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33 Adventurous Things to do in Ontario This Fall

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33 Adventurous Things to do in Ontario This Fall

The fall colours are all the more beautiful from the water. • Credit: sylvain

Make the most of the yummy harvest, vibrant colours, crisp air and fun events

How many of these can you check off before the season is through?



Ontario encourages everyone to travel safely during this time and follow public health guidelines. Learn more at Ontario.ca/coronavirus.

Autumn in Ontario brings crisp weather, breathtaking scenery and the perfect opportunity to get adventurous. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled getaway or a pumpkin-spiced escape, fall in Ontario offers nearly endless options. Below you’ll find activities located both near and far, and which are appropriate for day-, weekend- and week-long trips. Pick and choose to create the ultimate fall bucket list and make the most of this incredible season. After all, fall is the best season to travel in Ontario.

 

1. Hike Among the Fall Colours

Get your heart rate up while taking in the picture-perfect fall scenery on one of Ontario’s many hiking trails. From easy to more challenging, there are options for whatever the day calls for.

 

2. Chase Waterfalls

Waterfall during autumn with colourful leaves
Visit beautiful Kakabeka Falls. Photo: Jacob

The rushing roar, misty breeze and renewed connection with nature—what’s not to love about waterfalls? Ontario offers some beautiful options to get your TLC vibes on. Visiting a waterfall is even more magical in autumn, framed by colourful leaves and without the throngs of people.

  • Take a drive to see Cascade Falls in Orient Bay
  • Go on a short hike to view Wolf River Falls in Dorion
  • Visit Kakabeka Falls near Thunder Bay
  • Take a waterfall tour on the Bruce Trail in the Hamilton/Halton Region with Grand Experiences

 

3. Go Camping

Pack your hot chocolate and snuggly layers—fall camping in Ontario is a must-do. With backcountry (both hike-in and paddle-in) and car camping options aplenty, there’s an experience for everyone. Campfires are all the more inviting on cool fall nights and—best of all—there are no bugs to contend with! Some camping areas are open year-round and some are seasonal, so be sure to check dates while you’re trip planning.

 

4. Take a Mine Tour

Amethysts
Visit the Amethyst Mine Panorama in Thunder Bay. Photo: Colin

Mining is an ingrained part of Ontario’s history, full of wild tales of times past. Gold and amethyst were commonly mined, but there are unique finds for the avid rockhound, too. As fall can bring more inclement weather, it’s the perfect time to head underground.

 

5. Go Treetop Trekking & Ziplining

What better way to take in Ontario’s fall colours than by soaring over the treetops? Make sure you have a trusty lanyard for your phone, because you won’t want to miss a second of this gold-star Instagram content!

  • Take a half-mile ride on the zipline at Eagle Canyon Adventures in Thunder Bay
  • Go ziplining at Logos Land Resort in Cobden
  • Take a canopy tour at Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve

 

6. Visit a Lookout & Take in Panoramic Views

Ontario certainly isn’t short on breathtaking views, especially during the fall when you’ll be awed by the display of autumn colours. You don’t necessarily have to hike far to get a great view either—there are plenty of options that require a short walk.

 

7. Do Some Stargazing

Look up, take a deep breath and let yourself be awed when you experience the night sky free of the city light. As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, you’ll have an even better view of the sky, making autumn one of the best seasons for stargazing. Plus, each season provides a unique view of the constellations and planets.

 

8. Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary

Wolf in the woods
See wolves up close at Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre. Photo: Destination Ontario

Take a walk on the wild side at one of Ontario’s animal sanctuaries. The province is home to many majestic animals, including moose, lynx, beavers, deer, black bears, otters and more. Even polar bears! It can often be difficult to see these animals in the wild, making a sanctuary the perfect opportunity to see them in person. With the cooler weather in the fall, these animals will be much more active, too. In addition, many animal sanctuaries are funded by entrance fees, so your adventure is a contribution to their ability to help animals in need.

 

9. Explore Geological Wonders

Ontario is home to some truly special geological sites. Escarpments, mountains, canyons, potholes, badlands, caves, bluffs and more can be found all over this diverse and vast province. See exposed quartzite, granite and limestone. Take a tour with a local guide and get an expert’s insight into these unique places, or do your own research and see what adventures you can put together. As a bonus, to experience some of these spots you’ll need to be creative to get there—think hiking, rock climbing or paddling.

 

10. Go Birding

Ornithologists, rejoice! There are plentiful bird-watching opportunities all over Ontario in the fall. Migration is in full swing and you’ll be treated to spectacular displays of birds such as the yellow warbler and blue-winged teal moving south to their winter homes. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are ideal locations to catch a glimpse of turkey vultures, golden eagles or maybe even a snowy owl.

 

11. Go Surfing on the Great Lakes

Two people surfing on Lake Huron
Beaches along Lake Huron make for great surf locations. Photo: Colin

Get ready for a thrilling ride—this adventure is not for the faint of heart. Great Lakes surfing is increasing in popularity, but it requires some planning and flexibility. Surfing in these areas is heavily dependent on storms to create waves or is done with a windsurfing board (picture a surfboard meets a sailboat). During the fall, temperatures drop and you’ll need to have the proper gear to make sure you have a safe and fun experience. If you’re below an intermediate level surfer, take advantage of a local guiding company to provide the right gear and direction.

 

12. Explore caves

Caves of every shape and size can be found on hundreds of hiking trails in Ontario. If you keep an eye on your surroundings, you just may spot one to explore. In fall, they'll be easier to see as the foliage thins out. Of course, there are also a number of established cave attractions in the province. Often these caves have quite the stories behind their discovery and exploration throughout the years.

 

13. Take a Small Town Tour

Ontario is full of picture-perfect small towns that are just waiting to be explored. Often these towns are surrounded by equally picturesque countryside, making even the drive there a pleasant experience, particularly in the fall. When you’ve arrived, discover local breweries, cafes, restaurants and museums. Keep an eye out for unique architecture and historical buildings as you walk the streets—many of these towns have storied pasts that are still evident if you take the time to look around.

 

14. Visit a Corn Maze & Pumpkin Farm

Make sure you have a thermos full of something seasonally inspired like hot chocolate or apple cider for this classic outing. The fall vibes of a pumpkin farm and corn maze are irresistible and make for the perfect fall activity in Ontario.

 

15. Go Canoeing

Canoes pulled up on shore next to water
Rent a canoe and get out on the water. Photo: Chris Hill

Grab your paddle and hit the water—there’s no shortage of places to canoe in Ontario. Take your pick from lakes and rivers, day trips and overnight excursions on established canoe routes. Make sure you keep your camera or phone handy because the classic autumn colours will be simply stunning reflected in the water along shore. Outfitters are plentiful in most areas and will help make sure you have a memorable adventure.

 

16. Go to a Haunted Anything

Forget autumn colours and the fall harvest. Spooky season is officially upon us. Ontario has a storied past and the list of intriguing haunted attractions is lengthy. Take your pick from family-friendly and truly terrifying—and all kinds of thrilling in between.

 

17. Go Apple Picking

Get your apron out and favourite fall recipes ready. After you go apple picking, you’ll be inspired to make all the coziest cinnamon, clove and nutmeg recipes your friends and family can handle! Ontario is known for its incredible orchards—find one nearby or make the journey to particularly picturesque parts of the province.

 

18. Witness a Salmon Run

Salmon runs might not be top of mind when you think of fall activities, but this wild sight is worth putting on your fall to-do list. Salmon live in cool, deep waters but lay their eggs in rivers and streams. To get to these spots, they swim en masse upstream, jumping and putting on quite a show as they make their way to the very place they were born to lay their own eggs. There are many places to see the salmon run in the fall in Ontario. Your best bet will be rapid sets on rivers that are tributaries of the Great Lakes.

 

19. Pick, Eat, Enjoy all Things Cranberries

Cranberry field
Visit Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery in Bala. Photo: Elton

This activity is a bit off the beaten path, but is a super fun way to spend an afternoon in the fall. Cranberries grow in the wild and are also farmed at a handful of locations in Ontario. If you’re out for a walk in low-lying, marshy areas, keep your eye out for highbush and lowbush cranberries. Otherwise, visit a farm, attend a festival or keep an eye out for freshly picked berries at markets!

 

20. Attend a Light-Up Pumpkin Display and Pumpkinferno

If you’re looking for a unique fall activity, you’re in the right place. Jack-o-lantern displays have become all the rage. Take a walk or drive through a delightfully spooky and artfully designed display of jack-lanterns. Sometimes including musical score! While there, enjoy food, contests and other Halloween-appropriate programming as well.

 

21. Take in the Fall Colours

Sixty-six percent of Ontario is forested—so it makes sense that fall in the province is all about the colourful foliage! Take a drive practically anywhere to view vibrant and breathtaking autumn scenery. Just be sure to time your visit with peak leaf-change using the Fall Colour Report. As a general rule, though, the best viewing period is between late September and mid October.

 

22. Stay at a Resort

Pack all your coziest fall clothes and escape for a weekend among the fall colours at one of Ontario’s stunning resorts. Whether you’re looking for something with a rustic lodge vibe, or a more modern feel, there’s something for you!

 

23. Cross a Suspension Bridge

Suspension bridge over trees of colourful leaves
Incredible views at Eagle Canyon Adventures await. Photo: aboitsov

There is something wondrous about the feeling of being gently suspended over a picturesque autumn landscape. We know the old saying goes, “don’t look down”—but in this case, we highly recommend it! Ontario is dotted with these unique structures and they make for the perfect fall activity as you walk over top and through the colourful woods.

 

24. Go Fatbiking

Fatbiking is gaining popularity for good reason; it’s a great way to get active and explore new areas in any season. Fall is an ideal time to get out on the trails on a fatbike. You’ll love the scenic colours and new landscapes that Ontario’s fatbiking trails bring you. In the fall, you can fatbike on any mountain bike or general use trail.

 

25. Go Cycling

Person biking through puddle with fall colours in background
Explore the trails with Red Pine Tours in Sault Ste. Marie. Photo: Red Pine Tours

Trails and road routes abound in this cycling wonderland and you’ll never run out of spots to add to your bucket list of cycling adventures. If you don’t own a bike, no worries. Rental and guiding companies are available that can kit you out for whatever your trip calls for.

 

26. Go Horseback Riding

Go horseback riding among the fall colours that splash Ontario’s landscape with a riot of reds, oranges and yellows during the fall for a picture-perfect adventure. Local trail riding companies will provide everything you need to enjoy this unique experience and tailor it to what works best for your party.

 

27. Visit a Secluded Beach

Whether you fancy a chilly fall dip or simply seek stunning sunset views over the water, Ontario hosts an abundance of secluded and off the beaten track beaches, yours to enjoy this season. 

 

28. Attend a Fall Fair

Attend a charming fall fair or two—or more! Fairs are in such abundance in Ontario this time of year that you could conceivably attend one every weekend until the end of the season. These fairs boast a variety of local activities and vendors, rides, competitions and more. It’s the perfect way to spend a crisp autumn afternoon or evening.

 

29. Go to a Farmers’ Market

Stroll around sipping warm apple cider and taking in the fall scenery while you collect locally made products and produce. Visiting a quaint and classic farmers’ market—or a dozen—is the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon and get to know communities around the province.

 

30. Make the Most of the Last Cottage Weekend

Boathouse on lake with fall leaves
Celebrate end of the cottage season in Muskoka. Photo: Elnaz

Wrap up your cottage season in style with a weekend that includes all the fall cottage life staples. Have a campfire, bundle up with a warm mug of tea on a misty morning on the dock, go for hikes and spend evenings eating comfort food.

 

31. Ride a Mountain Coaster

Looking for a family-friendly fall activity? Head to Blue Mountain Resort and zip through the trees on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster—a self-driven coaster that you control the speed of, ranging from 1-42 km/h. Make sure you have your phone handy as this is a perfect photo op, especially with little ones!

 

32. Go Glamping

Glamping tent in the woods
Stay in a prospector tent at Wild Exodus in Timmins. Photo: Destination Ontario

Head for nature in style at one of Ontario’s glamping gems. Having access to the finer things while being surrounded by nature means you’ll truly be able to relax and enjoy the fall landscape.

 

33. Go Trail Running

Lace up and hit the trails on a gorgeous fall run on one of Ontario’s picturesque trails. With choices that are off the beaten path (or, trail) or nearer to towns and cities, your trail running options are nearly endless.

 

jump feet first into fall in ontario

Fall truly is the best time to explore Ontario. Almost every summer activity can still be done, without the heat, bugs and crowds. And it also allows for many festive activities, that just wouldn't be the same without the colourful leaves and crisp air. This is a pretty extensive list of fall activities in the province—make sure you get out and enjoy at least one this season!

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