scenic tours still to do

Horseshoe Valley
Surrounded by the rolling hills and pastures of Oro-Medonte; Horseshoe Valley is a short and pleasant drive from Barrie, Orillia or Midland.
. Hwy 22 – Horseshoe Valley Road
. Horseshoe Valley Trading Company

#2 TO DO

Drive 1
A – Georgetown
B – Glen Williams
C – Halton Hills (
D – Terra Cotta
E – Forks of the Credit Road
F – Erin
G – Belfountain
H – Alton
I – Orangeville (

Drive 2 – Option 2a
A – Orangeville
B – Shelburne (?)
C – Riverroad
D – Creemore (
E – Mulmur
D – Kleinburg

Drive 2 – Option 2B
A – Orangeville
B – Loretto (
C –  Beeton
D – Schomberg
E – Pottageville
F – Happy Valley
G – Kleinburg

. Caledon Country Club
. Belfountain Conservation Area

Attractions & Entertainmnet

Eat & Shop
. Craft Beer & Restaurant –
. Erin (country stores)
. Belfountain Inn (restaurant)
. Belfountain (ice cream)
. Hockley Valley General Store

Rest & Relax
. Millcroft Inn & Spa (Village of Alton, Caledon)
. Stone Edge Estates (Georgetown)
. (maybe)
. The Terra Cotta Inn


3) Campbellville and the Escarpment (150 km). An hour west of the city just off Hwy. 401, the Ice House in Campbellville is a popular motorcycle restaurant on weekends, especially Sunday mornings. This can be a starting-off point on the Escarpment for the two trips above, driving on the 15th Line to Georgetown, then through Glen Williams and Terra Cotta to Belfountain and on up to Orangeville. Or it can be a start point for the south route along the Escarpment, taking either the Appleby Line up and over, descending at Rattlesnake Point, then down to Britannia Rd. and across to Kilbride, or Twiss Rd. straight into Kilbride, then south on Cedar Springs Rd. toward Hamilton.

4) Niagara Peninsula (200 km). Try to avoid just driving to the Peninsula over the Burlington Skyway, and instead stay on the 403 to exit north at Hwy. 6. If you can exit beforehand at Brant St. so that you get to Hwy. 5, then you can wiggle south on Snake Rd., all the better. This is a very winding road that has caught out more than its fair share of speeding motorcyclists.

From Hwy. 6, go back up to Hwy. 5 and head west for a few kilometres before turning south for Dundas on Brock Rd. Look for Mineral Springs and Sulphur Springs Rd. before leaving this area to bypass Hamilton on the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, then pick up Ridge Road east along the edge of the rise (Hwy. 425, then Hwy 79) all the way to Grimsby.

If you’re up for a bit more driving past some picturesque vineyards, stay south of the QEW on King St. (Hwy. 81), which will take you to the expressway for home at St. Catharines. And if you really want to make a day of it, go up to Niagara-on-the-Lake and then wind down slowly on the manicured Niagara River Parkway to Niagara or all the way to Fort Erie, waving at all the Americans on the other side of the wide river.

5) Port Britain/Cobourg (250 km). This is east of Toronto, along the lake shore. Get yourself to Newcastle on the 401, then turn south on Newtonville Rd. (exit 448) down to Port Granby, where you pick up Lake Shore Rd. The road is paved from here east to Port Hope and on to Cobourg. On a warm, sunny day, this is a relaxing drive past broad fields that end on the cliffs overlooking Lake Ontario’s still blue water; on a late fall or winter day, stick to the 401 if you’re driving east.

6) Hastings/Rice Lake (300 km). This is hilly land north of the Ganaraska Forest, allowing for long steep ascents and descents past wide fields. Head north from Cobourg on Burnham St. to Gores Landing on the edge of Rice Lake, then follow Rice Lake Scenic Drive along the shore before driving on to Roseneath and up to Hastings at the east end of the lake. Return home on Hwy. 2 on the north side of the lake for more of the same.

7) Collingwood/Owen Sound (300 km). There are many ways north to Collingwood, but I suggest skipping the standard Hwy. 400-to-Wasaga-and-over route in order to avoid summer traffic. Instead, take Airport Rd. north, which will still be full of vacationers but at least the scenery is relaxing.

If you have all day, combine this with the Hockley Rd. trip in 2) above. Once at Collingwood, don’t stay by the shore but instead follow the signs to the scenic caves and climb the escarpment on Sideroad 15, which will take you to the top of Blue Mountain’s ski slopes. Here, you can return on Grey Rds. 19 and 13 before finding your way onto the twists of Beaver Valley Rd. then home on Hwy. 10 from Flesherton, passing Ontario’s highest point at Dundalk.

Or, with some more time, head north again to Thornbury and Meaford before cutting over to Owen Sound and following the coast around through Big Bay to Wiarton, then home on 10.

8) Picton ferry (400 km). Head east from Toronto and maybe cut south along the way to pick up 5) above though Port Britain and Cobourg. If so, stay to the south along Hwy. 2 to Brighton, but otherwise, just follow the 401 out to the Brighton exit. From Brighton, cut through to Carrying Place and then onto the Loyalist Parkway to Wellington and Bloomfield and Picton. The fields are broad and flat, but when the orchards are in bloom and the grapes are on the vines, this is a gorgeous cruising road.

At Picton, don’t cross right away on the ferry but instead, climb the hill just before the ferry on Route 7 and pause for a break at the Lake on the Mountain, and take some time to explore this area. You won’t get lost — all roads in Prince Edward County eventually end up back at Picton.

Cross back to the mainland on the Glenora car ferry then up to Napanee and home, but be warned: it’s just a little farther east to Kingston and a romantic weekend away.

9) Muskoka cottage country (400 km). Where to begin exploring the rocky Great Canadian Shield? I usually take Hwy 400 past Orillia and then turn east to Bala on the curving Hwy. 38, which is good practice for the much tighter cottage roads around Lakes Rosseau and Joseph. Once at Bala, head for Port Carling and Rosseau, then either up to Parry Sound or back down to Bracebridge. These roads are all full of relaxed vacationers, though — keep your speed down, despite the temptations of every twist and turn.

10) Bancroft and Rte. 509 (500 km). I’ve saved the best for last. I like to take this northern route when I have an entire day to get to Ottawa, but it can make for a great loop, too.

Basically, get to Bancroft, preferably on Hwy. 28 through Peterborough and Apsley, then head east on the wide curves down to Denbigh. The Swiss restaurant there serves great food and gets the Star so you can read Wheels. Go south from there on Hwy. 41, but turn off on the Buckshot Lake Rd. to the southeast and follow it all the way down to Plevna. This is the fabled Hwy. 509, which twists and winds east and then south through Ompah and Snow Road Station until it finally re-emerges at Hwy. 7 west of Lanark and Perth. Warning: Sportbikes sometimes come here to ride very fast. This will get you to within a couple of hours of Ottawa (another romantic weekend), or just a three-hour trip home again to the GTA. Your choice, but after a drive like this, if the weather is good, it won’t be an easy one.

Toronto to Lake Huron, Ont.
You’ll find plenty of things to capture your interest on this diverse drive, which crosses Ontario cottage country and Killarney Provincial Park all the way to Sault Ste. Marie. (Getty Images)


Road Trips: The scenic routes

Scenic Boating

Trent Severn Waterway

Scenic Walks


Muskoka District
Why we love it: There’s nothing like visiting a provincial park once the summer crowds are gone. It’s peak colour in Muskoka, so take in the roadside natural attractions, and then explore the wilderness by foot (or, for the brave, by canoe).
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Those who want an easy escape should drive to Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville, where heated cabins are available to rent.
. Adventure lovers know that as the paved road gives way to gravel, your city stress dissolves, courtesy of Algonquin Provincial Park’s trees and lakes. Pick up your rental canoe in Kearney, secure your car and portage into Algonquin’s famous backcountry via Magnetawan Lake.
Best for: A long weekend

NEXT 8 REGIONS (see to do list)
Huron County
Peel Region
Halton Region
Prince Edward County
Perth County
Wellington County
Peterborough County

Peel Region
. Why we love it: Scenic rolling hills make for pleasant weekend driving, and the close proximity of local conservation areas add up to a fun Sunday destination.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Forks of the Credit Provincial Park: Mile-long views make this a hit with fall hikers of all ages.
. Forks of the Credit Road: The quintessential fall drive, it’s a sensory overload of colourful leaves. The route ends in Belfountain, where you can grab a pumpkin spice latte at a local café.
. Cheltenham Badlands: The strikingly eroded formation is currently fenced off by local conservation authorities, but you can park by the roadside and grab photos from Old Baseline Road.
Best for: A scenic Sunday drive

Halton Region
Why we love it: Beautiful country scenery and relaxed back roads with just enough curves and hills to keep things interesting.
Set your GPS for this attraction:
. Crawford Lake Conservation Area: A variety of easy to potentially treacherous hiking routes will please everyone from mostly sedentary leaf lovers to hardcore trail runners. Replica longhouses provide visitors with newfound appreciation for First Nations history.
Best for: A scenic Sunday drive

Prince Edward County
Why we love it: PEC is one of Canada’s hottest food and wine destinations. Drink in the fall foliage and sample the local fare on the bucolic Taste Trail, a feast for your eyes as well as taste buds.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Picton: Picton is home to several up-and-coming PEC wineries including Three Dog Winery and Black Prince Winery.
. Bloomfield: Check out the trove of local artist and artisan studios and galleries, many of which are a short drive from one another.
. Best for: An overnight escape

Wellington County
Why we love it: The Grand River Country is a pleasure to drive any season – but especially in fall when historic attractions (old mills abound) pop against colourful foliage.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Elora Gorge Conservation Area: While you can’t river-tube like in summer, autumn in the gorge is a riot of colour and beauty with autumn leaves, the rushing Grand River and sheer cliff to create Instagram magic.
. Downtown Guelph: After exploring by car, park in downtown Guelph and check out the local scene. The farmer’s market is open with crafts, gift items and farm-fresh foods year-round, and local cafes offer the perfect spot to rest and refuel before your drive home.

Best for: Saturday afternoo


Hamilton County
Why we love it: These picturesque towns boast quiet, tree-lined streets that merge into driver-pleasing countryside. Cafes, gourmet shops and farms characterize the areas, both technically part of the City of Hamilton.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Snake Road: a winding, tree canopied driver’s (and cyclists’) delight starts in Burlington and leads you to Waterdown
. Dyments Pumpkin Patch & Farm: this Dundas farm market sits just past the crest of Sydenham Hill, offering epic views from the top of the Niagara Escarpment
. Detour Café: Great brunches and the city’s best coffee, located in the heart of Dundas’s quaint retail strip.
Best for: Saturday afternoon

Hamilton County
Why we love it: The Hammer is going through a cultural Renaissance with vibrant galleries, restaurants and boutiques. The drive out isn’t much to write home about…unless you take the scenic route along Lakeshore Road, which is replete with expansive lake views and leafy residential enclaves.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. The Royal Botanical Gardens: Technically in Burlington, the RBG bridges Hamilton and its neighbour. Its world-renowned gardens and trails are ideal for fall leaf viewing.
. Locke Street South: This quaint residential/shopping district delights with its cheese shops, tearooms and locavore cuisine.
. James Street North: The heart of the arts district, the recently revitalized area around James and Cannon boasts galleries, artsy shops and indie cafes.
Best for: Day trips

King / York Region
Why we love it: There are plenty of amber farmer’s fields and blazing trees on the route to this small but appealing village north of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Cold Creek Conservation Area: Park the car and go for a walk along the Humber River watershed, a designated Canadian Heritage River.
. Grackle Coffee: This Schomberg pit-stop offers fair trade Joe and plenty of delicious baked goods. Explore the rest of Main Street, with its cute bakeries and shops.
. Best for: Saturday afternoon

Essex County
Why we love it: Canada’s southernmost island boasts world-class bird watching, a winery, local cuisine and relaxed exploration by car (or bike).
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Pelee Island Ferry: The only way to get to Pelee Island is via passenger (and car) ferry. Drive onboard in either Leamington or Kingsville, ON.
. Pelee Island: although it’s too late for the fall Monarch butterfly migration, there’s plenty of birding, not to mention lots of local colour to drink in on your scenic drives. Check out the Ice Age-era glacial grooves and Lighthouse Point Nature Reserve.
Best for: A long weekend

8. Niagara’s wine country
Niagara Region
Why we love it: Niagara is home to dozens of world-class wineries, with plenty of restaurants to match. Vineyards and escarpment views turn any road trip into a stop-and-go drive with moments where you’ll want to step out the car to snap Instagram-perfect photos.
Set your GPS for these attractions:
. Jordan, Lincoln: Home to Cave Spring Cellars, Jordan’s main strip has quaint boutiques and restaurants.
. Niagara-on-the-Lake: This tiny hamlet is home to some of Ontario’s top wineries, including Inniskillin Wines, Konzelmann Estate Winery, and Palatine Hills Estate.
. Beamsville: More wineries, including the eco-centric Malivoire Wines.
Best for: An overnight escape

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