The Journeying Giordano's contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase using one of my affiliate links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

19 Fall Activities for Families in Southern Ontario 2024


Now that the sweater weather is officially here, are you looking for the perfect fall activities for families?

Well, you have come to the right place! Fall in Southern Ontario is the most magical time of year to get out and explore!

With vibrant colours, crunching leaves, crisp air, and country harvests, Autumn is filled with plenty of fun activities to get your family outside.

To help you make your Fall bucket list, we have put together a list of 19 Fall activities for families in Southern Ontario.

When is Fall in Ontario?

If you are visiting Ontario from another province, or even country, you may not be familiar with our Autumn season.

The Autumn Equinox, or the start of Fall, usually occurs on September 22 or 23 and ends on December 21.

Fall Activities - Fall Hike overlook

If you are looking to experience the fall colours, then the best time to visit Ontario is from mid-September to late October.

Of course, this is just a rough estimate, as the fall colours are very dependent on the weather, as well as location.

The further north in Ontario you travel, the quicker the leaves will change and fall.

Fall Activities for Families in Southern Ontario

1. Visit a Farmer’s Market

Visiting a Farmers Market is a great way to get fresh produce while buying local.

And with the changing colours of Fall, the fare at the markets also starts to change.

Gourds, pumpkins, root vegetables, corn, pies, preserves, and fall décor start to fill the stands.

Many stands will sell Fall flowers, hay bales, and other décor pieces that will make your home feel more festive for the season.

How about stocking up on all your favourite foods for your Thanksgiving feast?

Fall Activities - Farm Market - Veggies

Farmer’s Markets can be found in many small towns, as well as some of the larger cities in Southern Ontario. The Markets typically run until mid-October.

2. Go on a Hike (or Nature Walk)

With so many gorgeous provincial parks and conservation areas in Ontario, hiking the trails is one of the perfect Fall activities for families to experience the autumn colour change.

Whether you choose full-day hikes, or short strolls through the forest, the sound of the fallen leaves as you shuffle through them, combined with the earthy smells of Fall, will definitely relax you.

Fall Activities - Fall Hike

A few popular regions to hike in during the fall, are Muskoka, Niagara, and the Kawarthas, as well as Dundas Peak in Hamilton, and Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.

3. Do a Family Photo Shoot

Fall is probably one of the nicest times of year to have family portraits taken outdoors.

Not only are the colours gorgeous, but the weather is a comfortable temperature, and the lighting has a beautiful glow.

Fall Activities - Fall Walk - boy throwing leaves

But timing is everything! Choose a location where the leaves are in their prime, and try for an afternoon or early evening time so that the light is just right.

Whether you opt for professional shots, or you try your hand at taking your own pictures, have fun creating family memories!

4. Go Apple Picking

If you love apples, then visiting Southern Ontario towards the middle of September is a must.

With more than 16,000 acres of apple orchards, you won’t have a problem finding your favourite varieties.

Visiting a local orchard is also a great way to support your community.

But if you are looking for some of the best places to go apple picking in Southern Ontario, we have a few suggestions.

hands-holding-apples

Dixie Orchards is located in Caledon and has over 20 types of apples.

This awesome orchard also offers a “Farm Pass,” which allows you access to their corn maze, straw jump, animals, pumpkin patch, and wagon rides.

And if you’re looking for an orchard that also hosts other Fall activities for families, head to Milton’s Chudleigh’s Farm.

There you will find over 20 varieties of apples, spread across 60 acres of orchard.

5. Play in the Leaves

What kid, or adult for that matter, doesn’t like playing in the leaves?

That satisfying, crisp sound the leaves make when you jump in, the earthy smell, and the sheer joy this activity brings, are all a part of the Fall experience.

Head out for a hike, or explore one of the local parks. Either way, Southern Ontario is filled with an abundance of trees. Your options are endless.

If you are looking for a popular park, with great views, and other family things to do, give High Park or James Gardens a try.

Both are conveniently located in Toronto and near public transit.

6. Visit a Pumpkin Patch or Local Farm

Visiting a pumpkin patch has been a long-standing tradition in our family!

We look forward to heading out to the farm every year to pick our own pumpkins. After all, pumpkins are definitely synonymous with Fall!

Fall Activities - Pumpkin Patch

And there is no shortage of pumpkin patches and farms in Southern Ontario.

Some farms offer a pick-your-own experience, while others make it easy for you, and have piles of pumpkins waiting to be selected.

Many of these farms also offer a whole host of family-friendly activities to enjoy.

Not only will you find play barns, corn mazes, and wagon rides for the kids, but let’s not forget the awesome shops where you can purchase fresh pies, butter tarts, and even pumpkin spice lattes!

Fall Activities - Farm - Hay

Here is a list of just a few awesome farms with pumpkin patches in Southern Ontario, that you should add to your fall itinerary:

7. Find a Fall Fair to Attend

Southern Ontario is full of charming small towns. And with small towns, come Fall fairs!

Usually running between September and November, you are sure to find a fair to add to your bucket list of Fall activities for families.

Fall Activities - Pumpkin Patch - Pre-picked

In fact, attending a Fall fair is the perfect excuse for a day trip or even a weekend road trip!

From food to try, prized produce to see, artisan crafts and gifts to purchase, or even some amusement park rides to enjoy, attending a Fall fair is the perfect way to celebrate the season, while getting out and having some fun.

8. Do a Ghost Walk

With Fall, comes Halloween. And what better way to get into the spirit, than by going on a ghost walk?

With so many haunted places in Ontario, you will be sure to find a ton of ghost walks, many of them family and kid-friendly.

Ghost tours and stories are not only an entertaining way to spend the evening, but they are also a great way to learn about Ontario’s history and its people.

Niagara-on-the-Lake-Angel-Inn-Restaurant

Take for example Niagara-on-the-Lake. This charming little town is steeped in a not-so-charming history.

The area was actually central to the War of 1812 — a war between Britain and France.

The war brought violence and death to the region, which probably explains much of the spooky happenings occurring throughout the town and the surrounding areas.

As a result, Niagara-on-the-Lake holds the reputation of “Canada’s most haunted town.” 

There are a variety of ghost tours offered in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some are specific to a location, such as the Fort George tour.

This tour takes 1.5 to 2 hours and is a candlelight walk through the historic fort.

Other tours will take you across several locations in the downtown area.

They cover the mystery of the Apothecary, the theatre ghost, the Olde Angel Inn, the Prince of Wales Hotel, and the tale of the Watcher.

You can check which ghost tours are appropriate for kids before booking, as some may be a little too scary for Littles.

9. Take a Drive and Do Some Leaf-Peeping

Southern Ontario is an incredible place to be in the Fall, as it is one of the top spots in the country for leaf-peeping opportunities.

When the leaves change colour, the gorgeous shades of yellows, oranges, and reds, will take your breath away.

Whether you are visiting a provincial park or conservation area, or just driving the backroads through cottage country, you don’t want to miss Mother Nature in all her colourful glory!

Plan a road trip, ride the rails, or even take a cruise; just make sure you add leaf peeping to your bucket list of Fall activities for families!

10. Check out a Halloween event

If your family loves Halloween, then taking part in a small-town Halloween event would be the perfect experience.

Occurring in October, Elora’s Monster Month is a spooky celebration like no other!

The first thing you can expect when visiting Elora during Monster Month is the Twilight Zoo.

Elora-Monster-Month-Monsters

Brought to life over 20 years ago by local resident, Tim Murton, his tradition of decorating the streets of Elora with his own collection of lanterns and sculptures, brings tourists in from all over the province!

Take a walk through town during twilight, to experience the full effect of the magical and spooky creatures that lurk around every corner.

You can also stop in at the Elora Mill to enjoy some cauldron cocktails!

Elora-Monster-Month-Twilight-Zoo-skeleton-with-girl

And you definitely won’t want to miss the Monster March!

This non-motorized parade encourages families (and their pets!) to dress up and march through the city streets.

Lastly, check out the Scare Fair at the Elora Center for the Arts, where you will find a ton of spooky exhibits.

11. Get Lost in a Corn Maze

One of the most awesome Fall activities for families is getting lost in one of the many corn mazes you can find in Southern Ontario.

Who would have thought that getting lost could be so much fun?

Whether you opt for the traditional corn mazes that are appropriate for the younger crowd or try out the spookier versions offered at many farms after dark, you are sure to have a great time!

Fall Activities - Farm - Corn Maze Entrance

One of our favourites is Downey’s Corn Maze Adventure.

Here, you can wind your way through 10km of trails, making this maze the ultimate fun fall experience!

And if finding your way out of a corn maze isn’t challenging enough, Buzzing Bees Adventure Farm takes their 9-acre corn maze up a notch.

Within the maze, you can play the Halloween monster game by finding the 8 hidden stations and solving the riddles to crack the code.

12. Hop Aboard a Scenic Train

One of the best ways to see the Fall colours in Southern Ontario is to take a scenic train ride.

With more than half a dozen scenic train tours offered in Ontario, this is something you will definitely want to add to your list of Fall activities for families.

A few of your options include the Waterloo Central Rail that takes you from St. Jacob’s Village to Elmira, the Heritage Railway that takes you from Uxbridge to Stouffville, or the South Simcoe Rail from Tottenham.

There’s also the Portage Flyer steam train in Muskoka, that takes you along the Muskoka River.

Of course, the most popular Fall scenic train ride is the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. This all-day train ride runs from June to October out of Sault Ste. Marie.

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train takes you north, to the amazing Agawa Canyon. Here, you can enjoy a hike, or just check out the awesome views.

13. Visit a Haunted Place

Ontario is filled with a rich and long history, so it’s no surprise there are so many haunted places in Ontario!

Ghost stories and haunted places can not only be found across all the big cities but don’t forget to check out a few smaller towns and hiking trails.

Many also have a spooky tale to tell.

Niagara-on-the-Lake-Screaming-Tunnel-1

A great example is the Screaming Tunnel, located in Niagara.

This small limestone tunnel is considered to be one of the top haunted roads in the world, as well as Niagara Falls’ most chilling legend!

According to local legend, over a century ago a farmhouse that was located just past the south entrance to the tunnel, caught fire one night.

A young girl ran screaming from the house with her clothing engulfed in flames.

Niagara-on-the-Lake-Screaming-Tunnel-BW-2

As she ran through the tunnel looking for water and a way to extinguish her garments, she collapsed and died on the tunnel floor.

While there are many variations of this horrible story, they all end the same: a little girl screaming as she dies in the tunnel.

All these stories allege that if you stand in the middle of the dark tunnel at midnight and light a wooden match, the flame will go out, and a girl’s screams will be heard.

14. Take in the Cranberry Harvest

Known as the Cranberry Capital of Ontario, the small Muskoka town of Bala is home to the annual Bala Cranberry Festival.

This festival has been running for over 30 years and takes place the weekend after Thanksgiving.

At the heart of the festivities, is the Muskoka Lake Farm & Winery.

This is Ontario’s oldest cranberry farm, and produces a whopping 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of cranberries yearly!

The farm not only has 27 acres of cranberry marsh, but is also home to a winery, hiking trails, and an awesome café that serves local cheese plates, seasonal goodies, hot/cold beverages, and wine by the glass.

Aside from the beautiful scenery, Fall is definitely the time you need to visit Muskoka Lake Farm and Winery!

This is when the cranberry harvest takes place, so there are some bucket-list-worthy activities happening.

Not only can you take part in their wagon tours, wine tasting, or hiking the 10 kilometres of trails, but you can also try their Cranberry plunge!

That’s right! Strap on a pair of hip waders and step into the cranberry marsh for one of the most unique and Instagrammable Fall photo-ops!

15. Take a Cemetery Tour

Cemeteries do not need to be seen as spooky or scary places. In fact, having a Historical Interpreter give you a tour, can be incredibly interesting.

And Fall, with its beautiful foliage, will make a wonderful backdrop to the storytelling.

Niagara-on-the-Lake-Head-Stones

Touring a cemetery is not only a great way to learn about the history of the actual graveyard, and the architecture of graves and monuments, but it can also provide information about the rituals of death and mourning during a specific era.

Most cemetery tours are family-friendly, however, you should always inquire, since some tours have a minimum age for participants.

Tours can be guided by a knowledgeable historian, or self-guided by downloading the information onto your phone.

Niagara-on-the-Lake-Cemetery

A few cemetery tours that are available in Southern Ontario include The Mount Pleasant Cemetery Tour near Toronto, the Greenwood Cemetery Tour in Owen Sound, and the Overholt (Bethel) Cemetery in rural Port Colborne.

16. Watch the Annual Salmon Run

Something most people don’t usually add to their Fall bucket list is watching the Salmon run!

In Ontario, the Salmon run begins in August but usually peaks in September and October.

During the Fall, the water levels rise, and the temperatures hover between 3°C to 18°C.

Chinook Salmon, Atlantic Salmon, Pink Salmon, and Coho Salmon begin their migration upstream from Ontario’s Great Lakes, to lay their eggs in the shallows before winter arrives.

There are actually quite a few places in Southern Ontario where your family can watch this amazing phenomenon.

And although the amount of fish and timing of it all is very weather-dependent, it is definitely worth heading out to the local parks to see if you can catch the Salmon in action!

A couple of great places to watch the Salmon run are along the Credit River in Mississauga’s Riverwood Park Conservancy or along the Humber River at Étienne Brûlé Park in Toronto.

17. Visit Canada’s Largest Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo

We can’t talk about all the amazing things that Fall in Southern Ontario has to offer, without mentioning Oktoberfest!

Yes! Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario is actually home to one of the largest Bavarian festivals outside of Germany!

Oktoberfest in Kitchener has been a tradition for over 50 years and takes place over nine days from the end of September into the beginning of October.

During the festival, you will be able to enjoy floats, performers, and bands in Canada’s largest Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Stop by Willkommen Platz to celebrate fall in Ontario with Oktoberfest food specials and beer pairings, as well as live entertainment!

18. Visit the Screaming Heads

Located just outside the small town of Burk’s Falls, is one of Ontario’s most unique attractions – the Screaming Heads!

This whimsical installation created by artist Peter Camani is definitely something you should put on your Fall activities for families bucket list.

Screaming Heads is located on a 300-acre property. You will find massive heads emerging from the ground, that appear to be screaming.

As you wander the property, you will also see large ghost figures dancing in the fields, a castle (which is actually the artists’ home), dragons, lion statues, and an incredible spider-web gate.

Since this is the artists’ private property, please be respectful.

If the gates near the parking lot are closed, you will need to view the Screaming Heads from the lot only.

In return for Peter’s amazing artistry and welcoming hospitality, we recommend giving a donation. You can do so, via the box you will find along the driveway to the right of the castle.

19. Experience Pumpkins After Dark

One of the most unique experiences we have had for Halloween is going to see Pumpkins After Dark.

This amazing drive-thru event showcases amazing works of pumpkin artistry, set to a perfect spooky score of music.

Fall Activities - Pumpkins After Dark Entrance

Just like the Christmas light displays that you can drive through, Pumpkins After Dark in Milton has 2.5 kilometres of jack-o-lanterns all illuminated after dark.

This year, the event boasts over 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins, which are used to create more than 100 amazing sculptures.

You have never seen anything like this!

And aside from a couple of straggling ‘pumpkin heads’ we came across along the route, there was absolutely nothing that would scare the younger crowd.

Our kids had an absolute blast, and we would definitely recommend this attraction as one of the best Fall activities for families!

Final Thoughts on Fall Activities for Families in Southern Ontario

Fall is one of the most wonderful seasons to appreciate all that Southern Ontario has to offer.

Between the gorgeous leaf colours on display, to the wonderful food and produce you can find at the farms, you really do need to add Ontario to your bucket list of Fall activities for families.

Pin This Post for Later!


Similar Posts: