I love summer road trips in Ontario. Every year I get in the car in search of new spots close to home. This summer on a girls road trip, I discovered the town of Dunnville Ontario in Haldimand County Ontario.

Southwestern Ontario is full of surprises!

Ruthven Park Haldimand County Ontario

Haldimand County Ontario Location

Located about an hour from Toronto before Hamilton, Haldimand County Ontario is a gateway to Ontario’s Southwest. The region includes the towns of  Dunnville, Cayuga, Caledonia, and Hagersville.

Bird Sanctuary Ruthven Park Haldimand County Ontario

Things to Do in Haldimand County Ontario

Historical Attractions and Sites

Ruthven Park National Historic Site

My first stop in Haldimand County was Ruthven Park a National Historic Site. With over 1500 acres of land sitting on the Grand River, it is a great place for bird watchers, trail hikers, and a favorite enthusiasts.

Trails Ruthven Park Haldimand County Ontario

On the land are doughnuts hiking trails and nature conservancy features. Nature lovers are free to wander the grounds and trails.

Mansion at Ruthven Park Haldimand County Ontario

The land was owned by 5 generations of the Thompson family from 1845-1993 and features this mansion which is stilled filled with all the original family furnishings. We had a tour of the mansion which I will be sharing in a future post.

Dunnville RCAF Museum Ontario

No. 6 RCAF Dunnville Museum.

Another cool stop on my road trip was the No. 6 RCAF Dunnville Museum. It is one of the few remaining bases from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) British Commonwealth Air Training bases.

Dunnville RCAF Museum Ontario

Dedicated the more than 2,500 men and women who served at the school from 1940-1944. A museum filled with displays of pictures, artefacts, and memorabilia. There is also a large hanger filled with planes from that era. The museum is open on weekends.

Street View Town of Dunnville Ontario Haldimand County

Shopping and Site Seeing

The town of Dunnville’s main shopping strip is on Queen Street. The street is filled with local shops, cafe’s and restaurants. Plan to visit Monday-Saturday when stores are open, on Sunday many of the shops and stores were closed.

Sweet Retrospect Town of Dunnville Ontario Haldimand County

One store I just had to visit (and thankfully was open on Sunday) was Sweet Retrospect. Inside the store was filled with yummy treats from my childhood and many other fun treats and collectables.

Candy Wall in Sweet Retrospect Town of Dunnville Ontario Haldimand County

The moment I opened the door, I was hit with this amazing smell of kettle-cooked popcorn mixed with chocolate and fudge. It was pretty amazing in there.

Church converted to restaurant inside Shells Family Dining Cayuga Ontario

Shelly’s Family Dining – Converted Church into Restaurant

Where to Eat in Haldimand County

Shelly’s Family Dining (Cayuga)

Located in a restored 112-year-old Church, this is a popular restaurant for locals. We stopped here for breakfast, but Shelly’s serves up lunch and dinner as well.

Breakfast made fresh to order Shells Family Dining Cayuga Ontario

Be sure to ask about the homemade doughnuts. Like all the food here,  these cinnamon doughnut holes were made fresh and came out all hot and gooey. They are not on the menu – it’s a secret menu item!

Fresh made donuts Shells Family Dining Cayuga Ontario

Shhhh! It’s a secret you won’t find these donuts on the menu!

Storefront Flyers Bakery and Cafe Dunnville Ontario

Flyers Bakery and Cafe (Dunnville)

If you roll into Dunnville Ontario on a Sunday, you should know most of the town is closed. Flyer’s Bakery and Cafe is open but only serves breakfast on Sunday’s. A favourite local spot, and I will be writing a full review of it shortly.

Flyers Bakery and Cafe Dunnville Ontario

A cool stop whatever day you walk into it as the entire restaurant is covered with local artwork, paintings, and crafts. They even have a commitment to source their produce and staples locally.

Airplane painted on the wall in Flyers Bakery and Cafe Dunnville Ontario

Debbs Cuisine Dunnville Ontario

Debbs Cuisine (Dunnville)

One of the things I love about Ontario’s Southwest region is the casual fine dining restaurants I keep finding along the way. I have another new favourite to add to my growing list: Debbs Cuisine.

Debbs Cuisine Dunnville Ontario

A full review of Debb’s Cuisine on Queen is available here, but let’s just say if you are walking into this restaurant be sure to walk in with an empty stomach. You will want to try everything.

Debts Cuisine in Dunnville Ontario serves up a delicious fine dining menu in a casual environment. Be sure to sample one of these Ballpark Caesars to start off!

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Where to Stay in Haldimand County

I have already gushed about my first glamping experience at Oakwood Escape. Located 15 minutes from Dunnville in the heart of Haldimand this is a perfect place to settle in for the night if you are staying in the region. The full experience can be seen in my post about Glamping at Oakwood Escape.

checking the tent for bugs Glamping-Oakwood-Escape-Dunnville-Ontario

What I loved about Haldimand County Ontario where all the fun little secret gems I found along the way. From cool local restaurants, the amazing National Historic Park, an amazing fine dining experience, and my Glamping adventure … I loved all the fun discoveries so much. Can’t wait to take another road trip to the region soon!

A short drive from Toronto on route to Hamilton Ontario, Haldimand County has a few great local spots. Take a short road trip to the region and enjoy its small towns and try a night of glamping while you are there.

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Travel assistance provided by Haldimand County Tourism and Ontario’s Southwest, however, as always the opinions in this post are my own.