15 Best Places To Visit In Ontario, Canada [2022 Travel Guide]

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
September 23, 2022
Looking for inspiration on the best places to visit in Ontario, Canada? Then look no further. Our full throttle guide has you covered on what to do...
places to visit in Ontario

Home to the Great Lakes, the city of Toronto and, of course, Niagara Falls … 

Ontario has to be one of the best places in Canada to visit!

With ample spots for fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, and biking; it really is the nature-lover's dream.

Couple this with major cities, fantastic road networks and transport links; Ontario is super easy to visit.

But with so much to do, it’s also pretty … darn … BIG.

How big?

It’s larger than France and Spain combined!

So planning the best places to visit in Ontario can be tough. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

After 2 months spent road tripping the entire state, we’ve whittled things down to the 15 best places in Ontario.

As well as throwing in a few useful hints and tricks for making the most of your stay.

Let’s get stuck in …

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Getting Around Ontario

getting around ontario

The province is home to an ultra-modern transportation system and there are various methods to get around the province and to the various Ontario points of interest.

Rental Car

One way to get around is by rental car. Renting a car is the best way to travel if you want to embark on a road trip to various regions.  

Driving yourself around means you can stop and go as you please and you can easily explore off-the-beaten-track locations.

Airplane

There are five international airports and many smaller regional airports in Ontario that offer commuter flights from city to city within the province.  This makes it easy to travel quickly over long distances.  

For example, a flight from Toronto to Thunder Bay is just over two hours whereas it takes about 14 hours to drive between the two cities. 

To find a great price on regional flights, check out available routes and book your flight here.

Train

Trains are another great way to get around Ontario and there are both municipal trains and regional trains.

The Go Train is a commuter train serving the greater Toronto region but there's also the city rail transit system which operates a subway system and streetcars.  

In Ottawa, OC Transpo services that region and the Waterloo region has its own light rail service.

Via Rail operates two inter-regional train services including the Quebec City - Windsor Corridor and The Canadian which travels from Southern Ontario to destinations in Western Canada. 

Amtrak offers services between various cities in Ontario and cities across the border in New York and Ontario Northland connects southern Ontario to northern regions including Moosonee and James Bay.

Bus

Bus travel is another widely available transportation method in Ontario. Greyhound services the entire province, including the northern regions, Ontario Northland services Toronto, central Ontario and Northern Ontario and Megabus and Coach Canada service the southern region.

Where to Stay in Ontario

When it comes to places to stay during your travels around Ontario, the possibilities are endless. 

Since accommodation is one of the things that tends to eat up a huge portion of anyone's travel budget, it's a good thing that there are many deals to be found on top-quality accommodation. 

Looking for a quiet, fully-equipped space to kick back in the center of Toronto? Booking.com has a wide range of accommodation options such as this lovely place

How about a centrally-located hotel in Ottawa that features a restaurant, gym and hot tub? If a treehouse overlooking a lake in Thunder Bay sounds like a dream, Airbnb has you covered but also features a wide range of other unique accommodations all over the province.

15 Best Places to Visit in Ontario

1. Toronto

Toronto

Canada is a land of diversity but the city of Toronto is a major cultural hub where hundreds of different cultures come together. 

Situated along Lake Ontario, this capital city is home to over two million people, but that doesn't mean there aren't many parks, trails and even beautiful sandy beaches.

Toronto is a hub for ethnic foods so you can try a different type of world cuisine every day that you're there.

Some of the must-see attractions include Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Kensington Market, Fort York, Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, High Park and, of course, the iconic CN Tower.

A great way to get to know the city and see the attractions at the same time is to do some sightseeing with the city's Hop-on Hop-off bus tour.

Check out our guide on things to do in Toronto for more inspiration!

2. Algonquin Provincial Park

Located in southeastern Ontario, Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the best places in Ontario to visit for the weekend. 

It's also a perfect escape into nature with 4,000 square miles of pristine wilderness consisting of lakes, bogs, rolling hills, forests and rivers.

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the park and some of the top trails include Whiskey Rapids Trail, Barron Canyon Trail and Centennial Ridges Trail.

Because much of the park can only be accessed via waterways, kayaking is also popular and the area is home to some of the best trout fishing spots in the region.  

As you explore Algonquin National Park, make sure to watch for moose, bears and many species of birds.

Some of the must-see attractions in the park include the Algonquin Logging Museum, Head Lake Waterfall and Lookout Point.  

If you're looking for somewhere to view spectacular Fall colors, Algonquin National Park is one of the top places to visit in Ontario in Fall.

3. Niagara Falls

niagara falls

No trip to Ontario is complete without a visit to world-famous Niagara Falls and it's close enough to Toronto to be one of the places to visit in Ontario for the weekend

While you're likely familiar with the beautiful waterfalls of this name, perhaps you didn't realize that Niagara Falls Canada is also a city that's home to many other world-class sights besides one of the top Ontario tourist attractions.

There are many ways to experience the Falls and just as many ways to get a spectacular view of them. 

Escape the city at Niagara Falls State Park or get aerial views of the Falls from atop the Niagara SkyWheel. Explore the world behind the Falls with a Journey Behind the Falls Tour or enjoy spectacular views of the Falls while you dine on a gourmet meal at the Skylon Tower. 

Other popular attractions in the city include the Butterfly Conservatory and Rainbow Bridge.

Don't forget to check out our guide here.

4. Niagara-on-the-Lake

Only a half-hour drive away from Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ontario. 

It might only be a short distance away but the old buildings, rolling hills, fields and location on Lake Ontario at the head of the Niagara River make it seem like a whole world away.

The historic 19th-century town itself is characterized by lovely tree-lined streets, flower gardens and a scenic waterfront area. 

As you walk around the pretty little town, you'll find many art galleries, antique shops, cafes, parks and historic sites. You might even see a horse-drawn carriage making its way along the streets.  

Just outside the town is Ontario's Wine Country where you'll find many of the province's top vineyards, wineries, breweries, distilleries and fine dining restaurants. 

There's Peller Estates Winery and Restaurant, Trius Winery & Restaurant, Reif Estate Winery and Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery.

See them all on an Ontario Wine Country Tour.

5. Paris

paris ontario

Not quite the Paris that first came to your mind, but Paris, Ontario is a very nice place nevertheless. 

This scenic little town is known for its cobblestone architecture and old-world feel and narrow streets filled with cozy cafes, boutique shops and galleries.

Nice days are spent exploring the nature trails at Barker's Bush or kayaking or canoeing in Lion's Park.  

Rainy days are best spent learning about the history and culture of the area at the Paris Museum & Historical Society, Woodland Cultural Center, Glenhyrst Art Gallery and Mohawk Chapel. 

Other area attractions include Penman's Dam, The Paris Wincey Mills Co. and the Bell Homestead National Historic Site.

6. Pukaskwa National Park

Pukaskwa National Park

Situated along Lake Superior near the town of Marathon in Northern Ontario, Pukaskwa National Park is a large wilderness area that protects an area of undeveloped shoreline. 

Enjoy hikes through boreal forests with lake views on some of the park's trails including The Coastal Hiking Trail, Boardwalk Beach Trail, Southern Headland Trail, Bimose Kinoomagewan Trail, Hattie Cove Fire Walk and Manito Trail.   

As you explore the park, you'll see many beautiful sights including picturesque suspension bridges, sandy beaches, Chigamiwinigum Falls, Otter Island Lighthouse and the Pic River Dunes. 

If you're up for an epic water adventure, try paddling along the Pukaskwa River or White River.

For some reason, this amazing national park doesn't see as many visitors as some of Ontario's other parks which makes it all that much more desirable. 

A remote location without the crowds. Sounds like paradise!

7. Bruce Peninsula

bruce peninsula

As part of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, The Bruce Peninsula is a vital area for plants and wildlife. 

The region is home to the biggest area of forest and natural habitat in southern Ontario and this forest has some of the oldest trees in North America.

The Bruce Peninsula is popular with both locals and tourists who enjoy an array of outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, camping and nature viewing. 

These activities and more can be enjoyed in the region's two national parks, Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park. The Bruce Peninsula is one of the top places to go in Ontario.

As you explore the region, you'll see rugged cliffs, dense forests, pristine lakes and a variety of unique ecosystems. 

It's a great place to see a variety of beautiful wildflowers and wildlife including black bears, foxes and chipmunks.

Some of the popular attractions in the region include Lion's Head Beach, Greig's Caves, Devil's Monument and Lion's Head Harbour Lighthouse. 

A number of provincial parks are also located on the peninsula including Black Creek, Ira Lake, Hope Bay Forest, Smoky Head and Johnston's Harbour.

8. Ottawa

While Toronto is the capital city of Ontario, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and it's one of the best cities to visit in the whole country. 

Ottawa is known for its beautiful parks and green spaces and its world-class historical and cultural attractions. 

This is where you'll learn about much of Canada's history along with the history of the city and surrounding region. 

Located along the Ottawa River, the Victorian-style buildings of Parliament Hill are the center of this bustling city.

Other attractions include the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian War Museum, Peace Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Canadian Nature Museum and Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

When you need an escape from the crowds, head to one of the parks along the Rideau Canal and watch all the boats coming and going. 

Or better yet, take a Rideau Canal Cruise and spend an afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of Ottawa from the water.

Ottawa is also one of the best places to visit in Ontario during winter. People come from all over to enjoy skating on the Rideau Canal and the great downhill skiing areas.

9. Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney National Park, Ontario
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Located on Georgian Bay along Lake Huron in southern Ontario, Killarney Provincial Park is an immense wilderness.  

It features spectacular scenery consisting of mountains, coastline, wetlands, forest and more than 50 lakes. When it comes to day trips, it’s one of the best Ontario destinations to spend time in nature. 

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in this park and some of the top trails include Cranberry Bog Trail, Silver Peak, Granite Ridge Trail, La Cloche Silhouette Trail, The Crack and Chikanishing Trail. 

If canoeing or kayaking is more your thing, there are several routes connecting various lakes in the area.

As you explore Killarney Provincial Park, you'll see a wide variety of plants and likely spot some wildlife including moose, deer, black bears, wolves, beavers, lynx and more than 100 species of birds.  

If you stick around until nightfall, you can enjoy unspoiled views of the night skies at Killarney's Dark Sky Preserve.

10. Thunder Bay

Sea lion rock formation at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Thunderbay, Ontario
Photo by Guru Z S Gill on Unsplash

Thunder Bay is the largest city in Northwestern Ontario but it's not big enough to be away from the pristine wilderness that the area is known for. 

Situated on Lake Superior, Thunder Bay is one of the top places to see in Ontario. 

Whether you're interested in historic architecture or stunning natural vistas, you'll find what you're looking for and more.

Within the city itself, enjoy a wide variety of attractions including the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay Historical Museum, Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and the Thunder Bay Military Museum. 

At the Fort William Historical Park, you'll learn about the history of fur trading and be able to hike a trail that leads to the top of Mount McKay.

Outdoor lovers can escape the urban landscape and enjoy a natural one at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park on the nearby Sibley Peninsula. Here, you'll find hiking trails and have opportunities to view wildlife. 

Other nearby nature areas include Kakabeka Falls and Cascades Conservation Area.

11. Manitoulin Island

If you're thinking an island in the middle of a lake would have to be small, you don't know Manitoulin Island. 

Lake Huron is one of the biggest lakes in the world and Manitoulin Island, which is located on this lake, is the biggest freshwater lake on earth. 

Another fact that you may not have been aware of is the island was also the site of the first European settlement in Canada.

Manitoulin Island is so big that it has more than 100 lakes so you can only imagine the kayaking, canoeing and fishing adventures that are to be had. 

The pace here is laid back, the crowds non-existent, the scenery incredible. It's a nature lover's dream. 

Disappear into the wilderness and along the way see the stunning Bridal Veil Falls, Providence Bay Beach, Misery Bay Provincial Nature Reserve, 10-mile Point Lookout, Strawberry Island Lighthouse, and Little Current Iron Swing Bridge. 

Enjoy a day of hiking along the trails that include the Great Spirit Circle Trail and Cup and Saucer Trail and see wildlife and many species of birds.

Manitoulin Island is also a place with a long history and vibrant culture.  You can learn more about the island, its past and its people at the Mishibinijima Private Art Gallery, Ojibwe Cultural Foundation and the Old Mill Heritage Centre.

For some inspiration and tips on how to best see Manitoulin check out these self-guided tours that cover almost every inch of the island and see why Manitoulin Island is one the most unique destinations in Ontario.

12. Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park
Image by JoeBreuer from Pixabay

It's Canada's smallest National Park, but it's also one of Ontario's most popular ones. I'm talking about the Thousand Islands National Park which is situated in The Frontenac Arch Biosphere in the Saint Lawrence River.  

The park has 21 islands, many islets and a mainland area with a day-use park, exhibits and a visitor center where you can learn all about the nature and history of the park.

Known for being the most biodiverse area of the country, you should have no problem spotting some wildlife including raccoons, rabbits, foxes, coyotes and deer.

You'll need to rent a canoe or a kayak or take a tour to access many of the areas of the park and as you explore it, you'll see beautiful rugged shorelines and hike around some of the islands.

Some of the area's top attractions include the Thousand Islands Bridge, Fort Henry National Historic Site, 1000 Islands Tower, Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, Brockville Museum and 1000 Islands History Museum.  

You can even embark on a ziplining adventure at Treetop Trekking 1000 Islands.

13. Prince Edward

Vineyards of Prince Edward County,Ontario

Prince Edward County is situated along Lake Ontario in the southern region of the province. 

The County, as it's known locally, is a popular place for locals to escape the nearby cities and indulge in a more laid-back pace. 

The area is widely known for its vineyards and wineries such as Norman Hardie Winery, Sandbanks Estate Winery and Closson Chase Vineyards.

Another notable feature of Prince Edward County is the Sandbanks Provincial Park where you'll find hiking trails and some of the nicest sandy beaches in the region. 

Nature lovers also love the Little Bluff Conservation Area and sailing and fishing on the Bay of Quinte.

Other top attractions in Prince Edward County include Macaulay Heritage Park, the National Air Force Museum of Canada, Birdhouse City, Mariners Park Museum, Oeno Gallery and Ameliasburgh Heritage Village.

14. Pancake Bay Provincial Park

View from Lookout at Pancake Bay in Ontario
source

Situated in the Algoma Country Region on the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Ontario, Pancake Bay Provincial Park is mostly known for its fur trading history and beautiful sandy beaches including Pancake Bay Beach. 

The park was established to protect the fragile dunes of the area's beaches. These beaches are known for their clear blue waters similar to many places in the Caribbean.

Hiking and biking are popular activities in this park.  Some of the top trails include the Pancake Bay Nature Trail and the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail. 

Kayaking, canoeing and fishing are also popular in the park and it's possible to enjoy swimming in the summer months. 

Other attractions include Coppermine Point Lighthouse and Batchawana Falls.

15. Wawa

wawa

The first thing you'll likely see upon entering the town of Wawa is the giant 28-foot-tall Canada goose monument that graces the entrance to the pretty little town. 

Situated in northern Ontario, people from all over flock to this area for the incredible sport fishing opportunities, kayaking adventures on Lake Superior and nature escapes.

Hike along the Voyageur Hiking Trail, kick back in the sun at Sandy Beach or take a stroll along the Lion's Waterfront Park Boardwalk. 

Scenic High Falls and Silver Falls are two waterfalls located along the Magpie River and you'll find picnic areas and incredible views at both of these sites.

Nearby Michipicoten Post Provincial Park offers even more opportunities to escape into the area's pristine wilderness.

Ontario Travel Tips and FAQ

When is a good time to visit Ontario?

The best time to visit Ontario is between May and September. This is when the weather is warmest and there's less chance of rain. 

The months outside of this period are too cold and snowy unless you're coming to the province to enjoy the many popular winter activities including downhill skiing and snowmobiling.

October is a nice month to visit if you want to see the Fall colors but some attractions may be closed for the season at this time.  

What is a good budget for Ontario?

On average, visitors spend about $180 a day when traveling in Ontario and this includes meals and attractions but not accommodation which runs about $200 a night on average. 

Of course, this is just a guideline and you can budget for far less than this by opting for hotels outside the cities, camping and enjoying picnics rather than gourmet meals in top restaurants.  

Can you just book a tour for Ontario?

There are no guided tours that explore the whole province but you'll find tours in almost every city and region, including city tours, bus tours and sailing tours. Some examples of tours you'll find in various areas of Ontario include:

Is Ontario safe?

Yes, travel in Ontario is very safe, but it's important to be as vigilant as you would be anywhere else you travel. 

In the cities, there are petty crimes that are more widespread in certain districts than others. That being said, the city of Toronto is said to be the 6th safest city in the world.

One of the dangers to be aware of while traveling in Ontario is the driving conditions on some major highways, such as the 401, which can be overwhelming for first-time visitors.

Some areas of Ontario are hotspots for severe thunderstorms which are more common in late spring and summer. 

Stay on top of weather conditions and follow instructions from local emergency personnel if you find yourself in the middle of one of these storms.

When exploring Ontario's wild areas, be cautious around animals.  

Ticks are also a common nuisance in many areas so make sure to wear bug spray when venturing into the wilderness and do a tick check afterwards.

What is the weather like in Ontario?

Ontario enjoys a continental climate with four distinct seasons.  Summer is hot and muggy and the winter is very cold with lots of snow. Spring tends to be warm and rainy while Fall is cooler and drier.

Where to go after Ontario

And that’s the beautiful province of Ontario in a nutshell! 

One of the best things about Ontario is its central location which allows for easy access to other nearby Canadian Provinces and the United States.

Whether you want to head East and explore beautiful Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, or head west and explore the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast, or veer south of the US border, the possibilities to extend your epic road-tripping adventure are endless!

Read more: Campervan rental in Ontario
Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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