Although we have to say goodbye to summer, the arrival of fall in Canada brings with it some of the most beautiful sights in the world. The unparalleled cozy vibes and the fall foliage framing those famous endless mountains and lakes, or firing up the cities, almost make it worth saying goodbye to our long summer evenings. Canada is a huge country; the second biggest in the world, so knowing where to go to get those stunning hues in all of their intensity is key. With so many beautiful places to choose from, how do you pick? Here are some of our favorite fall weekend getaways in Canada to make sure you catch those prime foliage viewing locations.
1. Prince Edward County, Toronto
A small island community just two hours from Toronto, Prince Edward County is one of the best places to spend a weekend in the fall.
Although many of the local hotels and bed and breakfasts are closed, the popular Sandbanks Provincial Park offers accommodation all year round in historical homes that are outfitted with full kitchens, jacuzzis and satellite television. It’s an amazing way to see the fall foliage as the entire park is a gorgeous mosaic of golden hues.
This popular wine country is actually better in the autumn because the crowds have long gone. Some of the restaurants in Prince Edward County that cater to tourists close, but those that locals love remain open. The region has incredible local food and world class wine. You can spend a day in the park taking in the fall colours and then in the evening head to spots like Bloomfield Public House. It’s only a short drive from the park with a great oyster bar, small plates highlighting local flavours and a very reasonably priced local wine list.
If you’re looking for a bit of a road trip, the region’s wineries and cideries are only a short drive from each other and a great scenic drive during autumn.
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2. Muskoka, Ontario
If there is one fall getaway you choose, make it Muskoka, Ontario. Its been named the number one place to see the fall colors in Canada. Muskoka is located a few hours north of Toronto and is the ideal place to take in the beautiful fall foliage. Its home to over 1500 lakes and with forests for miles all ablaze in fall colors there are plenty of places to take in the fall colors in Muskoka.
There are boundless options on how best to experience fall in Muskoka but one of the top ways is taking a scenic drive on one of the many country roads crisscrossing the region. And if you’re looking for the top spots to see the fall colors from above head to Algonquin Park for a hike to one of the many picturesque views over the park. Or you can visit the Dorset Tower for a 360-degree view of Muskoka in all her colorful glory. If it’s calm and relaxation you’re after jump aboard one of the many cruises to see the colors from the water. Start planning your fabulous fall getaway to Muskoka today. – Stephanie from The World As I See It
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3. Stanley Park, Vancouver
Vancouver in Canada is often cited as one of the most livable cities in the world, due to its enviable location. This beautiful city is located on the equally beautiful coast of British Columbia, and if that weren’t enough, the mountains are within easy reach of the city as well. As such, there is no perfect time to visit Vancouver because every time of the year has something special to offer.
Nevertheless, I’d highly recommend to visit Vancouver in autumn, when the leaves are turning and most tourists have left. Furthermore, there are lots of Festivals and Festivities in autumn, such as Canadian Thanksgiving, Craft Beer Festivals, Farmers Markets and of course Halloween.
A great place to admire the fall foliage is in Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park. Stanley Park is Vancouver’s biggest green space and offers more than 400-hectare of beautiful (rain) forest to be explored. The 10-kilometer Sea Wall leading around Stanley Park is a beautiful trail, leading along many interesting stops and majestic multicolored trees.
Due to the large variety of trees in Stanley Park (such as the Bigleaf Maple and the Western Red Cedar) you will encounter many different autumn colors! Other famous landmarks in Stanley Park are the Lost Lagoon, Siwash Rock, the Hollow Tree, Beaver Lake and Prospect Point. Enjoy your Vancouver fall vacation!
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4. Kingston, Ontario
If you’re looking to experience quintessential autumn colors, look no further than Kingston, Ontario, Canada. This historic city – located on the shores of Lake Ontario – was Canada’s capital once upon a time. These days, the “Limestone City” as it’s called is packed with things to check out in every season – with Fall easily being one of the prettiest!
Of course, the best spots to see the fall colors are where the trees are! Luckily, Kingston has no shortage of these places. A good place to start is taking a wander down to the lakefront.There are many walking and cycling paths that hug the main shoreline and weave through trees, natural rock, and even sculptures.
Another place to check out is Queen’s University. As one of the oldest universities in Canada, the campus is a gorgeous place to photograph grand old buildings among the fall colors. You’ll always get a nice shot at “Summerhill” – where you find one of the campus’ oldest buildings.
Of course, there are more things to do in Kingston than just taking photos. Head downtown to Springer Market Square for the Farmers’ Market that is held from April to November many days of the week! You’ll find fresh seasonal produce and goods from apples to honey, jams, antiques, and more. Oh, and if you’re a little cold, you can always find a spot in one of downtown Kingston’s cozy coffee shops!
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5. Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Just three hours away from Toronto, in the province of Ontario (although very close to Quebec), Algonquin Provincial Park is a paradise for nature and outdoors lovers.
Although fascinating at any time of the year, it is in autumn where its characteristic maple, poplar and oak forests, its incredible lakes and hills come to life and dress with the season’s own color palette.
The best idea to enjoy it is to do it by staying in a typical cottage for a few days as I did a few years ago. This will allow you to enjoy not only certain very photogenic stops but also other typical activities such as fishing, canoeing, hiking or picnicking in one of its corners.
Now, if for whatever reason that’s not an option for you or you are simply passing through as part of an epic Canada road trip, doing it in one day crossing it from east to west or vice versa is enough to appreciate its beauty. In his visitor center, many ideas are given to make the most out of it. Remember to pay it a visit to increase the chances of seeing some of the species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians that populate the region as they will give you a few tips.
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6. The Canadian Rockies
One of the most unique fall getaways is to see the golden larches in the Canadian Rockies. When you think fall getaways, you likely think of a variety of reds, yellows, and oranges, and while the Canadian Rockies do not get the diversity of colors that many places do, the golden larch trees more than make up for it.
Larches are a unique type of deciduous tree as they are one of only a few deciduous trees that lose their needles. Before they drop they turn to a beautiful golden color. Larch trees only grow between altitudes of 1800m to 2400m so you see them lining mountain slopes and you often have to hike to get to them. Peak “larch season” varies each year but is typically during the third and fourth weeks of September.
The most popular hike to see the larches is “Larch Valley” which departs from the equally beautiful and popular Moraine Lake. In recent years this trail has become very busy and overcrowded so if you want to dodge the crowds there is a huge variety of larch hikes near Calgary, in Kananaskis, Banff, Jasper, and Yoho. These hikes are equally beautiful so they’re worth spending some time exploring.
Whether you’re looking for a short, family-friendly hike, a longer day hike, or even a multi-day backpacking trip there is a larch hike for you. So come out to Alberta and check out “Larch Madness”, you won’t regret it!