by Kathryn Dickson | UPDATED October 2023
A little over an hour from Toronto lies the beautiful Region of Waterloo. Waterloo is an easily accessible destination for families driving via the 401 or by train. And for Family Fun in the fall, this region should be on your list for a road trip!
Why Visit Waterloo Region?
The Region of Waterloo has many charming rural roads to drive lined with farms. You can visit stunning scenery while walking on trails along side the Grand River. While you are out, there are stops you can make along the way like the West Montrose Kissing Bridge (one of the oldest covered bridges in Canada) or St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.
Although the cities of the region are considered to be large, you’re never far from lots of green space and room to breath fresh air. And at this time of year, the green space is turning to spectacular autumn hues of reds, oranges and yellows.
Waterloo Region is home to a number of craft breweries and restaurants. You’ll find farmers’ markets, farm visits and other attractions that are family fun during the day, along with scarier attractions at night that will make you jump!
How To Spend a Fall Weekend in Waterloo Region
This is a place where you can jam pack an itinerary for the day or plan to spend a whole weekend – it’s up to you! Here are some activities you should check out if you are heading to the area. First up – fun family activities you can do during the day:
Fun by Day
- Canoe The Grand River with Canoeing the Grand
There is nothing better than a fall paddle and the Grand River (which winds its way through the Region) is in the midst of a beautiful display of fall colours. The Grand River has a mighty current that will gently pull you along if you need to take a break from paddling. You can choose from different time slots and lengths of course to take.
Canoeing The Grand rents kayaks and canoes and can be found at 3734 King Street East, Kitchener.
- Hike Alongside The Grand River on the Walter Bean Trail
Waterloo has more than a dozen different trails through the city. The Walter Bean Trail is a long, 17.4 kilometre trail that’s classified as moderately challenging, but for those with kids, you don’t have to do all of it and can stick to the easier parts by Schneider Park – where you can find free parking for your vehicle. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Canoeing The Grand, so you can combine two outdoor activities in one location.
- Have A Farm-tastic Fun Time at Snyder’s Farm
Plan to spend at least half a day with the family at Snyder’s Farm. This is also a good place to plan to get lunch as there is a grilled cheese double-decker bus and a burger hut.
There is enough to keep the kids entertained here for hours, including a jumping pad, corn maze, hayride and play areas.
For an extra special add-on experience for the family, you can rent a campfire pod. Campfires are assigned a team member who takes care of bringing wood to the fire and keeping it going. Fancy a hot dog to cook over the fire? You can order food and drinks directly to your pod. While the kids delight in roasting marshmallows for s’mores, mom can enjoy a local beer from Block 3 Brewing Co.
Snyder’s Family Farm can be found at 936685 Blenheim Rd, Bright, ON N0J 1B0 – approximately a 25 minute drive from Canoeing The Grand.
Fear by Night
Although the fun doesn’t stop at Snyder’s when the sun goes down, the tone changes in the fall to fear!
- Snyder’s Farm becomes the setting for Fear Farm!
At night the Fun-tastic Farm turns into a haunted hayride through cornfields and forests and other scary outdoor haunts. Keep your wits about you, you don’t know who or what is lurking where!
- Screampark at Bingemans
Running select nights between now and Hallowe’en, be prepared to get your scare on because Screaming Season is here! Screampark takes brave souls through 6 horrifying attractions meant to leave you shaking in your shoes.
While the gory and terrifyingly dead cast members won’t touch you, they certainly can death stare you down as you visit The Lot, Soulless Swamp, or Devil’s Hallows or you might even find yourself being chased by a chainsaw-wielding maniac.
The kids were definitely terrified.
Fear Farm or Screampark are not recommended for anyone under the age of 12.
Where to Stay in Waterloo Region
The DoubleTree by Hilton Kitchener is located close to the highway in the southern part of the region. It’s very close to Bingemans, to Canoeing the Grand, and has many shopping conveniences. The rooms are comfortable and spacious, our breakfast at the onsite restaurant was delicious, the staff are lovely and kind and the price point is affordable.
This itinerary is a small tip of the iceberg of all of the fantastic family fun and fear-by-night activities that Waterloo Region has to offer. But it will definitely entice you into wanting to return.