My 7 Favourite Hidden Destinations Explored in 2017
Updated: Sep 30, 2018
2017 was an amazing year of new explorations for me. I really tried to challenge myself to get outside and seek out new destinations. I was also super inspired by my friend & blogger Joelle @lepetitenoob killing it with all her location shoots so I had to step up my game! Out of all the incredible places I traveled this year here are my TOP 7 picks in no particular order.
Sand Dunes & Lavender Fields - Prince Edward County, Ontario
Just over 2 hours east of Toronto you will find Prince Edward County. This little nook has so much hidden beauty within it, I would suggest spending the night. From sand dunes that look like you’re on a foreign planet in Star Wars, to the sensorial lavender fields this place has no limit of sights to explore. Visiting the sea of purple at the lavender field was so nostalgic for me, the smell of lavender always brings be back to when I was a child and I would explore the magical world of my grandmothers powder room. Make sure you stop by the cute little gift shop and try some lavender ice cream, absolutely delicious. As a side note, even hours after I got home, my skin was still sweetly scented by the fields. Just down the road lies lake Ontario and its otherworldly sand dunes, the likes of which I had never seen before. The only thing missing is a pet camel.
Albion Falls – Hamilton, Ontario
From Summer to Winter, Albion Falls' beauty transforms with the seasons. In the summer, the 19 meter cascading staircase waterfall is a perfect place to beat the heat. The currents are not super strong so interacting with the waterfall is quite easy. Downstream, there is a second waterfall that is also worth exploring. In the wintertime, Albion Falls turns into the Ice Queen's Palace from Narnia. The ice formations will seriously take your breath away, they are so magical. If you look closely, you will also find hidden ice caves behind the waterfalls that can be explored.
Delilah Fields and Kelso Conservation Areas - Milton, Ontario
Who doesn’t want to be in a field full of Delilah flowers in every colour imaginable? It's time you take a quick trip outside Toronto to Andrews Scenic Acres. With many activities that are family oriented, this is a great place to bring your little ones. Or if you are a fashion nomad like me, shoot an editorial in the beautiful fields. You can also pick your own bouquets and try lots of yummy fresh baked goods on the farm. Very close to Scenic Acres, you can take a hike up to the cliffs of Kelso and get the most beautiful video of Milton and its surrounding area. As the turkey vultures fly overhead you can look for fossils along the cliffside.
Decew Falls - St. Catherine’s, Ontario
Take a tour through a restored 1872 mill that is still operating today and then go for a dip in the natural pools below Decew falls. You will not be disappointed by the power and beauty of this waterfall. Get right under this huge waterfall and snap some photos- it’s an experience not to be missed. Explore down river to see a few more small falls and some beautiful scenery. On your way out, you can make a donation at the mill to receive a bag of flour that is made in-house.
Need some sun on a tight budget? I was always kind of underwhelmed by what I had heard about Cuba but I was very surprised by its charm when I experienced it for myself. I went in the month of April and it could not have been better timing. The weather was perfect, the beaches at Hotel Kawama in Varadero were spotless white and there was a huge, mind-blowing crab migration. I took a day trip into Havana to experience a bit more of a city feel to the Cuban Lifestyle. I would highly recommend grabbing the OG of Mojitos at Bar La Bodeguita del Medio where Author Ernest Hemingway would frequently visit. If you can drive standard, make sure to rent a vintage car from of the 1950’s in any colour you can imagine and take a spin around town. My favourite part of Cuba would have to be the scuba diving. I was so blown away by the variety of fish and coral. It really is a whole other world under the water that you need to see with your own eyes to truly experience. As a functioning condiments addict, my only other suggestion about Cuba would be to bring a bottle of ketchup as you will miss it dearly there.
Lynn Canyon – Vancouver, British Columbia
Looking for an easy hike not too far outside of Vancouver? Lynn Canyon Park is a great place to visit to take a free walk across a suspension bridge that overlooks a huge waterfall. This suspension bridge is a little less crowded by tourists if you’re looking to get some good shots. You can also be mesmerized by the giant old trees and the ecosystems they're living in. I would love to visit this location in the spring or summer, there are some great swimming spots.
Flat Rock, New Found Land
Every summer I take a trip to Newfoundland and try and explore a new part of this magical province. I typically fly into St Johns to start my adventures. If you’re looking for a nice day trip, Flat Rock is calling your name. With a coastal landscape in a rich prune-hued stone and three large interconnected waterfalls, this hike will not disappoint you. At the end of the hike you will find a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean where in the spring you might even be able to spot some Icebergs and Whale pods. If you’re overheating on your way back, take a dip in the waterfalls or for the more brave explorers, jump off the top of the falls. To finish the experience in Newfoundland make sure you pick up some yummy local cloudberry or partridge berry preserves.