Lennox and Addington County is the perfect road trip destination in Ontario for outdoor activities, charming small towns, and intriguing lesser known places to discover. If you’re planning a long weekend getaway, this three day road trip guide highlights some of the best things to do in the region.
For the nature lovers in the crowd, there are kilometres of hiking trails, paddling routes, and a magnificent dark sky preserve that’s one of the best places to go stargazing in Ontario. For wildlife and animal lovers, don’t miss the birdwatching at Amherst Island or the chance to cuddle a baby goat at Barking Goat Farms.
If you love shopping, there are unique boutiques in downtown Napanee and the village of Bath. And your scenic drive through the countryside has memorable places to stop the car, like the impressive Book Shop in Tamworth and the cute StoneCorner cafe in Camden East.
I suggest choosing Greater Napanee as your home base, fully exploring Napanee on day one and taking road trips from Napanee to the neighbouring townships on the following days.
Day 1: Greater Napanee
First up, drive to Lennox and Addington County and spend the day in Greater Napanee. In the downtown core, there are many small local businesses offering interesting wares, and there’s truly something for every taste.
Most of the shops are on the main downtown street, Dundas Street West, though you will find some around the block at Market Square. Here are a few of my favourite places to check out:
Downtown Napanee has many fantastic restaurants and cafes, too. If you are a coffee lover like myself, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Napanee. For food and drink in Napanee, here are a few of my top suggestions:
- Coffee Cravings
- Ellena’s Cafe and Bakery
- The Bakery and Bistro Spot
- Loaf N’ Ale Pub
- The Waterfront River Pub
Once you’ve treated yourself to some retail therapy and had a bite to eat, why not grab a caffeinated beverage and explore some of the town’s natural wonders? Walk over to Springside Park where you can admire views of the brilliant Napanee Falls. There’s a cascading waterfall right in the middle of town. Go for a stroll along the Napanee River to see the waterfall, and keep walking on the boardwalk for more tranquil scenery.
As you walk between Springside Park and Napanee Conservation Park, you will be treated to a multitude of public art works. All of the public art is created by locals using repurposed industrial wooden pallets.
After your walk around Napanee’s green spaces, it’s time for an evening river cruise. Hop on board a 45 foot pontoon boat and drift down the river with Norman Paul River Tours. The pontoon boat has a fully licensed drink menu with beer and wine, and you can pre-order meals and snacks, too. The river boat tour is a 1.5 hour long trip down the Napanee River and back. It’s a peaceful trip where you can soak up your surroundings and spend some relaxing time with your partner or a group of friends.
Day 2: Loyalist Township
On day two of this road trip through Lennox and Addington County, we’re headed to Loyalist Township. Let’s visit two amazing destinations, the village of Bath and Amherst Island.
Spend the morning in Bath before taking the ferry across to Amherst Island. Bath is a sleepy and adorable waterfront village with a delightful little main street. There is a coffee shop, as well as a few shops and restaurants. When you travel to Bath, you need to visit:
- Anderwood Studio
- Lakeside Studio Gallery
- Books on Main
- The Lodge Coffee House
- Welborne Commons (return here for dinner at the end of the day)
Next, it’s time to venture over to Amherst Island. Take the ferry from Millhaven, which is only a short drive down the road from Bath. Drive onto the ferry and pay $10.00 to travel across to the island (this fee includes your return trip).
Amherst Island is a serene and lesser known place to visit in Ontario, and I highly recommend that you check it out. The island is teeming with wildlife, especially when it comes to birds. The prime birdwatching times occur during migration seasons in the spring and fall, though Amherst Island is known for owl spotting in the wintertime.
I suggest going for a road trip all over Amherst Island. It is only 20km in length at most, so it doesn’t take too long to drive around the entire island. As you drive along, you’ll catch glimpses of pristine lakefront views, pastoral scenes, and perhaps even some wildlife. I saw a mother deer with two babies prance across the road right before my eyes.
For lunch, stop by the Back Kitchen for burgers and fries. To all of the vegetarians and vegans in the crowd like myself, they have a delicious Beyond burger.
Amherst Island has a protected sandy beach at Sand Beach Wetlands Conservation Area. Go for a swim or simply relax on the shores, listening to the sounds of the crashing waves.
Don’t travel to Amherst Island without stopping at Topsy Farms. Once a hippie commune in the 1970s, it’s now a family run sheep farm selling locally produced wool and wool products. Be sure to meet the staff at Topsy Farms to learn more about the farm itself and browse the shop.
Topsy Farms has some great hiking trails, too. Go for a walk around a few of their interconnecting nature paths to see an old sugar shack, a “graveyard” of antique farm equipment and rusty cars, and wildlife (I saw wild turkeys, deer, and rabbits).
Day 3: Stone Mills Township
On our last day around Lennox and Addington County, we’re headed to Stone Mills Township. We are spending some time in the countryside at a family farm, visiting a couple of tiny villages, and ending the day at a beautiful conservation area.
On the way to our first stop, pop by StoneCorner in Camden East for breakfast and a coffee. This is a really cozy café with enticing decor and friendly staff. After breakfast, it’s time to spend the morning with goats and donkeys at Barking Goat Farms.
Barking Goat Farms is a small, family run hobby farm with goats, donkeys, chickens, and barn cats. You can interact with the resident farm animals by learning how to groom a donkey or simply by hugging a baby goat. It’s very therapeutic to be around the animals, and you can’t help but have a permanent smile on your face while you’re here.
Our next stop is Tamworth. Have lunch at The Black Cat Cafe and stop by the Tamworth Book Shop for all kinds of rare finds. There are books in every genre and for every taste within this old Victorian coach house. It’s easy to spend hours browsing through all of the books!
Lastly, end your road trip of Lennox and Addington County by going for a hike at Sheffield Conservation Area. You’ll hike around several beautiful lakes across the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield. Hike up to a few vistas to enjoy sweeping views across the deep blue waters of Haley Lake and Little Melon Lake.
If you decide to stay a while longer past nightfall, the Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area is located at the same property at Sheffield Conservation Area. It is one of the southernmost dark sky preserves in Ontario, and it’s rare to be able to go stargazing within a relatively short distance from towns and cities.
And there you have it! Feel free to use this itinerary to plan your perfect trip to Lennox and Addington County! It’s a wonderful place to go for a road trip in Ontario where you’ll make so many amazing memories.
Originally published August 3, 2022