The Canadian province of Ontario is totally huge; just like the rest of Canada is (obviously)! Now, it might not be the largest of all the provinces, but it certainly has the most people that live there. This all makes it a great place to visit, with a heap of the best places in Ontario that are dotted all across the province itself.
From the world’s most famous waterfall, Niagara Falls to the hustle and bustle of cities like Toronto, Ontario has a heap of the best places to explore if you’re wanting to visit more of Canada. Though be warned, it’s still massive and it’s unlikely you’ll even get close to exploring all the spots in one trip along. Well, unless you’re heading across for a good few months!
With that in mind, and after popping over to Ontario a fair few times, I wanted to share some of my most favourite spots and the best places in Ontario to visit on your next trip.
Honestly, Canada is an incredible country and I really hope you’re gonna love your trip!
Take a look, below, at the best places in Ontario to visit.
1.) Niagara Falls
Now, Niagara Falls is easily one of the best places in Ontario to visit that people love to hate; or hate to love)!
Yeah, it’s got its kitsch side with its haunted houses and casinos, but it’s also got the incredible falls themselves; which, let’s be honest, is the reason why you visit.
Perched on the border between the US and Canada, Niagara Falls is really easy to visit for a day trip from Toronto or if you’re in places like Niagara-on-the-Lake, too.
If you want to see the falls from above, head over and book an epic helicopter tour that’ll get you right above the falls.
Alternatively, book a ticket to go on a Journey Behind the Falls; which is completely based on the Canadian side.
That being said, if you want to get a little wet, head out on the Hornblower and get a little misty from the falls themselves.
They’re all so much fun and a great way to spend a few hours in Niagara Falls.
With centuries of history, Toronto often feels like a ‘Canadian New York’ to me. It seems to have all the exciting things of a major global city, but also that lovely warmth that Canadians always seem to have!
Once you arrive, make sure to head up the CN Tower for some epic views at sunset.
Alternatively, head on an Edge Walk where you’ll get outside and walk on one of the world’s highest skyscraper walks. Honestly, it’s exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure! If that’s not your thing, book a guided bike ride around Toronto; which is great if you want to cover lots of the city.
Afterwards, pop over to Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen for some of the tastiest jerk and best restaurants in Toronto.
Oh and head for a stroll around the Distillery District and book tickets to go inside Casa Loma, too. Toronto is easily one of the best places in Ontario, especially if you’re after a city break.
Don’t forget to also check out our 1-week travel itinerary for exploring Toronto and the surrounding areas.
Hopefully, this will help if you’re planning on a few trips from the city itself.
3.) Thunder Bay
Okay, so Thunder Bay is easily one of the best places in Ontario to visit if you want to explore more of the region’s history.
With a living historical site at Fort William Historical Park, they have over forty buildings that’ll throw you right back to the 18th Century.
Historical reenactments take place to give you a feeling of how life was in the early 19th century. This unusual look at history is open every day during the summer, I know you are a history buff so get along there and take in a local history lesson.
Also, don’t forget to pop over to the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park if you fancy a little jaunt from the city. It has loads of trails that are perfect in the summer months. Plus, the views are out-of-this-world!
Oh, and for a tasty bite, pop into The Silver Birch which uses, mainly, local ingredients in all its dishes. Their bison burger is so tasty.
Not to be confused with Windsor in the UK, Windsor (Ontario) might not have a huge castle but it’s still a great place to visit if you’re in the southern-most area of the province.
Now, Windsor might be famous for its casinos, but it’s also so much more than this. Once you’re here, make sure to take a stroll around; Dieppe Gardens, see the Olde Walkerville Neighborhood and pop into Willistead Manor.
Although the city can be seen quickly, it’s the perfect stopping point for a half-day (or day trip) if you’re travelling close by.
5.) Pelee Island
Being the biggest island on Lake Erie, exploring Pelee Island is probably one of the best things to do in Ontario whilst you’re around the Erie shoreline.
Now, getting here is either by ferry or plane, with ferry departures going from; Leamington, Kingsville or Sandusky. You can see more of their scheduled times, here.
Honestly, it’s one of the best places in Ontario to just sit back and chill on a quaint little island. Watch the sunset over Lake Erie or, if you’re wanting to get the heart rate going, head on the 28km cycle ride around the island.
For lots of international visitors (and some Canadians), this is a largely missed part of Ontario but well worth it for a little jaunt.
We visited Ottawa, alongside our trip around Quebec, when we headed to Gatineau.
You see, the provincial border is actually the river, and whilst it looks like one big city, it’s actually Ottawa and Gatineau (in both Ontario and Quebec).
Once you’re here, make sure to take a little cruise along the river (or use the very short boat service to hop between both cities).
It’s a great way to see the city from a totally different perspective.
Afterwards, head across to Parliament Hill, visit the National Gallery and explore Byward Market for some of the tastiest street food in the city; I swear, we gorged here! Also, if you’re a total museum buff (like me), hop into the Museum of Nature, too.
It’s a huge place and has so much to see.
After all those museums, get yourself over to the Peace Tower and end your day with a little visit to the Notre Dame Basilica. It’s so beautiful inside.
Oh, and for some tasty pancakes, head towards the Baker Street Cafe. They serve up the fluffiest in the city.
Perched, a few hundred kilometres west of Toronto, Stratford is a pretty easy city to visit on a day trip from Toronto or if you’re heading out to explore more of Southern Ontario itself.
Now, the name instantly rings bells to that of Stratford in the UK, especially with the River Avon that I head was a reminder of where the original inhabitants emigrated from in the 1820s.
Once here, try to plan your trip around some of the cities festivals.
For instance, each year, the Stratford Festival is held annually features plays primarily by Shakespeare and is a pretty unique experience. In fact, it’s often thought of as one of the biggest repertory theatre festivals in all of North America!
Afterwards, pop over to the Stratford Perth Museum and also peek in at City Hall; it’s such an impressive building. Also, to fill up, pop into The Red Rabbit for some of the juiciest steaks in the city.
Again, not too far from Hamilton or Toronto, Kitchener is one of the best places in Ontario to explore a historic Mennonite-founded community.
Now, all this German heritage even carries on to this day, with it hosting the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany.
The festival lasts for nine days every October around the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday; which, let’s be honest, is wise with all those hangovers!
Don’t worry though, if you don’t make it here around Oktoberfest, you can still head across to craft brewers like; Descendants Beer and Beverage Co Ltd who make seasonal (and award-winning) brews to try all year-round.
After all those beers, head across to Doon Heritage Village and see what life was once like. Alternatively, pop into the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum. It’s the biggest community museum in all of Ontario and a great place to visit if the weather gets a little bad.
Plus, there’s a little Kissing Bridge at West Montrose that’s so close, too!
South of Ottawa, just a few kilometres from the United States border, Gananoque is probably one of the best places in Ontario to visit if you’re wanting to go island hopping.
You see, the beauty of this area and the St. Lawrence River is that you can head out on a Thousand Islands boat trip to explore some of the tiny (and pretty big) islands that make up this area.
Afterwards, pop into the 1000 Islands History Museum, visit the Playhouse and pop into the Panache Cafe for some tasty cheesecake!
Okay, so Niagara-on-the-Lake might be one of my favourite little towns in all of Canada (shhh, don’t tell the others)!
Honestly, this quaint and historic village is a must-visit when you’re near Niagara Falls and is really easy to visit by car (even from Toronto).
Once here, take a horse-drawn carriage around the historic centre, learn more about the town’s ‘bumpy’ past and gorge at some of the best restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
We stayed here for around 2-3 days and totally loved it. Plus, you can easily partner this with a trip to some of the Ice Wine vineyards in the region, too.
11.) Manitoulin Island
Nestled within Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the whole world! Easily reached by road, it’s one of the best places in Ontario to visit if you want a little chillout time in nature.
For instance, if you fancy a hike, take the Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail that takes in some incredible views of this part of Canada. Also, make sure to stop by Bridal Veil Falls and see some of the iconic South Baymouth Range Lighthouses, too.
Oh, and Strawberry Island Lighthouse; that’s gorgeous!
Afterwards, pop into the Perivale Gallery that’s filled with local artists and a great place to pick up some local crafts.
Algonquin Provincial Park is probably one of the best places in Ontario if you’re venturing further north. You see, Algonquin is pretty remote but still easy to visit if you’re heading there in the summer months.
Now, if you’re driving, it’ll take you around 3-4 hours to get there from Toronto. This makes it the perfect weekend trip if you’re wanting to leave the city and explore the true wilderness of Canada.
Once here, make sure to follow local guidance as there are lots of moose and bears, too. If you’re not sure on safety, always check-in at the Algonquin Visitor Centre that’ll keep you updated on the best ways to hike/explore the area.
For a hike, the Lookout trail is pretty amazing to follow, just make sure to wear comfy shoes!
13.) Pukaskwa National Park
Perched by Lake Superior, Pukaskwa National Park is one gorgeous place to visit! Plus, it’s the perfect stopping point on your venture east towards Thunder Bay.
Once here, make sure to take the trail that heads over the suspension bridge (the suspension bridge trail). As with all trails, prepare in advance as there are some steep elevation points here.
There are also some gorgeous shoreline hikes, too and the kayaking is so much fun.
14.) Lake Nipissing
Being one of the provinces larger lakes, Lake Nipissing is easily one of the best places in Ontario to head towards if you want a chilled experience in nature.
Now, for me, it’s the kind of place you visit to just chill and relax in Canada’s awesome nature. It really is beautiful and peaceful, too.