Toronto is perfectly positioned for easy access to a wide variety of day trips, either by road or by rail. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in Ontario, there are wonderful outdoor recreational areas to choose from including the Belfountain Conservation Area, beautiful Grand River and the stunning Niagara Escarpment, all of which offer hiking trails and wonderful scenery. One of the most popular day trip destinations has to be Niagara Falls and the surrounding area which offer thrilling Niagara adventures and serene and beautiful vineyards and wineries. You can also consider quaint St. Jacob’s and Jordan Village (for farmer’s markets and shopping), or London, Collingwood and Dundurn Castle for some history.
1.Belfountain Conservation Area
Nature lovers are bound to enjoy a day trip visit to the lovely Belfountain Conservation area which is located about an hour northwest of Toronto. To get there you are strongly advised to choose the very beautiful Forks of the Credit Scenic Drive which stretches along the Credit River from Hwy 10 to Belfountain Village. The conservation area is a good place to go hiking (leashed dogs are welcome), fishing and picnicking, surrounded by mature forest and beautiful gardens. There is a waterfall which is overlooked by a suspension bridge and the serene atmosphere offers a welcome break from the city and the chance to do some yoga or meditation surrounded by nature.
Belfountain Conservation Area, 10 Credit Street, Belfountain, L7K 0E5, Phone: 800-367-0890
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You don’t need a passport to spend an interesting day trip in London, Ontario. Named after the very well-known capitol of England, Ontario’s London is located within an easy drive of Toronto and offers a good selection of attractions and activities, many of which are also named after its UK counterpart. You could choose to visit the Banting Museum to find out all about the invention of insulin or the Museum London which is packed with wonderful art and history exhibits. Other London museums include the London Regional Children’s Museum. Other attractive city options include exploring the Covent Garden Market, going on a brewery tour or walking/hiking the Thames Valley Trail.
London, ON N0L 1E0
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The town of Caledon and its surrounding rural areas offer day trippers from Toronto a wonderfully diverse collection of activities and attractions for all ages. The area is well known for offering exceptional scenic drives to view fall foliage while summer brings a host of outdoor activities. Art lovers can plan their trip to include visits to many art galleries and studios which welcome visitors, while families will find several farms where they can introduce the children to pick-your-own produce, corn mazes, hay rides and petting zoos. Along the route you will find several micro breweries and wineries, while outdoor enthusiasts can explore hiking trails, conservation areas and Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo.
Caledon ON, L7C 1J6
Easily accessible by road or by train in around an hour, Cobourg Beach is an ideal destination for a day trip from Toronto. The city has a wonderful vacation atmosphere, thanks to the many lovely holiday homes which were built here in the early 1900’s. Most visitors come to Cobourg to enjoy the exceptional beach, which offers a large beach area, shallow water and a splash-pad for children. You can hire a bike to ride along the lake shore or rent a kayak or paddleboard (from Green Canoe Outfitters) to make the most of the clean, clear lake water. Other Cobourg attractions include historic downtown King Street for good shopping and restaurants, the Art Gallery of Northumberland and the Sifton-Cook Heritage Center.
Cobourg Beach, Cobourg, ON K9A 3P3
Collingwood is located about two hours north of Toronto on the south shore of Lake Huron. The town offers a complete change of pace and the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities during the warm summer months. A good way to explore the city would be to take a self-guided walking tour that best suits your interests, be they architectural, historic, artistic or culinary; the website has links to several interesting tour options. There are a number of outfitters offering water sport equipment and excursions as well as scenic boat tours and you can consider renting a bicycle and exploring the many cycling trails. In winter Collingwood offers great cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.
Collingwood, ON L9Y 0E8
Dundas Peak offers outdoor enthusiasts a remarkable recreation area located just one hour south-west of Toronto, near the town of Hamilton. You will find Dundas Peak in the beautiful Spencer Falls Conservation Area, where visitors come from near and far to spend a day surrounded by nature at its best. Although there are a few different routes to reach Dundas Peak, the most popular trails are the Tews Falls Lookout Trail and the Bruce Trail, both of which will lead you past beautiful waterfalls. If you are planning to visit on summer weekends you will need to park at Christie Park Conservation Area and use the free shuttle to reach the trail heads.
Dundas Peak, Harvest Rd, Dundas, ON L9H 5K7
Fabulous Dundurn Castle (aka Dundurn National Historic Site) is a fascinating destination for a day trip from Toronto. The castle is located in Hamilton, which is easy to access by road or rail in about an hour. This historic mansion was once home to Sir Alan Napier McNab and was built in 1835. Back in the day, this was a very modern household which had unheard-of luxuries like gas lighting and running water. You can join a guided tour of the 40-room home which will take you back in time to see how the gentry lived upstairs and were waited upon by the downstairs servants. The castle hosts regular themed tours of the gardens and kitchen and Historic Cooking Workshops.
Dundurn Castle, 610 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON L8R 3E7, Phone: 905-546-2872
8.Eramosa Karst Caves
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If you are in the mood to do something a little different on your next day trip you can head to the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area in Stoney Creek, about an hour from Toronto. Karsts are caves and passages caused by dissolving limestone rock and at Eramosa you can enjoy the opportunity to explore up to sixteen different Karst features. There are seven kilometers of trails which will lead you through the area and there are many small caves to explore. The trails are mostly flat and shaded so perfect for families to enjoy. You are welcome to bring a picnic and make a day of it.
Eramosa Karst Caves, Upper Mount Albion Rd, Stoney Creek, ON L8J 3X9, Phone: 905-627-1233
9.Ferris Provincial Park
Located about two hours east of Toronto, Ferris Provincial Park is an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Here you can spend a day (or two) enjoying a number of outdoor activities against the spectacular backdrop of the Trent River Gorge. Many visitors come to the park to enjoy water sports like boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing, while others are more interested in exploring the hiking trails and doing some bird watching. You can also bring along your bike to take a scenic cycle through the park. If you would like to stay overnight you can bring a tent or RV. In winter there are 5 km of cross-country skiing and snow-shoe trails.
Ferris Provincial Park, 474 County Rd. 8, Campbellford, ON K0L 1L0, Phone: 705-653-3575
, Michigan beaches
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Ontario’s wonderful Grand River stretches over 280 kilometers along the western edge of the Golden Horseshoe area, offering outstanding opportunities for a range of recreational activities. There are several ways to explore the river and its surrounding areas including taking a scenic river cruise along a twenty kilometer section of the river in Brant County or opting for a Dinner Cruise from Caledonia. The Grand River is famous for offering excellent sport fishing and other water sports. Grand-Experiences (based in Paris, ON) offer a range of guided river adventures including one or two-day cycling and paddling tours or half-day paddling and rafting excursions.
Grand River, Ontario
11.Gravenhurst and Lake Muskoka
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On your next day trip from Toronto you could opt to drive two hours north to Gravenhurst and Lake Muskoka, to find out why this area is consistently voted one of the best vacation spots in Canada. If you are visiting during the summer months you can enjoy hours of fun on the lake, which offers swimming, fishing, boating, paddling and much more. You can take a scenic lake cruise, visit a few craft breweries or the Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery for a tasting or embark on a self guided tour of Muskoka’s many art galleries and studios. Gravenhurst offers interesting museums and historic sites as well as good dining and shopping.
Gravenhurst, ON, P1P1Z3
12.The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is located right at the Hamilton International Airport, about an hour from Toronto, where it offers a fun and educational day out for all ages. Not only can you see a collection of almost 50 aircraft on display, you can also purchase a flight on several of them, for a thrilling adventure. The collection of aircraft includes planes flown by the Canadian Air Force from WWII to the present and there is even a sophisticated flight simulator that accurately mimics genuine combat in a modern jet. Younger visitors will enjoy the Kid Zone area which offers regular sleepovers for aspirant young aviators.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, 9280 Airport Rd, Mount Hope, ON L0R 1W0, Phone: 905-679-4183
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Scenically nestled among the vineyards and wineries of the Niagara Escarpment, approximately 60 minutes from Toronto, Jordan Village is a delightful day trip destination. If you fancy some exercise you can bring your bicycle and go for an exhilarating ride through the vineyards, stopping here and there for a tasting. Back in the village you can enjoy visiting several art galleries and one-of-a-kind shops and eateries or stop in at the Cave Spring Cellars Winery right on the main street. If you enjoy walking and hiking you can include a visit to the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area or the Louth Conservation Area to reconnect with nature.
Jordan Village, 3769 Main Street, Jordan Station, ON L0R 1S0
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Anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors should certainly add the Kelso Conservation Area to their list of day trip ideals from Toronto. Kelso is easily accessed by road in less than an hour and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities all year round. When the snow melts in spring and summer a network of great hiking and cycling trails are revealed, including the historic Lime Kiln Trail (hiking only). After a brisk walk or hike you can enjoy a refreshing swim or try paddle boarding and boating. Other popular attractions include the park’s aerial ropes course. In winter you can try your hand at down-hill and cross-country skiing.
Kelso Conservation Area, 5234 Kelso Rd, Milton, ON L9E 0C6
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Located at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, Milton is easily accessible from Toronto in under an hour and offers a wide choice of outdoor recreational activities. If you enjoy hiking you will love exploring Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, Kelso Conservation Area or the Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Besides hiking, you can enjoy rock climbing, wildlife watching and even do some cave exploration in these wonderful outdoor areas. Kelso is known to offer exceptional mountain biking trails while Glen Eden offers brilliant winter sports. For a change of pace you can visit the Halton Country Radial Railway and Museum, the Terra Blue Lavender Farm or the White Rock Ostrich Farm.
Milton, ON L0p 1B0
Straddling the US/Canadian border, the iconic Niagara Falls and their surrounding area is a wonderful day-trip destination from Toronto. You can reach Niagara Falls in about 90 minutes by road or two hours by train. There is so much to see and do that you will probably need more than a single day to do the area justice. For an unforgettable experience you can sail right up to the falls on a Hornblower Niagara Cruise or opt for an aerial view from a helicopter fly-over. Other thrilling activities include joining a Journey Behind the Falls Tour, taking a Mist-rider Zip Line trip and visiting the Skylon Tower.
Niagara Falls, ON, L2E 0A1
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17.Fort George National Historic Site
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For an educational and fun day out you can consider visiting the Fort George National Historic Site at Niagara-on-the-Lake, about 90 minutes from Toronto. Marking the site of a pivotal battle which occurred in 1812, when British troops were defeated by American forces, the Fort offers an in-depth look at the lives and times of British forces in Canada. You can go on a self-guided tour, assisted by uniformed interpreters who will bring the fort to life. Depending what time of year you visit, you can watch a musket demonstration, tour the Period Kitchen, attend a flag-raising ceremony and watch the firing of the Noon Day Gun. Check the website for seasonal times and events.
Fort George National Historic Site, 51 Queens Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Conveniently situated about half way between Toronto and Hamilton, Oakville is a pleasant lake-side town with a charming small-town atmosphere. You can spend a few hours exploring Downtown Oakville’s historic buildings which now house restaurants, art galleries and exclusive shops. History buffs may like to visit the Erchless Estate Museum while culture vultures can enjoy ballet, opera and live theatre at the Oakville Center for the Performing Arts. Other attractions in Oakville include the magnificent Royal Botanical Gardens and Bronte Harbor for shopping and dining. If you need some outdoor recreation you can take a hike along part of the Trans Canada Trail or play a round of golf at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.
Oakville, ON, L4X 1L9
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Rattlesnake Point near Milton offers hikers and nature lovers a brilliant day trip destination for the whole family. The Niagara Escarpment offers very scenic hiking trails for all levels of competence including the easy Vista Adventure trail which leads to some amazing lookout points like Buffalo Crag Lookout and Nassagaweya Lookout. Visitors who come here in fall will have the most incredible views of fall foliage throughout the area. If you are up for more of a challenge you can take on the 4-5 hour Nassagaweya Canyon Trail to Crawford Lake. Other activities in the conservation area include rock climbing and geocaching. There is a campground if you would like to stay overnight in this beautiful park.
Rattlesnake Point Park, 7200 Appleby Line, Milton, ON L9E 0M9
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20.Royal Botanical Gardens
On your next day trip you can surround yourself with beauty and serenity when you pay a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, about 40 minutes outside Toronto. The formal gardens are surrounded by over 1,100 hectares of nature reserve where hikers and walkers have access to more than 27 kilometers of scenic nature trails which provide refuge for many bird species. At the heart of the gardens you will find the RBG Centre, where you can admire various indoor and outdoor exhibits, before moving on to explore the other themed gardens which include the scented garden, white garden, rock garden and several more. When you need a break and a snack the Greenhouse Café is the place to go.
Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON L7T 4H4, Phone: 905-527-1158
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21.Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
When you are in need of a totally relaxing mind and body experience, the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains is the place to go to regain equilibrium surrounded by some of the best scenery in Ontario. The Blue Mountain location is surrounded by acres of natural forest which beg to be explored on foot either before or after your spa treatment – in fact this walk in the forest is referred to as Forest Bathing, due to the calming effects of reconnecting with nature. You can spend a few blissful hours experiencing the Scandinavian Baths and having a relaxing massage. The spa offers various getaway packages including dinner and overnight accommodation.
Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, 152 Grey Rd 21, Blue Mountains, ON L9Y 0K8
Located about an hour west of Toronto, St. Jacob’s is a wonderful day trip destination with plenty on offer for visitors. You can learn all about the Memmonite Community at the Memmonite Story, a multi-media interpretive center - horse and buggy Memmonite Farm Tour are available on weekends. Other activities include a visit to the Maple Syrup Museum and the St. Jacob’s and Aberfoyle Model Railway (weekends only, April to December). At the St. Jacob’s Market District you will find one of the largest Farmer’s Markets in Ontario (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) as well as Market Road Antiques where over 100 vendors are vying for your custom. There are also many independent shops, galleries and boutiques as well as an Outlet Mall.
St. Jacob’s, ON, N0B 2N0
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23.Terre Blue Lavender Farm
For a day trip with a difference, why not plan to spend some time exploring the largest Lavender Farm in Ontario. The Terre Blue Lavender Farm is located just 76 km west of Toronto and can be reached by road in just over an hour. The very best time of year to visit is summer, when the nine varieties of farmed lavender reach their peak between July and August. Visitors can join a guided tour of the huge farm to learn all about the intricacies of producing organically grown lavender. After you have walked through the fragrant fields of flowers you will also visit the apiary and the honeybee viewing enclosure as well as the distillery where the precious essential oils are produced.
Terre Blue Lavender Farm, 2501 Sideroad 25, Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0, Phone: 519-512-0522
24.White Water Walk
You can spend an exhilarating day out exploring the magnificence of the Niagara Gorge on a self-guided White Water Walk. To reach the Riverside Boardwalk you will need to take a 70 meter elevator ride down into the base of the gorge. From here you can explore the quarter-mile boardwalk that takes you up close to the force and majesty of the impressive Class 6 White Water Rapids. There are several viewing platforms located along the length of the board walk where you can take amazing photos of the surging waters (or brag-worthy selfies). If you are planning to do several of the Niagara Falls activities you should consider buying a Niagara Falls Adventure Pass.
White Water Walk, River Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 6T2N L2G 6T2
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The town of Wasaga Beach is home to one of the best beaches in all of Ontario, making this an ideal destination for a fun-in-the-sun day trip from Toronto. Wasaga Beach is located about an hour north of Toronto on the southern shore of Georgian Bay, where it is famous for being the longest fresh-water beach in the world. Here you have 14 kilometers of soft white sand for castle building and sunbathing and pleasantly warm water for swimming (in summer). Although there are no life guards on Wasaga Beach there are restrooms and other facilities including picnic tables. You can also go hiking along the board walk or enjoy kayaking and other water sports.
Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A1
25 Best Weekend Getaways and Day Trips from Toronto
- Belfountain Conservation Area, Photo: Jonathan/stock.adobe.com
- London, Photo: Petr Bonek/stock.adobe.com
- Caledon, Photo: Chris Gardiner/stock.adobe.com
- Cobourg Beach, Photo: jhvephoto/stock.adobe.com
- Collingwood, Photo: roxxyphotos/stock.adobe.com
- Dundas Peak, Photo: MFoisal/stock.adobe.com
- Dundurn Castle, Photo: Marcel/stock.adobe.com
- Eramosa Karst Caves, Photo: Monique Berry/stock.adobe.com
- Ferris Provincial Park, Photo: Linda/stock.adobe.com
- Grand River, Photo: Chris Hill/stock.adobe.com
- Gravenhurst and Lake Muskoka, Photo: Les Palenik/stock.adobe.com
- The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Photo: maron/stock.adobe.com
- Jordan Village, Photo: Boss Photographic/stock.adobe.com
- Kelso, Photo: Gareth Leung/stock.adobe.com
- Milton, Photo: Boss Photographic/stock.adobe.com
- Niagara Falls, Photo: Aivolie/stock.adobe.com
- Fort George National Historic Site, Photo: Christopher Meder/stock.adobe.com
- Oakville, Photo: digitalskillet1/stock.adobe.com
- Rattlesnake Point, Photo: diego cervo/stock.adobe.com
- Royal Botanical Gardens, Photo: leprechaun/stock.adobe.com
- Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, Photo: olgasparrow/stock.adobe.com
- St. Jacob’s, Photo: anjokan/stock.adobe.com
- Terre Blue Lavender Farm, Photo: s1llu/stock.adobe.com
- White Water Walk, Photo: Hyeyoon/stock.adobe.com
- Wasaga Beach, Photo: Andy/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: scott/stock.adobe.com