day trips from toronto

14 Day Trips from Toronto: Best Places to Visit in Southern Ontario

Toronto, the largest city in Canada, is vibey, bustling and full of activities to keep you busy. And located in southern Ontario, it’s perfectly situated to explore the region, with plenty of fantastic weekend getaways and day trips around Toronto

When you feel like you need a break from city life to breathe fresh air, get your body moving or explore nearby history and culture, you have the option of incredible places to visit around Toronto. Within a few hours, you can be paddling across spectacular lakes, getting ‘lost’ among wildlife on hiking trails, feasting at quaint cafes or sipping vino under the shade of the grapevines. 

If you haven’t got a weekend to camp in Huntsville or discover Kingston, I’ve put together a list of the best day trips from Toronto so you can explore Ontario one day at a time. 

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Blue Mountain Village 

Distance from Toronto: 171km 

Regardless of the season, Blue Mountain Resort makes an incredible day trip from Toronto packed with exciting adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a popular skiing and winter destination, and people flock to the stunning area to enjoy a host of winter activities, from skiing to skating and even dog sledding!

The warmer months are just as exciting when the mountain-sides turn golden in the fall, bursting with wildflowers in the spring and bask in the sunshine in summer. You can explore the many beautiful hiking trails or jump on a mountain bike for some offroad adventuring. 

After an exciting day in the mountains, explore the pedestrian-only village that’s packed with boutiques and eateries.

day trips from toronto

Wasaga Beach 

Distance from Toronto: 147km 

It doesn’t get much better than this for an epic beach day trip in Ontario. It may not be the seaside, but it is the longest freshwater beach in the world, with 14 km of beach on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. In only two hours, you’ll find yourself relaxing on the shores feeling like you’ve escaped to a tropical island. 

In summer, the waterfront is a hive of activities, with plenty of stores, restaurants and bars to feast and shop to your heart’s content after a day in the water. 

When the weather gets chillier, Wasaga Beach is still an epic day trip. You can go for scenic walks and hit the cross-country ski trails in the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, and go for a dip in the icy waters if you’re brave enough!

day trip from toronto

Image by Gerald Friedrich from Pixabay

Muskoka

Distance from Toronto: 223km

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to visit near Toronto the entire year-round. Known as the ‘cottage country’ or the ‘Hamptons of Ontario,’ this scenic region boasts plenty of exciting things to do outside Toronto. 

You could head to one of Huntsville’s fishing spots to cast a line in the many streams and lakes or paddle on one of the 1600 lakes in Muskoka. Head to Gravenhurst if you want a taste of the high life, dinner with a waterfront view and an array of unique boutiques. 

Of course, if you want to get your blood flowing, you can hit the hiking and biking trails that meander through the rugged, stunning countryside.

places to visit near toronto

Elora

Distance from Toronto: 115km

Escape from the big city to the quaint village of Elora for one of the best Toronto day trips. Sitting on the Grand River banks, it will feel like you’ve landed in rural Italy rather than Southern Ontario. 

It makes for a fantastic one-day trip from Toronto for foodies, shopaholics, thrill-seekers, nature lovers…pretty much everyone! In the summer you can dive into the Elora Quarry swimming hole, tube down the gorgeous river and enjoy a host of other extreme activities. Get some fresh air in the winter on the hiking trails or the zip-line.

For those wanting to take it easy, you’ll love all the charming local shops and art galleries. And for foodies, you can spend the entire day eating your way through fine dining restaurants and quirky cafes.

ontario day trips

Brantford 

Distance from Toronto: 103km

Known as The Telephone City for being home to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, there are tons of things to do in Brantford. You may be interested in visiting so that you can visit Bell’s homestead and discover a bit of history. 

Otherwise, there are plenty of historical sites, such as the Canadian Military Heritage Museum, to visit, gardens to peruse, and an Artisans’ village to explore. You can head to Brant Conservation Area for hiking, biking and water activities or shop farm-fresh produce at the colourful farmers’ market. 

You may find it difficult not to turn this day trip in Southern Ontario into a weekend getaway.

brantford history - city hall

Port Perry

Distance from Toronto: 82km

This is one of the best day trips from Toronto because you can be ice fishing and knocking back beers in less than an hour. Part of the ‘cottage country’ region and boasting the fantastic ice fishing spot of Lake Scugog, if you’re not sitting in a hut on the middle of the frozen lake, there’s plenty of other things to do in Port Perry. 

Downtown is heart-achingly pretty with a treasure trove of artisanal shops, quaint bakeries and lively eateries. Stroll along the walking trail in Palmer Park and have a picnic with all the goodies you found in town. Rummage for antiques and collectables at Caviar and Cobwebs or sample local brews at the Old Flame Brewery. 

Be sure to bring an appetite for all the tasty treats and a fishing license to try your hand at ice fishing.

Prince Edward County

Distance from Toronto: 213km 

This may be one of the furthest Toronto day trips, but it’s well worth the journey to discover this island-style Ontario wine region. There are almost forty wineries, ranging from huge vineyards to intimate family-run farms. You can choose a day trip tour from Toronto or make your way around some of the best wineries and towns in the area. 

Sample sparkling wine at Hinterland Winery or Huff Estates or ports at the Sandbanks Winery. For art enthusiasts, head out on The Arts Trail to discover the area’s many art galleries and studios. 

Don’t miss out on all the incredible restaurants and breweries in Picton, the antique shops in Bloomfield and the gorgeous lavender fields in Hillier.

Photo by Alex Gorbi on Unsplash

 
 

Sandbanks Provincial Park

Distance from Toronto: 218km

This Toronto day trip destination is worth a separate mention as it’s worth an entire day spent in Prince Edward County. It’s one of the best Ontario day trips in summer if you’re looking to spend a day on the beach and in the water but would like to escape the crowds at Wasaga Beach. 

You can choose between three beaches or spend the day beach hopping between all three. Outlet Beach is by far the busiest beach, so if you arrive to find it jam-packed, head to Dunes or Lakeshore Beach. 

Other than spending time splashing around in the clear water or paddling on a kayak, you can head out on one of the walking trails to experience the spectacular dunes.

toronto day trip

Photo by Jeff Boadway on Unsplash

Rattlesnake Point

Distance from Toronto: 64km

This is a fantastic place to go near Toronto on a spontaneous day trip, for those weekend mornings you wake up with no plan and a craving for adventure. It’s only a 45-minute drive from the city to the conservation area, which offers awesome rock climbing spots (suitable for beginners too) and 13 kilometres of hiking trails. 

You’ll find five lookout points dotted around the conservation area with such phenomenal views over the Niagara Escarpment that you’ll find it hard to believe that you’re so close to the city. The region is teeming with diverse plant and animal life and vast green meadows that make for a perfect picnic spot. 

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Paris

Distance from Toronto: 111km 

No, don’t jump on a plane to France. Instead, visit the holder of the accolade ‘Ontario’s prettiest town’ down the road from Toronto. Situated on the Grand River, this is an excellent day trip in Southern Ontario for alternative markets and for foodies to feast on world-class menu options in this small food capital. 

You can raft down the majestic river, visit the historic Penman’s Dam or search for epic viewpoints along the 100km of hiking trails in the area. Don’t miss out on the cheese shops, bakeries and open-air cafes while you’re there.

Photo by Haiming Xiao on Unsplash

Niagara Falls 

Distance from Toronto: 128km

A list of day trips in Ontario would not be complete without the world-renowned, bucket-list destination of Niagara Falls. Yes, it is a tourist hotspot, but if you’ve never witnessed the mighty falls, it’s a must-see destination. 

You can choose from a bunch of incredible ways to experience the magical falls. Perhaps take a boat tour to see the falls from the water or explore the tunnels behind the falls, listening to the loud roar behind the water curtain. For a birds-eye view over the extraordinary area, take a trip up the Skylon Tower. 

It’s truly an awe-inspiring moment to witness the force of the tumbling waters and a whole lot of fun for children and adults alike. How can you miss out on one of the world’s top natural attractions when it’s an easy day trip from Toronto?

Niagara-on-the-lake

Distance from Toronto: 129km

This quaint, picturesque little tourist town is usually visited in conjunction with Niagara Falls or as an individual trip to discover the 30 different wineries. Embark on a tour of the best wineries or pick some individual farms that appeal to you. 

The town itself is packed with kitsch tourist features such as horse-drawn carriages and plenty of souvenir shops. But it’s beautiful and charming in its own right, and the wine is worth the journey alone.

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Royal Botanical Gardens

Distance from Toronto: 64km 

A quick drive from Toronto, near Hamilton, is a stunning oasis and the most extensive botanical garden in Canada, covering 2,400 acres. The gardens are a fantastic and scenic destination for a day trip in Southern Ontario

There are over 2,400 plant species in the gardens and 27km of nature trails for you to explore. You can check out the historical outdoor plant collections, the indoor Mediterranean Garden and the at-risk species. 

The Royal Botanical Gardens hosts plenty of events, workshops and courses if you’re interested in learning more.

toronto day trips

Algonquin Provincial Park

Distance from Toronto: 269km

This is the furthest destination on the list. Still, suppose you head out early on a long summer’s day. In that case, you’ll escape to a natural haven where plenty of wildlife roams, and the opportunity for adventure is endless. If you head out on a hiking trail or a canoe trip, look out for wolves, bears, moose, deer, and a plethora of other creatures. 

There are few better Ontario day trips for a total escape into the natural wonders that Canada has to offer. The astounding beauty of the forests, lakes and rivers mirrors the seasons, and it’s a delight to visit any time of the year.

Image by geraldfriedrich2 on Pixabay

Which of These Best Toronto Day Trips Are You Excited For?

There’s something for everyone to enjoy on these day trips from Toronto. If you’re looking to get your blood pumping, you have a plethora of adventure activities on your doorstep. If you need a ‘beach’ break, you’ll find sandy shores and crystal clear waters a short drive away. 

And if you simply want to explore the region, all you need to do is choose one of these incredible places to visit outside of Toronto

Which one of these Ontario day trip ideas will be your next excursion?

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