Part One: Fall RV Rental Road Trips in Ontario
Road Trip 1 - Parks and Port Towns Along Lake Erie
Dotted along the shores of Lake Erie are a myriad number of fishing villages that include the beachy hamlet of Port Stanley. This area also boasts great provincial parks that in autumn are full of vibrant yellows and oranges and are also ideal places for those who want to incorporate birdwatching with their motorhome rental vacation.
Holiday Beach - Just south of Windsor and directly opposite the Detroit border you will find Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Here you can lunch outdoors or climb the wooden watch tower that offers simply dazzling views of Big Creek Marsh and the birds in the area. Pull off the road in nearby Kingsville to make a stop at Pelee Island Winery for some samples to warm the autumn chill from your bones.
Leamington - The area's Point Pelee National Park is one of the smallest in Canada, but nonetheless attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Famous for its migrating butterflies in the fall, the park is also full of the diverse plant and animal life that is characteristic of Canada's Carolinian region. The park boasts over 70 different types of trees alone in addition to marshes and beaches just waiting to be explored. Whether you're looking for relaxation or hiking Pelee has something to offer you. If you like you can also enjoy the sunset over nearby Wheatley Harbour.
Port Stanley - The drive from Point Pelee to Rondeau National Park is one of the prettiest in the province, although the majority of the landscape is indeed flat. Rondeau offers many of the same characteristics as Pelee and it is totally up to you whether you would like to stop and explore. If not point your motorhome rental directly towards the popular fishing town of Port Stanley where white sand beaches, cozy restaurants and a small number of great boutiques are waiting for you.
Port Stanley is the ideal spot to stay overnight for a day or two, or three, depending on your timeline. Not only is there the charming village to explore, but you can also head just east of town to Hawk Cliff, a bluff that faces the waters below. Here you can take a moment to enjoy gorgeous natural panoramas and also look upwards to spot many different types of birds including hawks. Visit Kettle Creek and the historic King George VI lift bridge.
While on your motorhome rental drive think about stopping in Port Burwell, another of Lake Erie's waterside towns, with its lighthouse that dates back to the 1800s. Another great place for views and birdwatching is Long Point and its Bird Observatory.
Roadtrip 2 - Beaver Valley to Owen Sound
Flesherton to Eugenia - Begin your drive in this small town at Highway 10 and Grey Road 4 and head for Grey Road 13 to Eugenia. In this small hamlet nature lovers can explore the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area, which includes the 80-foot drop where the Beaver River disappears into the valley that lies below. If you're a hiker there are numerous trails that will allow you to walk along gorges and immerse yourself in vibrant fall hues. When you hit the road again think about stopping at Beaver Valley Lookout, a great spot for photos. You can also enjoy the sight of the Old Baldy escarpment ridge in nearby Kimberley.
Heathcote to Thornbury - Heathcote is a town full of apple orchards and it's worth a stop at The Farmer's Pantry where you can pick your own. Kids also love to check out the farm animals at this stop. Pass through Clarksburg to get to Thornbury, a beautiful town on the water. Turn right where Grey Road 13 ends at Highway 26 to reach a dam where, if your timing is right, you can see fish climbing to their spawning grounds. This direction will also lead you to the harbour along the river.
Meaford - Highway 26 will lead you directly to the quaint town of Meaford an area full of apple orchards. If you're planning on hitting this spot in the fall be sure to look ahead to see if your visit coincides with any of the many local harvest festivals. You can enjoy the harbour and many parks in town as well as Epping Lookout, which offers a great view of the changing colours of the Beaver Valley.
Walters Falls to Owen Sound - Drive through escarpment and gravel before finding Walters Falls where the twin waterfalls are the main draw as well as the historic village. To get to Owen Sound you will pass through picturesque towns like Bognor, Annan and the historic village on Paynter's Bay called Leith, which is where the famous Canadian landscape painter Tom Thomson was born. Spend a day at Hibou Conservation Area enjoying this edge of wilderness along Georgian Bay.
Activities in Owen Sound are varied and include Harrison Park, many shops, restaurants and art galleries, and Inglis Fall Conservation Area. To head back to Flesherton, where you started, go south on Highway 6 and 10 and turn left onto Highway 10 at Chatsworth.
2. Point Pelee by Quozl via Wikimedia Commons
3. Beaver Valley by W-Van via Wikimedia Commons