Now that the thrill of summer is over and the leaves begin to change colour, most people can’t help but indulge in the spirit of the fall season. While we at Hybrid are busy with the cleanup aspect that comes from the season, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take a little holiday road trip. With the cold weather looming, it’s ideal to try and take advantage of the last couple of months of decent weather by getting out and experiencing new things before the ground is covered with a blanket of snow.
Perhaps, you may want to embark on a fall scenic adventure. From a pure scenic sense and travel distance, these 3 road trip options to areas are great for a fall weekend road trip. These destinations are great for experiencing trails, views, and unique land shapes that peak during the Fall season.
Kawartha Lakes Road Trip
Road Trip 1: Kawartha Lakes Area
This 3 hour (213km) road trip will take you through the heart of the Kawarthas and beyond. We suggest Port Perry, Balsam lake, all the way to Minden, down to Fenelon Falls, to Bobcaygeon, continue to Peterborough and finish in Campbellford
The Kawartha community is a very passionate boating district with plenty of lakes and rivers to explore. If you’re looking for a pretty drive then kawartha Lakes should be high on your list. All roads have big beautiful trees on them, perfect for taking in the colours.
Stop 1: Port Perry
A historic town with lots of shopping and recreation.
Year Established: 1821
Our first stop on the Kawartha’s Fall road trip. Although Port Perry is part of Scugog, it isn’t out of the way and it is seamless addition to the road trip. We recommend stopping for lunch downtown before continuing onto the next destination.
Stop 2: Balsam Lake
Fantastic campgrounds and usually not super touristy. A great lake to canoe on and take in the beautiful scenery. Balsam Lake is a highly regarded place to camp with plenty of activities to do.
Stop 3: Fenelon Falls
- Established: 1879
- Population: 1,800
Fenelon Falls or “the Jewel of the Kawarthas” is a cute village with (you guessed it) a waterfall. Primarily a tourist town, so it becomes a lot less populated in the fall season, which makes it a more enjoyable experience for this road trip.
Stop 4: Bobcaygeon
- Established 1876
- Population: 3,525
Most people know Bobcaygeon as a Tragically Hip song, but no, we assure you that it’s a real place. Funny enough, the legendary band didn’t write the song because of the town, but rather because it was the closest word that rhymed with “constellations”. Even though the claim to fame might not be as authentic as once seemed, Bobcaygeon is a beautiful place to visit. It’s a unique town built in between two lakes and situated on three islands. Boaters are constantly passing by while waving to those on land. Maybe an odd comparison, but it has somewhat of an Amsterdam feel to it. Above any other reason to make the trip, it’s the home of the original Kawartha Dairy.
Stop 5: Peterborough
- Established: 1850
- Population: 81,032
“The gateway to cottage country” is a vibrant town with a lot of history and activities to do and see. Great restaurants and shops. Old buildings, bike paths, water to gaze at. There are lots of museums, cultural exhibits, theatres, historic sites. Peterborough is also home to the largest hrydrolic liftlock in the world, it rises 65 feet.
- Parks: Del Crary Park
- Centennial Fountain
- Sight Seeing Cruise through the lift lock
- The Riverview Park & Zoo
- Wild Water & Wheels Amusement Park
- Beavermead Campground
• The Rotary Greenway Trail, a 20 km stretch of trail
Stop 6: Campbellford
- Population: 12,900
- Established: 1834
The road trip ends in Campbellford. Also, a town outside the Kawarthas, but close enough and definitely worth while to include as a road trip destination. It’s a cute town with an old town feel that’s known for its Victorian homes. Rivers run through the town making for an unusual street layout full of bridges, and bends.
Things to see and do:
Cottage Country (Muskoka) In The Fall Road Trip
By far, the longest trip option. This tour around the Muskoka area will take you roughly 5.5 hours. It’s well worth the duration of the trip. The reason is because of the near hour and a half, each way detour to Algonquin Park. Which takes up over half the trip. If time is an issue, you can visit Algonquin another time and make it a 2.5 hour trip (447km). The route that makes the most sense to take is starting Honey Harbour, Parry Sound, Bala, Crystal Beach, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Algonquin Park.
A lot of people have or know someone with a cottage in the Muskoka District. The good thing about taking the trip after summer is that there is no cottage country traffic. Maybe you’re all muskoka’d out, if that’s even possible. As you know, Muskoka is a vast land, and much has been inexperienced by travellers. Fall brings a different feel to an area.
Stop 1: Honey Harbour
The first stop on the Muskoka Fall Road Trip, Honey Harbour serves as a launching point to the “30,000 Islands”. There are Hundreds of thousands of cottages located on the islands, which makes it for a picturesque boat trip.
Things to do and see: The islands, beaches
Stop 2: Parry Sound
- Population: 6,408
- Established: 1857
Probably most famous for being where hockey legend’s, Bobby Orr is from. They even have a statue and museum dedicated to him. If that wasn’t cool enough, here are other reasons to visit Parry Sound, especially in the Fall season:
Stop 3: Huntsville
The largest town in Muskoka has the Muskoka river running its way through the downtown sector. It never a boring drive in Huntsville as hills and steep roadways are a main feature of the city’s landscape, which only enhances the scenery.
Provincial Park: Arrowhead Provincial Park
Stop 4: Algonquin Park
Stop 5: Minden
Haliburton’s Skyline Park, about an hour’s drive from Bobcaygeon. Skyline Park is a lookout point that gives you a long-range view overlooking Haliburton, complete with lakes and thousands of trees all at their show-off best.
Stop 6: Bracebridge
- Population: 16,010
- Established: 1875
The town is built around a waterfall on the Muskoka River in the centre of town, and is known for its other nearby waterfalls and beaches. Bracebridge is a historical town with a vibrant downtown feel and is definitely a cool spot to spend on a Fall day.
Things to see and do:
Stop 7: Bala
The unique little town of Bala is famous for the Bala Falls, but in our opinion The KEE to Bala has a greater impact in the hearts of tourists. Since the 1960s, The KEE to Bala has hosted some very prestigious bands. We suggest visiting this venue not only to listen to music you enjoy but for the great view from the back deck that overlooks the bay.
Things to see and do:
A Short Fall Road Trip in Grey-Bruce County
The shortest road trip on the list (172km) and the most direct, but also the least number of stops. Head up and start your fall road trip from Collingwood. From there blue mountain is a 15-minute drive up the Georgian Bay coast, then head through Meaford toward Owen sound, Georgian bluffs, finish in Tobermory.
Stop 1: Collingwood
Collingwood is a destination for winter and summer recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and downhill skiing. There is a network of trails that allow this, including the Georgian Trail which connects to the Bruce Trail.
Stop 2: Blue Mountain
- Population: 11,000
- Established: 200
Most popularly known as a winter destination, due to the mountains. In the summer there is hiking, downhill/cross-country biking. The Village at Blue Mountain has many boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and chalets
Stop 3: Owen Sound
The primary tourist attractions are the many waterfalls within a short drive of town.
Things to see and do:
- The Roxy Theatre – the region’s premier destination for live entertainment.
- Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery
- Billy Bishop Home and Museum – located in Bishop’s former home, is dedicated to the life and times of Billy Bishop and Canada’s history in aviation. WW1 Victorian Cross
- Parks, Kelso Beach on Georgian Bay and Harrison Park
- Inglis Falls
Stop 4: Georgian Bluffs
- Established: 2001
- Population: 10,480
Only 10 minutes from Owen Sound, the Georgian Bluffs are great for experiencing nature at it’s best. Caves, waterfalls and Sauble Beach is only a 15-minute drive away.
Stop 5: Tobermory
Tobermory is the freshwater SCUBA diving capital of the world. Probably the closest place Ontario will have to having clear water like they have in the Caribbean.
Experience the beauty of The Fall Season
Obviously, depending on where you live, the route you take, the order of the destinations may change out of convenience. When choosing the trips, the contributing factors were: The short distance away from the GTA, time, the scenery, and things to do. While we get homes prepared for the winter months ahead, hopefully you enjoy all the beauty of fall. We’re sure there are plenty of other Fall destinations that weren’t included. Let us know where you would suggest going to take in the fall season scenery.