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10 Ontario Festivals and Quick Escapes to Brighten Your Weekends This Fall

Fall Getaways in Ontario

In the summer, it seems like there’s no shortage of things to do in Ontario. The weather is warm, everyone is outside, and people always seem ready to take advantage of a few vacation days. But if you ask us, Ontario is where it’s really at in the fall.

Fall is when the leaves turn those beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. It’s when the humidity goes away so we can finally dress in layers and be comfortable outside. And fall is when we’re all back to hectic schedules and trying to find a moment of peace, making a quick weekend getaway just the thing we need.

Whether you’re looking to take advantage of an afternoon or a couple of days away, we’ve rounded up 10 ideas for solo, group or romantic getaways — and they’re all in Ontario.

Related: Fall leaves are actually more colourful in Ontario this year – here’s why.

Waterfall and trees in fall

Family escapes

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (November 4–13, 2022)

The annual fair has been running at Exhibition Place since 1922, making this to fall what the Ex is to summer. It also happens to be a great place for families of all ages. From horse shows and cool competitions to food attractions and shopping, it’s a great way to pass a day when it’s too cold to stay outside for too long. Head out for a day’s escape, book a room at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre or Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and plot a weekend with any of Toronto’s other attractions.

The Stalking Dead Escape Maze (October 1–November 5, 2022)

If you have older kids (we’re talking teens) who seem unimpressed by everything you do, scare them off with this zombie-themed escape maze that extends Halloween a bit longer. The event features many games, riddles, puzzles and other head-scratchers that need solving before time runs out and those pesky zombies get you. If you’re coming from out of town, the Holiday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront is a picturesque little place to stay.

Fern Family Resort


If you want a fun place to escape with the whole family that incorporates a little R&R, the Fern Family Resort in Ramara, Ont. offers a slew of year-round, themed getaway packages that consider the entire family’s needs. There are many age-appropriate activities, like ice-skating trails and crafts, plus kid-friendly buffets to keep everyone fed. There are also large, family-sized rooms so everyone can sleep in comfort.

See also: Up for a spooky stroll? 12 best ghost tours and walks in Canada.

A couple holding hands and walking in the fall forest

Romantic getaways

Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights (November 12, 2022–February 20, 2023)

The Festival of Lights is back if you want to spice things up this season. Niagara Falls celebrates 40 years of the annual glow-fest, with plenty of lights to dazzle you and your partner. Book a jacuzzi suite at the Holiday Inn Niagara Falls – By the Falls for an overnight getaway, or head out for the day and enjoy dinner at any of the area’s restaurants before heading home.

First Light in Midland (November 24–26, 2022 and December 1–3, 2022)

Looking for some romantic lights with fewer crowds and more history? Check out the First Light in Midland, which has been going strong for more than 20 years. Sure, there are school trips during the day, and some families will check this festival out at night, but there’s something inevitably romantic about walking pathways lit by thousands of candles. Pair your getaway with a romantic bed & breakfast (try Dragonfly Dreams Inn, perhaps) and a little fall hike for the ultimate weekend away.

You may also like: This Canadian wine region is a must-visit this fall, according to ‘Vogue.’

A woman hiking in the fall

Solo treks

Retreats at Sugar Ridge


If you’ve been craving some solo time to reflect and re-centre (and let’s face it, after the past couple of years, who hasn’t?), Sugar Ridge in Wyebridge, Ont. has plenty of options. They offer yoga and meditation retreats, but there are also retreat eats, life-transforming retreats, and solo retreats to help you recharge. Many come in one-night, weekend or week-long packages, so there’s something for everyone.

Solo hikes in Northeastern Ontario

There are plenty of breathtaking hiking trails to check out in Ontario, especially when you’re craving some alone time with nature. But which ones are safe, and which ones are better to trek with friends? Northeastern Ontario is here to help. It has recommendations for the top-10 solo hiking trails, from conservation areas to provincial parks.

Related: The world’s coolest street in 2022 is located in Canada

Friends holding wine glasses

Fun with friends

Prince Edward County wine tastings

Sure, you could hit up Niagara for a wine tasting with your besties, but Prince Edward County is also a fun and valid choice for checking out boozy grapes. Grab your friends, book a couple of rooms at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Charlottetown, sample some gourmet eats during Countrylicious (November 222) and visit some of the local wineries or cider houses for a sweet little getaway. Here are some of our picks for the best wineries to visit in Prince Edward County.

Millcroft Inn & Spa

Looking for a fun night away with friends that trends more towards relaxation than rowdy? This Caledon-based spa and hotel delivers. Book any of the spa’s comprehensive treatments and enjoy the outdoor hot and cold springs with your group. Quiet conversation (and purchased drinks) are allowed, but it’s still got that calm and quiet vibe you may be seeking.

Related: 10 must-visit wellness retreats in Canada.


For anyone seeking adventure

Hit the Apple Pie Trail

If you want to try some good eats, sample local ciders and discover exciting art, why not hit up Ontario’s Apple Pie Trail? The trail snakes through Meaford, Thornbury, the Blue Mountains and Beaver Valley, so there are plenty of options depending on where you’re coming from. Check out a local cider house, eat lunch at an outdoor igloo, then shop the farmer’s market to your heart’s content. There are 28 local orchards, restaurants, cafes, wineries, cider houses, shops and markets to check out, so mark all the ones you want to hit up and then get on the road already.

You may also like: These 2 Canadian ski resorts are ranked among the best in the world

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