After spending far too much time cramped indoors over the past year, not to mention the dreary winter we just experienced, it’s normal to feel a little claustrophobic in the city. But thankfully, with spring on the horizon and the addition of extra daylight, sometimes all a seasoned city dweller needs is an escape from the hustle of Toronto. Whether that’s a road trip, a weekend away, or a brief day-trip, a change of scenery is a great way to relax and take a brief break from your everyday life. To remedy the feeling of being stuck indoors, we’ve rounded up the best destinations for a day trip outside of Toronto.
Just keep in mind, given the changing COVID-19 guidelines in varying regions, it’s always best to plan accordingly to ensure that every destination we’ve highlighted is open to the public amid the ongoing pandemic.
If you’ve been dying to see some scenery that doesn’t resemble a concrete jungle, we recommend heading to Hamilton. Home to more than 100 waterfalls, Hamilton has been dubbed the waterfall capital of the world, which is why it’s definitely worthy of a visit. Some of the more notable falls to chase include the Tews, Webster’s, and Albion Falls.
Whether you want to ski, snowboard, hike, go snow tubing, relax at the spa or simply unwind with a pint on Rusty’s patio, Blue Mountain in Collingwood is a quick drive from the city and full of options. If you’re looking to hit the slopes, the ski resort boasts eight chairlifts, which access 365 acres of skiable terrain. Runs range from the green beginner bunny hills to some double black diamonds.
Regardless of the season, a visit to picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake results in a photo-op-filled day. From the vast vineyards, open country roads, to the charming shops and restaurants, there’s plenty to do and see in this charming town. We recommend spending your time either on foot or on a bicycle, so you can explore the tree-lined streets, the wineries, and the lake at ease.
While you’re at it, you might as well drive another 30-minutes west and play tourist for the day at Niagara Falls. While seeing the roaring falls in person is the obvious attraction, there are also a number of other kitschy and fun activities currently open amid the pandemic, including the zip-line, bird kingdom, haunted houses, and more.
While Prince Edward County is a top spot to visit during the warmer months, the spring also presents a great time to fall in love with the region. Drive 2.5 hours east of Toronto and you’ll see nothing but vineyards, scenic beaches, and lush countryside as far as the eye can see. We recommend spending your day checking out the beautiful scenery at Sandbanks Provincial Park, as it’s filled with walking trails and plenty of opportunities to spot some local wildlife.
If you’re up for a mini road trip, if you head just about four hours southwest of Toronto, you’ll find Point Pelee National Park, which happens to be the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. Because of this, the park is home to incredible wildlife and scenic views, in addition to an abundance of outdoor activities that visitors can take advantage of including hiking, bird watching, or checking out the beach.
While Algonquin Park is a great spot to visit for multiple days at a time, it’s definitely worthy of an afternoon day trip from Toronto. Complete with panoramic views of the wild Algonquin landscape, this vast park, which is under two hours southwest of Toronto, is the perfect place to spend an afternoon hiking, fishing, bird watching or having a picnic.
Located three hours from Toronto, the Haliburton Highlands are home to picturesque lake views. It is also home to the South Algonquin Trails and the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, which means there are dozens of hiking trails to explore. From mid-March to the end of April, you can also sample maple syrup at the local sugar bushes, which is a sweet way to end a visit to the Highlands.
Located just off the coast of Tobermory, Flower Pot Island is easily one of Canada’s most interesting natural attractions. The island, which is accessible by boat, is known for its natural “flowerpot” rock pillars, caves, historic light station, and rare plants. Most visitors take a tour boat to the island to spend the day hiking its trails, view its stunning scenery, picnicking or swimming (during the warmer months, of course).
If you’re not afraid of heights, we highly recommend driving just over two hours northeast of Toronto to Ferris Provincial Park in Campbellford for a picturesque day trip. Here, you’ll have a 300-foot-long suspension bridge that hands 30-feet above the open water of the Ranney Gorge to check out. The bridge is located on Canada’s famous Great Trail and is within an easy walking distance from downtown Campbellford.