25 fun day trips from Toronto to add to your summer bucket list
Day trips from Toronto are all about packing in as much fun as possible without spending too much time in the car. The best one-day sojourns require less than two hours of driving time each way, which still leaves an astounding number of options for those looking to escape the city.
Here are some day trips from Toronto to add to your list this summer.
Rattlesnake Point is a great place to try out rock climbing for the first time, particularly if you don't mind crowds. It can get rather busy here due to its proximity to Toronto, but there are plenty of instructional groups that operate on this cliff. It's also great for hiking.
Visitors are required to make a reservation before visiting Rattlesnake Point. Get there with Parkbus and spend the day at Rattlesnake or hike the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail to Crawford Lake where you can arrange the bus to pick you up.
Just over an hour from Toronto, St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market is the largest of its kind in Canada. From local produce to farm-raised meat to antiques and hand-made treasures, the market makes for a great destination if you're looking for a different shopping experience.
The market is only open on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so keep that in mind.
It's one of the most popular day trips from Toronto and has even become very much overrated over the years. Still, soaking up the kitsch on the patio of the kitschiest restaurant in town, Flying Saucer, before braving the zipline adds up to some undeniable fun.
You can also now take the GO Train for super cheap to get there.
You can walk across a 420-foot suspension bridge at Scenic Caves Adventures near Collingwood. The bridge, which is actually the longest in Southern Ontario, offers up incredible views of Georgian Bay and the surrounding Blue Mountain area.
You'll need general park admission to access the bridge and the last admission is sold two hours prior to closing every day.
There are so many places to hike around Toronto, but one that is definitely worth a visit is Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. The protected land, located only an hour from Toronto, boasts a waterfall, river rapids and breathtaking rock formations to explore.
Keep the day going with a stopover at an incredible boardwalk just a five-minute drive from the nature reserve. White Water Walk gets you up close and personal with the powerful rapids.
Toronto has some pretty fine spa options, but if you want to get away from the city and relax, Scandinave Spa is the ultimate day trip. Steam baths, nordic waterfalls and massage treatments make for a top-notch escape.
One of the closest cave systems to Toronto, it'll take around an hour to get to Eramosa Karst. There aren't really the deep caverns that you'll find elsewhere in the province here, but there are so many nooks and crannies that it's a great way to spend a day exploring the time-worn terrain that also features streams and waterfalls.
Located in the small rural town of Alton, the Alton Mill Arts Centre is a hub of culture in an old stone mill. The space has a gallery, shop, cafe and museum, making it the perfect spot for art enthusiasts to spend an afternoon.
What's better than a nature hike? A nature hike with incredible views atop a towering trestle bridge. Doube's Trestle Bridge is the main highlight of the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail. It spans a good 650 feet across a lush valley a hundred feet below.
There are endless beaches along the 1,400-kilometre stretch of Lake Erie shoreline including Long Point, Turkey Point, Port Stanley and Sand Hill. No matter which one you end up at, the water will be warm and the closest town will serve the perfect beach town vibes.
Ontario's craft cider scene is blowing up, and a perfect little day trip is a visit to Spirit Tree Cidery in the picturesque community of Caledon. The Ciderhouse Bistro at the Cidery may now be closed but there will still be plenty of food options alongside cider tastings.
There are lots of options for tubing near Toronto, but perhaps the best is along the Grand River. You can float down the water in the Elora Gorge or use access points in Paris and Brantford for a more laid back experience with less rocks and mini-rapids to navigate.
While there might not be a ton of technical trails or obstacles, Kelso is a great place to spend a day mountain biking thanks to the serious climbs up the Niagara Escarpment and gorgeous single track. when you're done riding, hit up the beach for a cooling swim. Reservations are required before your visit.
Toronto's close proximity to Niagara wine country is pure fodder for day trips. Not only is the landscape beautiful from spring through fall, but the tasting experience at most wineries is educational and fun. Beamsville is popular, but Niagara-on-the-Lake is also great.
Glen Major has long been on the radar of mountain bikers and hikers. This 1,548 hectare woodland just northeast of Toronto is dotted with challenging trails and feels completely separate from the bustle of the city, despite the fact that it's less than an hour's drive away in low traffic.
If a mix of nature and history is your thing, you'll love Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Home to over 900 symbolic First Nation carvings, it has the largest and oldest petroglyph collection in the country. There's also a super rare meromictic lake in the park that is a greenish-blue colour.
Located just 30 minutes from the city, Rattray Marsh Conservation Area is the last remaining lakefront marsh between Toronto and Burlington. It's best known for its picturesque raised boardwalk that takes you through the protected wetlands.
There's plenty of great places to ride a road bike in and around Toronto, but if you want to spend a day really testing your mettle, head to the Grey County area around Blue Mountain, where you can sweat it out on climbs like Scenic Caves Drive (be careful of traffic here) and Grey Road 19.
We tend to think of cottage country as being more than two hours of driving from Toronto, but a trip to Lake Scugog won't take that long. Kinsmen Beach is a lovely spot to spend an afternoon, and you can also check out Old Flame Brewing Co. for a tasting and tour.
There's a lot to eat and see in Hamilton but while you're there, make sure to stop by the Gage Park Greenhouse for your dose of tropical plants. The 14,000 square foot space consisting of unique subtropical flora, waterfalls and fish ponds is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is free to visit.
While Hamilton might be famous for its waterfalls, Milton has a hidden gem you can find during your hike at the Hilton Falls conservation area. It's just a 45-minute drive away and comes with lakeside trails and Old Mill ruins. Just make sure to make a reservation in advance.
The St. Mary’s Quarry is considered Canada's largest freshwater swimming pool and it’s less than two hours from Toronto. There’s a large grassy area for sitting and soaking in the sun and a floating dock with a waterslide attached. You must register and pay for your swim online before your visit.
The numerous lavender fields a short drive from Toronto have become popular spots to get that Instagram moment, eat some lavender-infused ice cream and take in all those lovely floral scents. Purple Hill even allows you to have a picnic right among the rows of lavender.
Kawartha Highlands provides all the beauty of Algonquin Park without the crowds. The 250 lakes and rivers in the area make it the perfect spot for a canoe trip, with endless opportunities for exploration. There are six recommended canoe routes through the park, ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty.
Voted the Prettiest Little Town in Canada, Paris is definitely worth a visit. Check out an old abandoned mill, explore the downtown shops or paddle the Grand River, an afternoon here won't be boring. The Paris Wincey Mills is also a fun ultra-hip market, open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Ian Muttoo at Rattlesnake Point
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