by Lori Straus
With spring just around the corner, we suspect many drivers are already planning to spend an afternoon, a day, or a weekend (where allowed) driving down the long, winding roads of Ontario. We have a few recommendations collected here for you as plan your route.
Much less densely populated than the rest of the province, Northern Ontario offers long stretches of road through some of the most gorgeous nature our province offers.
Are you a motorcycle enthusiast? Try out Highway 560 in Northeastern Ontario. You’ll enjoy 138 km of twisty roads.
An even longer joy ride is Highway 129 in Algoma, where you’ll wind through nature following the Mississagi River. If you have a safe place to stay for the weekend, this stretch of twisty road is part of the Grand Algoma Tour, which Northern Ontario Travel calls “one of the most renowned motorcycle touring loops in Ontario.”
Whether you ride a motorcycle or drive a car, the Lake Superior Circle Tour is another divine road trip in Northern Ontario. Disclaimer: to do the full circle, you need your passport. However, you can also do about one-third of the tour staying in the country. The full tour is 2,092 km, whereas the Canada-only portion is 767 km. You’ll drive past lighthouses, crystal-clear water, jagged cliffs, and beautiful waterfalls. Keep an eye out for the Agawa Rock indigenous pictographs. Agawa Rock lies about 150 km north of Sault Ste. Marie and has over 100 images believed to have been created by Ojibway spiritual leaders centuries, or maybe even millennia, ago.
Driving south, Algonquin Park and Georgian Bay offer excellent roads for driving in Ontario.
Highway 60 is the main access route through Algonquin Park. With a smooth surface and breathtaking scenery, Highway 60 offers you 190 km of spectacular driving.
The Georgian Bay Costal Route is a romantic mixture of nature and small towns. Have a Hallmark movie fan in your driving pack? This will charm them for sure. Some of your most important stopping points along the route are Manitoulin Island, Sudbury, Killarney, and the Bruce Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll catch sight of the Big Tub Lighthouse in Tobermory and Manitoulin Island’s Kagawong Lighthouse. And if beaches are open, take a break to get a little sand on your feet and to refresh in the waters of Georgian Bay.
If you’ve ever had visitors from abroad, and you live nearby, you’ve likely taken them on this road trip already: Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Starting with the roaring falls and ending in a well-preserved 19th-century village 32 km away, this route is truly an ideal day trip. Be sure to book ahead for any winery tours! (And drink responsibly, please.)
If you’re up for it, you can keep driving along the shores of Lake Erie all the way to Pelee Island, Canada’s southernmost point. Pick up an Ontario Provincial Park pass so you can drive through the many provincial parks along the route. The total distance from Niagara Falls to Pelee Island is 414 km.
We have some of the best roads for driving in Ontario just outside our door. But take a few precautions before you leave: pack an emergency kit, have your phone charged, and let a friend or family member know where you’re going; some of these roads take you through very remote areas.
Then hit the gas and enjoy the drive!