Road Trips from Toronto: Hamilton or Prince Edward County
With Toronto as your anchor, experience big city fun and uniquely urban outdoor adventure or small-town appeal and the rustic charm of Ontario’s picturesque countryside on these two road trip options. From Toronto’s downtown, travel west to Hamilton, the waterfall capital of the world or east to Prince Edward County, Canada’s trendiest wine and foodie destinations this fall season.
Prince Edward County | Destination Toronto
Visitors can cross the border from the United States into Ontario, Canada by land, air and water.
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 Plane
The majority of flights into Toronto land at Toronto Pearson International Airport, approximately 18 miles (30 kilometres) northwest of the city centre. Several major car rental companies provide convenient service from Terminal 1 or travel downtown by taxi or public transport. UP Express connects to Toronto’s Union Station or you can access Toronto’s Transit system (TTC) via the airport bus.
Porter Airlines provides flight service between New York City and Billy Bishop Airport, located along Toronto’s waterfront just minutes from downtown. And, in partnership with Amtrak, VIA Rail provides rail transportation between Toronto and New York City.
Day 1-2: Toronto
From Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, to cuisine from around the world, exceptional museums, galleries and attractions and endless entertainment, you’ll want to explore one of North America’s most dynamic cities.
Where to Stay in Toronto
- In Toronto you’ll find places to stay that suit every type of traveller and budget. To live like a local with convenient key-less entry, consider boutique spots like The Anndore House or the Annex Hotel.
The Anndore House, 15 Charles Street East
Annex Hotel, 296 Brunswick Avenue
Things to Do in Toronto
- As Canada’s most cosmopolitan and multi-cultural city, there is no end of things to do, neighbourhoods to explore and special events and festivals happening in Toronto. From the Toronto International Film Festival to pro-sports events, here’s a roundup of some of the best things to do in Toronto in the fall.
- Discover more things to do and see in Toronto with the Toronto City Stay Highlights and a Three Days in Toronto Itinerary.
Where to Eat & Drink in Toronto
- Local favourites to start your day, whether that’s breakfast or brunch, include Café Boulud in Yorkville, Union on Ossington, Bonjour Brioche Bakery and Café and Lady Marmalade in the east end on Queen Street.
- Toronto is home to a dizzying array of restaurants, cafés, pubs, breweries, food trucks and more. Let local foodie show you around on a food and drink tour.
Day 3-6: Go East from Toronto to Prince Edward County
Located in the northeast end of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County (PEC) or “The County” as it’s known by locals, has a long and rich farming tradition. With the introduction of grape-growing in the region, the last few decades have seen The County grow into one of Ontario’s most popular destinations for wine, food, the arts and lakefront views. And for good reason, PEC wines are making a huge splash worldwide.
Note: This is a self-drive road trip. Car rentals are available from Toronto Pearson Airport, or you can rent a vehicle from a downtown car rental company.
Make your way from downtown Toronto to the Don Valley Parkway north, exit onto the Ontario 401 Express eastbound, continue on ON-401 East/Macdonald Cartier Freeway, take exit 522 and head south on County Road 40, turn right onto Regional Road 33/Loyalist Parkway into Prince Edward County
Approx. distance & travel time: 125 miles (200 kilometres), 2.5 hours
- Glimpse Ontario’s historical past with well-preserved period architecture, quaint walkable streets and picturesque waterfronts, perfect for a mid-way break.
- Explore the Walton Street Heritage Conservation District, one of Ontario’s best preserved 19th century streetscapes in Port Hope.
- Enjoy boutique, vintage, craft and antique shopping in Port Hope’s historic downtown.
- Housed in the architecturally stunning Victoria Hall, the Art Gallery of Northumberland is worth a visit. It maintains an impressive collection for a small-town gallery.
Location: Victoria Hall, West Wing, Third Floor 55 King Street West, Cobourg
The Big Apple, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of Port Hope
- Every road trip needs a wacky roadside attraction. The Big Apple is just that and more — with onsite dining, shopping and even a cidery.
Location: 262 Orchard Road, Colborne
Where to Stay in Prince Edward County
There are several towns and communities in Prince Edward County, each with its own charm, character and selection of places to stay. Make your home base at a boutique hotel, motel or inn.
Where to Stay in Picton
- Recently restored, Merrill House is a Victorian heritage boutique hotel with fine dining French cuisine restaurant, extensive wine cellar, cocktail parlour, onsite sauna and a Natural History Exhibit.
Location: 343 Main Street East, Picton
- Local favourite, The June Motel offers trendy accommodations, dinner and cocktails with various packages available.
Location: 12351 Loyalist Parkway, Picton
- Overlooking the water, Picton Harbour Inn offers comfortable guest rooms and suites and will organize wine tours and wine tasting experiences.
Location: 33 Bridge Street, Picton
Where to Stay in Wellington
- Newsroom Suites is a cozy accommodations within walking distance from Wellington’s many restaurants and shops.
Location: 269 Main Street, Wellington
- Located on the water in Wellington, The Lakeside is a stylish hotel with onsite restaurant, shopping and even seasonal glamping facilities.
Location: 349 Main Street, Wellington
- A 13-room boutique hotel with restaurant and event spaces, the Drake Devonshire is an all-season retreat steps from the shore of Lake Ontario.
Location: 24 Wharf Street, Wellington
Where to Stay in Bloomfield
- A historic hotel built inside a 1904 school, the Empire Inn and Suites features tin ceilings, large windows and local artwork.
Location: 6 Stanley Street, Bloomfield
- A charming boutique inn with five guestrooms, Angeline’s Inn has been operated by the same family for over thirty years.
Location: 433 Main Street, Bloomfield
Things to Do in Prince Edward County
Winery Tours & Tastings
- Prince Edward County is home to over 35 wineries that offer everything from wine tasting and tours to fine dining, culinary classes and more. Find a complete list of wineries and experiences, or use the free PEC Wine Explorer app to find a wine that fits your unique preferences. Don’t miss the sparkling wines at Hinterland Wine Company, Chardonnays at Closson Chase and Baco Noirs at Waupoos Estates, Prince Edward County’s original winery.
- Explore Prince Edward County’s backcountry roads to wineries and more by bike. County Bike Rentals provide bicycle rentals, helmets, locks and route suggestions, as well as free delivery and pick-up.
- From beaches and sand dunes to forest and trails, fall is a great season to explore the parks and outdoor spaces in The County. Sandbanks Provincial Park is a popular spot in the summer and well into the fall season. Visit midweek for a chance to follow the Sandbanks Dunes Trail: spend some time on the beach and go bird watching in the forest.
Location: 3004 County Road, Picton
- As its name suggests, Lake on the Mountain is an elevated body of fresh water with a mysterious water source. The park offers great views of the Bay of Quinte, where you can watch the Glenora Ferry cruising back and forth across the bay to Adolphustown.
Location: 296 County Road 7, Picton
Art & Culture
- Artist, artisans and creators have gravitated towards Prince Edward County for decades resulting in a flourishing arts community with amazing galleries and studios. Notable favourites include the Oeno Gallery at Huff Estates Winery, Mad Dog Gallery and Armstrong Glassworks.
Oeno Gallery, 2274 Prince Edward County Road 1, Bloomfield
Mad Dog Gallery, 525 County Road 11, Picton
Armstrong Glassworks, 326 2 Avenue, Wellington
- Follow the PEC Arts Trail to local galleries, and if you’re visiting the weekend of September 30–October 2, you’ll have the rare treat of meeting artists in their studios during the Prince Edward County Studio Tour.
- Architecture buffs will appreciate The Regent Theatre, a restored Edwardian-style opera house built in 1918 that continues to host live performances and film events.
Location: 224 Main Street, Picton
Where to Eat & Drink in Prince Edward County
- Located in the town of Wellington, La Condesa serves up authentic Mexican cuisine.
Location: 298 Wellington Main Street, Wellington
- Flame + Smith offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere. With a sustainably sourced surf and turf menu, meals are cooked over open flame for a unique culinary experience. Make sure to book a reservation in advance.
Location: 106 Bloomfield Main Street, Bloomfield
- Stella’s Eatery in Waupoos serves comfort food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients found in Prince Edward County. Their menu changes based on the availability of foraged and seasonal produce.
Location: 2470 County Road 8, Waupoos
- Midtown Brewing in the town of Wellington offers a casual pub atmosphere with craft beers and freshly made pub food, including wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads.
Location: 266 Wellington Main Street, Wellington
- For great vegan and gluten-free meal options, stop in at Good Place. This cozy spot also offers a large selection of teas and organic beverages.
Location: 153 Main Street, Wellington
- Located in Bloomfield, Bermuda is a great place for a snack or full meal featuring a menu of finger foods like nachos and chilli cheese fries, and mains like burgers and chicken sandwiches.
Location: 275 Main Street, Lower Level, Bloomfield
- The County Cider Company boasts some of the tastiest craft cider flavours along with some of the best lake views in The County.
Location: 657 Bongards Crossroads, Waupoos
Day 7: Extend Your Trip
Add a spa day on your way back to Toronto at Northumberland Heights Wellness Retreat and Spa, spend an extra day exploring the city or travel west to Hamilton on another adventure.
Day 3-6: Go West from Toronto to Hamilton
With nicknames like “The Hammer” and “Steeltown” due to its industrial history, visitors to Hamilton are often surprised by how much outdoor adventure, culinary excellence and cultural experiences this city has to offer. Known as the “City of 100 Waterfalls”, there are gorgeous cascades and waterfalls, as well as parks, gardens and nature trails in and around Hamilton due to its proximity to the Niagara Escarpment. Hamilton has also become a foodie and cultural hotspot for its creative fusion cuisine, craft breweries, historical sites and arts community.
Note: You have the option of a self-drive road trip or a car-free getaway as Hamilton is accessible by train and bus.
Make your way from downtown Toronto to the westbound Gardiner Expressway, continue along the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW)/403, remain westbound on the 403 when the two highways split, exit on Highway 8/Main Street into Hamilton.
Approx. distance & travel time: 45 miles (70 kilometres), 1 hour & 15 minutes
- Oakville sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is known for its spectacular lakefront setting. Old Oakville makes the perfect place for a stroll. Find restaurants, bars, boutiques, art galleries and more, all within walking distance along Lakeshore Boulevard.
- Step back in time with a visit to the Erchless Estate, the former home of Oakville’s founders. Guided tours of the museum’s collections of costumes, textiles, ethnological artefacts and decorative arts are available, or you are free to wander the museum on your own.
Location: 8 Navy Street, Oakville
Where to stay in Hamilton
- A boutique-style hotel, C Hotel by Carmen’s is located on Hamilton's East Mountain with an indoor saltwater pool, on-site fitness centre and fine dining restaurant, Baci Ristorante, serving Italian food and wine.
Location: 1530 Stone Church Road East, Hamilton
- With a prime downtown location, the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel offers comfortable accommodations, 24-hour fitness, onsite restaurant, Chagall’s, and the LOFT Lounge, a bar with views over downtown Hamilton.
Location: 116 King Street West, Hamilton
- Stay in a 19th century church set in the countryside: the SummitHaven Bed & Breakfast features a 1600 square foot suite with a fully equipped kitchen, living room, dining room, four-piece bath, laundry room and separate entrance.
Location: 1443 Powerline Road West, Lynden
- A charming bed AND breakfast in Dundas, just north of Hamilton, the Osler House Bed & Breakfast is located on a private, one and a half acre property close to restaurants, shops and historic buildings.
Location: 30 South Street West, Dundas
Things to do in Hamilton
Nature & Outdoors
- Diligently maintaining and preserving its outdoor spaces, trails and over 100 waterfalls (all located within the UNESCO recognized Niagara Escarpment Biosphere), Hamilton has earned the title of “Waterfall Capital of the World”. Some of the most popular include the 63 foot (19 metre) tall Albion Falls, 69 foot (21 metre) high Tiffany Falls located in the Tiffany Falls Conservation Area and the 72 foot (22 metre) high Webster’s Falls. Many of these falls are accessible via the Bruce Trail. Note that parking is limited for most waterfall attractions, and some may require pre-booking so plan ahead.
Locations: Find a full list of waterfalls near Hamilton.
- Spanning over 2,420 acres (979 hectares), the Royal Botanical Gardens, located a 12-minute drive from downtown Hamilton, is home to more than 1,100 types of plants, including a large collection of native species. The gardens are popular with birders — over 300 species of birds can be spotted at various times of the year.
Location: 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton
Arts, Culture & History
- A neoclassical mansion built in the 1830s, Dundurn Castle offers a glimpse into the life of high society in 19th century Ontario. Part of Dundurn National Historic Site, the castle offers tours, historical re-enactments and a gift shop featuring a variety of handmade Canadian crafts, souvenirs and gifts.
Location: 610 York Boulevard, Hamilton
- Hamilton is home to two museums dedicated to Canada’s military history: the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and HMCS Haida National Historic Site. The Warplane Heritage Museum houses more than 35 military jets, prop planes and helicopters dating to WWII and offers opportunities to book a flight on some of them. The HMCS Haida Site offers tours of a historic Tribal Class Destroyer that served in the Second World War, Korean Conflict and Cold War.
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, 9280 Airport Rd, Mount Hope
HMCS Haida, Pier 9, 658 Catharine Street North, Hamilton
- The Art Gallery of Hamilton houses a collection of over 10,000 works, making it the third largest in Canada. The gallery features Canadian historical and contemporary art as well as European historical art, and presents numerous special exhibits throughout the year.
Location: 123 King Street West, Hamilton
Where to eat in Hamilton
- Rony’s is a popular ‘chicken shack’ with a simple menu highlighting their specialty — charcoal slow-cooked chicken. The restaurant is famous for their house-made hot yogurt sauce.
Location: 312 Grays Road, Hamilton
- A local take-out spot run by a mother and daughter team, Maria’s Tortas Jalisco serves traditional Mexican dishes made fresh from scratch.
Location: 432 Hwy 8, StoneyCreek
- McQueen’s Banh Mi Viet serves a variety of Vietnamese sandwiches made on traditional baguette with fresh ingredients.
Location: 103 Queen Street North, Hamilton
- Fall calls for delicious, warm soups. Burnt Tongue serves a menu of seasonal rotating soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and more.
Location: 10 Cannon Street East, Hamilton
- There are many craft breweries in Hamilton. Local favourites Grain & Grit Beer Co., Collective Arts and Fairweather Brewing offer on-site beer tasting and beer to go.
Grain & Grit, 11 Ewen Road, Hamilton
Collective Arts, 207 Burlington St E, Hamilton
Fairweather, 5 Ofield Road Unit #1, Hamilton
Day 7: Extend Your Trip
Add a day of hiking on your way back to Toronto at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, spend an extra day exploring the city or travel east to Prince Edward County on another adventure.
- Rattlesnake Point Conservation area offers numerous ways to enjoy the outdoors with hikes along the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail, Vista Adventure Trail and plenty of opportunities for just admiring the autumn views. Please note, park reservations for visitors are required.
Location: 7200 Appleby Line, Milton
Last updated: September 29, 2022