Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
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The southern part of Ontario is an excellent vacation destination for those of you who have diverse tastes, as this area is metropolitan and rural, civilized and untamed, all at the same time. While it’s true that this part of Ontario contains the bulk of the province’s population, there are plenty of places for an escape from the hustle of the big city – but if you want to mix in a bit of metropolitan life, this is the place for you.
With all that in mind, Toronto makes an ideal starting point since it’s considered by many to be the epitome of city life in eastern Canada. There are shopping areas such as the Eaton Centre, the largest shopping mall in North America, which draws more than a million visitors a week. The Little Italy district is another great spot to visit, along with any of the five Chinatowns in the Toronto area. The Toronto Zoo and Royal Ontario Museum are also terrific places to visit on your way through the city. These are obviously only a few of the hundreds of choices available to you, so one thing about Toronto is certain: you will never be bored.
Let’s get on the road! Head east on the eastbound 401, then merge with the 115 for 31 miles which leads you into Peterborough, which is thought by many to be the cleanest city in Ontario. Considering the level of cleanliness to be found in this province, that’s saying something. One of the more interesting attractions in Peterborough is the Lift Lock, a hydraulic boat lift 65 feet in height that’s the second-largest such lift in the world. For some fun in nature, visit the Warsaw Caves, which are more than 10,000 years old. For those not keen on underground experiences, there are some excellent woodland trails running more than 10 miles along the Indian River, which highlight some beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Next stop, Belleville. Drive west on Provincial Route 7 for 40 miles, then angle west on Highway 62 and stay on it for 35 miles until you reach Belleville’s city limits. This is a fine place to get out and stretch, and while you’re at it you might want to check out the Glanmore National Historic Site. This is a magnificent mansion built in the late 19th century in the 2nd Empire architectural style. The interior features finely-wrought woodwork and exquisite, hand-painted ceilings. Rooms on both levels have been restored to their original condition, and feature unique furnishings from the period.
Continuing south on the 62, in another 18 miles you’ll come to the town of Bloomfield. Bloomfield has some beautiful, restored homes and possesses a quiet, small-town charm. This is a popular vacation spot and honeymoon location, and when you experience it you’ll come to understand why.
Five miles east on PR-33, Picton is a great place for a day of picnicking at the incredible Macaulay Heritage Park. The town also has a beautiful harbor with plenty of opportunity for waterside dining, and there are many heritage homes for those who enjoy restored architectural wonders. Twenty miles further east on PR-33, Kingston sits at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. This was once the first capital of Canada, and Kingston’s city hall served as the capitol building. Among the many sites of historical interest, Kingston hosts Fort Henry, which was originally built during the War of 1812. In the early 1830s, another fort was built on the site of the first and it’s this structure which remains today. Twenty-four different rooms are available for tours, including officer’s quarters, the powder magazine and the artillery chambers. It’s a fascinating piece of history.
Leaving Kingston, head north on PR-15 for 60 miles until you come to Smiths Falls, a serene, quiet town located near the Rideau Canal. Among the many relaxing activities to be enjoyed in Smiths Falls, chief among them is a cruise down the canal followed by a hike along the Cataraqui Trail. There are plenty of festivals throughout the year, so no matter when you visit you’re sure to take part in some local event that will keep you well entertained.
Carleton Place lies 19 miles to the north, accessed via PR-15. This small town has a population of less than 10,000, and is ideally placed for use as a staging area to go camping or fishing in the surrounding woods. Annual events include spring’s Lilac Festival and fall’s Dragon Boat Festival, which bring thousands of visitors to the area.
The final destination, Canada’s capitol city of Ottawa, awaits you a little more than 30 miles north on the 15. Like Toronto, Ottawa is a large metropolitan city with plenty of diverse activities and events to keep you busy for many a repeat visit. Museums, live theater, and sporting events (like hockey!) can be enjoyed anytime, along with shopping opportunities to suit any taste or pocketbook range.
With all these opportunities at your disposal, you can see how Ontario can keep you well entertained for many return visits to come!
Other Area Sponsors in Ontario:
Quinte's Isle Campark
Wildwood Golf & RV Resort