Although Ontario’s Highlands is packed with hidden gems, our large and vibrant region is anything but hidden when it comes to a map. Taking up 23, 840 square kilometres of unspoiled territory, Ontario’s Highlands is hard to miss, and – most importantly – within easy driving distance of major Ontario cities. We’re just 2.5 hours east of Toronto and 30 minutes west of Ottawa, which means that you can get here quicker than getting through airport customs when flying to other getaway destinations.
If you’re ready to wander, here are four tips for planning your travel to Ontario’s Highlands.
- Make it a road trip. Driving is, hands down, the easiest and most scenic way to reach the region. Most visitors use Google Maps or a similar program or a GPS to find their way to our small towns and communities. Pack the car with your favourite people and enjoy the lovely views of rolling countryside, luscious treetops and local wildlife along the way. Ontario’s Highlands is known for having spectacular jagged rock formations, which line the side of the highway, so don’t forget to load your Instagram before the trip. And because we’re not known as Snow Country for nothing, make sure that you’ve also loaded your snow tires for driving in the winter. For more tips on making the most of your road trip, please click here.
- Stop! Some of the best moments during your trip will happen between the points on the map. Keep your eyes peeled for surprises as you wander through the region, and “plan” for a spontaneous pit stop, or seven. From incredible road-side food to hidden museums and coffee that doesn’t always come in a familiar red cup, your journey to the region will be just as memorable as the destination.
- Get on your bike. If the roar of an engine is more appealing than the roar of a radio, travel to the region by motorcycle. Once here, choose a Ride the Highlands route to explore the twisty, open road, feel the breeze of the lake next to you; meet friendly locals and stay at Rider-Approved stops that have been hand-picked with your specific travel needs in mind.
- Have someone else drive you. Ontario’s Highlands is also accessible by bus and train at various locations throughout our region, including Greyhound depots in Carleton Place, Perth, Pembroke, Petawawa, Renfrew and Smiths Falls; and a VIA Rail station in Smiths Falls. If you’re unable to drive, or simply prefer to let someone else take the wheel, both are perfect options for getting to the region. Contact the providers directly for tickets and schedules.
Enjoy the trip!
Ontario’s Highlands Insiders
Knowledgeable in uncovering hidden gems, making fresh tracks, embracing new perspectives, and disconnecting from the everyday, this group of experts is happy to share their wisdom with you. With a passion for local stories, a love of delicious food, and a thirst for unrehearsed days, this team is made up of creative minds and wandering souls.