’en Attraction, Georgian Bay Park, 4230 Crossland Rd, Tiny
- The Sawmill at Lansdowne, Lansdowne Park, 1525 Princess Patricia Way, Ottawa
- Bingemans Screampark, 425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener
- Haunt Manor – Hayrides & Haunted Houses, 9387 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls. (Scheduled for 2020)
27. Enjoy a Fall Campfire Picnic
Gather round your small social circle around a campfire at a farm with your loved ones and have a picnic enjoying cool autumn weather.
28. Go on an Autumn Studio Tour
Go on a tour that showcases Ontario’s finest selections of contemporary fine arts and crafts against a backdrop of Mother Nature at her best. Although many studio tours like the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour, Bancroft Studio Tour and Crown & Pumpkin Tour are cancelled for the season, some tours are still being held so that you can visit galleries and artists studios in person this year. It is also a great way to start your Christmas shopping and support Ontario artisans.
- Uxbridge Studio Tour
- Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour
- Innisfil Studio Tour (only online this year)
- Images Studio Tour – Simcoe County (No official tour this year, but artists still accepts in-person visits with appointment)
29. Hike through Vibrant Colours
What better way to spend the crisp fall days than to get outside and take a hike? Whether you want a quick trail for some fresh air, or are planning multi-day hiking and camping trip, there are some great places to hike to enjoy fall colours in Ontario.
- Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, 16160 Highway 12 East, Midland
- Fire Tower Trail, Restoule Provincial Park.
- Helenbar Lookout Trail, Mississagi Provincial Park
- Ganaraska Forest Hiking Trails
- Gibson Lake Loop, Frontenac Provincial Park (If you live nearby, join for Frontenac Challenge which challenges you to hike all trails between Sept 1 and Oct 31). Frontenac is about 3 hours from Toronto, 2 hours from Ottawa and 45 minutes from Kingston.
30. Enjoy a Fall Colour Drive
Pack your kids and a picnic and go on a fall colour drive.
- Haliburton Highlands & Algonquin Park (See page 2 for map)
- Circumnavigate Rice Lake (open google map and chart a path around the lake)
- Circumnavigate Simcoe Lake (open google map and chart a path around the lake)
- Follow Highway 7 From Peterborough to Ottawa.
- Follow Rideau Canal locks from Ottawa to Kingston.
- Make a trip around Georgian Bay.
- The Grand Algoma Loop
- Wawa North Tour