The Halton Region is the nestled between the vast Lake Ontario to the south and the Niagara Escarpment with a drop of several hundred metres to the northwest, and the area is couched in over 200 years of history.
Here are our picks for the must-see attractions in the Oakville & Burlington area:
Starting in the east side of Oakville, notice the large Ford Plant, just south of the QEW (tours take a half day, so skip it on this tour)
Exit the QEW at Trafalgar and head into downtown Oakville to poke around the harbour and the surrounding parks, shopping and restaurants
Head north on Dorval to the famous Glen Abbey Golf Course and visit the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum
Jump on the QEW west for 3 exits to Burloak Drive, and head north to Bronte Creek Provincial Park, with a children's farm, North America's largest outdoor pool, Spruce Lane Farm, lots of recreational trails, and a winter toboggan hill.
Head toward the lake, east on Rebecca and south on Bronte (2nd street on right) into historical Bronte Village, with its cluster of quaint shops and restaurants around the harbour at the mouth of 12 Mile Creek
Drive west along Lakeshore Rd for great view of the Skyway Bridge to Hamilton (you can catch glimpses of Toronto's skyscrapers to the east at times). Notice the lakefront recreational pathway that goes all the way to Hamilton.
One kilometre past Appleby Line, on the left is Paletta Lakefront Park with the historical Paletta Mansion, a restored 1930's Mansion with public walking trails through the woodlot, along the creek and lakeshore.
In Burlington, on the north side of Hamilton Harbour, enjoy Spencer Smith Park on the lakeshore, or head west to the Royal Botanical Gardens, the RBG Cootes Paradise Sanctuary, Borers Falls Sanctuary, and the Rock Chapel Sanctuary
Continue west until James Street, which is the heart of Burlington's downtown. Along the lakefront at the foot of Brant St. is Spencer Smith Park, which leads to Beachway Park. At the bend in the beach, you'll find the new Discovery Landing with its observatory, pond used for sailing model boats in season and skating in winter, a water jet plaza and Spencer's restaurant. The Burlington Arts Centre, and the important Joseph Brant Museum.
Of course downtown Burlington has loads of shops & restaurants, worth a look around. The Visitor Centre is open daily from mid June until Labour Day from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and from September to mid June from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. nd it is located at 414 Locust St. a half a block from Lakeshore Road on the first floor of the parking garage. Come in and get Burlington information, souvenirs and maps. and Then head north to Fairview, and head west (the road turns into Plains Rd) to the Royal Botanical Gardens, one of the most stunning horticultural displays on the continent.
If you have energy and daylight left, head north of the QEW via Waterdown Rd (just east of the RBG), and east along North Service Road. On King Rd, on your left (space) is the Burlington Magnetic Hill (2 km up King Rd). Head back to North Service Rd and then up (literally UP) Kerns Rd, or a spectacular view of Burlington Bay and the city along its shores, from the lip of the Escarpment at Kerncliff Park.
Here are some nearby attractions worth a detour (each of these can take a half to a full day)
Crawford Lake Conservation Area in Campbellville has a wildlife marsh, lush meadows, forests, hiking and captivating learning programs. There are stunning view of the Nassagawaya Canyon from the Escarpment, and this spot is also popular with rock climbers.
Head to Milton to check out the Kelso Lake Conservation Area, Glen Eden Ski Area (in winter), Country Heritage Park with its antique displays, and the Halton County Radial Railway, with its collection of historic electric street cars.
There is lots to see and do around Burlington & Oakville cities. Take a tour of the city's shoreline, either from land or by boat (though you will need access to a boat, since there are no public tours offered).