We’re officially entering the dog days of summer, which, unfortunately, means there are only a handful of weeks left until it’s time to start preparing for fall.
And really, there’s no better way to take in the beauty of summer than heading outdoors to enjoy the beautiful sights and attractions that this province has to offer.
To help you find the perfect getaway, we’ve rounded up our favourite Toronto day trip destinations, each just a relatively short drive from the city.
From checking out a hip boutique motel in Prince Edward County to taking in the breathtaking DeCew Falls in St.Catherines – there’s a lot to do that’s just a short drive away.
Point Pelee National Park is a place that must be visited, especially in the summer. Located just about four hours southwest of Toronto, Point Pelee’s biggest highlight is the fact that it’s the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. It also happens to be home to incredible wildlife and scenic views, and visitors can take advantage of canoeing, hiking, bird watching, or relaxing on the beach.
For those interested in hiking, look no further than the beautiful trails surrounding Dundas Peak. Located just an hour west of the city, you’ll find pristine nature trails and stunning views of Dundas and Hamilton. While you’re hiking, make sure to keep a lookout for Tews Falls, an incredible 41-metre waterfall.
Just an hour out of the city you’ll find spectacular fields of purple and perfumed air at Terre Bleu Lavender Farm. Here you can spend an afternoon exploring the beautiful grounds, taking in the relaxing, natural fragrance of the lavender plants, visiting the beehives, horseback riding, or checking out the lavender and honey infused goods. Lavender is harvested in the summer months so there’s no better time to pay Terre Bleu Lavender Farm a visit.
There’s seriously no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than to pack the car, crank some tunes and head towards Prince Edward County. Just two hours east of Toronto, you’ll find The June Motel, a hip boutique motel that’s reinventing the motel experience. Here you can enjoy great wine, good vibes, and the beautiful Prince Edward County scenery. You can also cycle or drive the country backroads, and stop at the many restaurants, artisanal food vendors, wineries, and more.
A quick 1.5 hours from Toronto, you’ll find DeCew Falls, a breathtaking set of upper and lower waterfalls just off the Bruce Trail. Located in the Niagara Region in St. Catharines, DeCew Falls is the perfect destination for those looking to get active. Hike up close to the falls and even go behind them for a one of a kind experience. There’s also a picturesque mill and a tire swing to check out.
Flowerpot Island is one of those hidden gems you’ll see in your friend’s photos and not believe it’s located in Canada, let alone so close to Toronto. Located off the coast of Tobermory, Flowerpot Island is one of Canada’s most fascinating natural attractions. Accessible only by boat, this island is home to plenty of campsites and hiking trails and is a great place to spend the day exploring the island, viewing the scenery, picnicking or swimming. Basically, the perfect place to spend a sunny summer afternoon.
If you’ve already done the touristy Niagara Falls visit but still want to take in the beautiful scenery, check out the White Water Walk at Niagara Falls this summer. Here you’ll be able to get an up-close look at the Niagara Gorge and its stunning crystal waters as you walk along the boardwalk.
While Algonquin Park is one of the most popular places to go camping in the summer, it’s also worthy of an afternoon visit. Complete with panoramic views of the wild Algonquin landscape, this vast park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon canoeing, hiking, fishing, and bird watching.
Just under two hours from Toronto, you’ll find the Elora Quarry, a scenic oasis surrounded by sheer cliffs that are more than 12-metres high. There’s definitely something to do for everyone as there are trails with scenic routes for hiking, with views of the water below where tubers and kayakers make their way down the waterway.
If you and your friends are looking for a fun afternoon escape from the city, head to Spirit Tree Cidery in beautiful Caledon. Here you can explore the incredible grounds, enjoy a guided cider tour and tasting, have lunch at the bistro and check out the locally made goods at the farm shop and bakery.
No Ontario summer can be complete without a visit to the one and only Wasaga Beach. Located just under two hours from Toronto, Wasaga Beach is known for being the longest freshwater beach in the world, with 14 kilometres of sandy beach stretching along Georgian Bay. If lying on the beach isn’t your scene, you can visit the famous boardwalk, go swimming, play beach volleyball, go hiking (the Blue Mountain Caves are nearby), fishing, sailing, or cycling.
Just under three hours from downtown Toronto, you’ll find some of the most picturesque lake views in the province. And what could be more quintessentially Canadian than spending an afternoon canoeing on a peaceful lake? In the Haliburton Highlands, you’ll find a series of lakes, many of which don’t allow motorized boats, which are the perfect setting for perfecting your paddle.