Ontario

Weekend Getaways from Toronto | Small Towns with Big Charm

Get away from Toronto for a weekend of exploring one of these quaint Ontario towns, staying in a cozy B&B along the way and eating delicious local fare.

Travellers worldwide often make a beeline to Toronto, attracted to its bright lights and energetic vibe. But in every direction, beyond the city limits, quaint, small towns begin to dot the countryside, waiting to be explored and enjoyed with warm, welcoming locals ready to greet you with a smile.

So venture out, get off the beaten path, meander and take the scenic route. Before long, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most charming small towns in Ontario. So charming, you’ll wonder why you haven’t visited sooner.  

A Weekend Getaway Along the Rideau Canal in Merrickville

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Distance from Toronto: 4 hours

Considered to be one of Ontario’s prettiest villages, Merrickville is also widely known as the jewel of the infamous Rideau Canal. Hike the woodlands surrounding the town, hit the streets for an all day shopping adventure and explore history on display at every turn. Before long, you’ll not only discover over 100 historic and heritage properties but thanks to an influx of artists over the past 40 years, a thriving arts scene, too. Merrickville has become renowned for its funky boutiques and galleries, delicious bakeries and restaurants, eclectic shops and laid back vibe.

It may be small but after a day out on the town, Merrickville will leave you exhausted. Rest beautifully at the 1840 Guest House, a centrally located and gorgeous five-room bed and breakfast owned and operated by Mike and Dawn Zaversenuke.

Originally a stone schoolhouse built in 1829, the structure was transformed into a serene, modern and elegantly designed pristine oasis. Enjoy a quiet evening with a glass of wine in front of your in-room fireplace or step out onto the balcony and let your gaze wander over the calm waters of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

1840 Guest House

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (137 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Air conditioning
WiFi in lobby
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A Summer Weekend Getaway in Goderich

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Distance from Toronto: 2.5 hours

Thanks largely to its incredible sunsets, mile-long boardwalk, and turquoise waters, Goderich is one of the most popular summer destinations in Ontario. Beyond the coast, it’s also considered to be one of the best small towns in Ontario because of its rich history, scenic hiking trails that overlook both the valley and lake, unique, octagonal town square filled with shops, boutiques, and restaurants and overall pedestrian-friendly vibe.

Here, the summer breeze has hits of cocoa and cinnamon in the air, making Goderich a delicious charmer as well. Satisfying sweet-tooths since 1877, Culbert’s Bakery is so famous for its doughnuts and cream puffs that people from all over Southern Ontario drive for hours and eagerly flock here just to sink their teeth into the freshly baked delicacies.

After a full day of soaking in the rays, satisfying those cravings and burning off the calories, check-in to the Samuels Boutique Hotel, just north of the historic town square. Village View rooms offer a cozy night’s rest, Riverside Jacuzzi Rooms offer a bit more of a bubbly splash to your evening, while the School House Suite is a 1000 square foot villa-style suite with a kitchen, living room and a large deck overlooking the peaceful Maitland River. No matter the room, you can enjoy a glass of vino on your private terrace or in front of your open fireplace as you wind down after a day of exploring.

Samuels Boutique

8.8 Excellent (295 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel bar
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A Little Joie de Vie in Paris, Ontario

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Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours

Stepping foot in Paris means stepping back in time. Known as the Cobblestone Capital of Canada, Paris is a stunning small town with a glorious past. From historic Hamilton Place to St. James Church, you’ll find several architectural styles on display here, including Greek Revival, Edwardian, Gothic and even Post-Modern, all constructed with cobblestone.

Top it off with friendly people and lovely restaurants and cafes and you might not want to leave. Parisians here don’t separate their neighbourhoods by Arrondissements, but you can make a case for Paris, Ontario, having a left and right bank of the calming Grand River which graces the town with a splash of romance.

One of the structural masterpieces in Paris is The Arlington, a historical landmark older than Canada, itself. Now a boutique hotel, it’s located steps away from, and overlooks, both downtown Paris and the river.

The staff here believe in creating exceptional dishes and providing an extraordinary nights’ rest. All 24 modern, comfortable and tranquil rooms are inspired by many of hotels favourite authors and creative minds. The Sigmund Freud room features framed inkblots and a bust of the famous neurologist. The Stanley Kubrick room showcases many visual elements from the filmmaker’s award-winning movies and the Monty Python room is a fun and colourful reflection of the legendary comedy team.

Hotel Arlington

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (156 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Restaurant
Hotel bar
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A Prince Edward County Weekend Getaway in Wellington

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Distance from Toronto: 2.5 hours

Located in Prince Edward County between Sandbanks Provincial Park and more wineries than you can imagine, Wellington may be small but its lovable heart puts a smile on every visitors’ face. Winery-hop in one of the province’s most eclectic wine regions, take a stroll on the boardwalk and visit the iconic lighthouse.

Sample locally grown fruits and veggies from the weekly farmers market that overlooks sun-drenched Lake Ontario and stroll the main drag. Pop into a cafe for a quick coffee, hop into craft shops and boutiques and take a step back in time. Not only does one of Ontario’s oldest homes – built in 1786 – still stand here but having a conversation with a local here could turn out to be a real-life history lesson. Many of Wellington’s original settlers were United Empire Loyalists whose descendants still live here!

A short drive from Wellington, Huff Estates is an award-winning winery, restaurant, art gallery and inn that offers you the complete package when it comes to rest and play. Deluxe rooms feature king-sized beds, a fireplace sitting area and private garden patio while the Premiere suites offer separate living and bedroom areas, a double-sided fireplace, fridge and four-piece bath with whirlpool tub and glass block shower.

The Winemaker’s suite is the ultimate in luxury and includes a private entrance, intimate wrap-around patio overlooking the vineyard, dining table for six and floor to ceiling limestone fireplace. All suites are themed to reflect the natural, endearing elements of Prince Edward County so with a glass of vino in hand and your feet up, close your eyes, listen to the crackling fire or the sweet aromatic sound of silence.

Huff Estates Inn

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (113 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Hotel bar
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A Country Weekend Getaway in New Hamburg

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Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours

Located in the middle of tranquil Mennonite country and near the world-famous theatre towns of Stratford and Shakespeare, New Hamburg is home to the best of all worlds. Surrounded by rolling green pastures, fresh, clean air and a vibrant rich history, this enchanting town is also home to abundant farmland that produces some of the most delicious fruits, veggies and meats in Ontario. In town, take a walk along the Nith River, sample local, artisanal cheeses, and enjoy a taste of Germany at the Bitte Schon Brauhaus, an enticing restaurant and microbrewery that pays homage to the towns’ German roots.

Puddicombe House is as old as New Hamburg itself. A 19th-century Italianate style home, it’s centrally located and grand in design, complete with porches and ornamented windows. Inside, 12-foot ceilings, bay windows, and burnished wooden floors add to the grandeur.

Between 1888 and 2004, various members of the Puddicombe family lived in the home before the Cressman family took over and transformed it into a six-room bed and breakfast and added a restaurant, spa and hair salon all while preserving the charm and style of old New Hamburg.

Settle into comfort and luxury in the Jackson Room’s king canopy bed, Cressman Room’s Pineapple four-poster queen bed or the Puddicombe Room’s antique settee and bay window. Feel the heat from your gas fireplace while enjoying an invigorating Jacuzzi bath and wake up to a hearty breakfast made with ingredients grown from the rich soil of the region.

The Puddicombe House

8.7 Excellent (109 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Wellness centre / Spa
Restaurant
Hotel bar
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A Weekend Getaway in One of Ontario's Oldest Towns; Perth

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Distance from Toronto: 3.5 hours

Perth oozes with charm. Over 200 years old, it’s considered to be one of Ontario’s prettiest towns largely because of its historic, stone heritage buildings and monuments, artsy Downtown loaded with cafes, and gorgeous park space overlooking the idyllic Tay River.

For the history buff, a visit to the Matheson House Perth Museum is a must and if you time your visit right, you may actually be greeted by Perth’s Town Crier, Brent McLaren. Enjoy a spontaneous conversation with a local and get ready to eat, drink and play in this captivating place.

When the Craig family took over the rustic 19th-century Perth Manor, they ensured that every conceivable detail of the six-bedroom boutique bed and breakfast was absolutely perfect. The Robert Lyon Suite, named after the victim of Canada’s last duel (fought in Perth) features a cherry-wood canopy bed, sun-room and breathtaking views of the garden. While the John Wilson Suite, named after the victor of the last duel, is an elegant suite that features mahogany and fruit-wood furnishings.

Named after the lady whose honour was slighted at the last duel, the Elizabeth Hughes room is romantic and subtle with panoramic views of the sunken gardens. You can enjoy a hot breakfast either in the tapestry dining room or on the garden terrace, making the experience that much more charming.

Perth Manor

9.1 Excellent (172 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.6 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Hotel bar
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

A Weekend Getaway on the Ganaraska River in Port Hope

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Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours

Take a walk on the wild side and enjoy tree-top trekking in the lush forest nearby. Book a goat yoga session or hop on a canoe and paddle down the Ganaraska River in the annual ‘Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny’ event. Or, you can take it easy, walk along the flag-lined main street with a coffee in hand and enjoy quaint cafes, delightful boutiques, antique shops, and character restaurants all wrapped up nicely in homegrown Canadian friendliness.

Whatever you fancy, Port Hope is a small, charming ball of beauty that continuously impresses both first and long-time visitors. The biggest draw is its celebrated downtown, considered to be the best-preserved 19th century streets in Ontario. With over 270 heritage-designated buildings throughout the municipality, not only does it have a higher per-capita rate of preservation than any other location in Canada but downtown businesses are regulated to maintain the town’s unique and enchanting character.

Meanwhile, when you combine an academic with a background in museums and art galleries with a professional chef who’s worked his culinary magic around Canada, you have a seasoned, well-travelled team of hospitality experts! Corrinne Fairbanks and Ron Subden are the incredible hosts of Summerhill Manor who not only appreciate the beauty and nuance of this century home but work hard to showcase a unique experience for you like no other. All three suites – Harris, Bayley and Dr. Powers – are meticulously detailed for optimum style and comfort and after an incredible night’s rest, you can rest assured that a hot breakfast is waiting for you. And because it’s located steps away from the historic downtown, you can enjoy all that Port Hope has to offer and return to Summerhill in time for the ever-charming English Afternoon High Tea which features everything from finger sandwiches, fresh scones, jam, and clotted cheese.

Summerhill Manor

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (134 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

A Weekend Getaway in the Thousand Islands

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Distance from Toronto: 3 hours

Considered to be the gateway to the infamous Thousand Islands, Gananoque’s grace is far-reaching and contagious. Located along eastern Lake Ontario, this small town’s stunning waterfront, trendy boutiques and restaurants and of course, warm and hospitable locals make it tough to beat.

Whether you want to enjoy a memorable dinner within the historic town centre, take in a free summer concert in the park, embark on a historic walking tour, take a dip into the St. Lawrence River or book a cruise or even a kayak around and through the Islands, Gananoque is a perfect, enchanting spot.

Not only is the Seaway Manor one of Gananoque’s newest bed and breakfasts but this 19th century home-away-from-home is steps away from both the waterfront, cruise docks, restaurants, shops, theatres, and nightlife. Six comfortable, bright suites are beautifully decorated and come with a private patio and in-room fireplace.

Hosts Colin and Peter know that with all there is to experience in the region, optimal relaxation is integral. That said, surrender yourself to a heavenly, comfortable night’s rest and get ready to be awakened and truly energized by a hot breakfast complete with the smell of fresh fruit, straight-from-the-oven baked goods and vegetable omelettes all served daily in the equally bright Garden Room.

Seaway Manor

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (214 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking lot
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA