5 Cute Southern Ontario Towns Worth the Road Trip

These destination spots outside Toronto offer undeniable charm.

Sprinkled across Southern Ontario’s lush countryside, small, quaint towns exude undeniable charm with locals eager to welcome you. From picturesque Elora to peaceful Picton, these adorable destinations offer heartwarming allure, making for worthy road trips from Toronto.




Paris, filled with outdoor adventure, culinary delights, and loads of cultural richness, is located about two hours west of Toronto. In Paris, the Cobblestone Capital of Canada because of its cobblestone buildings, explore charming boutiques, indulge in French-inspired cuisine, and top it off with a stroll along the bank of the Grand River.





Called Ontario’s most beautiful village by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson, Elora offers adventures, dining, and culture. While Elora’s lovely, limestone-rich town centre with artisan shops and trendy cafés will fascinate, its stunning, expansive gorge will pump your adrenaline and leave you in awe. Come in July and take in the Elora Festival, an intimate and much revered three-week choral festival going strong for more than 40 years.




Photo by Sue Thompson



Wineries and breweries pepper Huron County as you head to Goderich, known for its historic octagonal town centre, The Square, home to the courthouse, bright shops, and eclectic finds. Goderich’s three-day Celtic Roots Festival is a hit every August, but you can enjoy the old town feel anytime. Head to Goderich Harbour Restaurant, a.k.a. The Old Saltie, for classic fish and chips, stroll the 1.5-kilometre boardwalk, take a dip in Lake Huron’s turquoise waters at St. Christopher’s Beach, and experience a sunset from Lighthouse Park.




Photo by Miguel



Locals venture in droves to Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), a vibrant and timeless, classic yet modern enclave 20 kilometres north of Niagara Falls. A year-round hot spot, NOTL is surrounded by award-winning wineries and best explored on foot, thanks to its many boutiques, restaurants, and spas. January features the delicious Niagara Icewine Festival, and the Shaw Festival celebrates theatrical excellence from February to December. Whether you stroll along picturesque Front Street with its majestic homes or flower-lined Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake enthralls every time.




Photo by Rick Harris



Meanwhile, on Lake Ontario’s north shore, Picton has the beauty of a Hallmark movie set. Located in Prince Edward County (PEC), this ever-popular gem boasts historic Loyalist architecture, quaint Main Street shops, artisanal sips and bites, and a thriving arts scene. A must-stop is the century-old Regent Theatre, a pristine Edwardian film and performance house that dominates the streetscape. On the whole, PEC is considered to be the Gastronomic Capital of Ontario, and the Taste Trail self-guided tour and Countylicious twice-annual restaurant promotion help foodies experience local flavours.