Autumn can be fleeting in Canada so it’s all the more important for us to get outdoors and enjoy the season. Winter will arrive before most of us are ready for it! These 10 fun fall activities in Ontario will get you out of the house so you can enjoy the best of the season.
Updated for 2021
Please check all travel restrictions and safety precautions in effect prior to visiting any destination or attraction.
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1. Take a Drive to See the Fall Colours
One of the best ways to enjoy fall is to hop into a car and head out on a fall foliage drive. Wherever you are in Ontario, you can head into the countryside and enjoy the scenic fall views as you drive winding country roads – with frequent stops to take photos of the stunning colours of course!
One of the best places in Canada to view fall colours is in the Muskoka Region north of Toronto. If you’re planning to take a drive there (or a short road trip) then consult Discover Muskoka’s Ontario Fall Colour Report first. The report provides an update on the changing leaves in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville/Lake of Bays, Muskoka Lakes and Georgian Bay and suggestions of some of the best places to view the fall colours as well as fun ways to experience the fall colours.
Looking for a drive closer to Toronto? Consider Schomberg, Caledon, Crawford Lake Conservation Area or the Niagara area for beautiful fall colours closer to the city.
2. Pick a Bag of Apples (Or Two)
Picking apples is a fall tradition for many. It’s a fun activity plus you get to eat the fruits of your labour!
Please check each farm’s website to confirm any restrictions or precautions in effect due to Covid-19.
These are a few of the farms where you can pick your own or purchase apples:
- Chudleigh’s in Halton Hills – for the 2021 season, the farm is having day specific tickets with time slots (three hours) that must be purchased online in advance. Admission fee includes full access to the farm and activities. Check site for harvest calendar.
- Downey’s Farm in Caledon – no reservation required. No entrance fee, however, they ask that a minimum of $8 of apples be picked per person. Check site for harvest calendar.
- Pingle’s Farm Market in Hampton – check website for dates and admission pricing. Weekday tickets Tuesday-Thursday are for apple picking only. Weekend tickets Friday-Sundayn include hay rides and giant corn maze.
- The Apple Orchard in rural Hamilton – no reservations required but check website for dates, admission pricing and Covid-19 restrictions. Pumpkin and squash picking also available.
- Carl Laidlaw Orchards in Brampton – no reservations required but check website for dates, admission pricing and Covid-19 restrictions.
3. Shop at a Farmer’s Market
Fall is harvest season in Ontario and a great time to check out the abundant fresh local produce to be purchased directly from growers at local farmer’s markets.
Most markets are outside but precautions such as social distancing and mandatory mask wearing may be in effect.
4. Appreciate Fall Leaves on a Nature Hike
The cooler weather of autumn makes it prime time for hiking and hitting the trails is another great way to appreciate the province’s colourful fall foliage. From Algonquin and provincial parks across the province to the Bruce Trail and Niagara Escarpment to local conservation areas, you can enjoy the canopy of spectacular colours while getting some exercise and fresh air.
- Algonquin Provincial Park – Fall Colour Report
- Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report – a map of all Ontario Provincial Parks showing the progress of fall colours so you will know when they are at their peak.
5. Get Into the Spooky Spirit on a Lighted Pumpkin Trail
Enjoying a lighted pumpkin or Halloween-themed trail is a great way to spend a fall evening whether on foot or by car.
Examples of some of the lighted pumpkin trails in Ontario include:
- Pumpkins After Dark at Country Heritage Park in Milton – In 2021, this is a 2.5 km drive-through loop where you will see pumpkin sculptures from the comfort of your car. Tickets must be pre-purchased online for a specific time slot from mid-September until November 8th.
- Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village – select evenings late September – October 31, 2021. An outdoor walk-through art exhibit featuring over 7,000 handcrafted pumpkins all lit at night along a kilometre long path in a picturesque 19th-century backdrop. Proof of vaccination is not required for Pumpkinferno as it is a fully outdoor event but will be required to enter the Harvest Barn.
- Halloween Nights of Lights in Vaughan – a drive-through event featuring over 1.5 million LED and RGB Lights animated and synchronized to your favourite Halloween tunes, drive-through tunnels and more. Select nights from October 1 – October 31, 2021. Tickets available online only.
- Royal Botanical Gardens – Pumpkin Hollow (RBG Halloween event has been relocated from Hendrie Park to the Rock Garden this year) – an evening walk through the Rock Garden with the candlelit glow of hundreds of jack-o-lanterns guiding the way. Tickets must be pre-purchased online for an available time slot – October 22, 23, 24, 2021.
6. Tickle Your Taste Buds on a Culinary Trail
What could possibly be better than taking a leisurely drive (or walk) and enjoying a few delicious bites to eat along the way? If you’re nodding your head in agreement then add one of these Ontario culinary trails to your fall bucket list!
- Apple Pie Trail – Follow this trail in the Southern Georgian Bay region and discover local orchards and breweries, apple-inspired art, seasonal menus, outdoor activities, and the history of apple country. There are several days worth of adventures and experiences so plan ahead using the website and download a pdf of the brochure with all the details.
- Butter Tart Tour – If you’re a fan of this classic Canadian pastry then the self-guided Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour should be on your bucket list! There are over 50 locations offering some of the best butter tarts in Ontario on this family-friendly tour.
- Prince Edward County – One of the best destinations in Ontario for foodies especially during fall harvest season. Named the Gastronomic Capital of Ontario by the Globe and Mail, you will find more than 40 wineries, a growing craft beer scene, farm stands and farmer’s markets, and seasonal menus to savour at the region’s restaurants.
- Savour Stratford Chocolate Trail – A self-guided tour that introduces you to Stratford’s world-famous confectioners and bakers. Purchase your trail pass at a designated location and choose six stops along the trail where you can enjoy a decadent treat.
7. Celebrate the Cranberry Harvest
The Bala Cranberry Festival is back in 2021 after having been cancelled last year. The festival will take place October 15-17, 2021 and tickets must be purchased in advance for one of four available time slots. Admission includes midway rides, live music entertainment, busker entertainment, art exhibition, use of in town shuttle buses, and many other activities. To participate in activities at the cranberry marsh, you must contact Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery in advance.
Daily activities at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery are available during the harvest season which runs September 25-October 24, 2021. Tours, wine tasting, trail walks and the popular Cranberry Plunge (hip waders supplied but don’t forget your camera) will all be taking place with some modifications. Activities can be pre-booked online – check website for details.
8. Experience Ontario Wine Country
Feeling stressed and need some couple time to decompress? Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a wine tour with your significant other in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Prince Edward County. Book a private tour and the two of you can sit back and relax while someone else does the driving or add some exercise to the outing by choosing a bicycle wine tour.
9. Enjoy an Urban Fall Walk
Can’t get out of the city this fall? You can still enjoy the season and the stunning fall foliage on display in city parks, ravines and gardens.
10. See a Drive-In Movie
Going to the drive-in might not be strictly an outdoor activity but it does get you out of the house in the evening.
According to DriveInMovie.com there are 16 operating drive-in movie theatres in Ontario so pick the one closest to you and enjoy a good old-fashioned fun evening watching a film and eating popcorn in a safe, physically-distanced way.
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