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  • Writer's pictureKrista the Explorer

5 Small Towns in Perth County, Ontario To Visit

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

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Not everyone likes to visit large cities and crowded tourist areas, which is why Perth County is the ideal destination for many people visiting Southwestern Ontario. This part of the province is known for its beautiful farmland, delicious produce, and long country roads that go on for miles. Having grown up in this part of Ontario, I can confirm that it has a charm that no other part of Ontario has, and despite there not being a lot of major attractions here, there are still plenty of things to see and do in Perth County.

So, where is Perth County, Ontario located? Perth County is nestled between Kitchener and Lake Huron, and is a good option for a day trip from Toronto. It’s made up of several thriving communities that are rich in both heritage and agriculture, and spread out around the countryside are many Farm Gates that you can’t miss, especially in the summer months (places to buy fresh produce). For those of you who like being outside in nature, the Wildwood Conservation Area has always been a popular area for camping and forest walks. Here are 5 small towns in Perth County, Ontario you need to stop at.

St Mary's

City hall building in stone in St Mary's, Ontario.
St Mary's

St Mary’s is only a short drive from Stratford, and is known as “Stone Town” thanks to its local limestone buildings. If you’re planning a small town Ontario road trip, St Mary’s is a good place to stop for a couple of hours. It’s home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, has a unique swimming quarry which is open to the public in the summertime, and has a great collection of charming shops and restaurants to visit. If you’re a chocolate lover, a stop at The Chocolate Factory shouldn’t be missed either. St Mary’s is definitely a must-see in Perth County.


An antique and gift shop with retro storefront in Listowel.

The small town of Listowel was originally founded by Protestant Irish settlers, and is still very much tied to its past. Every March the town hosts Paddyfest, the largest Irish festival in North America which looks incredible to take part in. The downtown boasts a number of quaint shops, including a personal favourite of mine - Listowel Florist & Gifts. Whatever time of the year you visit, Listowel is one of the best small towns in Perth County to stop at, and there are plenty of things to do near Listowel as well.


A small town in Perth county with shops on main street.

Milverton is located in Perth East, and although there isn’t a lot to do here, it’s a unique small town in Perth County to visit for a quick stop. It has a history dating back to the mid-19th century, and the main street is home to a few shops and places to eat that may be of interest. It sits close to Millbank which is home to Anna Mae’s family-owned bakery and restaurant which draws in a big crowd from all over the county.


A stork wooden carving in front of a hotel in Mitchell.

Looking for things to do in Mitchell? Although you probably couldn’t spend more than a couple of hours walking around Mitchell, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good place to stop during an Ontario road trip. It prides itself on being the birthplace of hockey player Howie Morenz, and has a few interesting shops to visit. If you like shopping for home decor, a trip to Jillian’s will definitely be the highlight of your visit. Mitchell is a good option for a pit stop as you make your way into Huron County.


View of the Avon River in Stratford facing the courthouse.
Avon River in Stratford

My hometown of Stratford is a must-see in Ontario, not just Perth County. It’s very well known for being the home of the Stratford Festival and for being Canada’s premier arts town, but it has so much more going for it. I’ve recently discovered a lot of amazing places to eat in Stratford that are run by locals that have farm-to-table menus, so the food scene in Stratford is definitely upping its game. There are also plenty of places to shop in downtown Stratford, and a walk along the Avon River in the summer months with the baby Canadian geese and swans is never a bad option. You may need 48 hours to explore Stratford, but it’ll be worth the extra time spent here.

There are a lot of great things to do in Perth Country at any time of the year, but if you want to experience the rural soul of the county then a road trip in the summer months is your best option. There’s nothing quite like driving through all of these small towns in Perth County, Ontario, finding farm shops and local artisans along your route, and coming across an outdoor festival or two along the way as well.

Have you toured Perth County before? Or are looking for day trips from Stratford? I’d love to hear what you thought of this little section of Ontario and what your favourite places were. Let me know in the comment section below and give me a follow on Instagram to stay up to date with my latest travel tips.


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