small town ontario

5 small towns to visit three hours from Toronto

If you drive the roads of Ontario long enough, you might pronounce the province just "bush land, scrub land," but amidst the rolling countryside there are many picturesque small towns that feature lovely architecture and a bustling atmosphere that's entirely compelling. They're excellent places to explore on road trips.

Here are my picks for small towns to visit within three hours of Toronto.

Picton

Small town Ontario doesn't get much nicer than Picton, the heart of Prince Edward County. The old Regent Theatre is a highlight of the downtown strip, but you'll also want to explore the waterfront and head up to the Millennium Lookout to get a great view of the town and surrounding area.

Grand Bend

Go to Grand Bend for the Beach, stay for the party. This is one of the chief shirt-less zones in Ontario, and after the sun goes down, the bars on Main St. are as raucous as King West. Failing that dubious distinction, the bike trail that runs just off the shore is one of the best Ontario.

Huntsville

Port Carling might be the most popular tourist town in Muskoka, but the historic downtown area in Hunstville has more to offer, from its picturesque main drag to its charming waterfront areas. Most people comes to stay in the cottage areas around the town, but it's worth dwelling for a while in heart of all the action.

Port Stanley

is one of the best places to swim in Ontario, particularly in August. Lake Erie can gets wonderfully warm and crazy waves are enough to lure vacationers to Port Stanley's world-class Main Beach. Beyond the water, visitors also come for the town's potent arts scene, which includes the charming Port Stanley Festival Theatre.

Goderich

Widely considered one of the most beautiful small towns in Ontario, Goderich has a lovely waterfront area to take in amazing sunsets across Lake Huron and its remarkable Square, which is actually a huge traffic circle surrounded by historic buildings where you can shop and eat.

Lead photo by

Maurice P. With files from Derek Flack.


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