Sir Winston Churchill said the Niagara Parkway was “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” With its winding roads, scenic stops, shops and wineries along the way, you’d be hard pressed to argue with that kind of British intelligence.
The Niagara Parkway flanks the mighty Niagara River, extending from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The scenery along the Parkway is dramatic, dynamic and varied: the rock faces of the Niagara Gorge offer supreme vistas and contrast with the rolling fields, parks and lush vineyards in the area. Many historical monuments chronicle the War of 1812 along the way, and the route includes the thundering Niagara Falls.
Niagara’s wine route is clearly mapped for you to sample your way between vineyards and wineries. If you want this to be the focal point of your drive, Wine Country Ontario has created several itineraries: simply create your route, print it out and start your adventure. Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake also offers tours for the discerning wine tripper. To enjoy a special lunch or dinner, you can get schooled (and fed) at the Benchmark Restaurant, which features food, wine and beer created, prepared and presented by students from the programs at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. The restaurant frequently hosts special Saturday winemaker’s dinners where students and chefs prepare a five-course meal paired with fantastic regional wines.
With an abundance of roadside stands offering fruits, vegetables and baked goods provided by local farms, the drive is a wonderful opportunity to stock up on fall recipe ingredients. A short jaunt off the Parkway will get you to a number of roadside market stands where you can stock up on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you’ve packed your own picnic (ready to pair with that freshly purchased bottle of wine), there are many places to break for a bite.
You may want to bring your bike or your hiking boots – and maybe your dog too – to explore The Parkway in greater detail. The Niagara River Recreation Trail is a paved path for non-motorized traffic stretching 53 kms along the Canadian side of the Niagara River, and is one part of The Greater Niagara Circle Route Trails System.
After one day’s drive, enjoying Niagara’s diversity along the Parkway and its shops, wineries, restaurants and heritage sites, you’ll likely want to go back again and follow a different itinerary – or none at all – and head out on a whim. Explore the many picturesque routes and roads and let nature be your guide.
Niagara Cycling Tourism
Wine Country Ontario
Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake