30 Exciting Weekend Getaways in Ontario: Your Top Places to Visit in Ontario for the Weekend
Planning weekend getaways in Ontario is a great way to see all the beauty of our province bit by bit. We’ve put together a list of 30 different ideas for weekend getaways in the province. We’ve organized the list by region, but make sure you check out all the ideas to help plan the perfect weekend for you to hit the road and savour Ontario.
If you’re looking for ways to mix up your day-to-day routine at home, then consider taking one of these exciting weekend getaways in Ontario.
Ontario is full of so many fantastic options for things to do. The main thing to keep in mind when you’re planning weekend getaways in Ontario is to choose something that’s close enough to justify going there for a weekend.
That’s why we’ve organized this list of weekend getaways into regional areas in the province, so you can think about how far you’re looking to go, and plan accordingly.
Putting together this list was a lot of fun, and there are so many different types of getaways on this list: quaint and quiet, zen and natural, unique and creative, or urban and entertaining.
Please note that this post may contain some affiliate links. This means we get a small commission for sharing our recommendations, at no cost to you.
Weekend Getaways in Ontario’s Southwest
Go on a bike tour around the lake erie north shore wine region.
On this weekend getaway, stay in Kingsville for the weekend. Jaunt out to the Lake Erie North Shore wine region for one of your two days.
There are over thirteen wineries and five restaurants in the region, along with some great shops in Kingsville and some of the surrounding hamlets. There are some breweries in the area, too.
If you’re looking to add a little something extra, this weekend getaway in Ontario can also lead you over to Leamington for some great beer , food, and views of Lake Erie at the Point Pelee Observation Tower.
Head to the Southernmost Points in Mainland and Island Canada
Start your weekend in the region by heading to Point Pelee National Park. The scenic drive down to the southernmost tip of mainland Canada is a neat experience. There are hiking trails and boardwalk paths you can explore. If you’re short on time, head to the Observation Tower .
Next, take the ferry from Leamington (make sure you book your ticket for the ferry well in advance!) to Pelee Island. The ferry ride is about 90 minutes, depending on weather conditions. Make sure you bring a book. We are big fans of The Wandering Dog Inn on Pelee Island, and there are plenty of great places to check out once you’re there.
Carve out some time to rent a bike, explore the island, go swimming, head to some restaurants, and enjoy living the island life. A Point Pelee winter getaway is another great way to experience this incredible park.
Dip Your Toes into Exciting Outdoor Experiences and Delectable Wineries in Norfolk County
Welcome to “Ontario’s Garden.” Stay at Long Point Eco-Adventures or the Port Rowan Inn* as your base for a weekend in the region .
To book your stay at Long Point Eco-Adventures, click here .
While you’re in Norfolk, head to different wineries and breweries, check out some lavender fields if you visit in the summer months, or enjoy many of the farm-fresh markets and roadside farm stands. This is, after all, a great growing region, so whether you visit in the summer or fall, the heaps of farm-fresh foods are a delight.
Make sure you plan to stop at Burning Kiln Winery during your stay–their famous “Kiln Hanger” is award-winning and one of the top-rated wines in the province. Long Point Eco-Adventures also has some exciting outdoor activities like zip-lining and mountain biking, or educational experiences like apiary tours and mushroom foraging hikes.
*Note: The Port Rowan Inn is closed for renovations as of May 2023.
Go “Retro” in Chatham and Nearby Small Towns
Stay at the Retro Suites Hotel in Chatham. This neat hotel has over twenty suites, each with its own unique theme. It’s a destination in and of itself. If you happen to visit in June, or if you love learning about and seeing vintage cars, then make sure you check out their annual Retro Fest .
To book a memorable stay at the Retro Suites Hotel, click here .
Head to their restaurant, the Chilled Cork, for breakfast or dinner, and head to Sons of Kent brewing before you walk around town.
After you’ve enjoyed some time in Chatham, there are some adorable towns in the region to check out, too. Dresden is one of our favourites!
Relax on the Shores of Lake Huron in Grand Bend
Head to Grand Bend for the weekend. This spot is one of the most charming towns in Ontario . Grand Bend is a great place to visit in the warmer months to enjoy the beaches and its access to Lake Huron.
We’re also big fans of Pinery Provincial Park, which is just down the road. It’s a great park for taking long, scenic walks and enjoying more of what the shores of Lake Huron have to offer.
A Weekend in London, And Then Some
A weekend getaway in London is a great option for those looking for an experience in the city. Stay at The Park Hotel; it’s a really impressive property.
To book your stay at The Park Hotel, click here .
London is home to a ton of great restaurants. There are also a lot of unique and local things to do in the area .
If you’re looking to explore a few fun nearby places, there are some great golf courses near London . The town of Strathroy is also beautiful. The Clocktower Inn is a great place to stay overnight or enjoy a meal. MJ’s Roadhouse in Lucan is also a restaurant worth stopping at.
To book a stay at the historic Clocktower Inn, click here .
If you’re keen to venture a little further, the town of Port Stanley is also very charming!
A Weekend in Windsor
Windsor is another great city in Ontario’s Southwest. The range of different activities and things to do in Windsor is pretty exhaustive! If you’re looking for a Las Vegas-style getaway without the flight, Caesar’s Palace in Windsor is an excellent place to stay. They even have their own casino!
If you want to experience Caesar’s Palace right here in Ontario for yourself, click here .
Aside from casinos, Windsor’s Ford City is a neighbourhood well worth checking out .
A weekend in Windsor can also easily be combined with an extension to Pelee Island Wine Country if you have the time.
Weekend Getaways in Ontario’s South Central
Take in the Scenic Rolling Hills and Hamlets of Mulmur
There are so many beautiful hamlets to be explored on this weekend getaway in Ontario. This is more of a relaxed pace for a weekend escape than others. Stay at Foxingham Farm B&B in Mansfield to enjoy the rolling hills in the spring and summer, brilliant fall colours in autumn, or downhill skiing in the winter.
To book your stay at the charming Foxingham Farm Bed & Breakfast, click here .
Head to Mrs. Mitchell’s Restaurant for a delicious breakfast, dinner, or afternoon tea. Explore the Dufferin Museum and plenty of shopping and farms in the region. Don’t forget to visit the Schitt’s Creek Rosebud Motel and the region of Hockley Valley while you’re here, too.
Head to Lake Scugog and its Surrounding Charming Towns
Regardless of what time of year you visit, this corner of Durham Region is a pretty place. In the warmer months, heading out kayaking off of Lake Scugog is the perfect way to get out on the water. During the winter, ice fishing on the same lake is a favourite local pastime.
Round out your visit by spending some time in Port Perry. Learn various crafts in art classes at Meta4. Sample some delicious local craft beer at Old Flame Brewery. Or enjoy lunch or stay overnight at the Piano Inn and Cafe, or head just outside town to the charming Nestleton Waters Inn.
On your way in our out of Port Perry, you can head to Uxbridge. Make sure you stop at a local favourite, Haugen’s, on your way. Their rotisserie chickens have been spinning for over 60 years! Stop in Goodwood, too, before arriving in Uxbridge. Goodwood is the home of downtown Schitt’s Creek–think Cafe Tropical and Rose Apothecary .
In Uxbridge , there are a lot of great restaurants, hiking and biking trails. You can catch your breath at The Second Wedge for a pint after your adventures.
Enjoy a Weekend of Neighbourhood Culture in Toronto
Of course, it’s challenging to cram all the ideas for things to do in Toronto into a little blurb, but we’d recommend planning your weekend based on a region. We’ve outlined a few neighbourhoods and ideal hotels you can stay at in each one.
Maybe you’d like to book a stay on the waterfront at the Westin Harbour Castle and check out the surrounding areas. Or, perhaps you’d like to stay in the eastern neighbourhoods of the city and book yourself into the Broadview Hotel in Leslieville .
Or maybe you plan to stay more centrally, like booking a stay at The Chelsea Hotel . And if you head to the west, you might be happier booking a few nights at The Drake .
Regardless of which direction you choose on this weekend getaway, Toronto is chock-full of fun-filled activities , water sports , hiking trails , fun facts , and bars for you to check out on your visit.
It’s always fun to see what’s on at the Royal Ontario Museum or the Art Gallery of Ontario when you visit the town, too! There are even some ways to visit these Toronto museums for free .
If you’re looking to take a tour while you’re in Toronto, we’d highly recommend taking an evening helicopter tour of the city. You can book your ticket here.
Head to one of the Most Charming Towns Near the Grand River
This is a bit of a stretch, since not all of these towns connect to the Grand River, but take your pick between a charming weekend in either Stratford, Elora, or Paris.
Both Elora and Paris, while distanced, are situated on different spots along the Grand River. Both are scenic and charming. Stratford is a little further west along Lake Victoria.
Take in the History and Nature of Niagara
This weekend getaway combines the historic charm of Niagara-on-the-Lake with family fun and excitement in Niagara Falls. Depending on the type of weekend getaways in Ontario you’re looking for, you can easily pick one or the other, or do a combination of both.
Begin with all the excitement that Niagara Falls’ attractions offer. You can do exhilarating things like:
- Zip-Line over the falls (you can book your ticket here )
- Take a jet boat tour of the Niagara Rapids (make sure you book your tour here )
- Head to the Butterfly Conservatory
To round out the exciting portion of the weekend, take a breath in charming Niagara-on-the-Lake. Rent a bike and visit local wineries or nature paths along the Niagara River, or simply stroll around town, stopping to shop, have a bite to eat , or just admire the beautiful buildings in the area. Either Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake can be its own weekend getaway, but if you’re interested in both areas, it’s definitely worth it to find time to work them both in.
Relax and Enjoy the Outdoors in Collingwood and The Blue Mountains
This is one of the weekend getaways in Ontario that takes you to the scenic mountains of southern Ontario. Collingwood is a wonderful jumping-off point to see the region. They have a lot of great breweries and restaurants, and plenty of fun things to do.
Just a stone’s throw away, The B lue Mountains also offer a ton of fun things to do in the region. If you’re keen on outdoor activities, it is a great place to be. If you prefer more of a relaxing weekend getaway in the surrounds of nature, then this is also the right spot. This is especially true since there are plenty of relaxing spas in the area for you to enjoy during your stay.
To book your stay at Blue Mountain Resort while you’re in town, click here .
Relaxation and Neighbourhood Walks at Langdon Hall and Cambridge
For those who have visited this corner of Waterloo Region, it is certainly a very special place. Langdon Hall is a well-known and renowned place to stay. This historic and impressive estate will certainly leave a lasting and memorable impression on you well after you leave. They offer packages that include spa credits and multi-course meals on the property.
Book your unforgettable stay at Langdon Hall by clicking here .
When you’re ready to explore beyond the relaxing environment and grounds at Langdon Hall, the city of Cambridge, most specifically in the town of Galt, makes for a great place to walk around and explore. Galt has beautiful views of the Grand River, and a lot of great coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants in the area.
For TV and film enthusiasts, its historic homes and charming streets are the places of numerous filming locations, namely for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit . Keep an eye out for these locations as you walk around town. And don’t forget to stop at Foundry Brewing before heading back to Langdon Hall.
Take in the Food, Culture and History of St. Jacobs and Kitchener
Plan to stay in or near the quaint town of St. Jacobs over the weekend. The brand new Hampton Inn & Suites is an impressive building with great design and functionality, and it’s right across from the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.
If you’d like to book a stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites in St. Jacobs, click here .
Enjoy a walking tour of the town of St. Jacobs and check out street art, shops, and great public spaces along the way. Plan to head to the famous St. Jacobs market on a Saturday for plenty of farm-market goods and freshly baked and cooked foods from different corners of the world. The market is famous for its apple fritters, but be prepared for long lines on Saturdays the longer you wait. Aim to go early, if it’s possible! Head to their Antique Stores, too. You’ll be sure to find something unique.
Finish the weekend with a guided Stroll Walking Tour around an area of your choice. Their Downtown Kitchener Mural Arts walk is a great way to learn about local artists in the region. Downtown Kitchener is also home to several wonderful places to grab a coffee or a drink, and restaurants for after you’ve finished your walk.
Weekend Getaways in Ontario’s Highlands, Kawarthas & Northumberland
Relax at St. Anne’s Spa and Visit Charming Local Towns
Plan an Ontario weekend getaway at the spa! St. Anne’s Spa in Grafton is a renowned and relaxing place to get away. While you’ll likely want to spend most of the weekend soaking in the relaxing delights of the spa, make sure you carve out some time to explore one of the local charming towns.
To book your relaxing stay at St. Anne’s Spa, click here .
Port Hope and Cobourg both made our list of the most charming small towns in Ontario ! Each is set on the shores of Lake Ontario and is worth exploring in its own right. Depending on the time of year, each town also has its own theatre with local shows, which would well be worth checking out during your visit.
Meander Through the Charming Small Towns of Lanark County
This region of Ontario is chock-full of charming small towns. We are big fans of Perth, Westport, and Almonte in Lanark County. Each of these towns has historic charm, great restaurants, and local businesses to support, and they are excellent for walking around.
Consider staying locally at a charming bed and breakfast. Clyde Hall B&B is a great place to stay , and its owners are talented pastry chefs.
To book your stay at Clyde Hall B&B, click here .
On top of being home to beautiful small towns, Lanark County is home to both the Lanark County Chocolate Trail , in addition to being the maple syrup capital of Ontario!
Wheeler’s Pancake House is a local favourite sugar shack to visit, with great walking trails through their sugar bush on the property. If the historic charm of the region isn’t enough to convince you, then we hope these sweet culinary delights will be.
Weekend Getaways in Ontario’s Southeast
Take Your Own Personal Food Tour in Belleville and the Bay of Quinte
Belleville is a great place for a weekend getaway in Ontario. Their downtown district is full of great places to eat, with everything from authentic Mexican food to gourmet restaurants. A bonus is that it’s very walking and bike-friendly, so there are plenty of ways to enjoy the fresh air as you wander.
Take some time to head out of the downtown core to Zwick’s Park or north to Signal Brewery on the Moira River. South to the harbour area is also great for beautiful views over the Bay of Quinte. We’re big fans of grabbing a sunset bite to eat or a drink at The Pier Patio Bar and Grill. This weekend could also easily be combined with…
A Weekend in Prince Edward County
Start your weekend by staying overnight in the charming small town of Picton, or at one of the cute bed and breakfasts across the region.
Merrill House is an incredible historic bed and breakfast in Picton, and makes for an excellent place to stay. Click here to book your room .
You can plan your days around spending time in nature, like at Sandbanks Provincial Park or Lake-on-the-Mountain. Aside from that, the adorable hamlets in the area are great to explore while you’re sipping your way through some of the most amazing wineries and breweries in this region.
Enjoy Quiet Island Life on Amherst Island and Mainland Bath
This is a special little corner of Lennox and Addington County. Amherst Island is a relaxing island, just off the coast of mainland Bath, Ontario.
Stay at The Lodge on Amherst Island in Stella. Make sure you check out all the things to do on Amherst Island . Either on your way there or on your way back from the island, be sure to stop in Bath for a coffee and a snack or lunch at The Lodge Coffee House . The owner is wonderful, and the food and coffee are worth the stop. It’s a great excuse to check out the small and charming historic town of Bath, too, and patronize their local businesses in the region.
Spend a Weekend in Canada’s Intended Capital City
Kingston is a great place to get away for the weekend in Ontario. Its history is one of great importance to our province and country, and the views from downtown out to Wolfe Island and Lake Ontario are beautiful. There are plenty of historic places to check out, and beautiful neighbourhoods to walk around.
Queens University campus also makes for a great place to explore and wander. There are plenty of other awesome things to do in Kingston that you can choose from on your weekend away.
We’d recommend booking your stay at The Smith Hotel , or booking a few nights at The Secret Garden Inn .
Boat and Wander Through the Thousand Islands and Gananoque
Gananoque is the perfect access point to the famous Thousand Islands region. Stay at the Comfort Inn and Suites in downtown Gananoque (we know, this sounds like an odd choice, but it’s honestly the best location to visit the area!) or a local inn or bed and breakfast downtown.
To book your stay at The Comfort Inn and Suites Gananoque, click here .
From central Gananoque, you can head on a boat or kayaking tour of the islands. There are long and short boat tours, some of which go all the way across to the mansions on the American side of the islands.
For a complete list of all the different types of tours your can take to see the Thousand Islands, click here .
You can also rent bikes and bike along the Thousand Islands Parkway, which is a beautifully paved and preserved road along the Canadian shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Gananoque also has a wonderful restaurant scene and a great brewery. While you’re in town, check out what’s on at the Thousand Islands Playhouse.
On your way out of town, be sure to stop at BUSL Cider in Mallorytown for some scenic rural views and tasty samplings at this modern cidery.
Weekend Getaways in Ontario’s East
Explore Canada’s Capital
Ottawa is a fantastic city to visit on a weekend. There are so many fun things to do and see that would easily fill up more than a weekend. We’d recommend pinpointing what makes you tick when you plan one of your weekend getaways in Ontario based in Ottawa.
Plan to stay at a central hotel. The Andaz Hotel in the Byward Market is a great option, with beautiful views of Parliament from the top floor. If you’re looking to splurge a little, staying at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier is a very special experience.
To book your stay at the Andaz Hotel, click here . To book your stay at the Chateau Laurier, click here .
You can use this list of fun facts about Ottawa to help you plan. Ottawa is home to many informative tours , walks, experiences, markets , and finer things . If you plan to visit in the spring, that’s the perfect time to experience Ottawa’s famous tulip festival while they’re in bloom. You’re sure to find something that’s just right for you when you visit Ottawa.
If you are a fan of guided tours, there are also so many exciting ways to see Ottawa by tour. You can take biking tours, river cruises or walking tours, and far more. To discover all the great tours in Ottawa, click here.
Hire a Houseboat to Cruise the Rideau Canal
This is a very neat experience that would lend itself well to a weekend getaway. If you weren’t aware that you could rent a houseboat in Ontario, then you should definitely check out Le Boat Vacations. Le Boat offers experiences all over the world, but their boat trips along the Rideau Canal between Ottawa and Kingston are not to be missed.
You are essentially given a boat, instructed on how to use it, and you’re off! You’ll need to bring your own food and supplies, so it’s kind of like an elevated camping experience on the water. Plus, you’ll take in the sights of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Rideau Canal the way it was intended: from the water.
Weekend Getaways in Ontario’s North (Sudbury and Beyond)
Spend a Weekend in “The Soo”
Sault Ste. Marie is a great place for a weekend getaway, especially for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are so many awesome things to do in “The Soo” . Make sure you save some time to check out the many great restaurants in town while you’re there, too!
Enjoy the Urban and Natural Attractions in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay is home to some really fun activities and outings . You can go sailing in the summer months, or hiking and downhill skiing in the winter.
It has some pretty phenomenal historical sites to check out in the region , too. And their food scene and culinary delights aren’t to be missed.
Plan to Take in Some Stars in the Dark Sky
We are so lucky to have some incredible places for stargazing in Ontario . Not only can we enjoy the stars from so many different parts of the province, but we have several designated dark-sky preserves right here in the province of Ontario.
One of the newest official dedicated preserves is in Quetico Provincial Park . It’s a rugged park, located north of Lake Superior and bordering Minnesota. It’s one of several excellent places to see the Northern Lights in Ontario .
Head to Enchanting Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron
Manitoulin Island is another excellent island worth checking out on an Ontario weekend getaway. You’ll likely want to make a long weekend out of it if time permits, but it will certainly be worth it.
There are plenty of cruises and hikes that you can take to fully immerse yourself in the nature of the island. There are also several ways for you to learn about the Indigenous peoples of the island, and better understand the history of the place you’re visiting. The North Channel Cruise is especially one of our favourites to take in on this weekend getaway in Ontario.
Enjoy Science and Nature in Sudbury
There are so many exciting things to do in Sudbury . With everything from “sciencey” sites like The Big Nickel and Science North, to the Bell Park Walkway and the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, it’s perfect for a family weekend getaway.
Sudbury is also an excellent destination for restaurants and delicious food . You’ll be sure to leave happy and satisfied after a visit to some of their amazing restaurants.
The Importance of Taking Weekend Getaways in Ontario
We are so thrilled that you’ve taken the time to read through our list of weekend getaways in Ontario.
The options are truly endless for exploring this province, and with each trip, you’ll encounter small business owners, passionate hosts in hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and places perfect for reflection.
Our emphasis on “slow travel”, and taking in local delights is a philosophy we truly hope will stick at Ultimate Ontario. We see it as the future of travel here, and we hope you do, too.
There’s a lot worth exploring in this province. We hope you find that by the end of your weekend getaways in Ontario, you’ll come back happy for what you’ve seen, but also yearning for your next opportunity to get back on the road.
We’ll see you there.
Bri was born and raised in Ontario. She spent many years living abroad, but returned to Ontario a few years ago, and is very happy to be back exploring.
She loves writing about travel experiences in our beautiful province, including unique accommodations, memorable meals and adventurous activities.
You can find her canoeing and swimming across Ontario with a craft brew in her hand in the summer, and snowshoeing or curling up with a good book and an Ontarian Pinot Noir in the winter.
Tuesday 24th of August 2021
Spelt Lake Erie incorrectly, " the Lake Eerie North Shore Wine Region
On this weekend getaway, stay in Kingsville for the weekend. Jaunt out to the Lake Eerie."
Thursday 26th of August 2021
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The Best Things to Do in Canada
8 of the Best Ontario Road Trips
By Matthew G. Bailey 59 Comments
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With over a million square kilometres of terrain to explore, there’s no shortage of things to do in Ontario . Canada’s second-largest province is home to everything from lakes and rivers, to cities and culture. One of the best ways to see all that Ontario has to offer is to take one of the many incredible Ontario road trips, whether that’s exploring major cities like Toronto and Ottawa, or getting out into the wilderness and exploring one of the millions of lakes around the province.
So without further ado, here are the 8 best Ontario road trips for you to take this summer.
Table of Contents
Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake
British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill visited Niagara Falls in 1943 and is quoted as saying that the Niagara Parkway is the “prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” Now that tells you something!
Niagara Falls is certainly no secret. In fact, it’s one of the top attractions in all of Canada. However, considering its beauty, and the fact that it’s only 30-minutes from Toronto, we couldn’t leave it out as an incredible road trip. To make the most of this Ontario road trip, extend your trip to spend a day (or two or three) in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region as well, taking the Niagara Parkway, which follows the Niagara River through beautiful wineries, parks, historical sites, and more. There’s plenty of places to try delicious food, snacks, and of course, wine! Plus, each season presents new scenery, such as blossoming flowers in the spring, hot weather in the summer, and winter festivals during the colder months. You can even extend your trip down to Fort Erie, which is south of Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Parkway is a short scenic drive running parallel to the Niagara River from Fort Erie at the bottom to Niagara-on-the-Lake at the top. It’s only 55 kilometres (34 miles) in length and takes just over an hour without any stops. Of course, doing the trip without stops would defeat the purpose, as you’d miss all the villages and attractions along the way, such as Old Fort Erie, Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls, the Butterfly Conservatory, a variety of wineries, and much more.
This short road trip can easily be made into a full day or a full week depending on what you want to do. For example, you could spend a day learning about the history of the area at Fort Erie, spend a few days in Niagara Falls to enjoy the beautiful views and the variety of attractions, and then spend a couple of days peddle-biking around wineries or catching one of the many performances during the Shaw Festival. After all, biking is so much better after a few glasses of wine.
Popular things to do include:
- Wandering through the Historic District
- Taking a food tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Touring the many wineries
- Watching a performance at the Shaw Festival
- Taking a Hornblower Cruise at Niagara Falls
- Flying over Niagara Falls in a helicopter
Staying in Niagara Falls but wanting to explore the wineries without the worry of driving? The Niagara-on-the-Lake Shuttle offered from May 5th until October 29th is only $7.00 one-way for an adult ($5.00 for a child) and runs every 60 minutes from 10:30 am until 5:30 pm, departing from the Floral Clock.
Ottawa to Toronto via Algonquin Park
When it comes to visiting Canada’s capital city and Canada’s largest city, there’s no shortage of things to do in Toronto and Ottawa . However, far too many people take the major highway that connects both cities instead of opting for the much-more scenic route through Algonquin Park. Known as the Highway 60 Corridor , this road trip cuts through the south end of the park from the east gate to the west gate, taking you through lush forest, while providing many opportunities to explore hiking trails, beautiful lakes, lookout points, campgrounds, and even an art centre.
Think of it like a massive oasis right in-between two of Canada’s most famous cities. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of Ottawa, take a few days to get back to nature in Algonquin Park, and then get right back into the action in Toronto. If you still have time, continue down to Niagara Falls and the stunning wine region for even more relaxation and sightseeing.
Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893, is the oldest provincial park in Canada and a national historic site. It’s about 7,653 square kilometres (almost 3,000 square miles) and is a great place to spend a few days outdoors. It contains more than 2,400 lakes and more than 1,200 kilometres of streams and rivers. Due to its location, it can be busy but is still a great opportunity to go hiking, canoeing, camping, wildlife viewing, or to simply see where the northern coniferous forest and southern deciduous forest meet.
Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls may have been a hit song but we don’t advise listening to the lyrics when in Hamilton. This is, after all, Ontario’s waterfall capital , and we highly recommend you do go chasing them. Hamilton is only an hour’s drive from Toronto, making it one of the best day trips from Toronto, but also an excellent road trip as well. Rather than a long-distance type of drive, this one is more focused on seeing as many of the 100 waterfalls as you can.
All around the region, there are hiking trails and parks that allow you to see the thundering beauty of many different waterfalls, including the very popular Devils Punchbowl Falls, which is a 37-metre ribbon waterfall. Many of the waterfalls are located around the Bruce Trail Conservancy, but what makes this area unique is that you can easily combine some easy hikes through nature with urban charm as well, such as shopping for antiques on Locke Street, sightseeing at Dundas Peak, or learning about the city’s history at Dundurn Castle or the Steam and Technology Museum. Hamilton is also known for its thriving arts scene and the Supercrawl Festival, which is a great time to taste local food and craft beer.
Thousand Islands National Park
Perhaps one of the most beautiful and unique places in Ontario is Thousand Islands, which is just a short road trip from Ottawa or Toronto. Someone miscounted because there’s actually more than 1,800 islands residing around the St. Lawrence River, but either way, this is a gorgeous place to go for a road trip and then a water trip as well. Not only is it a stunning place to take a boat tour or to go kayaking and canoeing, but it’s also a great place to check out extraordinary lighthouses, historic castles, and learn about the unique history, which includes pirates and smuggling.
This national park straddles the American border and offers a range of things to do on land and on the water. If you had one of those cars that can also float in the water, this would be the trip to take!
Prince Edward County
If you love wine but are looking for something different than Niagara-on-the-Lake, consider visiting charming Prince Edward County in-between Toronto and Ottawa. A favourite amongst wine and cheese lovers, this vacation destination is the home to many passionate winemakers, giving you the chance to drink the province’s best Pinot Noir before walking the white sand beach of Sandbanks Provincial Park. But there’s more than Pinot Noir as well. The region is home to more than three dozen wineries, as well as two local cheese producers. In fact, if you really want to indulge, make your way here in June when the Great Canadian Cheese Festival comes to town. This can easily be a day trip from Toronto or Ottawa, but it’s much better to book a stay at a cottage or a local bed-and-breakfast and just relax.
Oxford County Cheese Trail
Want even more cheese? Then this road trip is for you. In Oxford County, near London, Ontario, you can follow a specific route to explore all 98 cheese factories in the area. Okay, maybe not all of them. That’s a lot of cheese! However, along the Oxford County Cheese Trail , you’ll find eight different companies showcasing their products and teaching you about the agricultural industry of the county. The nice thing about doing your own road trip tour is that you can make it as short or as long as you wish. Go for a few hours or stay for a few days. It’s not like it’s just cheese either. You’ll also find artisans, entertainment, and nature as well.
The entire trail consists of 24 stops featuring cheese, dairy, and other offerings that make for a unique road trip that’s not too far from both Toronto and Niagara Falls. It’s even close to some U.S. cities such as Detroit and Buffalo.
Downtown Toronto to Newmarket
While this 83-kilometre stretch of road may not be your typical road trip, it’s kind of a cool thing to do in Ontario. After all, it’s proclaimed to be the longest road in the world and is in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s mostly situated on Yonge Street, taking you from the bustling downtown core of Toronto all the way north to Newmarket. You can visit the suburbs of Richmond Hill and North York, enjoy a glass of wine at Holland Marsh Winery, stroll the Newmarket Riverwalk Commons, or learn some history at the Elman W. Campbell Museum. In fact, the road itself is quite historical as it was part of the infrastructure that established Upper Canada in the 1790s and provided access to the Great Lakes in case of invasion from the U.S. after independence. If you want to continue North, you can visit places such as Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay.
Lake Superior Circle Tour
Last but certainly not least, the Lake Superior Circle Tour is by-far the most adventurous Ontario road trip of them all. In fact, it’s on our bucket list of road trips in Canada. We’ve technically done half of the route but only did it to get from point A to point B, missing out on all the beautiful sights in-between. There are essentially two Lake Superior road trips you can do. The full Lake Superior Circle Tour takes you through the Canadian side on the northern half and the American side on the South. You will cross the border twice and should aim to spend a couple of weeks to fully enjoy it. The shorter version is the Lake Superior Half Circle Tour, which sticks only to the Canadian side, comprised of the area in-between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay. This stretch of the road trip is over 700 kilometres in length and can take anywhere from a really rushed-day to a multiple-week adventure. Please keep in mind that if you only do the Canadian version of the road trip, it’s one-way, which means you’ll have to come back the same way or continue on to other provinces such as Manitoba.
Popular places to visit include Thunder Bay, Ruby Lake Provincial Park, the Terry Fox Memorial, Rossport, Terrace Bay, Pukaskwa National Park, White River, Wawa, Lake Superior Provincial Park, and Sault Ste. Marie.
Road Trips in Ontario
While Ontario may not have those classic road trips like the Icefields Parkway or the Viking Trail , it does have a ton of interesting, fun, and beautiful destination that can easily be turned into a fabulous road trip. Whether you’re looking for a day trip from one of the major cities or looking to truly get into some adventure along the shores of Lake Superior, there’s no shortage of cool Ontario road trips for people of all types. We hope this article inspires your next trip and if there’s a road trip we missed, please let us know in the comments!
For more adventures in Ontario and beyond, check out these articles below:
- Things to Do in Winnipeg
- Things to Do in Quebec
- Things to Do in Montreal
- 13 Amazing Canada Road Trips
- The Ultimate 150-Day Road Trip Across Canada
About Matthew G. Bailey
Matthew G. Bailey is the founder and editor-in-chief of Must Do Canada. Growing up in Alberta to a mother from Quebec and a father from Newfoundland, Matt spent his childhood playing hockey under the Northern Lights and hanging out in the forest before moving to Calgary and travelling to more than 250 cities spanning 42 countries and 6 continents. He loves travel, learning new things, playing sports, writing, making videos, photography, and scuba diving. You can also find him at LiveLimitless.net .
April 1, 2021 at 10:03 am
Ahh! I can’t wait to move back to Ontario, and get exploring
April 1, 2021 at 3:03 pm
Love Algonquin any time of the year – especially the fall!
May 22, 2022 at 8:47 am
We are planning a fall trip to Ontario and we are taking advantage of the blogs and videos from you guys. I think we will do 2 days in Toronto, 1 to Niagara falls and then 9 days in Muskoka.
May 22, 2022 at 10:09 am
Nice! We’ve never been to Muskoka. Why 9 days? Just lots of relax time?
April 1, 2021 at 5:01 pm
These sound great!
April 2, 2021 at 5:30 am
Hopefully some of these can be done this year if parks are open.
May 13, 2021 at 7:38 am
Awesome! Love this
April 2, 2021 at 6:56 am
Can’t wait to explore!
April 21, 2021 at 1:14 pm
Same! I need to see more things in my home province
April 2, 2021 at 9:01 am
April 2, 2021 at 6:22 pm
April 2, 2021 at 8:54 pm
We are lucky to have so many places to see close to home!
April 3, 2021 at 6:53 am
I took friends from Germany to see Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake on a road trip.They were impressed and enjoyed the excursion.
April 3, 2021 at 11:09 am
Sweet. Here’s a fun fact. Germans love Saskatchewan. It’s one of their top tourism markets
April 3, 2021 at 8:13 am
I’ve always wanted to visit Algonquin!! H0ping to soon!
April 3, 2021 at 9:22 am
Looking forward to finding new things to explore in Ontario!
April 3, 2021 at 10:30 am
Amazing article! @iceyviolet
April 5, 2021 at 9:02 pm
Nice article, time to get some more Manitoba content
April 5, 2021 at 9:48 pm
haha yes, for sure. We really wanna do some road trips there. What are some good ones?
April 3, 2021 at 12:58 pm
Great ideas! I live in Southern Ontario and have always wanted to go to both Algonquin Park and Ottawa. Might have to give this trip some thought.
April 3, 2021 at 8:48 pm
April 3, 2021 at 9:57 pm
This is such a great tool for people who are excited to explore the nooks and crannies of Ontario! Love being in nature!!
April 4, 2021 at 2:59 am
Canada has so much beauty. I love to see everything.
April 4, 2021 at 7:26 am
I cannot wait to start travelling again:)
April 4, 2021 at 7:54 am
Good article. I would love to go on the Viking Trail. Looks like great fun.
April 4, 2021 at 8:27 am
Can’t wait to to one of these trips after the pandemic!
April 4, 2021 at 9:09 am
April 4, 2021 at 10:10 am
There are so many wonderful sights to see in Ontario. I would love to take the Lake Superior Circle Tour.
April 4, 2021 at 11:14 am
I’ve been to northern Ontario to see some friends, but didn’t have time to visit Algonquin. I hope to go back soon in better times and visit! So many beautiful sights!
April 4, 2021 at 12:50 pm
Oxford County cheese tour. 98 cheese factories, who knew!
April 4, 2021 at 1:21 pm
Looking forward to being able to go on road trips again!
April 4, 2021 at 1:46 pm
Sounds like an awesome visit!
April 4, 2021 at 3:04 pm
Enjoyed the article
April 4, 2021 at 4:51 pm
I’ve road tripped around the world and there’s still no place like Ontario for road trips.
April 4, 2021 at 7:59 pm
I’ll have to get on this! Thanks!
April 4, 2021 at 8:04 pm
Niagara Falls is a little further than 30 minutes from Toronto. 🙂 Also Quebec is the a largest province. Ontario 2nd. 🙂
April 5, 2021 at 12:38 pm
Woops. It was supposed to say second-largest. Thanks for catching that
April 5, 2021 at 3:43 am
I love Algonquin. One of my favourite places.
April 5, 2021 at 1:04 pm
I didn’t know about the waterfalls in the Hamilton area I am very familiar with Algonquin Park and Toronto I am somewhat familiar with Ottawa.
April 5, 2021 at 6:51 pm
I’m so happy I live in such an amazing province and country!
April 6, 2021 at 12:32 am
Gotta check out all these places! Putting these on the bucket list for sure!
April 7, 2021 at 3:47 pm
Great place to checkout!
April 9, 2021 at 7:38 am
The Niagara region is simply beautiful in the spring. A road trip is simply spectacular.
April 10, 2021 at 6:38 pm
These are sounding great
April 11, 2021 at 8:44 am
Thanks for sharing all this information, there are many nice places to visit in Ontario.
April 11, 2021 at 1:34 pm
J’adore la route des vins à Niagara-on-the-Lake
April 12, 2021 at 5:50 pm
Thanks! I can’t wait to travel again.
April 14, 2021 at 8:22 am
Great suggestions! Looking forward to exploring more of this province when things are safe to do so 🙂
April 15, 2021 at 1:54 pm
Have to put these on the bucket list!
April 17, 2021 at 1:18 pm
Good road trips!
April 19, 2021 at 9:12 am
Niagara Region is beautiful year round. Can’t wait to get back out there again.
April 23, 2021 at 6:51 am
Great article! Prince Edward wine tours sounds lovely.
April 27, 2021 at 9:26 am
Me mudé con mi esposa a Toronto hace un par de semanas y no podemos esperar para explorar TODO!!!
April 27, 2021 at 10:15 am
aha yes I bet!
May 8, 2021 at 7:48 am
I live in Ontario – and for The past 25 years I have done the road trip to Niagara-on-the-lake at least 25 times. I love it there! Picturesque, shopping, the food etc. And wine country right next door! Perfect road trip for me!
September 1, 2021 at 7:19 am
I’ve lived in Ontario all my life and I just learned about the Oxford County Cheese Trail from this article! I love cheese, so will definitely plan to do this this fall! Thank you for the great, comprehensive list.
September 1, 2021 at 9:36 am
I’m sure we’ll continue to uncover stuff too. COuntry is so big!
March 29, 2022 at 4:25 pm
You should find all the waterfalls in Ontario! Hamilton area, grey Bruce!
May 5, 2022 at 6:29 am
Thanks for these articles. Waterfalls of Ontario sounds like a good future article. Next time we have put of province visitors will definitely do some of these road trips.
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Science North | Sudbury
- Long Point Eco-Adventures, Norfolk County
- Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan
- Santa’s Village, Bracebridge
- Storybook Gardens, London
- Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls
- Eagle Canyon Adventures, Dorion
- Family rafting at Wilderness Tours, Ottawa River
- Fort Henry, Kingston
- Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, Haliburton
- Segway tours at Blue Mountain Resort, The Blue Mountains
- Puddicombe Estate, Stoney Creek
- Calypso Waterpark, Limoges
- Lang Pioneer Village Museum, Keene
- Science North and Dynamic Earth, Sudbury
On this page
15 great things to do with kids in ontario.
Plan a summer day trip or getaway that the whole family will enjoy.
There’s no shortage of great things to do with kids in Ontario, from toddlers to teenagers and thrill-seekers to deep thinkers.
Here are some ideas to get your summer plans started.
Long Point Eco-Adventures , Norfolk County
Long Point Eco-Adventures is well worth the drive.
While you enjoy a glamping experience in nature, your kids can tool around the extensive property on bikes or kayaks. Take a 2.5-hour canopy tour high above the forest floor, including eight zip lines, two suspension sky-bridges and a 12-metre rappel.
Location: 1730 Front Road, St Williams
Looking for more high-energy adventures? Here’s a list of amusement parks for thrill-seekers .
Canada’s Wonderland , Vaughan
Kids of all ages love Canada’s largest theme park.
Little ones can hang out in KidZville or ride the Taxi Jam, designed as a toddler’s first roller coaster. On wilder rides like Behemoth and WindSeeker, which stretches up 91 metres high, teens can test their fear factors. Parents will enjoy the rides, and the whole family can cool off at the attached water park in the afternoon.
Location: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan
Here are more family-oriented amusement parks near Toronto.
Santa’s Village , Bracebridge
Santa’s Village is a large amusement park in Muskoka that features a host of kid friendly attractions and activities including a waterpark and splash pad, theme rides, miniature train, animal farm, entertainment and more.
The park is surrounded by forest and also provides cabin, yurt and camping accommodation.
Location: 1624 Golden Beach Road, Bracebridge
Beyond the borders of Santa’s Village, there’s even more summer family fun to discover in Muskoka .
Storybook Gardens , London
Storybrook Gardens is always a magical thing to do with kids in Ontario.
Enter through the castle, where a make-believe world decorated with characters from all your little kids’ favourite stories fires up their imaginations. Kids will enjoy fun rides, entertainment, face painting and Slippery’s splash area to cool down. Open year-round, this is a playground of make-believe where kids and their creative minds rule.
Location: 1958 Storybook Lane, London
Clifton Hill , Niagara Falls
Families will find endless entertainment along the “Street of Fun” just a block away from the famous Niagara Falls.
Explore themed attractions, wax museums, haunted houses, game arcades and restaurants. The Niagara Speedway boasts an elevated four-acre facility that combines the thrills of go-kart racing and roller coaster riding. And the Big Top Amazing Mirror and Laser Maze will keep your kids entertained for hours.
Location: 4960 Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls
Eagle Canyon Adventures , Dorion
Look down, if you dare, at Ouimet Canyon from Canada’s longest zipline suspension footbridge in Dorion.
Getting to Eagle Canyon Adventures, just outside of Thunder Bay, is your first step — the next 182 metres is up to you. To get to the bottom of the canyon, take an exhilarating 60-second zipline on Canada’s longest, highest and fastest.
Location: 275 Valley Road, Dorion
Knock off more Ontario outdoor adrenaline adventures from your bucket list.
Family rafting at Wilderness Tours , Ottawa River
As Canada’s largest whitewater rafting resort, this property offers fun for everyone, including families.
Accommodations range from camping to basic and deluxe cabins and activities extend beyond the wild river rafting and kayak adventure. There’s a pool, sports courts and a restaurant. In addition to the family rafting experiences, try out fishing or mountain biking.
Location: 1260 Grants Settlement Road, Foresters Falls
There are several amazing whitewater rafting operators in the Ottawa Valley.
Fort Henry , Kingston
This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a glimpse into 19th-century military life at an authentic British army fort.
Watch a garrison parade, attend a Victorian school, fire a rifle and tour the grounds. The sunset ceremonies are one of the most iconic summer attractions in Ontario, with precision demonstrations of rifle drills, military music, canon blasts and a fireworks finale.
Location: 1 Fort Henry Drive, Kingston
Find more kid-friendly forts, as well as castles and historic jails to visit.
Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve , Haliburton
Along with more than 300 kilometres of trails and canoeing tours, this wildlife reserve includes a wolf centre with an observatory to view (and possibly hear) the wolf pack.
Take to the treetops on the Walk in the Clouds Canopy Boardwalk, a four-hour trekking adventure 20 metres above the ground. Stay in one of the on-site cabins or lakeside campsites.
Location: 1095 Redkenn Road, Dysart et al, Haliburton
If your kids loved the canopy walk, check out these other ziplining, treetop trekking and aerial adventure parks .
Segway tours at Blue Mountain Resort , The Blue Mountains
Speed along on a two-wheeled, motorized, self-balancing Segway on this scenic, guided, off-road tour of the Niagara Escarpment. Take in the views of the village and the gorgeous colours of Georgian Bay.
Segway tours are also offered in Niagara , Toronto , downtown Ottawa , or JW Marriot .
Location: 115 Swiss Meadows Boulevard Unit AS7, Ravenna
Discover more kid-friendly activities at Blue Mountain .
The Toronto Zoo is Canada’s largest animal attraction, housing over 5000 animals on close to 300 hectares.
In addition, you’ll find fun kid approved play areas and activities like the Splash Island, Canopy tours and zip lines, ropes courses, a carousel and the Tundra air ride.
Plan your visit carefully in advance, as it’s impossible to see everything in just one day!
Location: 2000 Meadowvale Road, Toronto
Treat the animal lovers in your family to more of Ontario’s great zoos and wildlife attractions this summer.
Puddicombe Estate , Stoney Creek
For over 200 years, the Puddicombe family has managed this thriving 300-acre farm.
One of the most beloved summer activities in Ontario is picking fruit at a farm like Puddicombe. Stock up on hand-baked sweets, jams and fudge from the country store before sampling the winery’s delicious wine and crisp cider. Book a farm stay at Puddicombe Caboose, an authentic converted CNR car with a comfy two-bed suite and a kitchenette.
Location: 1468 Highway 8, Stoney Creek
From pick-you-own farm patches to bustling farmers’ markets , families are welcome to enjoy wholesome farm fun throughout the season.
Calypso Waterpark , Limoges
Just outside of Ottawa, this water park boasts the nation’s largest wave pool, more than 35 slides, water games and floating rivers.
Enjoy the park from the VIP zone cabanas and suites, luxurious, private spaces with lounge chairs, cold water, internet and a VIP bar. Located on an elevated deck, the panoramic view of the park is pretty sweet too.
Location: 2015 Calypso Street, Limoges
Cool off at more outdoor waterparks in Ontario this summer.
Lang Pioneer Village Museum , Keene
Travel back 200 years to the life of nineteenth-century settlers and Indigenous communities.
The living history museum located on the historic Indian River hosts restored and furnished buildings of the mid-1800s, including an Aabnaabin First Nations camp, a general store, a schoolhouse and a weaver shop with a working Jacquard loom. Wander the pathways, try your hand at weaving, visit the farm animals and interact with villagers in authentic costumes.
Location: 104 Lang Road, Keene
There’s a host of kid-friendly museums in Ontario that make learning fun.
Science North and Dynamic Earth , Sudbury
Science North and Dynamic Earth is one of Northern Ontario largest and most popular family attractions. There are over 50 exhibits that explore a variety of scientific disciplines.
Visit the escape room, planetarium, IMAX theatre and activities centre for more hands-on and engaging learning. Next door, dive into earth science and the history of mining, complete with a guided underground tour.
Location: 100 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury
And that’s just the start! Engage young and inquisitive minds at these interactive science museums .
Find even more kid-friendly activities and family getaway ideas in Ontario.
- Kid-friendly museums in Ontario
- Fun places to stay in Ontario for kids
- Kid-friendly castles, forts and historical jails in Ontario
Last updated: October 13, 2023
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Home » North America » Canada » 15 AMAZING Day Trips to Take from Ontario | 2023 Guide
15 AMAZING Day Trips to Take from Ontario | 2023 Guide
Ontario is the most populous province in Canada, home to both the country’s capital city of Ottawa and the dynamic city of Toronto. There is so much to do in this beautiful province, that you could easily spend months exploring the area.
It’s also conveniently situated on the Northern border of the USA, bordering a bunch of the Great Lakes and America’s Minnesota, Michigan, and the New York States. Depending on where you’re based, you might just be able to take a day trip across the border too!
Day trips are a great option for all types of travelers because they can give one a broader feel of the place you’re visiting. Not only will guided tours be super educational, but they’re also a great opportunity to reconnect with your family on a fun adventure. If you live in the area, full or half-day trips in Ontario are a cheaper alternative to a full-blown vacation.
We’re going to take a look at some of the local trips you can take in Ontario!
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Getting Around Ontario, and Beyond
Half-day trips in ontario, full-day trips in ontario, final thoughts on day trips from ontario.
No visit to Canada is complete without exploring Ontario and all it has to offer. Before we dive into some of the best Ontario day trips, let’s take a closer look at how to get around the area.
Like any large province or state, the biggest cities in Ontario (Toronto and Ottawa) have reliable, affordable, and safe public transportation. A lot of the inner cities also have buses, subways, streetcars, and ferries.
In Toronto and Ottawa, these modes of transport connect metropolitan and suburban districts with extensive routes. A one-way ticket can cost around CAD$3.25, while a day pass will set you back CAD$13.50.
If you’re looking to move between cities, or explore Ontario’s roads-less-taken, you’ll have to consider other options. When you’re familiar with the area and venturing out on day trips without a tour guide, renting a car is the most convenient option. As with all car rentals, make sure you get insurance before you leave the lot!
The big Ontario cities are also all connected by railway, which is a great way to get from A to B when traveling across the province. VIA Rail Canada services the whole of Ontario, Ontario Northland services the north of the province, and GO Train connects Hamilton to Oshawa.
Book your transport on Bookaway NOW . Get the best price for the best ride… then use those savings to buy the best feed in town!
Not everyone has the time to explore far afield, sometimes a half day trip is all you can fit in. These half-day trips in Ontario will get you out of the city and seeing some of the best bits of the province.
Cobourg is a quaint lakeside town just west of Victoria Park on Lake Ontario, only an hour outside the city of Toronto by rail. Cherished by locals as a weekend haven, Cobourg Beach offers a blend of sand, grassland, and a picturesque boardwalk.
Cobourg Beach is in fact two beaches. Most tours will take you straight to the main beach, also known as Victoria Park Beach, but there is so much more to explore along these sandy shores.
The beach is designed for family fun, offering lots of amenities including bathrooms, restaurants, and splash pads for all types of visitors. They even host volleyball and sandcastle-building events throughout the year!
If you’re after a more secluded beach experience, the lesser-known West Beach is a local favorite. This beach has a more natural appeal and is less busy. An afternoon here can include relaxing on the beach, reading a good book, and swimming in the clean lake water. Bring along a picnic, because, unlike the main beach, West Beach has no food or beverage amenities.
When a single day trip in Ontario’s lake district isn’t enough, why not extend your visit and spend a few nights in this tiny house on the beach in Brighton near Cobourg Beach? It’s only a short drive from the lakeside town and has exquisite lake views.
Located just an hour’s drive out of Toronto, Rattlesnake Point is a beautiful location for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a respite from the city. The mountainous woodlands are a top location for rock climbing, hiking, and trail running.
Conveniently, there are no rattlesnakes in the area – yes, we were surprised by this too. In fact, the park gets its name from the snake-like path that cuts through the Niagara Escarpment.
Take note that reservations are required before you visit, so be sure to reserve your visit with Conservation Halton Parks.
Whether you go to the top of the Buffalo Crag lookout point or watch the eagles soaring overhead from beneath the thousand-year-old cedar trees, the landscape here is nothing short of extraordinary.
For something different, and if you have some extra time on your way back home, try out an oil painting class in nearby Erin Mills.
We’ve tested countless day packs over the years, and now we’ve found our absolute favourite: the traveller-approved Osprey Daylite Plus .
Want more deetz on why we love it so damn much? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!
Packing in a day trip from Ontario is a lot more rewarding than taking half-day trips. By heading out before the sun rises, and leaving at the end of the day, you can easily pack in a full day of adventure and fun with your loved ones. These aren’t narrowed down for tourists alone, Ontario locals also love to explore their home!
If you’re a first-time visitor to Ontario, Niagara falls will be at the top of your day trip list but there’s more to see in this lush region than just the waterfall. Only a two-hour drive from Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a small town near Niagara Falls which is packed with historic sites, galleries, parks, and restaurants.
The town has a heritage square which is well worth a visit, but it’s the surrounding Winelands that we are most excited about. Niagara Wine County is a quick 20-minute drive from the waterfall.
It’s the Napa Valley of Canada, and for good reason. The area is as lush and beautiful, and is home to over 20 top wineries that follow tons of different wine-making techniques. Some of our favorite wineries for a day trip in Ontario include the Jackson Triggs Winery, Pillitteri Estate, Stratus Wineries, and the Peller Estates Winery.
Niagara Wine County offers year-round wine tasting activities, but the most beautiful time to visit is definitely during summer and fall. Can you think of anything better than some bucket-list sightseeing combined with a wine tasting?
Suggested trips: Winery Tour with Tastings & Lunch
I have no doubt you’ve already planned your trip to Niagara Falls. Hell, I wouldn’t even be surprised if your entire Ontario trip is based around this visit. It’s one of the top places to visit in Toronto .
Over eight million visitors visit Niagara Falls State Park each year. While it’s not the biggest waterfall in the world, it certainly is one of the most impressive, with the world’s highest flow rate of about 700,000 gallons of water moving every second.
The waterfall lies on the border between Canada and the USA, and offers awe-inspiring scenery in every direction. If it’s the waterfall you’re most interested in (naturally), we recommend taking a boat cruise or a scenic helicopter ride over the waterfall (if you have the budget for it).
If you’re feeling very adventurous, why not zipline to the falls ? Alternatively, a visit to the Skylon Tower observation deck offers equally breathtaking views, without having to get soaking wet.
However, there is so much more to see than first meets the eye. The adventure-packed area is a top location for hiking and also offers a bunch of family-friendly activities, entertainment, and dining.
Suggested trips: Niagara Falls Day Trip and Day and Night Tour
Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park
Visiting Ontario with young children? Perfect for family day trips from Ontario, Wonderland Amusement Park has been making visitors smile since 1981. The park features more than 200 attractions, including 17 roller coasters, two children’s areas, and a 20-acre water park.
It’s open year-round through all four seasons, and hosts daily live shows and special events throughout the year. When you visit around Christmas or Halloween, you’ll be treated to themed adventures.
That being said, Canada’s Wonderland isn’t just for youngsters, and the park is a top location for corporate adventures, vacations with friends, or a romantic trip. Like any world-class amusement park, it is home to fantastic dining and shopping arcades, which will be sure to keep you busy between rides.
Feel like turning this into an overnight stay? This comfortable townhouse is an ideal home overlooking the amusement park.
Blue Mountain and Collingwood
There’s nothing better than a good old trip into the mountains. The Blue Mountains are a two-hour drive from Toronto and offer adventures from summer through to winter.
As a snowboarder myself, I’d highly recommend checking this mountain out if you’re visiting during the colder months. You’ll find a charming base village that leads up to over 15 ski lifts and an abundance of easy to expert terrain.
If skiing, snowboarding, and tubing aren’t for you, there is lots to keep you busy in the village, which is packed with cozy eateries and trendy shops. The town of Collingwood on the Georgian Bay is only a 10-minute drive away from the ski resort.
Blue Mountain and Collingwood are also great destinations for a summer Ontario day trip. When you’re visiting with kids, be sure to purchase the Play All Day Pass, which will give you access to over 10 different attractions including a mountain roller coaster, a canopy climbing net, ziplines, and more.
Suggested trips: Between Collingwood & Toronto: Smartphone Audio Driving Tour
Algonquin Provincial Park
Located between the Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River, Algonquin Provincial Park is a natural wonder worth a visit in Ontario. The park is huge, to say the least, with over 2400 lakes and miles worth of streams.
Driving from Toronto to the entrance of the park will take just under three hours, but once you’re there, you could spend a lot more time driving between the different attractions. While it’s a great park for a day trip, Algonquin has been praised for having some of the most beautiful campsites in Ontario . Take what you want from that!
You have to pay for a permit to enter the park, so make sure the tour you pick includes entrance fees in the day rate. An outdoor lovers’ playground, Algonquin Park is a hotspot for recreational activities. From backcountry camping to boating, canoeing, dog sledding, fishing and hunting, picnicking, skiing, snowmobiling, and swimming, there is something to do all year round in this exquisite area.
Suggested trips: Algonquin Provincial Park Day Tour , 6 Hour Algonquin Park Canoe Trip , and Algonquin Park Winter Adventure
Located just outside of Waterloo along the Conestoga River, only an hour and a half drive from Toronto, The Village of St. Jacobs is a charming spot to visit for a cultural day trip in Ontario.
If you’re up for some local history, St. Jacobs has a unique Mennonite heritage . The town was first settled in the early 1830s by Pennslyvania Dutch populations. The heritage of the village has been well preserved – you can even still visit the first mills built in the area! St. Jacobs had a small population with a strong Germanic culture, which is still evident today.
Walking through the streets feels like you’ve taken a step back in time. But today, the streets are lined with trendy boutiques, specialty stores, and antique spots. Don’t forget to check out the Farmers’ Market, which is a big drawing point in the village. It sells everything from artisanal to home-baked goods.
If you want to extend your day trip to an overnight one, spend a night in this classic 1842 B&B with village views.
Known for its bustling fishing industry, Port Dover is a small town located in Norfolk County on the northern shores of Lake Erie in Ontario. Today, this lakeside village is well-loved for its beaches, piers, and local community, making it a great stop for an Ontario day trip.
If you’ve never been to Norfolk County, Port Dover is the place to start exploring. Named after the town of the same name in England, it was established in the early 1800s. The village was burned down and rebuilt, and has since developed a name for itself as one of the largest freshwater fishing areas in the Americas.
Boaters will love the Port Dover Harbor Marina, while foodies will be kept busy by the restaurants along the lake shores. If you happen to visit on a Friday the 13th, you’ll be greeted by lines of motorcycles that parade through the streets.
The village is about a two-hour drive from the city of Toronto. If you feel like exploring more of the area, rent out this charming waterfront cottage outside the city.
Ferris Provincial Park
Ferris Provincial Park is another outstanding nature-lovers paradise on the doorstep of Ontario’s big cities. Just like Algonquin Park, Ferris is a top destination for overnight camping, but being only two hours from Toronto, it’s also a great spot for a day trip.
There are a ton of adventurous things to do in the park. If you visit during the fall months, you’ll be blown away by the colorful trees from the lookout over Ranney Falls. Spring is just as gorgeous, when the park shows off brightly colored wildflowers along the Drumlin Trail. In winter, you could backcountry ski and enjoy the snowshoe trails which are well maintained by park rangers.
Summer is the best time for enjoying time on the Trent River. Whether you enjoy kayaking or prefer admiring the bird and wildlife from the shore, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the pedestrian suspension bridge over the Trent River Gorge, which overlooks exquisite panoramic views of the park.
Fancy spending some more time in the park? This quaint cottage Airbnb in Campbellford has everything you might need for a short stay.
Suggested Trips : Rail Town Off-Road Quad Adventure
The Stratford Festival
A short two-hour drive from Toronto, Stratford is a small city on the Avon River in Ontario’s Perth County. Just like the Stratford Upon Avon in England (which was home to the Great playwright Shakespeare), Ontario’s Stratford was also settled by English, Irish, Scottish and German immigrants in the early 1800s.
The city is best known for its selection of top-rated restaurants, its art scene, and its festival season which runs from May through to October. When you visit during these months, you can plan your trip around the Stratford Shakespeare Festival or the Stratford Summer Music Festival. Trust me when I say, these festivals are worth a visit, and they are the city’s claims to fame.
That being said, it’s a spectacular place to visit on a day trip from Ontario year-round, with a charming small-town atmosphere, outstanding dining options, and a fascinating history rooted in English literature, theatre, and western culture.
Suggested trips: Stratford Countryside Dining Experience
Prince Edward Wine County
More wine tours? We like the sound of that! Thanks to its limestone-rich soil and moderate climate, Prince Edward Wine County is home to some of the most famous Canadian wine producers.
Just over two hours from the city of Toronto, the county plays host to over 35 independent winemakers, each using different wine-making techniques to create uniquely tasty craft beverages. Unlike many other wine tasting trips, winetasting in Prince Edward is refreshingly unpretentious and offers a more down-to-earth experience than most.
Most of the wineries in the region specialize in Pino Noir and Chardonnay, but the local winemakers are always learning new tricks and testing new techniques. It’s not all about wine here, though, and you could also make a stop at the local brewery for a cold one, or wander through the local farmers’ market and museums until your feet give in.
Suggested trips: Tesla Wine Tour and Horseback Adventure at Fina Vista Farm
The Muskoka Lakes and Gravenhurst
Muskoka is a collection of eclectic towns and villages about two and a half hours drive from Toronto. Together with over 1600 lakes, a vast forest, and a bunch of great restaurants and bars, it’s no wonder Muskoka is such a desirable destination for an Ontario day trip.
In fact, when you’re visiting this area, you might bump into Tom Hanks, Justin Bieber, Kate Hudson, or Steven Spielberg, who all allegedly have cabins on the lake shores! While the best time to visit is definitely during the warmer summer months, the lakes and their surrounding trees put on a spectacular show of oranges and yellows during fall too.
Suggested trips: Barefoot Earthing Experience and Canoe Fishing Guide
Wasaga Beach is a great spot for a day trip if you want your own adventure, without the hassle of organizing a tour. The beach is only an hour and forty-five minutes from Toronto, and is the world’s longest freshwater beach. With pristine white sand and panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment across the Georgian Bay, it’s also one of the most beautiful!
If fishing is your thing, the Nottawasaga River nearby is excellent for game fishing. You can rent a boat or canoe and explore the area. Go golfing, skydiving, hiking, biking, or even snowshoeing and cross country skiing during the winter months. The activities are endless no matter what time of year you choose to visit!
Mount St. Louis Moonstone Ski Resort
Ski and snowboard trips are so nice, we had to add them twice! Mount St. Louis Moonstone Ski Resort is only an hour and a half from the city, making it perfect for a winter day trip.
About half the terrain is groomed for intermediate skiers and riders, while 35% is appropriate for beginners. If you’re after the hard stuff, 15% of the terrain is categorized as difficult.
There is a well-equipped snow school and rental shops which will keep young kids busy all day. If you’re a confident skier or snowboarder, you could try a run down the park and pipe (locally known as the Skool Yard, Junkyard, and Outback) for a kick of adrenaline.
A day out in the snow can get exhausting, but there is a spacious cafeteria at the base of the mountain where you can grab a hot chocolate or bite to eat for a quick refuel at any time. You can make this an overnight trip with a stay in this cozy villa with a jacuzzi and private parking.
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Ontario is one of those spread-out provinces that has so much to offer. The majority of tourists spend their time in the big cities. However, when visiting a city like Ottawa or Toronto, it’s always important to spend some time checking out the areas beyond the skyscrapers and highways.
Taking a day trip from Ontario and exploring the beautiful nature that the province has to offer will be the highlight of your trip. From pristine lakeside beaches to cozy winter ski resorts to exquisite national and provincial parks, there is so much more to do in Ontario than first meets the eye.
The Prince Edward Wine County is a personal favorite of mine, however, the convenience of seeing Niagara Falls and the Niagara Wine Region in one day is ideal for those without much time to spare.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
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8 Day Trips You Wouldn’t Believe Exist in Ontario
For Ontario travellers, this summer has been an opportunity to enjoy local experiences and scenery. Many are finding that the activities and adventures they’d normally seek at faraway destinations, can be found close to home. Just in time for Labour Day, we’ve put together a list of some of the coolest trips to take around the province that rival any exotic vacation.
1. Cranberry Marsh at Muskoka Lakes Winery
A visit to the cranberry bogs at Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery is a fun-filled day trip for the whole family. The marsh and surrounding woods feature over 10 km of scenic trails and 27 acres of cranberries, with specials activities available for the kids. For the grown-ups, you can relax on a Muskoka patio while you sip cranberry wine and cider. Or take in the whole wine-making experience with the Bog to Bottle Discovery .
The winery and farm are open year round, but you may want to visit again in the fall when the harvest season begins and visitors can wade in amongst the cranberries during the Cranberry Plunge .
2. Surfing the Great Lakes
While most people venture south for a surfing trip, would you believe you can catch a wave right here at home? For those new to the sport, Surf The Greats offers introductory surf lessons at Cherry Beach, as well as surf safaris around the Great Lakes for more advanced students. For those looking to try their favourite vacation activity at home this year, joining the local surf community can give you the inside scoop on conditions, gear and the best locations to catch a swell.
3. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving on Georgian Bay
Depending on where you’re starting your trip, this one is likely a longer drive, but well worth it. The town of Tobermory sits on the Bruce Peninsula, surrounded by the towering cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, and is home to Canada’s first National Marine Park. In addition to swimming, kayaking and hiking, the waters offer incredible sights for divers and snorkelers. Divers may think they’ve been transported to the Caribbean as they explore the underwater canyons, forests and shipwrecks of Georgian Bay.
4. Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Surround yourself with the beauty of nature and interact with over 2000 species of tropical butterflies and moths at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory . While the summer guided tours are suspended until September 2nd for health and safety reasons, visitors can still explore the sanctuary, learn about butterflies , and have lunch at the Chrysalis Café.
5. Tubing at Elora Gorge
Every summer, many Ontarians flock to the Elora Gorge for an exciting day of swimming at the splash pad. While the swimming area remains closed this season, adventurous travellers can still enjoy the thrills of tubing down the white waters. While you’re there, check out the walking trails around the conservation area which offer stunning views of the gorge.
6. Beach Day at Long Point Provincial Park
Long Point is recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and features sand dunes and beaches, Carolinian forests, marshes, wetlands, creeks, and an abundance of wildlife. Among the many conservation areas and parks within the biosphere, visitors to the area can spend the day at Long Point Provincial Park . The park includes 1.5 km of sandy beach situated on Lake Erie, along with grassy sand dunes for you to explore.
7. Boat Tours of the 1000 Islands
The communities of the 1000 Islands make for a perfect day trip destination, with plenty of options for all travellers. Boat tours of the St. Lawrence River are popular, and still running at reduced capacity. Visitors to Brockville can catch a cruise and then spend the afternoon exploring the town and relaxing at the local craft brewery .
8. Pick Your Own Fruit and Vegetables Around Ontario
No matter where you are in Ontario, odds are locally grown produce isn’t far away. As we approach fall, blueberries, blackberries , tomatoes and peaches are in season, with many farms open to visitors looking to pick their own fruit. One of our favourites is Barrie Hill Farms in Springwater, but you can find a “pick your own” farm close to you , wherever you are in the province!
Before you head out on your trip, be sure to book your tickets, tour or visit ahead of time, as most locations are requiring reservations to manage crowds. And wherever you’re headed, look out for ONroute on your journey for food and beverage options, gas, and every other amenity you need to make your road trip experience the most enjoyable.
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17 Awesome Places to Visit in Ontario – Winter Edition
- June 20, 2021 December 31, 2022
Are you looking for the best Ontario winter activities? Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to bundle up and stay inside. There are countless places to visit in Ontario during winter; from Christmas markets and castles to waterfalls and national parks.
Whether you’re looking for exciting backcountry trips or cool winter festivals, Ontario has it all. Here are some Ontario winter activities and winter destinations to add to your bucket list!
❄️ What is winter like in Ontario?
1. kitchener, 2. niagara falls – one of the best places to visit in winter in ontario, 3. niagara on the lake, 4. blue mountains, 5. casa loma, 6. bruce peninsula national park, 7. toronto christmas market, 8. rideau canal, ottawa, 9. burlington, 10. hamilton, 11. kingston, 12. mono cliffs provincial park, 13. go skating at nathan phillips square – toronto, 14. camp at algonquin provincial park, 15. stargaze at torrance barrens dark sky preserve, 16. enjoy the outdoors at huntsville/ muskoka, 17. try ice fishing at lake nipissing, what to pack for winter in ontario, take away – best places to visit in ontario during winter.
- ✈️ Find the cheapest flights to Ontario using Kiwi , Expedia , or Skyscanner
- 🏠 Use Booking.com or Expedia to find the best accommodations
- 🚗 Use RentalCars to find the best car deals and reserve your vehicle in advance
- 📄 Travel insurance will cover your unexpected expenses. I never travel without World Nomads Travel Insurance
- 🧳 Wondering what to pack for Canada? Check out my 4-season packing list here
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Winter in Ontario is obviously COLD, but that is very subjective. Since Ontario is a vast plot of land, winter conditions vary a lot between regions.
The northern part of the province has long and dark winters. The southern part, while not as extreme, isn’t that much warmer. Generally speaking, you can expect the temperature to almost always be below the freezing point. It can easily drop to -25°C and the constant snowfall and wind chill don’t really help.
So before you head out to explore the province, be sure to dress in layers. Most of these Ontario winter activities are outdoors so it is important to keep yourself warm. Have a base layer, an insulating layer (wool or fleece), and finally a heavy-duty layer to protect you from wind and snow.
Toques, scarves, and mittens are recommended as they can help to protect the more vulnerable areas (fingers, ears, cheeks, etc.)
Places to visit in Ontario during winter
Ontario is an incredible winter destination. Between the Christmas markets, ice rinks, outdoor trails, incredible snowy scenery, and warm liquors, there are lots to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit in winter in Ontario.
Kitchener isn’t on most people’s list of the best places to visit during winter however, I think it absolutely should be.
With over 30 free outdoor skating rinks available within the city limits, they are guaranteed to never get too crowded.
The rink at Waterloo Public Square seems to be the most popular one. This is not surprising since it has the biggest Christmas tree in the city, as well as many cafes and restaurants nearby.
McLennan Park , highly renowned for its hills, is one of the best places in the city to go sledding or tobogganing. The views of the sunset are beautiful from the top.
Chicopee ski hill is the perfect place to test your skills. Snowboarders and skiers across this region of the province flock here every winter to play on the slope.
If you’re looking for something a bit less strenuous, but will still get your blood pumping, then head to Chicopee Tube Park . This family-friendly activity is just as popular with kids as it is with adults.
🎄 Christkindl Market
You don’t have to fly all the way to Germany to experience their Christmas markets because the Christkindl Market is right here in Kitchener. You can find over 70 vendors, traditional decorations, mulled wine, German food, German desserts, and a great atmosphere.
It won’t be the largest market you’ve ever seen, but it sure is unique.
🏠 Where to stay
The Walper Hotel (mid-range)
DoubleTree by Hilton Kitchener (budget)
Niagara Falls is an iconic natural landmark located on the Canada-US border. Every year, millions of visitors from all over the globe flock here to admire its beauty.
Although the falls is a spectacular sight year-round, it turns into a frozen paradise in the winter. Expect to see massive icicles hanging from the cliff, chunks of ice floating on the surface, and three impressive cascades dropping down from 50 m.
Normally, what keeps people from visiting Niagara Falls for the second time is its insane crowds of tourists. This is not a problem at this time of year because there aren’t many souls who dare to venture out here in the middle of the Canadian winter.
You will definitely enjoy the peacefulness, the calming sound of the water, and the chilly mist that fills the air.
Although it is off-season, many tours and attractions are still running. Journey Behind the Falls is exactly what it sounds like. This year-round attraction offers visitors a chance to take the elevator down to the bedrock layer and view the falls from below. I think this is one of the best ways to spend your money here in Niagara.
After that, you can go up the 160 m Skylon Tower to enjoy the 360-degree views of the area. The Toronto skyline is even visible on a clear day. It also features a revolving restaurant, which is perfect for any special occasion.
Considering staying late? Good idea. Niagara Falls is lit up with all colors of the rainbow every night. The light show is even prettier during winter because the surrounding icescapes reflect them very well. You can either enjoy the views from Skylon Tower or take a stroll outside (although it is very cold).
Where to eat
Corso is currently one of the best restaurants in town. They offer a one-of-a-kind menu featuring ingredients from all over Italy. Although their handmade pasta is the star of the show, you may also enjoy their signature sourdough pizza or fresh focaccia. Their selection of wines and cocktails is not too shabby either.
Butterfly Manor (mid-range)
Kings Inn Near the Falls (budget)
Read next : Niagara Falls, Canada – an Epic One Day Itinerary
Niagara on the Lake (or NOTL for short) is a charming lakeshore town, popular with tourists in the summer. However, it becomes even more magical when the snow starts to fall.
The town is only a 20-minute drive from Niagara Falls so it is worth a quick side trip.
The downtown area with its cute boutique shops, Victorian red-brick buildings, and patio restaurants is so fun to explore. Be sure to check out the historic Niagara Apothecary , one of the oldest pharmacies in Canada.
I recommend stopping here on your way back from Niagara Falls because the town is even more beautiful at night. The streets are lit with golden light bulbs and the snow seems to sparkle under them. Everything looks like it was taken from a page of a fairytale.
I also recommend going to the waterfront, either at Mississauga Beach or Queen’s Royal Park . We know Ontario Lake is beautiful, but it is not too often that we get all the space to ourselves and enjoy the peacefulness.
On the way back, consider stopping at the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distiller skating rink , which opens from December to March. You can relax on the heated Whisky Bar patio while tasting some of the locally made spirits/wines.
This region of the province is known for its wineries, breweries, and distilleries so this is among the best Canada has to offer.
Hilton Garden Inn (mid-range)
Staybridge Suites (luxury)
The Blue Mountains, located about 2 hr north of Toronto, is the perfect place for a winter weekend getaway. It is known to have not one of the best, but simply the best, ski village in Ontario.
With over 42 tracks and 16 chairlifts, this ski resort is the hub of all winter activities; from skiing and snowboarding to sledding and snow tubing. Gear rentals, day tickets, season passes, and lessons are available on site but you can also book them beforehand online.
Blue Mountains Village
After you’re done playing on the slopes, take some time to check out this charming village (pedestrian only). During this time of year, the village is decorated with light displays that remind me of a Christmas market.
You will find lots of gift shops, restaurants, food vendors, galleries, and pubs. BeaverTails is a classic but I also recommend stopping at Chuck Burger or the Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery .
I also had lots of fun skating at Woodview Mountaintop . Being is situated on top of the ski hill with amazing views of the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Huron below, it makes for a unique experience. This 1.1km ice skating loop is suitable for skaters of all levels.
Embarc – Blue Mountain (mid-range)
Blue Mountain Suites (mid-range)
This Gothic Revival style mansion, built at the turn of the 20th century, is among the top tourist attractions in Toronto. Its impressive architecture, along with its beautiful estate gardens, makes it a popular spot for television filming, photoshoots, weddings, and private events.
Casa Loma is the place to rediscover the magic of Christmas. Every year, Casa Loma and its gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland. When everything is covered in a blanket of snow, the dazzling decorations and light displays look even more spectacular.
You can also tour the castle and check out exhibits that have been preserved for almost a century.
Monday – Tuesday : closed Wednesday – Sunday : 9:30 am to 5 pm
- adults (18-64): $30
- seniors (65+): $25
- youths(14-17): $25
- children(4-13): $20
- children 3 and under are admitted free
Surrounded by the turquoise water of Lake Huron, it is no surprise that Bruce Peninsula National Park is a popular tourist destination in the summer. However, visitors tend to forget about it during the off-season, which is a shame because this national park is no less spectacular.
If you are looking to escape the crowds and explore Ontario’s rugged winter landscapes, then the Bruce Peninsula area is the perfect place to do so.
Note : the Bruce Peninsula is home to black bears so consider reading my post on how to stay safe in bear country . Most of them, however, are in hibernation during winter.
There isn’t a lot going on this time of year; tours are not running, shops are closed, boat companies do not operate. But on the bright side, you get to plan your own adventure.
Whether you’re into hiking or snowshoeing, there are countless trails to enjoy. There are rugged cliffs, snow-covered forests, icicles, tons of wildlife, and the beautiful views of Georgian Bay. The large chunks of ice floating on Lake Huron are also impressive.
The park offers self-serve campgrounds with basic amenities. Although you’ll have to take a short walk to access them, the stay is worth it. The long, dark winter nights are perfect for stargazing so don’t pass up the chance to see the night sky in all its glory.
Know before you go : winter in Canada can be unpredictable and dangerous. Be sure to read this article by Parks Canada on winter safety beforehand.
Escarpment Heights Motel (budget)
Having constantly been ranked among the top Christmas markets in the world, the Toronto Christmas Market is a must-visit if you happen to be in Ontario this time of year. This is where hundreds of local craftspeople, musicians, and artisanal food-makers come together and put on a show.
The market takes place in the Distillery Historic District, usually from November to December every year. It features festive light canopies, cobblestone pathways, red-brick buildings, entertainments, and a 50 foot high, fully decorated tree.
Whether you’re looking for a cute souvenir or to go on a full shopping spree, the Toronto Christmas Market has something for you. It is home to numerous specialty shops that feature products you didn’t know existed.
They have decorating ornaments, stocking stuffers, clothes, postcards, candles, potteries, spices, handmade jewelry, baked goods, and everything in between. Even if shopping is not your jam, you will certainly enjoy the energetic and festive atmosphere.
Finally, don’t forget to stop by some of the unique sweet shops they have. Eva’s Chimney Cakes and Brick Street Bakery are both great options. In terms of drinks, nothing can beat a cup of warm mulled wine or hot chocolate on a cold winter day.
Mondays : 10 am to 7 pm Tuesday – Thursday : 12 pm to 9 pm Friday & Saturday : 10 am to 10 pm Sundays : 10 am to 9 pm
The Toronto Christmas Market is free until 6 pm on Friday
- Monday: closed
- Tuesday – Friday 6 pm : free
- Friday 6 pm – Sunday : $8/person (in advance) or $12/person (purchase on site)
Note that children 5 and under are free.
Read next : 85 Fun and Interesting Facts About Ontario
The Rideau Canal is one of the best places you can visit in Ontario during winter. This impressive engineering feat stretches for 200 km from Kingston to Ottawa and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the winter, the canal turns into the world’s largest skating rink that winds through Ottawa’s downtown. There are various access ramps, along with heated change rooms. The rink is usually open from January to early March and is completely free.
Additionally, they also offer concession stands (Beaver Tails anyone?), skate rentals, and fire pits. Skating here is an amazing experience. The 7.8 km long skating rink is lined with numerous iconic landmarks that played huge roles in shaping Canada’s history.
Ottawa’s Winterlude is an annual festival that takes place over a period of 2 weeks. This free event features performances by Canadian artists, ice carving competitions, ice skating, dance parties, Snowflake Kingdom (a snow playground), and a lot more fun stuffs!
Fairmont Chateau Laurier (luxury)
Alt Hotel Ottawa (mid-range)
There are tons of other exciting things to do in Ottawa. It is after all, the capital city. For mosre ideas, check out my post on How to spend 2 perfect days in Ottawa .
Located between Toronto and Hamilton, the lovely city of Burlington is a popular place for a winter weekend getaway. Between the Niagara Escarpments, miles of waterfronts, art galleries, and museums, there are plenty of things to do.
Make your first stop at the ECHO Leahy Center , which features interactive exhibits that showcase the history of the area. Or, you can visit the Ireland House Museum to travel back in time and experience the lives of one of Burlington’s earliest settlers. Or visit the Art Gallery of Burlington , home to a collection of over 4,000 ceramics made by artists across the country.
If museums aren’t your thing, pack your snowshoes and explore the nearby section of the Bruce Trail . Be sure to stop by the stunning Smokey Hollow Falls , which I think is the most underrated waterfall in Ontario .
Burlington is a city with a thriving culinary scene, an exciting atmosphere, and friendly people. You can find numerous bars, pubs, cafes, and restaurants near the downtown area.
Waterfront Hotel Burlington (budget)
Homewood Suites by Hilton Burlington (budget)
Hamilton is one of the best places to visit in Ontario during winter not only because of its festive downtown area, but also because there are over 100 waterfalls within the city limits.
You can easily spend days chasing these frozen cascades. If you are short on time, I recommend checking out the Devil’s Punchbowl , Tiffany Falls , Tews Falls , and Sherman Falls . Check out my post on the best waterfalls in Southern Ontario here .
Hamilton’s downtown, while not as bustling as some of the larger cities, is always fully decked near the holiday season. It’s a great time to be here. Christmas trees, light displays, special events, Christmas carol parade, they do have it all.
Towne Place Suites by Marriott (budget)
Visitor’s Inn (budget)
Kingston is a small city situated on the shore of Lake Ontario, about 3 hours east of Toronto. This charming university town was the country’s first capital city, even before it was known as Canada.
Kingston is mostly known for its historic limestone buildings and Queen’s University, but it is a great place to be in winter as well.
First, you can explore one of the many local Christmas markets that take place. There’s the well-known outdoor market near Hochelaga Inn , the Artfest Christmas Art & Craft Show , the Kingston Holiday Market , and the All Things Christmas Sales at the Kingston Symphony Warehouse.
Each one is slightly different from the others but they’re all festive and fun. You can find lots of local artworks, homemade baked goods, stunning light displays, and tons and tons of Christmas items. The people here love Christmas and they celebrate it like no other place.
Then, head to Kingston’s old town to discover numerous little cafes, shops, and restaurants. When everything is covered in snow, the streets look just like a scene from a storybook.
I also recommend ice skating at Springer Market Square , especially at night. The surrounding city lights couples with the views of the Kingston City Hall in the backdrop make for a perfect evening.
If you are looking for outdoor activities, then Frontenac Provincial Park is the place to be. It has an extensive network of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. They weave through the lush forest, with small lakes peeking through occasionally.
MacDonald Park and Lake Ontario Park are within city limits. They are the perfect places to enjoy nature and the beautiful waterfront without having to travel farther out.
Winter doesn’t have to always be cold and sad. At least not at Kingston. Every year in the downtown area, they throw a month-long festival called Feb Fest . Here you will find ice hockey games, light shows, free events, ice sculptures, and even ice slides.
Sometimes, they even bring in Olympic athletes and special guests to entertain the crowd. You’re in for a good time.
Delta Hotels, Kingston Waterfront (mid-range)
Residence Inn (mid-range)
Situated right on the Niagara Escarpments, Mono Cliffs is a great place to spend time in nature and get some fresh air. With scenic hiking trails , lookouts, and stunning rock formations, it’s not hard to see why this park is so popular with the locals.
However, you should head to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park in the winter to beat the crowds and experience its incredibly unique landscapes.
Forest, ponds, and wildlife are abundant, but be sure to hike/snowshoe the 1.3 km Spillway Trail . You will get to weave through vertical rock walls, stunning caves, and frozen canyons. Not to mention the breathtaking views of the snow-covered trees and valley from the lookout point.
It is one of the best things to do in Ontario in winter.
How to plan your trip
The parking lot at Mono Cliffs has limited capacity so if you’re visiting in the peak season, it’s very important to reserve your permit in advance .
Fortunately, this is usually not a problem during the off-season. The parking lot is usually half-full at most but because the park is located so close to Toronto, you most likely won’t ever be the only one there.
Best winter activities in Ontario
Now that we have talked about the best places to visit in winter in Ontario, let’s move on to the best Ontario winter activities. When the snow starts to fall and the lakes freeze over, this entire province turns into a winter wonderland with scenic skating rinks, snowshoeing trails, and more!
Located in the heart of Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square is arguably the city’s second most iconic landmark (only after the CN Tower). It has been the hosting site for many of the city’s annual events, concerts, art displays, and farmers’ markets throughout the years.
During winter seasons, the large water fountain in front freezes beautifully into a public skating rink. This area is usually very busy but most people don’t go on the ice anyways.
I actually don’t mind the crowds because I love the lively atmosphere they create.
We go here every year and I have to say, this is one of the best urban skating rinks I have been to.
The city hall in the backdrop, the brightly lit archways above, as well as the surrounding skyscrapers, make for a stunning (and romantic) setting. Many people bring their own skates but rentals also are available.
In addition to the skating rink, the Nathan Phillips Square receives a holiday makeover every year near Christmas time. Fully decked with over 525,000 lights and a 60 foot high Christmas tree , it doesn’t get much more festive than this.
Holiday Fair is like a combination of a Christmas market with a carnival. You will find stalls of local artists and craftspeople selling their products, as well as holiday-themed rides. They sell everything and anything, from wool socks and candles to The Beatles-themed coasters.
Occasionally, you may run into food trucks, street musicians, carnival performers, bands, and even magicians. This area is eclectic, lively, and festive.
Nathan Phillips Square is also just steps away from the Eaton Center and Young-Dundas Square , where you can find numerous places to hang out. There are restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and everything in between.
Le Germain Hotel Maple Leaf Square (luxury)
Kimpton Saint George Hotel (mid-range)
Camping and hiking both are quite popular in the summer, but you may be surprised at the fact that they are possible in the winter as well. And what’s a better place to put your skills to the test than at Algonquin, Canada’s oldest provincial park!
Maybe you’re asking, why the heck would I ever want to camp in the freezing cold? Here’s why.
There is no bugs and fewer crowds. It’s actually quite nice to have the entire campground to yourself or to be the only one on the trail. This also means that there are more opportunities to encounter wildlife.
Birds will fly right up to your hand and fresh animal tracks imprinted in the snow can often be seen. It is not uncommon at all to spot foxes, deers, wolves, and even moose wandering around.
Mew Lake campground is open for use year-round. It has both plowed campsites and yurts (tent-like structures mounted on a wooden deck). There is also a winterized comfort station with shower facilities.
For those that are more adventurous, you can try backcountry camping. During this time of year, reservation is not necessary so you are allowed to pitch your tent basically anywhere.
A portion of Mew lake campground’s parking lot turns into a public skating rink in the winter. Hockey nets, sticks, and pucks are available and whenever you need a break, just go hang out by the fire pit nearby.
I think skiing is the best way to explore Algonquin’s vast backcountry. Whether you’re an avid cross-country skier or just a beginner, there is something for you. With over 85 km of ski trails between 3 networks to choose from, you can easily spend days exploring all of them. Many of the trails also have hot tents or warming stations set up so skiers can stop for a quick snack.
Alternatively, you can ditch the trail, put on a pair of snowshoes ( rentals are available), and go almost anywhere. It’s a great way to explore the even wilder side of Algonquin Provincial Park.
Know before you go : stop at the Visitor Centre on your way to the park to get the most updated trail conditions (and also pick up a map).
Torrance Barrens Conservation Area is the world’s first Dark Sky Preserve. Located far away from large cities and their bright light, Torrance Barrens is able to retain the natural darkness of the night. The lack of tall trees and hills also helps to provide an unobstructed view of the entire sky and horizon.
Torrance Barrens is, unsurprisingly, one of the best places to watch the night sky in Ontario. Although you can visit it year-round, the long cold nights of winter are ideal for stargazing.
From here, you can see the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way could with your naked eyes. You can spot the different planets in the Solar System and with the aid of a telescope, you can even see the rings of Saturn. The night sky is a spectacular sight and one that we do not come across very often.
But wait, there’s more. If you are lucky with your visit, you may catch a glimpse of the northern lights (aurora borealis). September and October are the best time for this phenomenon to appear.
Residence Inn (Gravenhurst) (luxury)
The Muskoka region is famous for its woodlands, lakes, and cottages, but it has tons to offer in the off-season as well. There is no shortage of amazing winter views, ski trails, and unique experiences to discover.
Things to try
So you probably have skated in a rink before, but this is better.
Instead of just going around in circles all the time, try skating through snow-covered Canadian forests. It’s a lot more fun. Two of the best skating trails in Muskoka are Arrowhead Trail and Cranberry Ice Trail .
In addition, Muskoka is home to over 100 km of world-class skiing trails. Arrowhead Provincial Park is a great starting point but many private resorts have their own trail networks. If you prefer to go deeper into the backcountry, then snowshoeing is a great option too.
To try one of the most iconic Arctic experiences, head to North Ridge Ranch . You can sign up for a dog sleigh tour and get pulled by a team of Alaskan Huskies.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites (mid-range)
Comfort Inn Huntsville (mid-range)
Ice fishing is an iconic Canadian tradition and Lake Nipissing in Ontario is the perfect place to try it! You can make your own hole in the ice and fish, right outside of your cozy cabin. If it’s your first time, don’t be discouraged if you don’t catch anything however, the feeling is indescribable if you do.
✔️ Base layers – to provide a layer of warmth but also wick away your sweats and keep your body comfortable.
✔️ Fleece/wool sweater – to preserve body heat, which you can guess is very important.
✔️ Light jacket / sweater – a fleece sweater is so versatile ( men’s style ). In the summer, it can be rolled up in your backpack if the temperature ever drops. In the winter, you can wear it as a base layer under your out jacket as it does an excellent job of trapping body heat.
✔️ Winter jacket – a down jacket (or a puffy coat) is an essential item if the temperature is below freezing point. Down has incredible insulating properties due to the numerous air pockets inside. It can provide extra insulation, protection against the weather, and a water-resistant layer.
✔️ Wool socks – to keep your feet dry and warm.
✔️ A warm toque – to keep your head (and ears) dry and warm.
✔️ Earmuffs – can be used with or as an alternative to a toque to keep your ears warm.
✔️ Mittens – keep those fingers warm because they are one of the most vulnerable body parts.
✔️ Appropriate footwear – this will depend on the activities you’re planning to do. Footwear with good traction and thick soles is always recommended for winter. If you’re going hiking, check out this post for the best types of hiking footwear.
✔️ Sunglasses – protect your eyes from the sun, which can get really bright if there’s lots of snow and ice close by.
✔️ Snowshoes – if you are planning to snowshoe then, of course, you’re going to need these. Having said that, rentals are available at most places.
✔️ Heating pads – can keep you warm for a short period of time in case of an emergency situation.
✔️ Binoculars – since you should always keep your distance from wild animals, then consider packing a pair of compact binoculars if you love wildlife spotting (they can be as cheap as $15).
O ntario is full of amazing places to visit during winter. It will definitely be very cold, but if you embrace the experience, it can be lots of fun. As you can see, there are tons of winter activities in Ontario that you can enjoy. Let me know which one is your favorite in the comment below!
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13 Best Places To Visit In Ontario During Winter
Ontario is a large province with many activities and attractions for all kinds of people. Whether you love spending your time in the confines of a city or being out and about in nature, you won’t go wrong with these places to visit in Ontario during winter.
The province turns into a winter wonderland packed with dozens of activities during the cold months. From skiing trails and outdoor rinks to Christmas markets and art galleries, deciding where to go in Ontario can be difficult. If you find yourself in that predicament, don’t worry any further. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the best places to visit in Ontario in winter. With this guide, you’ll be fully informed about your preferred winter getaways in Ontario .
Table of Contents
How Cold Does Ontario Get In Winter?
No matter how one looks at it, winter in Ontario can get cold. Frozen lakes, beautiful frozen waterfalls and vast blankets of snow type of cold. Being the second-largest province in Canada, Ontario has a variety of climates, ranging from extremely cold to relatively mild.
The secret to managing the coldness of Ontario during the winter is to dress in layers. Walking outside, you may find yourself in temperatures of -30°C or lower (when taking wind chill into account), but the cities generally stay around 0°C. Hence, we Torontonians start crying the minute mercury goes below 0°C.
Multiple layers on your body help you quickly adjust to the temperature changes while going in and out of buildings.
What to pack for winter in Ontario
It is important to dress appropriately for the coldest months of the year to make the most of winter. Layering is essential for staying warm, and materials like wool and thermal fabrics are great choices.
Adding a high-performance winter coat and snow pants to your wardrobe is also advised for outdoor activities. You also want to cover your extremities, as gloves, a toque, balaclava, scarf, and thick wool/thermal socks should all be included in your winter wardrobe.
Lastly, winter boots should reach up to the calf to allow you to traverse the snow easily.
The Best Winter Destinations in Ontario
If you’re set on spending winter in Ontario, here are some of the best sites to visit in this wonderland.
Casa Loma, a Gothic Revival-style mansion dating back to the turn of the 20th century, is one of Toronto’s most renowned tourist attractions.
It is a popular spot for TV filming, photoshoots, weddings, and special events, boasting the awe-inspiring architecture and stunning estate gardens. Every year, the estate is transformed into a winter wonderland with enchanting decorations and lights. For an even more magical experience, visitors can explore the castle and its century-old artifacts.
Toronto Christmas Market
The Toronto Christmas Market is one of the most highly-rated Christmas markets worldwide and is a must-see if you’re in Ontario during this period.
Every year, in November and December, the market is held in the Distillery Historic District. It offers many attractions, such as light canopies, cobblestone pathways, red-brick buildings, entertainers, and a 50-foot-high, fully adorned Christmas tree.
Whether you’re looking for unique gifts, souvenirs, stocking stuffers, clothes, handmade jewelry, or even a festive atmosphere, the Toronto Christmas Market has something for everyone. There are a variety of specialty shops selling an array of items, from postcards to pottery, and you can even indulge in some sweet treats from Eva’s Chimney Cakes or Brick Street Bakery.
To top it all off, nothing beats a cup of hot mulled wine or hot chocolate in the wintery weather! Trust us!
Niagara Falls, one of North America’s most famous landmarks, draws in millions of visitors annually. This natural wonder sits on the Canada-US border by the Niagara River and is a great visit all year round. However, the falls turn into a peaceful paradise without crowds in the winter — which is why I recommend visiting around this time.
Pathways boasting trees covered in snow, chunks of floating ice, and 50-meter cascades await here. If lady luck is on your side, you may see frozen parts of the falls.
You can also enjoy 360-degree views from the Skylon Tower or on a 12-minute scenic helicopter flight above the falls. The former even features a revolving restaurant that ensures you enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery with delicious cuisine.
Stay until evening to enjoy the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, where 8 km of the Niagara Parkway is lit up. This spectacle is especially mesmerizing in winter as the falls reflect the rainbow lighting.
Blue Mountain is easily one of Ontario’s best places to go in winter. This winter wonderland is a treasure trove for anyone who loves winter sports. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, tubing, and the like are all offered.
I recommend going to the wondrous Blue Village to make the most of your visit. There are 42 tracks and 16 chairlifts, and lessons and gear rentals to help you take on the slopes. Once here, be sure to skate at the Woodview Mountaintop to enjoy panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment.
Don’t fret if you aren’t a fan of adrenaline-filled winter activities — there are plenty of relaxing things to do in the town. Take in waterfront views and misty air while strolling through Sunset View Park. As an alternative, I recommend visiting a spa and enjoying serenity as the most capable hands pamper you. Since I consider the resort one of the top places to visit near Toronto in winter, I recommend you visit as part of a day trip from Toronto .
Rideau Canal Skateway
Rideau Canal Skateway is considered one of the quintessential winter places to visit in Ontario. Every winter season, this UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts thousands of visitors ready to put their feet to use.
Once the canal has frozen over, it takes shape as the world’s largest skating rink, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The 7,8-kilometer-long rink offers you 165,621 m² of ice to skate on.
Tie your skates and glide around downtown Ottawa for the best stretch of the rink. Skaters here zoom past many of the iconic landmarks uniquely entrenched in Canadian history. Perhaps my favourite part of the downtown section of the canal is the opportunity to enjoy some delicacies from one of the kiosks here.
No winter trip is complete without a visit to the nation’s capital. During winter, the trees, buildings, streets, and everything in between get covered in fluffy white snow that makes for landscapes just begging to be photographed.
Not only does Ottawa look good during winter, but it also offers many Ontario winter activities . That is, of course, in addition to the marvellous Rideau Canal Skateway.
Top of the list is the Ottawa Winterlude *, a festival with something for everyone. For two weeks, attendants participate in ski racing, ice sculpting competitions, dancing parties and more.
Another activity you can’t miss is the Gatineau Loppet, a cross-country ski event with several races. Annually, over 2,000 skiers participate — and you can join in on the fun as anyone can register for it. Set up on the sides and watch the racers zoom down the slopes if you aren’t ready to compete in the competition.
*The Ottawa Winterlude has been cancelled for 2022, but keep an eye on their website for any changes.
Another city destination to consider as one of the places to visit in winter in Ontario is Kingston . It’s a student city on the Lake Ontario shore renowned for its beautiful scenery and limestone buildings.
Start your Kingston exploration with a stroll around Lake Ontario Park, which boasts scenic lake views. For more adventurous outdoor fun, opt for Frontenac Provincial Park, a haven of trails winding through a lush forest.
Afterwards, visit old Kingston to fill up some of the best coffee and food the city offers. Stroll the snow-covered streets admiring the landscape with a coffee in hand.
During the Christmas season, you’ll find dozens of Christmas markets selling everything from baked delicacies and light displays to gifts. For the other months, I recommend skating at Springer Market Square.
Kingston is also the gateway to the “Thousand Islands,” an archipelago with myriad outdoor activities.
With good reason, Toronto is arguably Canada’s most popular tourist destination. It has a plethora of Ontario winter attractions in addition to the splendour on offer in the summer.
Many people come to Toronto for the Christmas markets, with the Distillery District being the most famous. During the festive period, raid these markets for spectacular gifts, ride a Ferris wheel, and get serenaded by local performers.
If you’re visiting after the Christmas decorations have been taken down, don’t worry, you won’t be left out to dry. The first stop should be Nathan Phillips Square, where you can skate in a rink with live DJs often around. Glide across the ice underneath brightly lit archways with the iconic Toronto sign in the background.
There are also some landmarks to stop at, the first being Casa Loma. The gothic mansion looks straight out of a fairytale and is even more majestic when the light displays are brought to life.
Secondly, visit the iconic CN Tower and stop at the observation deck or the restaurant. Once here, you’re spoiled with 360-degree views of the city’s skyline. If you’re brave enough, people-watch those on the ground through the tower’s glass floor.
The Niagara Escarpment, museums and art galleries, a skiing center and hiking trails — that’s what Burlington has to offer . This city is one of the nicest places to visit in Ontario in winter, with a good selection of indoor and outdoor fun.
In the outdoors, shred the slopes while snowboarding or skiing at the Glen Eden Ski and Snowboard Center or take to the snow on a toboggan. Try snowshoeing through a part of the Bruce Trail for something less serious. During the hike, you’ll see plenty of greenery and awe-inspiring waterfalls.
Afterwards, replenish your energy at one of the bars, restaurants, and cafés driving the booming culinary scene.
Plenty of engaging activities await indoors if you aren’t down for some frosty outdoor fun. The first stops should be the ECHO Leahy Center or Ireland House Museum for any history buff interested in the city’s history. Check out over 1,000 ceramics from national artists at the Art Gallery of Burlington for the art enthusiast.
When it comes to natural beauty in winter, there may not be a city in Ontario that compares to Hamilton. This small town is home to over 100 waterfalls, all of which are worth chasing. They make for fantastic photo ops and are also a marvel.
Besides Niagara Falls, Hamilton is the best place to visit in Ontario for frozen cascades. Often, the waterfalls here freeze solid and create a mesmerizing palette of snow whites and pale blues with stone backgrounds.
If you’d like to enjoy this fantasy-like phenomenon, it’s best to visit around January. Some of the more popular cascades here are Tiffany Falls, Webster Falls, and Felker’s Falls.
Unlike the more popular cities of Ottawa and Toronto, Hamilton’s downtown area isn’t too lively. However, it boasts incredible light display decorations during the festive season, with a large Christmas tree as the show’s star.
Kitchener isn’t high on most people’s destination bucket lists for Ontario, which is what makes it a great getaway in my eyes. Despite its small-town vibe, there are a lot of fun things to do in Kitchener during the cold months.
At the top of the list is skating, skating, and skating. Okay, I may exaggerate a little, but the town has over 30 outdoor skating rinks, including those in neighbouring Waterloo. The one at Waterloo Public Square is arguably the most popular among these rinks.
If skating isn’t your thing, take to the slopes for more winter sports. The Chicopee Ski Club is most people’s go-to, with skiing, snowboarding, and tubing all waiting for you. You can opt for Chicopee Tube Park for some kid-friendly tubing for families. McLennan Park is a great alternative spot if you find Chicopee too crowded.
Once you’ve had your fair share of fun, take in scenic snow-covered natural greenery and landscapes at the Huron Natural Area.
Indoors, you can enjoy a few interactive exhibitions at TheMuseum — they rotate every few months, so I can’t recommend any specific one. If museums don’t pique your interest, marvel at contemporary artwork by local and international artists at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (closed on Mondays).
West of Kitchener, you’ll find the quaint city of Stratford , which is most famous for being Justin Bieber’s hometown. Pop sensation aside, the city is another good place to visit in Ontario during winter.
Firstly, make your way to River Valley Winter Tube Slide and tube slide down one of eight lanes. Alternatively, you can move over snow on foot while snowshoeing, hiking, or trekking on various trails in Stratford. This can be done at the beautiful Wildwood Conservation Area and the Avon River Trail.
For a trail of a different kind, take a walk on the Chocolate Trail, that’s famous among those with a sweet tooth. This stretch of road is sprinkled with various chocolate stores selling some of Stratford’s best chocolates. Grab a bite at the Stratford Slow Food Market for more filling food between 10:00 and 13:00.
The Stratford Winterfest is probably the city’s most famous event. This fantastic festival is a real winter wonderland, with ice carving competitions, fat biking, sledding, and igloo building on offer. It’s incredible fun for the entire family and shouldn’t be missed.
Algonquin Provincial Park
A national park should always be part of any travel itinerary for nature lovers. Ontario doesn’t disappoint in that regard, with Algonquin Provincial Park a quintessential visit for enjoying the province’s natural beauty.
The park has a network of trails varying in difficulty and length, so bring your snowshoes and get ready for a scenic hike amongst snow-covered trees. There are also some ski trails if you’d rather slide your way around the park, with the Fen Lake Ski Trail among the popular choices.
For the adrenaline junkies, you can explore the vegetation atop a snowmobile on the Bon Echo Loop. With 200 km of pathways and diners scattered around the area, you can make this a frosty full-day escape.
Matthews Maple Syrup
Canada is renowned for its sweet Maple Syrup. You will always find a bottle of that golden elixir in our place.
During the winter months, frozen maple taffy is a must-have and Matthews Maple Syrup is the place to experience it. At Matthews Maple Syrup’s sugar shack, guests have the opportunity to learn about maple syrup production and observe maple syrup being poured onto the snow to create frozen taffy.
As spring approaches and the weather warms up, visitors can gain further insight into maple syrup production and watch how sap is collected from maple trees and transformed into maple syrup.
Huntsville and Muskoka
Muskoka and the town of Huntsville are some of the most incredible places to see in Ontario during winter. It spoils visitors with many winter activities while surrounded by beautiful trees draped in snow.
In Hunstville, you can go back to when dogs were the chosen method for sledding. The trusted husky team will take you on a winter journey through the winter wonderland in Muskoka.
If you’d rather rely on your own two feet, go ahead and cover some of the skiing trails in Muskoka. For anyone who wants to go beyond the surface, grab your snowshoes and venture deeper into the backcountry.
Some outdoor skating rinks are begging to be shredded, offering excellent skating through a snow-covered forest.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Visiting the Bruce Peninsula National Park in winter is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the snow-covered landscape. The park is surrounded by Lake Huron, offering a peaceful environment to explore on foot or cross-country skis. You can admire the majestic icicles, snow-covered trees, and cozy cabins for rent for longer stays. For those who enjoy winter activities, there are plenty of trails to explore. Pack some books and warm clothes, and you will have a memorable winter experience!
If you’re a Canadian or have been in the country for a while, you know how popular the sport of ice fishing is. Every year, millions of people carve holes and wait with bated breath (no pun intended) to catch a big one.
For this activity, Lake Nipissing is easily one of the top places to visit in Ontario. Create a hole on top of the frozen lake, get out your rod and wait. While the cold may be an obstacle, it will be worth the amount of joy of catching a fish.
Once you’ve caught one, get back into your cabin and start working on your meal. You can sink your teeth into it or enjoy a stroll outside while admiring the lake’s landscape. Tip: Since you may be outside for a long time, layer up for the best warmth.
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is the place to go if you’re looking to experience nature and its unique winter landscapes.
This park is the perfect winter getaway with its scenic hiking trails, lookouts, and stunning rock formations. For a truly unforgettable experience, take the 1.3 km Spillway Trail and weave through vertical rock walls, frozen canyons, and caves while admiring the snow-covered trees and valley from the lookout point.
To avoid crowds, it’s best to plan your trip during the off-season and reserve a permit in advance if visiting in peak season, as parking is limited. Despite being close to Toronto, you won’t be the only one there, but it will still be a peaceful and memorable visit.
Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve
The Torrance Barrens Conservation Area is ideal for sky-gazing, with its notably clear night sky, unobstructed horizon, and a limited number of trees. On a clear night, visitors to the Dark Sky Preserve can observe the Milky Way, satellites, and perhaps even shooting stars!
Final Thoughts: Places to Visit in Ontario in Winter
Ontario is a massive province with many big and small towns and cities, parks, and natural attractions. Each place has a unique profile that offers myriad winter activities in Ontario for anyone willing to brave the cold. From tubing with family and zooming down the slopes to marvelling at local art and skating outdoors, there’s no shortage of fun here.
Pack your warmest items and prepare for an incredible winter wonderland. Whether you go to Ottawa, Hamilton, the Blue Mountains, or any other destinations here, you’re in for a fulfilling, frosty time.
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5 towns in Ontario that make for a fun winter road trip
Road trips in Ontario are an incredible way to see the province's beauty at your leisure, and despite the temptation to hibernate throughout the colder months, winter is actually an amazing time to visit some of our nearby charming small towns.
From cozying up in their quaint cafes, restaurants, and accommodations, to exploring quiet nature trails covered in a dusting of snow, here are towns in Ontario that make for a fun winter road trip.
Onced called Ontario's " Most Beautiful Village ," Elora has so much to offer in the winter season and is just under a two-hour drive from Toronto.
Hike along the breathtaking Elora Gorge to a panoramic lookout at Lover’s Leap , or explore The Wellington County Museum and Archives , a 53-acre National Historic Site located along the Grand River right across from the gorge.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Elora Mill Hotel & Spa (@elora_mill)
After you're done exploring the outdoor trails, warm up at one of downtown Elora's galleries, shops, or restaurants, or treat yourself to a massage and overnight getaway at the Elora Mill and Spa .
The adorable mill town of Almonte just west of Ottawa might feel oddly familiar, perhaps because it's been the setting for an extensive list of movies over the years. Dubbed the " Mini Hollywood North ," it's easy to see why filmmakers fall in love with the picturesque community.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Almonte Town (@almonte_town)
Stroll down the historic Mill Street lined with romantic restaurants, quaint cafes, and welcoming boutiques before checking out the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum , a historical space that explores the history of the woollen industry in the Mississippi Valley.
Just around an hour from Toronto, Uxbridge is an adventure-lover's paradise all year round. Considered to be the trail capital of Canada, there's an astounding 240 km of paths for hiking, snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, and cross-country skiing.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by 🌲The Trail Capital of Canada 🍁 (@discoveruxbridge)
Winter sport enthusiasts can also hit the slopes at Lakeridge Ski Resort or Dagmar Ski Resort . After, wander through downtown Uxbridge and grab a bite or drink at one of the many bars and restaurants.
St. Jacobs Village
St. Jacobs Village is just over an hour drive from Toronto, located outside Kitchener-Waterloo. With tons of history, St. Jacobs is an adorable town with an old fashioned vibe that feels like a holiday postcard during the winter months.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by St. Jacobs Country (@stjacobscountry)
Learn about the village's Mennonite influence by embarking on The St. Jacobs Walking Tour , and admire the horse-drawn buggies, historical buildings, charming shops and restaurants downtown.
Don't miss a visit to The St. Jacobs Market in Woolwich, the country's largest year-round farmer's market with over 300 vendors to peruse.
Winter is a magical time in the heritage town of Perth , which is located around three hours from Toronto between Kingston and Ottawa. Boasting century-old stone buildings, lovely boutiques, and eateries, Perth is particularly enchanting under a blanket of snow.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Downtown Perth BIA (@downtownperth)
Head to Stewart Park for a skate on their outdoor rink, or visit the Perth Wildlife Reserve to snowshow or cross-country ski. Warm up with a seasonal drink at a local cafe before being transported back in time at the Perth Museum .
Town of Perth
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33 Exciting Day Trips from London, Ontario for All Seasons (2023)
Are you looking for the best places to visit near London, Ontario? As locals of London for over 15 years we’re here to help!
London is perfectly nestled between many of the best places in Ontario for day trips. The area surrounding London is full of beautiful nature spots, historic sites, tourist attractions, and downright fun places to visit.
Having grown up in Southwestern Ontario and having lived in London for the last 15 years, we’ve visited nearly all of the attractions near London that you’ll find on this list. And where we haven’t personally visited, we’ve talked to others who have gone and have done our research to know that these sites are worth checking out.
Let us take you around our backyard to the best tourist attractions, small towns, and other exciting places to visit near London, Ontario for your next day trip.
Adventurous Day Trips from London, Ontario
Who doesn’t love a place to visit where you can really engage your sense of adventure and exploration? For kids young and old, check out these fun, adventurous one day trips all within a short drive of London.
1. Clovermead Adventure Farm
Distance from London: 35 minutes Price: $20 (online rate), $27 (walk-in) Location: Google Maps Link
Clovermead Adventure Farm is one of the best adventure farms in Southwestern Ontario, and it’s located in Aylmer, just half an hour outside of London. At Clovermead, you’ll get to explore to animals, rides, play equipment, splashpad, fun farm-inspired educational attractions, and so much more.
And of course, a trip to this farm wouldn’t be complete without watching the bees do their busy work of creating honey right in front of your eyes! Make sure you also walk through the gift shop and taste free samples of delicious honey, and pick up some to go as a perfect souvenir of your visit to the farm.
We visited Clovermead last year with some friends and had a blast. The kids had hours of fun exploring and connecting with nature. If you’ve been raised in the city, there’s nothing like a trip to the farm, and Clovermead is just the place to visit near London to accomplish just that.
2. Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo
Distance from London: 1 hour Price: Adults – $17; Kids – $12.50 Location: Google Maps Link
Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo is an incredible local gem not only for its spectacular array of exotic birds and wildlife, but also for its park features that make it so much more than just a zoo. If you have kids around, this is one of the best places to visit near London, Ontario.
Greenview Aviaries has an extensive picnic and playground area, including a splash pad, jungle gym, mini zipline, and kids’ ball pit.
After visiting the animals and playing in the kids’ zone, don’t forget to walk through the miniature Shakespeareland before heading back home to London. This place can get very busy in the summer, but for good reason!
3. Treetop Trekking in Binbrook Conservation Area
Distance from London: 1 hour 25 minutes Price: Zipline + Aerial Game Trek – $47-$64; other activities – various Location: Google Maps Link
Get ready to find your inner kid (and inner Tarzan) as you climb and swing across the canopy at Treetop Trekking !
This adventure park is located in Binbrook Conservation Area, just outside of Hamilton (in addition to other locations throughout Ontario).
Treetop Trekking is most well-known for its ziplines and aerial courses, consisting of suspended bridges, balance cables, netted walkways, Tarzan swings and more.
There are also courses geared towards younger kids, making this a fun place for all ages. Not for the faint of heart and definitely for those ready for a thrill!
4. African Lion Safari
Distance from London: 1 hour 15 minutes Price: Adults – $33.95 + tax; Kids – $18.95 + tax (discount if purchased online) Location: Google Maps Link
African Lion Safari is another top tourist attraction close to London, Ontario. For many of us, it’s the closest thing we will ever get to seeing exotic animals in the wild. There are over 1000 species of animals and birds on over 750 acres of land.
What makes the African Lion Safari so unique compared to other zoos is that there are seven game reserves, where the animals roam freely while you drive around in your vehicle or on the park safari bus! There is also a lake cruise to see monkeys, lemurs, water foul and more!
The African Lion Safari will definitely be a memory to remember. If you choose to bring your own vehicle through the reserves, beware of possible damage that may be done (especially by the monkeys).
5. Twin Valley Zoo Brantford
Distance from London: 1 hour Price: Adults – $20; Kids – $10.50 Location: Google Maps Link
Brantford’s Twin Valley Nature Park provides an excellent opportunity to see over 80 species of animals and birds up close and personal. Regular admission or guided tour options are available during the spring-fall months. The Twin Valley Nature Park is a smaller, family run park that comes at an affordable price, making it a great place to visit near London.
Twin Valley Nature Park also offers summer Nature Camps for kids!
6. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Distance from London: 20-25 min Price: $240-$300 + tax per person Location: Sundance Balloons ; Cloud Chasers Balloon Rides
Nothing says thrill quite like floating through the sky in an open bucket at 2000 feet!
If that catches your attention then you may just find your next day trip being to Sundance Balloons in Belmont, or Cloud Chasers Balloon Rides in Thorndale. Skyward Balloons even features options to parachute from the balloon or flying in Cold War Jets!
Other options a bit further away from London include Skyward Balloons in Cambridge, or Air Display in Barrie.
Must-Do Day Southwestern Ontario Trips
If you’re new to Southern Ontario, or to the thrill of exploring our great province, these next day trips should definitely be on your bucket list.
7. Niagara Falls & Niagara-on-the-Lake
Distance from London: 2 hours Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
Niagara Falls is easily one of Canada’s largest tourist attractions, and unofficially the 8th Wonder of the World for its truly unique geological features and colossal falls.
If you’ve never spent time at the falls, take heart in knowing there are a ton of free and affordable things to do, along with many well-loved tours for the best experience.
As a budget-friendly option, we recommend spending time at the top of the falls outside the Table Rock Welcome Centre, checking out the entertainment on Clifton Hill, and spending time in the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens.
If you’re driving to the falls on your own, you’ll want to know that visiting the falls up close is free, other than paying for parking. Check out this Guide to Parking for all of the best spots (and even some free ones!).
Another popular way to see the Niagara region is to explore the scenic wine region of Niagara-on-the-Lake . You can easily visit multiple wineries and take a stroll through the picturesque downtown for a quaint day out.
✅ Check out our guide to the best hotels, inns and resorts in Niagara-on-the-Lake .
Tourists rarely make it far in Ontario without paying a visit to Ontario’s capital city of Toronto. It’s only to be expected that downtown Toronto falls on our list of must-do day trips from London.
Toronto boasts many world-class tourists attractions, museums, educational centers, and parks. The CN Tower is often high on the list of things to see in Toronto, with many people enjoying a visit to the top and a walk on the famous glass floor.
You can also book admission tickets in advance to places like the Royal Ontario Museum , Hockey Hall of Fame and Art Gallery of Ontario , which are some of Toronto’s most popular destinations.
If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend spending time soaking in the busy city streets by walking through some of Toronto’s famous districts, like the Distillery District, Kensington Market, Chinatown, Cabbagetown, and the Waterfront District. We also enjoy shopping at some of Toronto’s eclectic vintage and thrift stores or walking through the popular Eaton Centre mall.
A good compromise between budget travelling Toronto and seeing the most of the city is to book a walking tour. Because you’re cutting out the need for transportation, the cost goes way down, but you still get the benefit of a guide to show you some of the most interesting parts of the city.
Looking for the best Toronto tours? ✅ Best ‘Spirited’ Tour: Best Distillery District Walking Tour 🍜 Foodies’ Favourite: Kensington Market International Food Walking Tour 🚴♀️ Best Bike Tour: Downtown Toronto Bike Tour
If you have the time, we also recommend catching a roundtrip ferry ride ($8.50 per adult) to the Toronto Island for unique attractions and stellar views of the Toronto skyline!
Finally, if you are truly a thrill-seeker, you will want to make sure to check out Canada’s Wonderland for the best rollercoasters in Ontario!
Just be prepared that driving in Toronto can be hectic to say the least. Planning your trip around rush hour is definitely a wise idea, and if time allows, consider booking a hotel overnight so you can experience the best of Toronto at night .
Staying in Toronto overnight? Check out one of these top downtown hotels: ✅Best Luxury Hotel: Ritz-Carlton Toronto ✅Best Budget Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown
9. St Jacob’s Farmer’s Market & Flea Market
Distance from London: 1 hour 15 minutes Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market is Canada’s largest year-round farmer’s market and flea market ! There are hundreds of local food, craft and antique vendors here, many who come from Kitchener-Waterloo’s respected Old Order Mennonite communities.
Not only will you easily enjoy browsing many fresh, local and homemade foods and goods, you will also have the chance to step into a different culture as you see people arriving by horse and buggy. Enjoy diversity on many levels at St. Jacob’s for a truly unique shopping experience!
Summer Fun Day Trips
Best to do in the warmer months of the year, these next fun things to do in Southwestern Ontario for a day trip will get you enjoying every minute outdoors!
10. U-Pick Fruit Farms
Distance from London: Various Price: Pay for produce picked Location: Various
Without a doubt, trips to local pick-your-own fruit (and vegetable) farms are always a highlight of our summers. Most offer free admission and often even cheaper prices than you will find in stores, making U-Pick experiences an easy win on a summer day out.
Many farms also sell other ready-picked produce and some even offer additional fun activities for kids!
Here are a few local pick-your-own fruit farms close to London for you to check out this year: Millar Berry Farm (U-Pick Strawberries, Raspberries, Apples) – London Heeman’s Berry Farm (U-Pick Strawberries) – London Talbotville Berry Farm (U-Pick Strawberries) – Talbotville Apple Land Station (Apple Picking) – Thorndale Gabriel Fresh Produce (U-Pick Vegetables) – Komoka Kustermans Family Farm (U-Pick Blueberries) – Mount Brydges Olde Drive Blueberry Farm (U-Pick Blueberries) – Mount Brydges *cash only Park’s Blueberries (U-Pick Blueberries) – Bothwell Blueberry Hill Estates (U-Pick Blueberries) – St. Williams Arrowwood Farm (U-Pick Blueberries) – Melbourne
11. St Mary’s Quarry
Distance from London: 35 minutes Price: $7 per adult; $4.50 per child/youth Location: Google Maps Link
St Mary’s Quarry is Ontario’s largest freshwater outdoor swimming pool! Swimming here is truly an experience you will not forget. No sandy beaches to contend with, no fear of currents, just a wide open body of fresh water surrounded with beautiful rocky cliffs and fish swimming below you.
Swimmers can have fun cliff jumping, floating on rafts, and renting stand-up paddleboards ($10). Additional activities (water trampoline, beach volleyball and slides) are subject to restrictions applicable at the time of visiting.
Advanced reservations are required online. The Quarry is expected to be open each year from early July to Labour Day.
12. Erieau Beach
Distance from London: 1 hour 20 minutes Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
Erieau is one of Lake Erie’s hidden gems. Erieau is the perfect place to escape to the beach without having to contend with the large crowds and hiked prices that you will find at many beaches closer to Ontario’s larger cities. The village comes alive in the summers, as it is home to many cottagers.
The Erieau Public Beach has great swimming and good amenities for families, such as a pavilion, playground, skatepark and public washrooms.
We recommend enjoying some wood-fired pizza and local craft beer, or some fresh-caught perch or pickerel before making your way back to London. This little village really is the perfect place to retreat to the beach!
👉 Check out our Ultimate Vacation Guide to Erieau .
13. Long Point Provincial Park
Distance from London: 1 hour 20 minutes Price: Day use – $15.50 per vehicle Location: Google Maps Link
If you like long walks on the beach, then Long Point Provincial Park is for you. With 2 km of beautiful sandy beaches slowly leading out into shallow warm waters, Long Point is called by many the best beach in Ontario .
As you might expect, Long Point Provincial Park’s main attraction is its pristine sandy beaches leading out to a 40 km sand spit into Lake Erie. While it’s not possible for visitors to access the far tip of the park by foot, you can catch a boat tour that does just that.
The park also offers campgrounds, hiking trails, a bird observatory and many other activities to keep you busy.
We also recommend spending the day, or even booking an overnight glamping stay at Long Point Eco-Adventures .
This glamping and adventure resort gets our vote for one of the top family resorts in Ontario , as it’s filled with fun activities like ziplining, axe throwing, canoeing and kayaking, stargazing and touring the bee apiary and foraging for mushrooms.
Stop in nearby Port Rowan for beach town shopping or at Turkey Point for another fantastic sandy beach.
14. Goderich & Bayfield
Distance from London: 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
Goderich has been known for over 100 years as the “Prettiest Town in Canada.” The town butts up against the bluffs of Lake Huron, making for spectacular waterfront views, and of course, popular beaches. With well-kept historic buildings, cute boutique shopping, and local fine dining, a day out in Goderich is easily enjoyed.
Check out our full post on Goderich Beach activities so you can be convinced that this town is worth visiting!
Bayfield is another tourist town about 15 minutes south of Goderich, along the shores or Lake Huron. With popular beaches, shoreline walking trails and thriving local businesses, Bayfield makes for a perfect pair with Goderich for your next summer road trip.
15. Grand Bend
Distance from London: 1 hour Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
Grand Bend is one of Ontario’s most popular beach destinations. If you’re looking for a crowd, busy main street shopping, and no shortage of ways to have fun this summer, you’re likely due for a trip to Grand Bend.
Grand Bend definitely attracts a young crowd and has a reputation for its beach nightlife. Many have made this their go-to summer beach for good reason!
If you’re looking for camping near Grand Bend, consider booking a site at the Pinery Provincial Park , less than 10 minutes from town.
👉 Read more at in our full guide to what to do at Grand Bend Beach .
16. Port Stanley
Distance from London: 40 minutes Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
Port Stanley is our go-to beach destination each summer. While there are many fantastic beaches close to London, we find the atmosphere here to be exactly what we crave.
For us, Port Stanley has the perfect mix of a bustling sandy beach, warm Lake Erie waters, and the fantastic GT’s on the Beach where you can enjoy a drink while you sink your toes in the sand. Nothing comes closer to our memories of our travels to the Caribbean than spending an evening here, where some of the locals have even planted their own palm trees!
Only a 40 minute drive from London, Port Stanley is the perfect place to relax on a weekday evening or for a full day out.
👉 We’ve written a full guide to Port Stanley Beach and what to do nearby.
Day Trips for History Enthusiasts
Southwestern Ontario has some incredible history to it, and for anyone invested in hearing stories of the past, we’ve got some great recommendations for you.
17. Underground Railroad Museums (Chatham-Kent & Essex)
Distance from London: Each approx. 1 hour 30 minutes Price: Various Location: Uncle Tom’s Cabin ; Buxton Museum ; John Freeman Walls Historic Site ; Amherstburg Freedom Museum
Grow in your understanding of the great freedom movement that has forever shaped North America by visiting some of Ontario’s well-preserved Underground Railroad Sites and Museums.
Hear the stories of the notable Josiah Henson ( Uncle Tom’s Cabin ) and other Black refugees from the American slave trade who bravely escaped into Upper Canada through the Underground Railroad.
View 1800s artifacts and historic buildings at the Elgin (Buxton) Settlement ( Buxton National Historic Site & Museum ), and walk through the old log cabin built and lived in by the fugitive slave John Freeman Walls ( John Freeman Walls Historic Site ).
Learn about Black history in one of the key entry points, Amherstburg, into Canada for fleeing slaves ( Amherstburg Freedom Museum ).
Visit one or many of these incredibly sites to gain an appreciation of the tremendous journeys braved by many Black slaves in our recent past.
Distance from London: 50 minutes Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
Stratford is another one of Southwestern Ontario’s charming small-town destinations, and for good reason.
Most known for its live performance Avon Theatre and Stratford Festival, this town, which shares a name with Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, understandably has a fascination with the great Elizabethan writer.
Whether you choose to enjoy a live theatre show or simply walk the picturesque streets of this historic town, we think you will find your trip to Stratford relaxing and enjoyable.
Oh yes, and if you happen to be a foodie, we recommend catching a food tour and definitely making a stop at Rheo Thompson Candies for their famous gourmet chocolates.
Tip: If you’re ever on the lookout for great Canadian gifts to send overseas , Rheo Thompson chocolates are a uniquely local, Canadian option!
Paris, Ontario (not to be confused with the one in France!) is the epitome of historic, picturesque town. While this town is quaint, it does not lack allure for visiting tourists.
From local food tours , to historic cobblestone tours, to viewing the “Lighting of the Paris Falls” of Penman’s Dam, to whitewater rafting on the Grand River, this little town knows the value of keeping its visitors wined, dined, relaxed and ready to return next time.
Nature-Filled Day Trips
These next day trips from London are perfect outdoor activities for any season. Choosing a day in nature means you get what nature gives you, which is half the adventure in itself!
20. Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Distance from London: 1 hour Price: Adults (13+) – $20; Kids – $8 Location: Google Maps Link
Walk through a majestic tropical garden filled with over 2000 exotic butterflies and moths inside the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory . With over 40 different species, originating mostly from Costa Rica or the Philippines, you will rarely come across an opportunity like this to be so up close with these charming creatures.
Kids will not only love seeing real butterflies in each stage of metamorphosis, they will also have the chance to learn about other insects and arthropods, spot exotic birds flying through the gardens, and of course hope for a butterfly to land on them!
If spending the day in an enchanted tropical garden sounds like the perfect way to spend the day out, you will not be disappointed at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.
Just remember to wear bright colours so the butterflies will want to come close!
21. Dorchester Mill Pond
Distance from London: 20 minutes Price: Free Location: Google Maps Link
The Dorchester Mill Pond is a perfect place for a half-day nature adventure just outside of London. The Mill Pond Trail is a 3.3 km loop around, you guessed it, Mill Pond.
Admission and parking are free. There’s also a picnic and playground area just beside the parking lot, so pack a lunch and set out on this nature adventure! While you’re at it, why not have some fun with a nature scavenger hunt for the kids!
22. Wildwood Conservation Area
Distance from London: 40 minutes Price: In season – $15 per car (off season – free during daytime open hours) Location: Google Maps Link
Wildwood Conservation Area is located between the quaint towns of St. Mary’s and Stratford. Wildwood is another fantastic option for getting out on the water and soaking in Ontario’s fabulous nature.
Like Fanshawe Conservation Area, Wildwood offers water sports, camping (even back country camping!), and a hiking and biking trail (Lake Trail) for 25 km around the perimeter of Wildwood Reservoir.
23. Rock Glen Conservation Area
Distance from London: 45 minutes Price: $4 per person (kids 5 and under free) Location: Google Maps Link
Rock Glen Conservation Area is a unique and exhilarating choice for a day trip close to London. This site is home to a picturesque 10.7 m tall waterfall, and happens to be a hot spot for prehistoric Devonian era fossils!
It’s charming, romantic, adventurous, and not far from the beaches of Lake Huron. We think Rock Glen Falls is perfect to pair with an afternoon on the beach at Pinery Provincial Park, Ipperwash Beach , or Grand Bend .
👉 Read more from our day trip to Rock Glen Conservation Area .
24. Cheltenham Badlands
Distance from London: 1 hour 50 minutes Price: $10 reservation fee + $10-$15 parking fee Location: Google Maps Link
The badlands? You’re not the only one who thought this was only a thing of the mid-west. Located just outside the town of Caledon, it’s these unique red clay hills that make the Cheltenham Badlands worth the drive.
Although taking in the sight from the viewing platform is the main attraction here, there are also some hiking trails that to make your visit more complete: the Badlands Trail (0.3 km) and the Bruce Trail (1.3 km).
We recommend pairing up a trip to the badlands with some unique shopping or fine dining in Caledon, or even more hiking at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park . Consider adding on something fun to do in Brampton if you’re looking for just a little more to round out your day!
25. Hamilton Waterfalls
Distance from London: Various (approx 1 hour 20 minutes) Price: various
Not only is Hamilton home to many of Ontario’s most beautiful waterfalls , it’s is known as the “Waterfall Capital of the World!”
There are over 100 waterfalls in and around the city of Hamilton, and many of them are in very well maintained conservation areas. For nature lovers, Hamilton is one of the best places to go near London for endless opportunities to explore the outdoors.
Many of the waterfalls easily accessible and close to parking, and others will require a bit of a hike to reach. Of course, because the falls are fueled by rainwater, we recommend visiting in spring and fall!
Here are 9 of the best-rated waterfalls in the Hamilton area: Sherman Falls Borer’s Falls Buttermilk Falls Chedoke Falls Tiffany Falls Albion Falls Webster Falls Tew Falls Devil’s Punchbowl
Hamilton definitely has all of the best waterfalls near London and is worth a day trip for the adventurous soul!
👉 See our complete guide to Dundas Peak, Tew Falls and Webster Falls .
26. Rondeau Provincial Park
Distance from London: 1 hour 10 minutes Price: April-October – $18 per car; October-March – $11.25 per car Location: Google Maps Link
Rondeau Provincial Park makes for an excellent day trip, especially if you are an avid birder or have kids who are eager to get their hands dirty exploring nature.
Rondeau is a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie (and Rondeau Bay) and for that reason its marshy wetland is an important spot for many species of birds during their migration. In fact, over 330 species of birds have been spotted here! Rondeau is also home to Canada’s largest remnant Carolinian forest.
The park Visitor Centre runs a Discovery Program for kids from spring to fall, with hands-on activities and hikes with naturalists. Rondeau has 6 hiking trails ranging from 1.2 km to 8 km, and 11 km of sandy beach. Rondeau Bay is also a popular spot for fishing.
Whether you come for the day, or choose to camp here overnight, we highly recommend a trip to Rondeau Provincial Park this summer!
27. Point Pelee National Park
Distance from London: 1 hour 50 minutes Price: April-October – $7.90 per adult (0-17 are free); November-March – $6.10 per adult Location: Google Maps Link
Ever wanted to go to the southernmost tip of Canada? No problem! Point Pelee National Park is less than 2 hours from London, and is totally worth the drive!
Point Pelee is Canada’s most ecologically diverse national park, with marshy wetlands, cedar savannah, and drylands, and home to over 390 species of birds! Plan your visit during the fall monarch butterfly migration for a spectacular experience you will never forget.
We highly recommend a long, slow stroll along Marsh Boardwalk and Tower, canoeing or kayaking the marshes, hiking some of the 12 km of trails, and of course, taking the shuttle to the tip of the peninsula.
Enjoy swimming along the 20 km of sandy beaches, and maybe camp the night in one of the park’s unique oTENTik structures!
If you’ve got a real sense of adventure, consider planning your trip to be on one of the designated stargazing nights when the park is open until midnight. Point Pelee is, after all, a Dark Sky Preserve and offers incredibly opportunity to view the starry skies above.
If you’re up a 2-day trip from London to go a little bit further south, consider heading to Pelee Island ! Pelee Island is officially Canada’s southernmost inhabited area, and the birthplace of winemaking in Canada.
👉 We visited Pelee Island and wrote all about it on our guide to touring Pelee Island .
28. Town of Elora & Elora Gorge
Distance from London: 1 hour 30 minutes Price: Elora Gorge – $7.50 per adult; $3 per child 6+ Location: Quarry Location ; Elora Gorge Location
One of the most beautiful natural areas in Southwestern Ontario is without a doubt the Elora Gorge and the town of Elora. This conservation area is a great place to enjoy the wonder of the Grand River and its gorge that sits surrounded by steep rock cliffs and forests.
The Grand River includes some intense rapids, and in case you haven’t heard, tubing or white water kayaking is a big thing here! We also recommend a hike at the Elora Gorge (3 km of trails).
If you prefer to keep both feet on dry ground, consider exploring the quaint town of Elora, topped off with dinner in the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa , or even booking an overnight package.
The Elora Quarry , just minutes away from the Elora Gorge, is another attraction of the town. The quarry is a large swim hole surrounded by the area’s steep cliffs.
Things to Do in London, Ontario
Does just thinking of packing up the car and hitting the road have you tired and worn out?
There are a lot of awesome attractions and activities in London, Ontario that don’t require leaving the city!
Shop at one of the exciting farmer’s markets or visit a new coffee shop you’ve never been to. Head to some of London’s many thrift stores , plan a romantic date on the town , or spend the day shopping at Masonville Mall .
Here’s our pick for the top things to do in London, Ontario that you could make a full or half day trip out of.
29. Boler Mountain
Distance from London: 15 minutes Price: Ski Day Pass – $34-$71 + tax; Treetop Adventure Park – $35-$53 + tax Location: Google Maps Link
Boler Mountain is London’s very own solution for fun for both winter and summer thrill-seekers. With skiing, snowboarding and tubing in the winter months, to the Treetop Adventure Park, mountain bike trails, and beach volleyball in the green months, Boler Mountain easily one of the top tourist attractions in Southwestern Ontario.
While you may have no trouble remembering Boler for its ski hills, keep this local gem in mind throughout the spring-fall for an aerial course and zipline that come at a reasonable price, so close to home.
30. East Park London
Distance from London: In London Price: Various (depending on activity); Waterpark only – $6-$28, age dependent Location: Google Maps Link
East Park is your perfect choice for something to do in London that is super fun for kids and adults. The popular waterpark includes large slides, splashpad and a wave pool.
Visitors can choose to only pay for admission to the waterpark, or to purchase access to specific indoor and outdoor activities such as Go Karts, rock climbing, mini golf, batting cages, bumper cars, arcade, and jungle gym.
If you’re looking for a full day of fun, this day trip option has enough to keep everyone well entertained.
31. Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Distance from London: In London Price: $10 Adults; $7 Kids Location: Google Maps Link
Fanshawe Pioneer Village is a delightful step back in time! In a truly unique way, visitors will be immersed in the stories of locals who lived in London and its surrounding rural communities during the period of 1820-1920.
Kids will especially enjoy the hands-on experience of trying out old-fashioned games and chores as they walk through old-time homes and farm yards.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village is also a beautiful place to host events such as weddings. We’ve had the chance to experience this ourselves, and the entire experience was truly incredible!
32. Fanshawe Conservation Area
Distance from London: In London Price: In Season – $15 per car (off season – free during daytime open hours) Location: Google Maps Link
Fanshawe Conservation Area is one of London’s best places to get out and explore nature. So much can be done here even without having to leave the city!
Fanshawe Conservation Area offers camp sites (for both tent and trailer camping), canoe/kayak rentals, fishing, boat launch docks, a large day use picnic/BBQ area with pavilion rentals, and over 20 km of gorgeous hiking and biking trails that run the perimeter of Fanshawe Lake. Perfect for adults, kids, groups in all seasons!
👉 Check out our review of London’s best trails , including at Fanshawe Conservation Area.
33. Museum of Ontario Archaeology
Distance from London: In London Price: Adults – $5; Children – $3 Location: Google Maps Link
The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is educational for visitors of all ages, as it steps you back in time to learn about human history within Ontario for the last 13,000 years.
With the permanent on-site exhibit of a 500-year old village and a reconstructed longhouse, visitors can grow in their understanding of and appreciation for the way of life for some of Canada’s early indigenous peoples.
Combined with other permanent and featured exhibits, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology is a highly valuable experience for learners of all ages.
Best Hotels in London, Ontario
Whether you’re visiting London or just thinking of booking a staycation in the city, here’s our top recommendations for hotels that will get you feeling like you’re on a getaway while still being close to home.
Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre ($$)
⭐Rated: 8.5/10 Stars (Booking.com)
This family-friendly hotel in London is beautiful furnished and well-maintained and features an amazing indoor pool and waterslide. The pool is set in a tropical atrium, which adds to the feeling of a real vacation without leaving London.
We’ve stayed here for a wedding and had an awesome experience. The rooms were comfortable and clean, and the indoor atrium was a welcomed bright spot in the dead of winter.
✔️ Book Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn
The Idlewyld Inn & Spa ($$$)
⭐Rated: 9.1/10 Stars (Booking.com)
This Victorian era Inn is set in London’s picturesque Old South neighbourhood, just minutes from downtown. Featuring beautiful decored rooms, each with a private bath, your stay at the Idlewyld Inn will be luxurious, cozy and comfortable.
With an alluring spa and intimate restaurant onsite, you won’t even need to leave the Inn grounds to make the most of your stay.
✔️ Book Idlewyld Inn & Spa
👉 For more hotels, check out our full review of the best places to stay in London, Ontario .
Our Wrap Up: 33 Exciting Day Trips from London, Ontario
There are truly so many amazing places to see and things to do in Southwestern Ontario, that it is hard to narrow down a list.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our full list of posts on Ontario beaches , or check our all of the posts we’ve written from our travels around Ontario .
We hope that you will find inspiration from our list of favourites and wish you many fun-filled road trips ahead!
Erie is the owner and author of Everywhere Ontario. She’s lived and traveled around Ontario for over 30 years, visiting small towns and big cities from the shores of Lake Erie to the crisp northern air of Hearst along the Trans-Canada Highway. She is passionate about maximizing fun and supporting local tourist businesses and is always looking to provide the best recommendations to her fellow Ontario travelers. Read more about Erie here .
Categories > Guides and Tips
Top 13 Day Trips to Take from Ontario
Niagara falls , algonquin provincial park , prince edward county , sandbanks provincial park, muskoka lakes farm & winery .
- Canada's Wonderland
Mount St. Louis Moonstone
Blue mountain ski resort.
- Elora Gorge Conservation Area
Point pelee national park, long point provincial park, the village of st. jacobs.
Alright, who said you’ve got to part with your hard-earned cash for a fancy vacation on the other side of the world? Sometimes the best getaways are just a quick jaunt from home.
The beautiful province of Ontario is home to so many awesome destinations that you can explore in a day’s trip. It’s bursting at the seams with natural beauty, cultural diversity, and heaps of history.
So welcome to our list of day trip ideas in Ontario! Keep on reading, and let’s find your next one-day wonderland.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Niagara Falls (@niagarafalls)
When we’re talking about day trips from Ontario, there’s honestly no way we can’t mention Niagara Falls. Seriously, sights like this can make you feel all sorts of things.
Let me tell you about this little agency that’ll make your Niagara Falls day trip even more seamless: See Sight Tours . They have it all figured out; they’ll whisk you away from Ontario and take care of all the nitty-gritty (we’re talking transportation and tickets).
You can also hop on board a Hornblower Niagara Cruise and get right up close to the falls. Like, close enough to feel the spray on your face. It’s a real thrill, and you’re bound to end up with some damn impressive photos.
And when you’ve had your fill of water action, it’s time to explore the area. There’s a little old place called Clifton Hill that’s packed with all sorts of family-friendly shenanigans.
Local tip: For the best experience, try to visit on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Algonquin Provincial Park (@algonquin_pp)
Address: Ontario 60, Ontario
Contact details: +1 705-633-5572
- Open year-round
Algonquin Provincial Park is Ontario’s oldest and largest provincial park , spanning over a whopping 7,653 square kilometres. So, grab your hiking boots and your sense of adventure, ’cause there’s so much to do here.
There are over 15 marked trails of varying difficulty. The Lookout Trail is particularly epic, with a panorama that’ll have you reaching for your camera faster than you can say “Instagram-worthy”.
But hold on, it’s not just about burning off that morning’s bacon butty. Algonquin is famous for its wildlife too, so keep an eye out for the locals—moose, deer, and plenty of bird species call this place home.
Once you’re all tired out from exploring, drop by Algonquin Visitor Center. It’s a treasure trove of information on the park’s natural and cultural history.
Local tip: If you can, grab a map of Algonquin Provincial Park before your visit. It’ll help you plan your day better, and you won’t miss out on any highlights!
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Prince Edward County (@visitthecounty)
Contact details: https://www.visitthecounty.com/contact-us
Prince Edward County is a haven of all the things you’d like for a perfect getaway: wineries, food galore, and stunning landscapes. It has over 40 wineries to explore, each with their own unique vibe.
Most of them actually welcome daytrippers for wine tastings! Taste-test your way through the county and discover that perfect bottle—the one that’ll make all your friends jealous.
We can’t guarantee you won’t leave with a trunk full of new wine favourites, but hey, who could blame you? Anyway, you can also visit the lovely Bloomfield or hit Wellington for a fantastic meal.
But wait, there’s more! PEC also boasts some fabulous beaches that’ll have you questioning whether or not you accidentally slipped into paradise.
Local tip: Plan your winery visits ahead of time and leave room in your schedule to visit a lavender farm or a brewery—there’s tons to explore!
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sandbanks Provincial Park (@sandbankspp)
Address: 3004 County Rd 12, Picton, ON
Contact details: +1 613-393-3319
- Monday to Sunday – 8 AM to 10 PM
Nestled in—you guessed it—Prince Edward County, Sandbanks is famous for its ridiculously large sandy beaches and towering sand dunes. Honestly, with the waters and long stretches of sandy beaches, you will ask yourself if you’re still in Ontario.
It’s one of the largest freshwater baymouth sandbar systems in the world, which is a mouthful to say. But all you need to know is that it’s an ideal spot for beach lovers like you and me.
Beyond soaking up the sun, Sandbanks has some cool trails for those who like to wander. Check out the Woodlands Trail or the Cedar Sands Trail to stretch your legs and explore the dunes and diverse vegetation that call this place home.
Once you’ve had your fill of sun, sand, and scenery, why not fire up the BBQ? Sandbanks offers picnic areas and BBQ facilities, and there’s nothing quite like catching one of those fiery sunsets while enjoying a nice, relaxing meal.
Local tip: Sandbanks can get busy during summer weekends, so plan to arrive early in the day to secure a good parking spot.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery (@johnstons_cranberries)
Address: 1074 Cranberry Rd, Bala, ON
Contact details: +1 705-762-3203
- Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM
Muskoka Lakes Winery is tucked away in Bala, also known as the Cranberry Capital of Ontario. And yep, you guessed it, it’s all ’bout them cranberries!
No trip to Muskoka Lakes Winery would be complete without sampling their signature cranberry wines. Best part? You get to sip the good stuff while gazing out at the lush cranberry marsh.
This place offers tours that get you right into the action. Talk about hands-on experience! Harvest season (from late September to October) even allows you to get your feet wet in a cranberry plunge.
Oh, and did I mention that this place isn’t just a winery, it’s a farm? A farm that offers beautiful trails for hiking, giving you a chance to burn off that wine-induced euphoria, and enjoy the diverse flora and fauna.
Local tip: Muskoka Lakes Winery is a seasonal business, so do check their opening dates and times before planning your trip.
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Address: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, ON
Contact details: +1 905-832-8131
- Sunday to Thursday – 10 AM to 8 PM
- Friday and Saturday – 10 AM to 10 PM
Canada’s Wonderland is an epic theme park located in Vaughan, Ontario—just a hop, skip, and a jump from Toronto. This place has more roller coasters, games, and excitement than you can shake a stick at.
We’re talking over 200 attractions—17 roller coasters alone! Whether you’re into crazy plunges that hurtle you in a free fall, or you’ve got a thing for twists, turns, and loops, Canada’s Wonderland ain’t playin’.
Don’t forget about Behemoth and Leviathan, two of the tallest and fastest coasters in North America. You’ll be screaming your heart out before you know it!
Wonderland’s got you covered with a water park too: Splash Works (opens typically from June to September). And when it comes to food, well, Wonderland’s got more options than you can chew (pun intended).
Local tip: Go on a weekday if you can, especially early in the season or after the school rush. The lines will be shorter, giving you more time to experience everything this amazing park has to offer.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mount St. Louis Moonstone (@mtstlouismoonstone)
Address: 24 Mt St Louis Rd W, Coldwater, ON
Contact details: +1 705-835-2112
- Monday to Friday – 9 AM to 4 PM
Love it or hate it, there’s one thing winter is good for: strapping on your skis or snowboard and hitting the slopes. Especially at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, the “I can’t believe it’s not in the Alps” ski resort in Ontario.
This resort has runs for all skill levels, from bunny hills for beginners to challenging black diamonds for the hardcore. They’ve even got one of the largest terrain parks in Ontario for all those freestyle junkies itching to practise their tricks or flips.
And, with 36 slopes, traffic jams are a thing of the past—unless you count running into a rogue snowman. This place is more than just a great run, though.
It’s got rentals if you’re not keen to lug your gear around and instructors if you want to level up your ski or board game. And when you’re ready to thaw out for a bit, cosy up by the fireplace in the chalet with a cup of hot cocoa.
Local tip: And, parents, if you’re worried about keeping the little ones entertained while you carve up the snow, don’t fret. Mount St. Louis Moonstone offers ski lessons for kids and various events organised throughout the winter season.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blue Mountain Resort (@bluemtnresort)
Address: The Blue Mountains, ON
Contact details: +1 833-583-2583
- Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 10 PM
Nestled along the shores of Georgian Bay and just a two-hour drive from Toronto, Blue Mountain Ski Resort has it all. It has 42 ski and snowboard trails, and they even offer night skiing.
This resort has got your back, no matter the season. I’m talkin’ golf, hiking, zip-lining, scenic gondola rides, and even a mountain coaster they call the Ridge Runner.
If a slower pace is more your cup of tea, the Village at Blue Mountain has heaps of stuff to do too! You can meander through the quaint streets, indulge in some retail therapy, and dip into the tasty food scene.
You can even check out the on-site spa or relax at the resort beach. Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds—action-packed fun and some well-earned downtime?
Local tip: Everybody loves a good deal, so keep your eyes peeled for their various packages throughout the year. You might just score the perfect day trip at a sweet price!
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
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Address: 7400 Wellington County Rd 21, Elora, ON
Contact details: +1 519-846-9742
- Monday to Sunday – 8 AM to 9 PM
Perfect for a day trip, Elora Gorge Conservation Area is where Mother Nature struts her stuff big time. Just under two hours from Toronto and you’re greeted with an epic, 22-metre-high gorge carpeted by forests and by the meandering Grand River.
This place is famous for tubing and kayaking, where you get to surf the river down the stunning gorge itself. No joke, these are rapid-filled rides that’ll tickle your wild side and give you a legit splash-tastic time.
Feeling more “earthbound” for the day? Don your walking shoes ’cause the Elora Gorge Trail is not to be missed.
It’s a killer 5km walk with killer views of the limestone cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Pack a picnic, find a cliff-top spot, and chow down with a view.
Local tip: Early birds catch the worm (or rather, the calm waters and quiet trails), so try to arrive in the morning to avoid the crowds.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Town of Gananoque (@travel1000islands)
Address: Leeds and Grenville United Counties, ON
Contact details: +1 315-482-2520
- Winter Season (October 10th – December 31st) and (January 1st – May 16th):
Tuesday to Saturday – 10 AM to 12 PM, 1 PM to 4 PM
- Spring Season (May 17th – June 24th):
Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 12 PM, 1 PM to 5 PM
- Summer Season (June 28th – September 3rd):
Monday to Sunday – 8 AM to 7 PM
- Fall Season (September 7th – October 9th):
Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 12:30 PM, 1 PM to 5 PM
Now, one of the best things to do here in 1000 islands (besides gawking at the gorgeous scenery, of course) is to hop on a boat tour. It’s kinda a must-do, y’know?
There are loads of different tours to choose from too. You could go on an international tour and check out both the Canadian and the US sides, which is super cool.
And let me tell you, these islands have plenty of history and culture to dig into as well. For instance, the Boldt Castle on Heart Island is straight out of a fancy romance novel, with its tragic love story and all.
And then there’s Singer Castle on Dark Island, which boasts great architecture and an even greater past. Of course, no trip to the 1000 islands would be complete without trying some locally made food—so make sure to bring your appetite along!
Local tip: Don’t miss out on the loaded fries at the local chip trucks scattered nearby, trust me, they are a delight!
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Point Pelee National Park (@pointpeleenationalparkcanada)
Address: 1118 Point Pelee Dr, Leamington, ON
Contact details: +1 519-322-2365
- Monday to Friday – 6 AM to 10 PM
Point Pelee National Park is the southernmost tip of mainland Canada, which is pretty neat if you ask me. You should definitely hit up the famous Tip, a land spit that reaches right into Lake Erie.
You’ll feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world, fo’ real! And let’s talk about activities, ’cause there are plenty!
For all the birdwatching lovers out there, Point Pelee is the place to be, especially during spring and fall migrations. In fact, it’s a hotspot for all sorts of critters—butterflies, frogs, and so much more!
But hey, even if you’re not a wildlife enthusiast, the park’s got your back with its lush forests, sandy beaches, and of course, amazing hiking and canoeing opportunities.
Oh, and make sure to swing by the park’s Visitor Centre, where you can get your hands on all sorts of info about the park, its history, and the really cool stuff it has.
Local tip: If you’re visiting the park between May and September, don’t miss the Freighter Canoe Rides – it’s a unique and engaging way to explore the marsh with local guides!
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Address: 350 Erie Blvd, Port Rowan, ON
Contact details: +1 519-586-2133
- Monday to Sunday – Open 24 hours
Long Point Provincial Park is not your typical run-of-the-mill park; it’s a huge sand spit on Lake Erie, and guess what? It’s also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Literally thousands of bird species pass through here, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Now, putting birds aside, let’s talk about beaches.
The park boasts some seriously stunning beachfront. We’re talking about sandy beaches that stretch on for miles and miles, perfect for a day of lounging, swimming, or some quality sandcastle building!
And hey, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also rent a canoe or kayak and explore the nearby wetlands—pretty cool, eh? And before your day at Long Point comes to an end, make sure to soak in those epic sunsets—they’re really something special!
Local tip: Make sure to explore the Long Point Lighthouse for a sweet photo-op and a little taste of nautical history.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Stroll Walking Tours | Waterloo Region (@strollwalkingtours)
St. Jacobs is this delightful little spot, often overlooked, but believe me, it’s a hidden gem. The main street of the village is brimming with glorious, unique shops .
And talk about variety; they’ve got quaint restaurants, bakeries, and delightful treats to indulge in. Let’s not forget the Farmer’s Market with abundant local produce; it’s a wholesome experience.
And then there’s the history and culture side of things. The entire village is an embodiment of the simplicity and tradition of the Mennonite community.
You’ll find the St. Jacobs Mennonite story an intriguing tale told in their very own interpretive centre. A horse-drawn trolley tour? Heck yeah, they have that too, to give you a taste of good ol’ farming life.
Local tip: Try their famous apple fritters at the Farmer’s market; they are out of this world good!
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33 Best Weekend Getaways in Ontario, Canada
Written By: ThePlanetD Team
Updated On: June 21, 2023
Ontario has some of Canada’s best cities and towns in Canada from Toronto to Paris (named one of the prettiest little towns in Canada) and it is filled with awesome outdoor adventures. In a nutshell, Ontario has it all. So if traveling abroad isn’t in the cards, you can still take a break to enjoy these best weekend getaways in Ontario.
Ontario offers year-round options for a fun filled weekend trip, and there is plenty of beauty and culture to be found. If you are looking for the best weekend getaways in Ontario, rest assured you have many places to choose from. And we’ve rounded them up all in one place for you.
Table of Contents
Weekend Getaways in Ontario
We’ll cover all the best weekend getaways – splitting the guide into outdoor, urban, family, and resort getaways. So let’s start with the top weekend getaways in Ontario to enjoy one of these lovely city breaks in Ontario..
Cities and Towns
Ready to support local businesses, explore charming towns, and treat yourself to retail therapy? These are the best cities and towns for weekend getaways in Ontario. From small towns to major cities, we’ve got a fantastic range to suit everyone’s interests.
Tiny Paris was named the “Prettiest little town in Canada” and it is certainly is one of the best small towns to visit for a fun Ontario weekend getaway. The town is famed for its stone buildings, cafes, and window shopping culture.
We may be a little biased with this one because Paris is our home town but it is lovely here. We are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, great dining, spas, and scenery.
Apart from shopping and enjoying cafes, you can enjoy some activities like river tubing, fly fishing, or kayaking on the Grand River. Paris is located at the junction of the Nith Rivers and Grand River, so it offers lots of outdoor entertainment including hiking on the Grand Trail following the Grand River from the portage area at the dam.
For a weekend getaway for couples, book a room at the Arlington Hotel and take a stroll through the streets. Pick up a coffee at the Paris Bakery and browse the many boutique shops and the shops at Wincey Mills. Book a massage at the Ah Spa in the afternoon and then book dinner at Stillwaters.
Accommodation in Paris – The best accommodation in Paris is the Arlington Hotel . This central hotel was established in 1851 and offers historical, chic accommodation in the heart of Paris, just opposite the Grand River. The luxury boutique hotel has a restaurant, tranquil updated rooms, and unique decor. Read more: 27 Things to do in Paris Ontario – A Local’s Guide
Ottawa is an all-around golden child and it is our absolute favorite city in Ontario. We’ve been many times and it’s impossible to round up everything in one short paragraph of things to do. It has an abundance of museums , historical sites, landmarks, nature, an exciting food scene, and some great restaurants.
Ottawa is a big city with a small-town feel bringing an extra depth of character to the place. It is easily accessed and makes for a rewarding weekend break for anyone looking for an Ontario city experience. Check out the best Ottawa tours here.
Ottawa is home to thousands of things to do , including the Canadian National Gallery, Canadian War Museum, and Parliament Hill. Visitors can fly straight into Ottawa or drive there from major cities like Montreal (which Ottawa is a two-hour drive from). The capital of Canada is perfect for winter, autumn , spring , or summer adventures .
Best accommodation option in Ottawa – You will have hundreds of accommodation options in Ottawa. Fairmont Chateau Laurier is particularly luxurious if you want to splash out a little. Read more: 33 Things to do in Ottawa – A Complete Guide to the City
3. Prince Edward County
Prince Edward, aka Prince Edward County, is technically an island. The island community is known for its local artists, beautiful beaches, and wineries. And, just a two-hour drive from Toronto , Prince Edward County is one of the most charming places for a weekend getaway.
While you eat, drink, and be merry, keep your eyes out for Amelia’s Garden Restaurant. The fine dining restaurant prides itself on organic, seasonal produce from nearby farms. It even offers accommodation packages too, so you can stay and dine. If you are traveling with children, Cottage Country Factory is more suitable than fine dining.
Just a short drive from Prince Edward County, this famed sweet shop is the ultimate place for children to pick up their favorite candy. And with so many outdoor activities on Prince Edward , their sugar rush may come in handy.
Best accommodation option in Prince Edward County – There are plenty of great options, but Angeline’s Inn is the quirkiest. The historic inn has bold, colorful decor and warm service.
4. Niagara on the Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a brilliant small-town getaway for both summer and winter. Filled with historic charm, this town in Ontario is packed with culture, from post-1812 war buildings to world-class theater productions. Read more: 15 Amazing Things to do in Niagara on the Lake – Canada
Many people liken visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake to stepping back into the 19th century as they ride horse carts, sip wine and eat at a fine dining restaurant before relaxing in a luxury hotel. As a weekend destination, it sure packs a punch.
When you aren’t visiting historical attractions, squeeze in a winery or two. Niagara-on-the-Lake is well-known for its successful wineries, and you can experience its produce with wine tasting. Wine tasting tours can be booked here.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is an hour’s drive from Hamilton and an hour and a half’s drive from Toronto. This half day wine tour takes you to sample wines at Pillitteri Estates, Inniskillin, and Konzelmann Estates followed by free time to enjoy Niagara on the Lake.
Best accommodation option in Niagara-on-the-Lake – The Pillar and Post Inn and Spa – is a Niagara institution renovated in a historic building. It has full modern amenities with indoor and outdoor pools, and exotic hot springs pool at 100 Fountain Spa.
- The Pillar and Post Inn and Spa – is a Niagara on the Lake institution renovated in a historic building. It has full modern amenities with indoor and outdoor pools, and exotic hot springs pool at 100 Fountain Spa.
- The Prince of Wales – is another favourite set in a Victorian landmark downtown. With a pool, fitness center, and make sure to book at an appointment at the Secret Garden Spa, it is a perfect choice for an elegant vacation in Niagara on the Lake.
- There are plenty of luxurious AirBnBs in Niagara on the Lake. This one is a lovely cottage that is two blocks from downtown’s main street.
- Read our full guide – Where to Stay in Niagara Falls – Best Hotels
5. Niagara Falls Getaway
Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls are as different as salt and pepper. A Niagara Falls getaway features the falls, however, the town has a much livelier atmosphere, with tourist attractions like wax museums and casinos.
You can get up close and personal in Journey Behind the Falls or the Hornblower, enjoy the excitement of Clifton Hill, nightlife and attractions of the Fallsview area and make sure to ride the awesome Ferris wheel.
If you are looking for fun a weekend getaway in Ontario with a bit of adventure, nightlife, and excitement, Niagara Falls is an excellent idea. Plus, there is romance to be found if you know where to look .
A Niagara Falls Getaway is our favorite Ontario weekend getaway because we always find something new to do. In the past 25 years we have visited Niagara Falls for at least one weekend. And we always love it!
Niagara Falls is an hour’s drive from Hamilton and an hour and a half from Toronto. Read more: The Best Things to do in Niagara Falls
Best accommodation option in Niagara Falls – This town offers many great accommodation options, many of which provide waterfall views. Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa is a good one, and we’ll attach a link here if you’d like to take a look. Read more: Where to Stay in Niagara Falls – Best Areas
6. Grand Bend
Grand Bend is another small-town gem, perfect for a getaway. My family had a cottage here growing up and my parents retired here for about 10 years, so we know Grand Bend well. Plus, I spent a season at Huron Country Playhouse singing in one of their shows. This place is rockin’!
Set on the shores of Lake Huron, Grand Bend town lives and breathes anything water-related. You could go swimming, kayaking, or mix things up with a parasailing experience. Its beach is always packed with people and activities. Check out: 25 Best Places to Camp in Ontario, Canada
There’s also Pinery Provincial Park to enjoy, which we will chat about further down. The town is approximately two hours from Hamilton and one hour from Windsor and is ideally situated for a relaxing getaway. You can book this guided day tour to Pinery Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Huron and then explore the beach town of Grand Bend.
Best accommodation option in Grand Bend – Amber Hotel is the best accommodation option and is an excellent mid-range choice. You can check the property out on TripAdvisor here.
Toronto has the best city scene in Ontario and we called it home for 20 years. Its cityscape is recognized worldwide – from the CN Tower to its famed Lake Ontario waterfront. Check out all the top activities in Toronto and book a day tour here. You can choose from the CN Tower to Toronto Islands, Casa Loma and more. Browse tours here.
If you want one of Ontario’s most iconic weekend getaways, Toronto is easily one of the top three. As the province’s metropolis capital, it has stacks and stacks of things to do and is a breeze to access by flight.
You can check out amazing restaurants with multi-course meals, historic buildings like the parliament buildings, and delicious local craft beer at bars across the city. Plus, there are museums like the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Railway Museum. Get your entry ticket here to the ROM and other Toronto Museums.
Check out more at The Best Things to Do in Toronto – A Guide to the Top Attractions
Best accommodation option in Toronto – There are many fantastic accommodation options in Toronto, but the Ritz Carlton is our favorite. It’s close to Roy Thompson Hall and the Princess of Wales Theatre, The CN Tower, the Entertainment District, and Harbourfront.
If you are looking for more affordable accommodations, The Chelsea is located at Dundas Square and is central to everything. Plus, it’s where we spent our honeymoon night 25 years ago! Don’t worry, it’s been renovated since. Read more: Where to Stay in Toronto – A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods
The former capital of Canada is an amazing weekend trip. This small city on Lake Ontario, The Rideau Canal, and the St. Lawrence River is filled with historic charm, fine dining, and nightlife. Located just a three-hour drive from Toronto or two hours and twenty minutes by train.
Kingston is one of the few weekend getaways linked to a major city with public transport in Ontario – so jot it down if you don’t drive or don’t want to rent a car. The city is nicknamed the ‘limestone city’ after its signature limestone architecture. It is a stunning place to just explore on foot.
We’ve planned a full ultimate itinerary for Kingston . So follow that to make your own weekend getaway perfect. You can also book Kingston day tours here . Choose from Thousand Island Cruise, helicopter flights or a haunted walking tour. More details here.
As a quick note, make sure to visit Kingston Penitentiary, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Bellevue House National Historic Site, and Murney Tower National Historic Site of Canada. Read more: Things to do in Kingston – Don’t Miss This Ontario Gem
Best accommodation option in Kingston – There are lots of options when looking for places to stay in Kingston. Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront is beautiful, though. The three-star hotel features an indoor rooftop pool and an onsite restaurant.
For a romantic weekend, we recommend Secret Garden Inn , a beautiful boutique manor home is located within walking distance from the waterfront, Princess Street, and many of Kingston’s top attractions it is a great choice to stay and the breakfasts are delicious.
Elora is another of our favorite small towns and is best known for its 19th-century architecture and striking limestone buildings. The town was founded by Roman Catholic missionaries, and its name translates as ‘sun ray’ or ‘god is my light’ in Hebrew.
Today it remains enticing for visitors wanting a romantic getaway to a pretty, small town. It is just an hour and a half from Toronto, so it is a straightforward destination to reach by car. Plus, my Great aunt lives there too!
Elora is also located next to Elora Gorge – a dramatic gorge cutting through cliffs with the Grand River running through the middle. You can admire the gorge from multiple viewpoints. If you feel nice and inspired afterward, go tubing or kayaking on a different section of the Grand River. Read more: 25 Day Trips from Toronto to Escape the City
Best accommodation option in Elora – The best accommodation option is Elora Mill Hotel & Spa. The historic hotel is set in an old riverside mill and features rooms with a fireplaces, a full service spa, gym, and yoga facilities.
Wine Region Weekend Getaways in Ontario
There’s something special about visiting wine regions; wine tasting at top-rated vineyards is a romantic way to spend a weekend. These are the best wine regions to visit in Ontario for a weekend getaway. Get ready to sample some stunning wines.
10. Lake Erie North Shore
Did you know that Lake Erie and Pelee Island are at the same latitude as Tuscany in Italy and Bordeaux in France? The Southern Ontario region is the oldest wine-producing area in Canada. The first winery opened in 1866. Since then, the region has been carving an ever-growing name for itself in the international wine industry.
Some of the best wineries are Pelee Island Winery Pavillion, Copper’s Hawk Vineyards, Viewpointe Estate Winery, and Mastronardi Estate Winery. Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery is also Ontario’s only beachfront winery – a unique selling point, you’ll agree. The variety of vineyards makes Lake Erie North Shore a wonderful weekend trip. Depending on which area you visit in the region, you can either drive a short distance from London or a few hours from Hamilton or Toronto.
Plus, this was my stomping grounds as a teenager. I’d wash my car every Sunday morning and cruise the beaches of Lake Eerie with my friends Lorri and Kathy for hours on end. Dave and I still head out for Sunday drives to this part of Ontario on a regular basis.
Best accommodation option in Lake Erie North Shore – The region covers such a span of towns and different hotels that this is a hard choice. Retro Suites Hotel is located in the center of Chatham, just a short walk from the Chatham Downtown Mall and Milner Heritage Home. Guests get complimentary breakfast on weekdays, a gym pass, and a golf course pass. Plus, you are just a ten-minute drive from Early Acres Estate Winery.
11. The Niagara Peninsula
When you think of Niagara Getaways, your mind very likely jumps to Niagara Falls. Draw your mind away from images of crashing waterfalls. Instead, picture a glass of Riesling, pinot noir, or even a chardonnay if you wish. The Niagara Peninsula is home to over fifty wineries and is one of Ontario’s most prolific wine-producing regions.
Some of the best wineries are Inniskillin, Peller Estates, Calamus Estate Winery, King’s Court Estate Winery, and Flat Rock Cellars. If you want a romantic getaway , book a wine tour and a relaxing hotel for you and your significant other. The best part about the Niagara Peninsula is that it’s on the doorstep of major cities like Hamilton and Mississauga. It is one of the most accessible weekend getaways in Ontario.
Best accommodation option in the Niagara Peninsula – There are plenty of luxurious AirBnBs in Niagara on the Lake. This one is a lovely cottage that is two blocks from downtown’s main street of Niagara on teh Lake.
For a modest budget, A Vineyard View Bed and Breakfast ticks many impressive boxes. The Victorian B&B has a stunning communal patio with vineyard views, and select bedrooms overlook private views of the unique scenery.
12. Hamilton’s Region of the Niagara Escarpment
The Niagara Escarpment is a long slope, and it is famed as Niagara Falls falls over one part of the escarpment. It actually spreads throughout Canada and the United States. Still, for the purpose of this section, we will be concentrating specifically on Hamilton’s section.
Hamilton’s section of the escarpment is a fantastic Ontario weekend getaway. The region is prime for fruit growing, making it ideal for wine production – plus, it lies in the accessible shadow of many major cities.
Best accommodation option in Niagara Escarpment (Hamilton Area) – You can make a base in Burlington to explore the Hamilton portion of the Niagara Escarpment and we recommend The Pearl Hotel & Spa is Burlington’s latest luxury escape that is perfect for pampering. Located directly on the waterfront with beautiful views of Lake Ontario,
Resort Weekend Getaways in Ontario
A resort getaway ticks a box that not much else can. These are the best resorts for weekend getaways in Ontario.
13. Sir Sam’s Inn and Spa
For the ultimate romantic getaway in Ontario, consider booking a couples retreat. Sir Sam’s Inn and Spa is a relaxing weekend getaway in a dramatic stone-and-timber mansion. The resort features every luxury – from an indoor water spa to an outdoor heated pool with Eagle Lake views to snowmobile parking and private fireplaces. There is also a fine dining restaurant located directly onsite.
And when you aren’t enjoying outdoor activities around Haliburton , you can enjoy complimentary spa access. Sir Sam’s is a three and a half hour’s drive from Ottawa, so well-placed for a weekend of luxury.
You can enjoy hiking and boating in the summer and snowmobiling and cross country skiing in the winter. Haliburton is a beautiful small town in Ontario and you can visit our friend Dana’s gorgeous photography studio to pick up stunning metal prints of the Haliburton region. Book your weekend getaway here
14. Fern Resort
Fern Resort in Orillia is a beautiful family-friendly resort but also romantic for couples too to choose from in Ontario. The resort sits next to Lake Couchiching, and its all-inclusive package includes complimentary meals and activities. You can explore the local area or enjoy onsite entertainment like cross-country skiing, giant chess, a spa, or ice skating.
Fern Resort is just under a two-hour drive from Toronto. It is ideal for those wanting an action-packed, family-friendly resort experience. See more details here .
15. Couples Resort
Looking for a romantic Ontario weekend getaway? Couples Resort is a beautiful resort, only open to couples and situated overlooking Galeairy Lake in Algonquin Park. The all-inclusive package includes breakfast, five-course dinners, activities like horse riding and ice skating, and access to facilities like a saltwater swimming pool.
Being in the middle of nature there are plenty of hiking trails, paddling and canoe options in the summer with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. We visited this pre-pandemic and see that it is now a bit rundown now. Hopefully, by the 2023 season they will have given it a refresh because we loved its tranquil setting that was perfect for a romantic getaway.
The resort is three hours from Ottawa or nearly four hours from Toronto. If you want somewhere surrounded by Canadian wilderness, Couples Resort is the one. See more availabiltiy and rates on TripAdvisor
16. Deerhurst Resort
Deerhurst is an upscale resort with a lot to offer. The Ontario resort is tucked up near the Hidden Valley Highlands. Come winter, it is an ideal base for a ski holiday. For the rest of the year, though, Deerhurst Resort stands out for its two golf courses, hot tub, spa, and outdoor activities. It is also one of the most romantic places in winter.
Deerhurst is a flexible weekend getaway; it can be considered family-friendly or one of the best romantic weekend getaways – it’s up to you to decide which. Deerhurst is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto, so nice and feasible as a weekend base. Check out details here.
- Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville is 2 hours and 45 minutes drive from Toronto
- You can book a weekend stay at Deerhurst Resort.
17. Cedar Grove Lodge
We loved our romantic escape to Cedar Grove Lodge in Huntsville. What could be more romantic than booking your own log cabin in the woods? Snuggling up by the fire in the snowy landscape is one of the most romantic places in Ontario. There are plenty of things to do in Huntsville to keep you busy as well. Things to do in Muskoka in Winter
Cedar Grove Lodge is located on 150 feet of lakefront property on Peninsula Lake. Each room has its own wood-burning fireplace and this romantic retreat has all-inclusive packages where you can eat three meals a day in the dining room. Check availability and rates for Cedar Grove on TripAdvisor
18. Severn Lodge
Severn Lodge is a lovely lakeside resort on the shores of Glouster Pool in Port Severn Township. The property dates back to the 1800s and still has traditional features like beamed ceilings and historical decor. Severn Lodge’s facilities are as extra as it gets, including a heated pool, onsite beach, private dock, and patios or balconies overlooking the lake.
Severn Lodge is just forty minutes by car from Barrie and two hours from Toronto. It is the ideal weekend getaway for anyone wanting a traditional, historical base for a few days. Make reservations here.
18. Idlewyld Inn and Spa
Idlewyld Inn and Spa is the number one destination for an elegant weekend getaway in Western Ontaro. Located in London Ontario Idelwyld Inn and Spa is set in a classic mansion, the property features a full-service spa, onsite restaurant, courtyard garden, and stained glass windows throughout. It is perfect for anyone wanting an inspiring property for a relaxing city break. Get ready to step back in time.
Apart from its facilities, Idlewyld Inn and Spa also offers an all-inclusive package with a complimentary breakfast. And located in the heart of London, it is a deluxe base for a city break. See more details here.
19. Langdon Hall – Cambridge
Another complete Romantic Ontario getaway is Langdon Hall in Cambridge. My friend Kelly had her wedding here and we had the chance to experience the spa and luxury fireplace suites. This hotel is one of the most romantic places in Ontario.
This property has the distinction of being recognized by Relais & Châteaux for a standard of excellence. The Five Diamond dining experience is the perfect romantic evening out and its spa packages include a half-day retreat of a Swedish massage, facials, and manicure and pedicure. Add a glass of champagne and lunch and you have a full day of luxury with the one you love. There is a huge hot tub, saunas, and steam rooms to chill out in for the afternoon.
One thing we are very thrilled to share is that Langdon Hall has partnered with The Keep Refillery to become the first hotel in Ontario to have an in-house refillery. They have overhauled their in-room amenities to a more sustainable model by refilling in-room essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, shower steams and bath bombs. This move will keep 2000 bottles out of landfills this year. Compare prices on TripAdvisor
Part 4 – Family Getaways in Ontario
Ontario is fantastic for family fun. The whole state is excellent for families that love adventure and bonding time, with lots of green spaces, children’s attractions, and great accommodation options. But some places are even more exciting and special for families than others. We’ve picked these extra-special places for our next section; these are the best family weekend getaways in Ontario.
20. Blue Mountain Ski Resort
Blue Mountain Resort is one of the most adventurous and romantic getaways. We put this under family Ontario getaways because there is so much to do. But Dave and I have had many romantic getaways here on our own in Blue Mountain. So, it has the best of both worlds!
Blue Mountain resort and village is a year round retreat and, in winter, offers skiing and snowboarding galore. When you aren’t zipping down the slopes, you can be in the spa soaking in an outdoor hot tub or enjoying one of the great restaurants onsite.
Blue Mountain Village, is just over a two-hour drive from Toronto and is full of things to do . It is a short, pleasant drive easily factored into a weekend trip. And Blue Mountain Resort is perfect for any avid snow sports lovers.
In the Winter, we love to stay at the Blue Mountain Inn Slopeside. It is located directly at our favourite black diamond runs.
In the summer our choices are the gorgeous Westin Trillium House , located at Millpond overlooking Blue Mountain Village it’s set a little away from the crowds of the village. But we are also fans of the Mosaic Boutique Suites smack dab in the center of the Blue Mountains. Its year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub is to die for.
21. Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Resort
Great Wolf Lodge is a magical weekend getaway. The four-star property is amazing for anyone who wants a fun-filled, action-packed holiday in Ontario. Great Wolf Lodge has an all-inclusive package with unlimited access to its onsite indoor water park, 24/7 entertainment, and ultra-speed wifi.
Situated in Niagara Falls, Great Wolf Lodge is an ideal base to visit Canada’s most famed waterfall and make the most of a fantastic all-inclusive package. It is only a short drive from cities like Hamilton and Toronto. I have stayed here before but for some reason I couldn’t find a picture. We had the good fortune of staying at Great Wolf Lodge when I worked for YTV and had a blast in its waterpark. Check prices and reservations here.
Collingwood is an action-packed weekend getaway for families. In the summer, you can explore limestone caves, and in the ski season, you can get all your family zipping down the slopes. Collingwood has plenty of indoor attractions for rainy days, including the Collingwood Museum, Butter Gallery, and multiple theaters. There are also more challenging adventures for older children, like ATV adventure tours, snorkeling tours, and off-roading. Collingwood is just under two hours from Toronto by car, too, so families will find it feasible to reach.
Best accommodation option in Collingwood
The best accommodation option in Collingwood is The Living Water Resrot and Spa . It is walking distance to historic downtown collingwood, it has an indoor pool plus indoor and outdoor hot tubs and Collingwood’s only waterfront restaurant. A more affordable option is the Days in by Wyndham.
Hamilton needs little introduction, and the major city in Southern Ontario has already been mentioned in this guide as a reference point. However, Hamilton is also an ideal family weekend getaway. One of the coolest activities in Hamilton is the exotic super car driving experience. Get behind the wheel of your dream car on a test drive adventure.
The city is smaller than Toronto and packed with kid-friendly activities like Spencer Smith Park, lots of short waterfall walks, and the beloved Theodore Tugboat tours. You can easily head to rural sections for outdoor activities and are just a short drive from Niagara Falls. Read more: The Best Things to do in Hamilton, Ontario
Best accommodation option in Hamilton – The best family-friendly option in Hamilton is Staybridge Suites Hamilton Downtown
Peterborough sits just off the Otonabee River and perfectly treads the line between urban and residential suburban. You’ll find it much cheaper to visit Peterborough than Toronto, and the friendly downtown atmosphere and price tags are perfect for families covering lots of heads.
On a weekend getaway, you’ll have any attractions to tick off – including the Canadian Canoe Museum, Peterborough Museum, a rock climbing center, and Riverview Park. The attractions are just a short walk apart – handy for those little legs. Toronto is just an hour and twenty minutes away by car as well.
Best accommodation option in Peterborough – Peterborough’s best accommodation for families is Holiday Inn Peterborough-Waterfront. The property has a policy where children 19 and under stay free with an adult, and kids 12 and under eat free.
25. Sauble Beach
Sauble Beach is a fantastic destination for a family weekend getaway. The quaint town is a tiny beach community on the shores of Lake Huron. Its calm, shallow waters are perfect for younger children to learn to swim and older children to hone their water skills.
After you’ve spent a day swimming, Ascent Aerial Park is a great family attraction. You can tackle a high ropes course for some quality bonding. There’s also Sauble Falls Provincial Park to hike and fish in. Plus, Toronto is just under a three-hour drive away.
Best accommodation option in Sauble Beach – It’s a tough call, but Sauble Beach’s best accommodation is Bel-Air Motel & Cottages. The property is family-orientated, with a playground, fire pits, basketball hoops, and BBQ facilities to enjoy.
Part 5 – Outdoor Weekend Getaways in Ontario
Do you want a weekend getaway where you can enjoy rolling hills and wildlife? Are you looking to getaway from the hustle and bustle of life? Ontario has amazing national parks and provincial parks that are open all year long. So even if it is winter, put on your parka, cozy up by the fire or head out for some cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In summer, take advantage of all the pristine hiking and biking trails and some of the best wildlife spotting on earth.
26. Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park is heaven on Earth for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park is over a whopping 1.9 million acres of natural beauty and full of marked hiking trails and campsites – making it an accessible, beginner-friendly outdoor getaway in Ontario. Read more: Most Beautiful National Parks in Canada
Its famous trails, like Lookout Trail and Centennial Ridges Trail, are perfect scenic hikes to squeeze into a weekend itinerary. Think of minimal time commitment but extremely high reward. In winter, there are dog sled tours and snow activities. And you have attractions like the Algonquin Logging Museum and Algonquin Art Centre all year round if you fancy a bit of culture.
Algonquin Park is just a three-hour drive from Ottawa and three and a half hours from Toronto, so it is easily reached from a major city. If you don’t have your own car, you can arrange a car rental from one of the many car rental companies in the cities and drive yourself to the park.
Best accommodation option in Algonquin Provincial Park – When you visit on a weekend getaway, make sure to book a campsite in advance for that ultimate wilderness experience. But, if you want a bit of extra luxury, Killarney Lodge is an all-inclusive park hotel with rustic lakeside cabins – well worth a look at.
27. Sandbanks Provincial Park
Sandbanks Provincial Park offers some of the best sand beaches in all of Ontario. It is one of the best weekend getaways for a stunning coastline and pristine white beaches, and it has plenty of hiking trails under its belt. You could spend weeks in Sandbanks Park, although a day or two will have to do.
The best things to do in Sandbanks Park are visiting Dunes Beach and Outlet Beach, but Cedar Sands Nature trail is a short walk worth an itinerary spot. This trail follows the Outlet River and has beautiful marshland viewpoints.
Sandbanks is two hours and twenty minutes by car from Toronto, so it is easy to reach if you rent a car. The route is scenic too, and you’ll skirt along the north shores of Lake Ontario and its little lakeside towns.
Best accommodation option in Sandbanks – There is a high-quality handful of fantastic accommodation options in Sandbanks Park. The best is Log Cabin Point Cottage Resort. The 1830s log cabin has traditional features like a wood-burning stove and a claw foot tub. And you can even rent a boat or bike for your stay.
28. Pinery Provincial Park
Pinery Park is a wonderful weekend getaway in Ontario. The beautiful coastal park is located on the shores of Lake Huron and is over 6,000 acres in size.
It is home to gorgeous beaches and a protected forest that houses numerous endangered flora and fauna species. Opened to the public in 1959, Pinery Park is a much-loved park in Southern Ontario and a well-known outdoor getaway.
It has a 14km biking trail called the Savanna Trail that cyclists will love. There are also water activities like fishing and canoeing on offer. Pinery Park is a compact area with many activities and things to do, making it an ideal weekend trip. It is also a fifty-minute drive from London and just over two hours from Hamilton – extremely feasible driving distances.
Best accommodation option – Most accommodation options are scattered around Pinery Park, just outside the park boundaries. Port Franks Getaway is one of the closest and best options. A luxury, adults-only wellness retreat, it offers homely facilities just a stone’s throw from the park. In the summer months the Pinery is one of the best places for camping in Ontario.
29. French River Provincial Park
French River Provincial Park is another of our fabulous Ontario weekend getaways. The park is mainly situated around the French River (as you may have guessed from the name), which was the first-ever Canadian Heritage River. This is a weekend trip best appreciated by canoe or kayak.
There is over 105 km of canoe route to enjoy and explore. The trail stretches from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, incorporating lakes, rapids, and gorges for the ultimate fun-filled weekend.
You can also use riverside hiking trails like the Recollet Falls Trail. The park is just a fifty-minute drive from the city of Sudbury and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto, so a fantastic weekend getaway if you love water activities.
Don’t have a car? Book this day trip from Toronto to hike one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Ontario, The Crack. You will also visit the suspension bridge at French River Provincial Park.
Best accommodation option in French River Provincial Park
The best accommodation option in French River Park is Great Escape Cabins. The one or two-bedroom cabins are set right next to the river and make for a scenic base when visiting the park.
30. Batchawana Bay Provincial Park
Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is a fantastic weekend getaway and is a 418-acre lakeside park with gorgeous beaches. You’ll have lots to do, whether you enjoy water activities on Lake Superior, relax on the beaches, or get active on the local trails.
Batchawana Bay Park is a fifty-minute drive from Sault Ste Marie, a small city with fantastic mountain biking trails. If you love mountain biking, check out the Berm Baby Berm or Bee Sting trails.
Batchawan Bay is about an 8 hour drive from Toronto so this is best for a long weekend getaway in Ontario
Best accommodation option in Batchawana Bay – If you fancy going RV camping, Wild Rose RV Park is a fantastic seasonal option. If you prefer resorts, Sunset Shores Resort offers cabins just outside the park. Check rates and availaibity
31. Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula Park is over 30,000 acres in size and is an absolute haven for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll be well entertained, from swimming and bouldering to backcountry camping opportunities.
The park straddles the famed Niagara Escarpment and Georgian Bay coastline to enjoy – making Bruce Peninsula Park one of the most diverse places for a weekend getaway.
The best thing to do in the park is to visit its natural attractions, like Flowerpot Island, Little Cove, and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
You can book a day trip from Toronto to Tobermory. This tour includes a guide and driver that takes you to visit the lighthouse and hiking to see the beautiful cliffs of Georgian Bay. You’ll visit The Grotto, Indian Head Cove and Marr Lake.
Bruce Peninsula Park is surrounded by little towns, including Tobermory (read our guide on things to do in Tobermory ). From Toronto, it is a three-and-a-half-hour drive. It’s ideal for a weekend trip and is surrounded by towns with urban amenities.
Best accommodation option in Bruce Peninsula – One of the best ways to book accommodation in Tobermory is to book vacation rentals. You can look for accommodation on TripAdvisor – Tobermory . This beautiful waterfront cottage is 5km from downtown Tobermory. It offers kayaking and beautiful views for sunset.
Camping is one of the best options for accommodation in Tobermory in the summer. Tobermory Village Campground or Cyprus Lake Campground . The campground has many facilities, including showers, flush toilets, and drinkable water. It is an excellent base for an outdoor adventure.
32. Pukaskwa National Park
Pukaskwa National Park is a 460-acre park on the shores of Lake Superior. It is the perfect destination for beginner-friendly water activities, hiking, and camping – especially if you want to get away from the busier parks around Toronto.
Visitors should definitely make time to hike the Bimose Kinoomagewnan Trail. This trail is essential to indigenous Anishinaabe culture and is an excellent mix of cultural and outdoor activity. Read more: The Wild Coastal Trail of Pukaskwa National Park
Like Bruce Peninsula Park, Pukaskwa is quite far from major cities. It will take around eleven hours to reach Pukaskwa from Winnipeg or Toronto. Pukaskwa is perfect for road trip lovers .
Best accommodation option in Pukaskwa NP – The best accommodation in Pukaskwa is Pic River Guest Suite . The property is the closest option to the park unless you want to camp and is beautifully situated overlooking the river. You also have the choice to purchase yoga and canoeing packages.
For more Ontario inspiration, you can check out our guides on the best places to visit and things to do across the province. We also have a special guide on the best things to do when visiting Ontario in winter and another on the province’s best hiking trails .
It’s easy to see that you won’t be short of weekend getaways in Ontario. Whether you want charming towns with great restaurants, family-friendly destinations with entertaining attractions, or remote wilderness getaways, Ontario has an option for you.
It is safe to say that we love Ontario, and we bet you will too when you try these weekend getaways. Have a fantastic experience.
- The Greatest Things to do in Winter in Ontario
- Romantic Ontario Getaways – The Best Couples resorts and Destinations
- Top 15 Ontario Hiking Trails
- 22 Most Epic and Thrilling Things to do in Ontario
- 9 VALENTINE’S DAY GETAWAYS IN ONTARIO, CANADA
- 35 Iconic Places to Visit in Ontario, Canada
Travel Planning Resources
Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.
Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner
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Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO .
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.
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Guest writers for The Planet D offer insider tips and information on destinations that they are experts in. We can't be everywhere at once, and it is important to have the highest level of travel information from local writers and experienced travelers.
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