weekend escape winter toronto

The top 10 winter weekend escapes from Toronto

Winter weekend escapes from Toronto can provide the brief respite required to endure the long, hard season. Not all of us have the time or money to head to the tropics each winter, which is why it's so useful that Ontario is dotted with year round resorts, inns, and cabins that allow weary city folk to take a load off for a few days. 

Here are my picks for the top winter weekend escapes from Toronto.

Try out a yurt or cabin at a provincial park

Winter doesn't mean that our provincial parks shut down. One of your best bets for winter camping is renting a yurt or heated cabin. They're cheap, warm, and there are more of them than you might think. Rustic living doesn't get any more romantic than this.

Hit up a snow-friendly resort

Some cottage country resorts close up shop after Thanksgiving, but those with indoor pools, spa services, and great dining options remain sanctuaries of calm throughout the winter months when you can focus on pure relaxation beside a fire or over an amazing meal.

Strap on your skis

The ultimate winter pastime still serves as one of the best getaways from Toronto, with many resorts offering full-service ski experiences from mid-December through March. Blue Mountain is the biggest, but Hockley Valley, Horseshoe, and Hidden Valley also make great weekend destinations.

Stay at a country inn

I don't know about you, but my favourite winter getaways involve plenty of time curled up reading with a glass bottle of wine. Let the weather outside howl while enjoying the comforts of a historic or nouveaux inn outside of the city in small-town-Ontario.

Warm up at a spa

Hitting the spa is relaxing any time of year, but steam rooms and hot tubs take on an otherworldly quality in the dead of winter. The most alluring near Toronto is probably the indoor-outdoor experience at Scandinave, but others like Ste. Anne's are also prime unwinding zones.

Head to the Falls

Niagara tourism thins out a bit in the winter, which lets you soak up the kitsch of the place without all the tourists. Hotel rooms are cheaper, it's easier to get reservations at the few decent restaurants, and wine tastings even run year-round at major producers. Bonus: the falls actually look even more majestic when surrounded by ice.

Sequester yourself in a log cabin

Two words: wood fire. Nothing matches the ambiance of a constantly-lit fireplace or wood burning oven at the centre of a secluded cabin in the northern wilderness. You can snowshoe and cross country ski by day, and lounge by the fire at night. Winter perfection.

Escape to a winter wonderland near the city

The quaint lakeside town of Cobourg gets all dressed up for the holidays each year, but even when the hard months of winter set in, places like the Breakers and the Willowmere Bed & Breakfast offer romantic cold weather getaways that won't break the bank.

Try your hand at ice climbing

The Elora Gorge and Hamilton's waterfalls are some of the most popular summer day trips and weekend getaways from Toronto, but adventurous spirits know that the fun continues through winter with ice climbing from the folks behind One Axe Pursuits.

Plan the ultimate skating trip

Head to Peterborough where you can skate on a frozen canal beneath a mighty lift lock. The Rideau Canal is yet another premier skating destination. While there, make sure to soak up the rest of the sights in Canada's gorgeous capital city as well.

Lead photo by

Dan Sedran. Writing by Derek Flack.

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