Fall Road Trip in Niagara’s Wine Region

Autumn is the best time for a relaxing visit to Niagara’s wine region, across the border in Ontario, Canada. With wineries and vineyards around every corner, charming inns and towns filled with historic architecture and dining options featuring locally sourced menus, this region truly has it all. 

A couple walking in between grape vines in a vineyard.

Niagara Region | Destination Ontario

Getting Here

Visitors can cross the border from the United States into Ontario, Canada by land, air and water.

Getaway in Niagara’s Wine Region Itinerary: Niagara-on-the-Lake to Jordan Station & Lincoln and Twenty Valley & Beamsville

Find more road trip itineraries in Ontario, Canada

Documentation Needed

Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to cross the border into Canada.

Travelling By Car

If travelling by car, the most popular crossings are those at Niagara Falls/Fort Erie, Windsor and Sarnia. Before travelling, be sure to check border wait times. The first stop on this itinerary, Niagara-on-the-Lake is about an hour’s drive from the border crossing at Buffalo. The drive takes you past Niagara Falls, from Lake Erie to the shores of Lake Ontario.


Travelling By Plane

Travellers arriving by plane usually take one of two options — arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport, or Hamilton’s John C. Munro airport and rent a car at either Pearson or John C. Munro.  Alternatively, from Pearson, travel via UP Express to Toronto’s Union Station and take GO Transit to the city of St. Catharines, followed by a taxi to Niagara-on-the-Lake — a drive of about 12 miles (19 kilometres).

Getaway in Niagara’s Wine Region Itinerary

Multiple wineries, lush scenery and well-preserved Victorian architecture make Niagara-on-the-Lake a great two-day stopover, especially in the fall after the harvest when the colours change, and temperatures start to dip.

A clock tower divides the two-way road, where on either side are parked cars and houses nestled among trees.
Niagara-on-the-Lake | Destination Ontario

Day 1–2: Niagara-on-the-Lake

The Niagara Wine Region is located on the same latitude as wine-producing regions in France and Italy. And the combination of moderate climate from Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment terrain has resulted in perfect grape-growing and wine-making conditions.

Where to Stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake

There are many Niagara-on-the-Lake Hotels and B&Bs to choose from, at varying price points. A few wineries region also offer the option of booking a stay right on the vineyard
 

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association features quaint and cozy B&B options in and around town.
     
  • Get treated like royalty at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a Victorian-era-style Inn located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. With luxuriously appointed rooms, the Secret Garden Spa and Noble Restaurant serving a large selection of Niagara wines, this is worth a visit.
    Location: 6 Picton Street
     
  • From the stone façade to climbing ivy, the Shaw Club Hotel offers refined accommodations with the feeling of a private club. It’s just a short walk from the Fort George National Historic Site.
    Location: 92 Picton Street
     
  • A Niagara-on-the-Lake mainstay, the Pillar and Post offers everything you need for a refreshing hotel stay, including a fine-dining restaurant (said to serve the best steak in town), world-class wine selection, and a 13,000 square foot (1200 square metre) spa onsite.  
    Location: 48 John Street West
     
  • Located right on the Mary Street bike path, the Canterbury Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake offers an intimate stay with only 10 rooms. Rates include continental breakfast.
    Location: 170 Mary Street

 

Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Wine & Food Experiences

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake’s main attraction is the award-winning Niagara Peninsula Wineries. In fact, this historic town is home to some of Canada’s most established and oldest vineyards, some dating back over four decades. Winemaking is so important to the region, it even has its own appellation: Niagara-on-the-Lake Region.
     
  • Take a stroll amongst the vines, sip Icewine outdoors on a crisp autumn morning or book yourself in for a seated tasting of wines from the celebrated Peller Estates. Drop in for a visit, or book one of their numerous wine tour packages including guided tours, tastings and overnight stays.
    Location: 290 John Street East
     
  • Located in the heart of wine country, Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery is a 23,000 square foot (approximately 2,127 hectares) facility founded by the Great One himself. It also happens to be Ontario’s first combined winery/distillery. As such, settle in for a wine tasting, interactive wine class or book a table for a curated drinks and dinner experience. Accommodations are also available at The Riverbend Inn.
    Locations:
    Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery, 1219 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake
    The Riverbend Inn, 16104 Niagara Parkway
     
  • For those of you looking for something a little more hands-on, how about a class at a cooking school, located within a winery? Founded by a wine-loving couple and inspired by a visit to Napa, the Wine Country Cooking School, located on the Strewn Winery, offers a unique experience to learn how to cook fresh, locally inspired menus. 
    Location: 1339 Lakeshore Road
     
  • The Niagara Region is home to countless more wineries, vineyards and distilleries, each with their own take on the Niagara Region’s unique terroir. Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA), Ontario’s Wine Appellation Authority, lists more wineries in the region. 


History, Heritage & Culture

  • In 1792, Niagara-on-the-Lake became the first capital of Upper Canada (later the Province of Ontario), after being settled by British Loyalists. The town’s 19th-century architecture has been carefully preserved and the entire old town, centred around a charming main street complete with a cenotaph clock tower, is a designated National Heritage Site.
     
  • Step back in time from Downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake, straight into the War of 1812 at Fort George, a National Historic Site and former military post. Known for historical re-enactments and a slice of life in the 19th century, Fort George offers visitors a chance to live this history.
    Location: 51 Queen’s Parade
     
  • Founded in 1962, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake stages world-class plays in three different theatres. With many productions running through the fall, along with classic holiday performances, the Shaw offers a fun and entertaining theatre experience.
    Location: 10 Queen’s Parade
     
Two people walking on a path in between tall trees
Niagara Botanical Gardens

 
Parks & Gardens

 
Touring & Sightseeing 

  • For an exciting side trip, a world removed from the quaint, small-town atmosphere of Niagara-on-the-Lake, take a helicopter ride over the falls with Niagara Helicopter Tours. A once-in-a-lifetime excursion, helicopter rides depart from a heliport located five minutes from Downtown Niagara Falls and fly around the world-famous Horseshoe Falls.
    Location: 3731 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls
     
  • Book a sightseeing tour or hop-on-hop off between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake on a vintage double decker bus.
     
  • Much of the Niagara wine region can easily be explored by bike or electric assist bike. There are a few bicycle rental options in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Cycling Tourism Centre offers great route suggestions.

 

Where to Eat in Niagara-on-the-Lake

In addition to the numerous winery restaurants in the area, Niagara-on-the-Lake offers a wide variety of dining options. 

  • An award-winning restaurant, LIV Restaurant offers a fine dining experience located inside the White Oaks Resort & Spa. A great spot for breakfast.
    Location: 253 Taylor Road
     
  • Dinner resembles a work of art at local favourite Masaki Sushi in Niagara. Featuring world-class seafood brought in straight from Japan, this hotspot offers a modern twist on traditional Japanese dining.
    Location: 60 Picton Street
     
  • Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned pub hangout? Book a table at the Irish Harp Pub (reservations can be made for up to eight people) and settle in for traditional pub fare, entertainment and everything you’d expect from a classic Irish Pub.
    Location: 245 King Street
     
  • Located within the Trius Winery, the Trius Winery Restaurant features the culinary creations of Chef Frank Dodd. With menus inspired by classic wine country cuisine, lunch and dinner is offered daily. Don’t forget to pick up some wine while you’re there.
    Location: 1249 Niagara Stone Road
     
  • The Cannery Restaurant offers fine dining housed within the Pillar and Post Hotel. The restaurant is known for their steaks and menus featuring items crafted from ingredients sourced from the Niagara Region. 
    Location: 48 John Street West
     
  • A sophisticated pub with Victorian flair, Churchill Lounge is located on what is known as the liveliest corner of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Expect gourmet pub fare, handcrafted cocktails and good times for all.
    Location: 6 Picton Street

Day 3–4: Jordan Station and Lincoln

Home to unique specialty shopping, quaint architecture, mom and pop shops, and restaurants and cafés, Jordan Station was originally settled by Mennonites of German origin with a similar background to the Pennsylvania Dutch. Technically part of the Town of Lincoln, Jordan Station is a great place to spend an autumn day shopping and walking around town.

Route

To get there, turn off the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) Highway at Exit 55 and minutes later you’ll find yourself in the charming town centre.
Approx. distance & travel time: 18 miles (30 kilometres), 30 minutes

Where to Stay in Jordan Station

  

Things to Do in Jordan Station

Jordan Station Wine Experiences

  • Like Niagara-on-the-Lake, the unique terroir around Jordan Station and Lincoln are also home to some of Canada’s premier wineries. In fact, the “Lincoln Lakeshore” as it’s known, is a sub-appellation of Niagara Peninsula wines. The region’s unique climate lends itself well to grape varieties like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling. Early autumn is considered the ripening period when grapes develop their deepest flavours.
     
  • From wine tasting flights to picnic experiences, One Eighty Estate Winery offers multiple ways to enjoy the Niagara winery experience. Despite being one of Ontario’s smallest wineries, it also hosts an onsite bistro and a covered outdoor patio — perfect for an autumn afternoon.
    Location: 4055 Nineteenth Street
     
  • The Pearl Morissette Estate Winery offers wines, fine dining and its own onsite bakery called the RMP Bakehouse. The winery is owned and operated by François Morissette, a classically trained Vigneron who studied at the University of Dijon.
    Location: 3953 Jordan Road
     
  • Harbour Estates Winery operates on 38 acres (approximately 15 hectares) of land directly on Jordan Harbour. Stop in to taste some reds, whites, rosés and Icewines, and pick up some wine jellies. 
    Location: 4362 Jordan Road
     
  • Chosen as one of the top wineries in Canada to visit in 2022, Calamus Estate Winery offers wine tasting, an onsite bistro and its very own Chronos Observatory, hosted by members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada: Niagara Centre. The winery also offers a couple of scenic hiking trails that wind through the vineyard and past a waterfall. 
    Location: 3100 Glen Road


Shopping

  • Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, shop big name brands at outlet pricing at the Outlet Collection at Niagara. Find what you’re looking for from Adidas, The Body Shop, American Eagle Outfitters, Bass Pro Shops and loads more. Plus, Outlet Collection shoppers can save 5% on car rentals, through a special partnership with Avis.
    Location: 300 Taylor Road
     
  • A family-run business in the heart of Jordan village, Arezzo offers shoes, clothing, handbags and jewellery, all backed by excellent customer service that’s kept loyal customers coming back since 1998.
    Location: 3836 Main Street
     
  • Find that perfect fall scarf or sweater at Pamela’s, in the heart of Jordan Village. A proud supporter of Canadian designers and local artisans, the store also carries clothing made from organic fabrics.
    Location: 3836 Main Street
     
  • With winter on its way, stop in and find yourself a new hat at Frankie Sez Hatters. Housed in a former winery (of course), Frankie’s offers everything from fur felt chapeaus to berets.
    Location: 3836 Main Street
     
  • Northern Expressions celebrates the resilience and enduring artistry of Canada’s First Nations with an impressive selection of Indigenous and Inuit art from Canada’s north.
    Location: 3836 Main Street, Unit 8
     
  • In their own words, this family-run jeweller says, “If you can dream it, we can create it.” Consult with the experts or select a stunning piece from an ever-evolving in-stock selection at Valley Jewellers. Did we mention the Niagara Region is a great place to get engaged or married?
    Location: 3836 Main Street


History & Culture

  • One of the first areas of Canada to be settled by British Loyalists following the War of Independence in the late 18th Century, the Niagara Region claims a unique and interesting history. To get a taste of life in this historical region, pay a visit to the Town of Lincoln Museum & Cultural Centre and explore the stories and artifacts that make the region one of a kind.
    Location: 3800 Main Street

 
Hiking & Biking 

  • Feeling active? Hike to Ball’s Falls Conservation Area to enjoy the stunning colours of autumn. Start your visit at the Ball’s Falls Centre for Conservation (an award-winning LEED Gold certified facility) and take in the interactive displays with a focus on nature and conversation. The centre is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers a variety of programs and events all year long.
    Location: 3292 Sixth Avenue
     
  • Cave Spring Conservation Area offers spectacular vistas overlooking Lake Ontario and the old Lake Iroquois shore. The park is a great representation of the Niagara Escarpment’s unique geographical features. Several low-impact activities can also be found on-site, including a rain garden and bio-retention area, along with a 1/4 mile (400-metre) accessible trail. Cave Springs is also known for its mysterious rock carvings, along with an ancient Indigenous site.  
    Location: 3949 Cave Spring Road, Campden
     
  • Hiking or biking is a classic way to take in the views. With that in mind, the Town of Lincoln offers a number of on and off-road walking trails, bikeways, multi-use trails and more, all connected to various trail systems.
     
  • A highlight of the Lincoln trail system is the local connection to the Bruce Trail. The 562 mile (904 kilometre) hiking trail cuts across Lincoln along the Niagara Escarpment and is accessible off 6th Street through the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area mentioned above.

 

Where to Eat in Jordan Station

Day 5–6: Twenty Valley & Beamsville

Choose from almost 50 acclaimed wineries to visit, take in vineyard landscapes and explore the town of Beamsville.

Route

Take Regional Road 26 south, head west on King Street/Niagara Regional Road 81, turn left and head south on Hixon Street into Beamsville
Approx. distance & travel time: 8 miles (13 kilometres), 15 minutes

Rows of grape vines in a vineyard, leading to a building and forest.
Twenty Valley


Where to Stay Near Twenty Valley & Beamsville

  • With comfortable accommodations ranging from standard rooms to luxury suites, and an indoor pool and fitness centre, Casablanca Hotel is a great place to make your home base for Twenty Valley exploration. If you’re hungry, try Bogey’s for casual fare at great prices.
    Location: 4 Windward Drive, Grimsby
     
  • Niagara Region’s newest luxury Inn, the Stone Mill Inn blends modern design with old-world charm. The hotel features 35 guest suites, eight with in-suite Jacuzzis, along with two loft suites, perfect for an extended stay. Located on-site you’ll also find fine dining, a luxurious salon and spa, even a floral boutique.
    Location: 271 Merritt Street, St. Catharines
     
  • With multiple room options including the Baroque Room with four-poster beds, the English Manor Suite with its own veranda, or the French Cottage Country Cottage, the House by the Side of the Road B&B offers classic country charm minutes from all Beamsville has to offer.
    Location: 4251 King Street, Lincoln

 

Things to Do Near Twenty Valley & Beamsville

Twenty Valley & Beamsville Wine Experiences

  • The Beamsville Bench, is another sub-appellation of Niagara Peninsula wines. Wineries in Beamsville benefit from complex soils, excellent drainage and numerous streams that provide a fresh, seasonal water supply. The region is home to 12 wineries, each with their own unique take on Niagara wine making, with Riesling and Chardonnay featuring prominently.
     
  • Named Canadian Winery of the Year several times, Tawse Winery is a family-owned organic winery and distillery, located on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment. Book a tour or tasting, enjoy a glass of wine in the wine garden, then browse the on-site wine store.
    Location: 3955 Cherry Avenue, Vineland
     
  • Founded in 2003, Hidden Bench is a premium artisanal winery that crafts wines only with organic grapes they grow themselves. The winery offers tours and tastings along with an on-site wine store.
    Location: 4152 Locust Lane, Beamsville
     
  • Opened in 2002, Angels Gate Winery is known for their Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Shiraz wines. Explore the grounds with a tour, take part in a public or premium tasting and pick up some wine to take home.
    Location: 4260 Mountainview Road, Beamsville
     
  • A small, second-generation, family-owned, boutique winery, Organized Crime offers wine tasting on a heated outdoor patio and onsite wine store.
    Location: 4043 Mountainview Road, Beamsville
     
  • Rosewood Winery is focused on soil quality and farming practices that create a healthy ecology. The result is outstanding wines, produced right on-site. Rosewood also houses a honeybee operation: the winery’s founders, the Roman family, have been keeping bees for over 90 years.
    Location: 4352 Mountainview Road, Beamsville


Fishing, Hiking & Touring

  • Discover the Beamsville region with a full day tour by Electric Bike. Enjoy a guided ebike tour to four wineries where you’ll have an opportunity to taste several different wines and take in the scenery.
     
  • Get out on the open water of Lake Ontario with Captain Aldo Nava, and cast your line for everything from Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) and Brown Trout. Niagara Fishing Adventures offers fishing tours year round.
     
  • Stretching from Ball’s Falls Conversation Area to Lake Ontario and the Waterfront Trail, the Twenty Valley Trail offers an opportunity to enjoy autumn in Niagara. The hike takes about 45 minutes (one way) and is suitable for all skill levels.
    Location: Between Sixth Avenue and Glen Road


Where to Eat Near Twenty Valley & Beamsville

Enjoy your visit!

Remember, this is only a sampling of the many wineries, hotels and attractions available in this beautiful part of Ontario. Find more road trip itineraries in Ontario, Canada.

Last updated: September 29, 2022

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