Muskoka chairs facing a vineyard.

Niagara Benchlands road trip to Niagara Falls

Muskoka chairs facing a vineyard.

Just an hour from Toronto, you’ll find Ontario’s largest wine region and one of the region’s hidden gems, Niagara Benchlands.

This idyllic oasis features over 50 vineyards with many of the province’s best boutique and award-winning wineries. But as you venture beyond the vines, you’ll quickly experience so much more. While this Niagara Falls road trip is best appreciated in fall, it can also be enjoyed in spring and summer.

First stop – Bench Brewing, Beamsville

Located in the historic Maple Grove Public School building in Beamsville, Bench Brewing Co. combines old and modern brewing techniques that capture the region’s flavours to produce ‘the beer from wine country.’ Add to that a taproom, beer garden, and kitchen, and you’ve got yourself a tasty introduction to Niagara Benchlands. If you have the time, take a tour of the facility or pop out to see their private hops fields!

Second stop(s) – farm stands

Farm fresh is best! And there’s no shortage of produce fresh from the farm here. Have you ever been ‘Fruit Stand Hopping’? If not, you are in for one tasty treat! From seasonal roadside fruit and vegetable stands to pick-your-own stops, a Niagara Benchlands road trip has an abundance of choices seemingly around every corner. With so much to choose from, you don’t have to worry about packing snacks for your Niagara Falls road trip. You’ll have the freshest snacks available at your fingertips!

Third stop – Ball’s Falls, Lincoln

Bring all that fresh fruit with you and take a fall stroll through Ball’s Falls Conservation Area. The highlight of the stop is Ball’s Falls. The Twenty Mile Creek plummets over a cliff creating a mesmerizing sight regardless if the falls are going full force in spring or a delicate bridal veil fall in summer and fall. Beyond its namesake, must-see waterfall, the conservation area stretches over 80 hectares. The area even includes a lovingly maintained 19th-century hamlet where you can visit the original Ball family homestead, an operating flour mill, a church, blacksmith shop, carriage shed, and more. Views of the upper falls offer plenty of photo ops as they are easily accessed, or you can stay on the clearly marked hiking trail to take in the view of the lower falls.

Fourth stop – Westcott Vineyards, Jordan

Now it’s time for some wine! Westcott Vineyards is located atop the picturesque Twenty Mile Bench in Jordan and housed in a restored, 200-year-old Mennonite barn. After a winery tour, soak in the stunning fall views while enjoying a glass of pinot, chardonnay or both — cheers to a perfect fall Niagara Benchlands road trip.

Last stop – Niagara Falls 

You can’t ask for a better way to end your Niagara Benchlands road trip than with the thunderous roar of the iconic Niagara Falls. See the iconic sites with the bonus of a fall backdrop. Ride over the whirlpools of the Niagara Gorge on the antique Whirlpool Aero Car, and visit the Floral Clock made from 16,000 flowers and plants along the Niagara Parkway before making your way to the falls to complete your Niagara Falls road trip.

Where to stay

Explore even more of Niagara Benchlands by making it a weekend getaway. The Vineyard Cottage  at  St. Catharine’s 13th Street Winery, offers private, luxurious accommodations in a contemporary farmhouse on the premises. Be sure to pop into the 13th Street Bakery, famous for its butter tarts, voted Canada’s favourite by House & Home. And with their seasonal baked goodies made fresh on-site, you can be sure to have plenty to nibble on. Their wine is best enjoyed by walking around the grounds and taking in the sculptural art by contemporary artists.

Last updated: March 7, 2024

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