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11 Getaways from Toronto

Toronto offers endless opportunities for entertainment, dining, and cultural experiences. However, sometimes the city’s fast pace can leave you craving a break from the urban landscape. Luckily, Toronto is surrounded by a wealth of stunning natural destinations and charming small towns that make for perfect getaways.

Getaways from TorontoPin

When planning any kind of day trip out of Toronto, do keep in mind that in terms of surface area, Toronto is very big. It can take an hour or so to cross the city itself, depending on the traffic.

Getaways from Toronto

Because of its prime location at the head of Lake Ontario, right at the meeting of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) south, Highway 400 north, and the major 401 highway system running east and west, Toronto makes a wonderful base for many getaway day trips with the family ranging from exploring Canadian art at the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery to taking in a wilderness canoe trek to touring the vineyards of the Niagara region.

1. Niagara Falls

A not-to-be-missed classic is Niagara Falls, a comfortable one-hour and a half hour getaway from Toronto along the QEW. Besides the splendour of the falls themselves, including the Maid of the Mist tours which go right up to the foot of the falls, you can play a few slots at Casino Niagara, tour the butterfly conservatory, enjoy exciting sightseeing experience of the Classic tour of Niagara Falls with Niagara Helicopter, or take part in the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary, the Bird Kingdom! So much to do and see in Niagara Falls!

Classic tour of Niagara Falls with Niagara HelicopterPin

2. Niagara-on-the-Lake

The charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake transports visitors to a bygone era. Stroll along the tree-lined streets, admiring the well-preserved 19th-century architecture and quaint boutiques that line the historic district. Stroll through the stunning Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens or catch a performance at the renowned Shaw Festival, which showcases world-class theater productions throughout the summer months

This picturesque community is renowned for its thriving wine industry, boasting over 100 wineries in the surrounding Niagara Peninsula. Spend a quick getaway from Toronto exploring the scenic wine routes, sampling the region’s renowned ice wines, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs at family-owned vineyards. Stop for a leisurely lunch at one of the town’s many farm-to-table restaurants, savoring the local produce and artisanal fare. For a truly memorable getaway experience, book a horse-drawn carriage tour to soak in the charming ambiance.

3. Stratford

Another popular theatre summer day trip destination is the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, located just over two hour’s drive from Toronto. Catch a performance of a classic Shakespearean play, a contemporary drama, or a beloved musical at one of the festival’s several state-of-the-art theaters.

You can wander the charming downtown Stratford, admiring the Victorian architecture and stopping to browse the independent boutiques, art galleries, and specialty food shops that line the streets. Every April, the Stratford swans are formally paraded down to the Avon River. Be sure to also visit the Stratford Farmer’s Market, where you can sample artisanal cheeses, freshly baked breads, and other gourmet delights.

Whether you’re a theater enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a charming small-town escape, Stratford promises an unforgettable getaway from Toronto.

4. Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial ParkPin

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Algonquin Provincial Park is a must-visit destination just three hours north of Toronto. Spanning over 7,600 square kilometers of pristine wilderness, this iconic park offers endless opportunities for hiking, canoeing, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Visit the Algonquin Visitor Centre to discover interactive exhibits, educational programs, and guided tours led by knowledgeable park staff. For a truly immersive experience, book a backcountry camping trip and spend the night under the stars, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Canadian wilderness.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an active outdoor adventure, Algonquin offers a true escape into nature to make this a relaxing getaway from Toronto.

5. Collingwood

Nestled on the shores of Georgian Bay, Collingwood is a charming town located just two hours north of Toronto, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor recreation. Explore the historic downtown area with its quaint shops, galleries, and cafes housed in beautifully preserved heritage buildings.

In the summer, enjoy swimming, paddleboarding, or kayaking in the crystal-clear waters of Georgian Bay, or tee off at one of the area’s scenic golf courses. In the winter months, Collingwood transforms into a winter wonderland with access to world-class skiing and snowboarding at Blue Mountain Resort. With over 40 ski runs, terrain parks, and night skiing options, there’s something for every snow enthusiast to enjoy.

Collingwood promises to be a scenic getaway from Toronto!

6. Vaughan and Kleinburg

As you plan your next escape from Toronto, consider exploring Vaughan and Kleinburg. Over two hundred different attractions can be found at Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, including the Behemoth, the biggest, fastest, and tallest roller coaster in Canada. In the small town of Kleinburg, the architecturally unique McMichael Canadian Art Gallery hosts the largest collection of Group of Seven art in the world, as well as a large selection of native art.

If you are seeking a fun day with family and friends, these two attractions promise to be captivating and diverse travel destinations.

7. Muskoka Region

Muskoka RegionPin

Dubbed the “Hamptons of the North,” the Muskoka region is a beloved weekend destination for Torontonians seeking a respite from city life. Nestled within the rugged Canadian Shield, this picturesque area boasts a stunning landscape of lakes, pines, and granite outcroppings that have captivated visitors for generations.

The charming towns of Muskoka, such as Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Huntsville, offer a quintessential cottage country experience. These are the three gateway cities to Algonquin Park, the second largest provincial park in Ontario, which allows camping both in designated lots along the Highway 66 corridor and in the park’s interior. Gravenhurst additionally is the amethyst capital of Ontario, with beautiful crystals of all kinds being found here.

Spend your days swimming, canoeing, or kayaking on the region’s crystalline lakes, pausing to enjoy a picnic lunch on a secluded beach. Hike through the dense forests, spotting local wildlife like moose, deer, and beavers along the way. In the evenings, cozy up by the fireplace at a rustic resort or indulge in a farm-to-table meal at one of the area’s acclaimed restaurants.

Whether you’re seeking an active outdoor adventure or a serene, soul-nourishing retreat, Muskoka promises an unforgettable getaway from Toronto.

8. Ottawa

On the other side of Gravenhurst, the same road takes you to Ottawa, the picturesque capital of Canada: but this may be more driving than most day-trippers would prefer. One alternative might be to take Via Rail from Toronto to Ottawa as a round trip, which also frees you to enjoy the scenery around you as you travel. The Toronto-Ottawa train route takes about four and a half hours and is part of the main Via Rail corridor stretching from Windsor to Montreal, featuring several comfortable, fast trains per day. It is often faster to take the train along such stretches than to fly.

Ottawa is a vibrant and captivating destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. As the seat of the federal government, Ottawa boasts a wealth of impressive landmarks, museums, and attractions that showcase the country’s rich heritage and diverse identity. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned explorer, this city has something to captivate every traveler’s heart and mind.

9. Prince Edward County

Situated on a picturesque peninsula jutting into Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto. Begin your exploration by visiting the region’s renowned wineries, many of which have earned international acclaim for their award-winning Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and sparkling wines. Spend an afternoon hopping between family-owned vineyards, sampling the latest vintages and chatting with the passionate winemakers.

Beyond the vineyards, Prince Edward County is home to a vibrant culinary scene that celebrates local, seasonal ingredients. Indulge in farm-to-table meals at charming bistros and restaurants, or browse the bustling Picton Farmers’ Market for fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and handcrafted goods.

Prince Edward County offers a delightful blend of outdoor adventure, cultural discovery, and world-class gastronomy just a short drive from Toronto.

10. Kingston

Nestled on the picturesque shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston stands as a historic gem waiting to be explored. About two hours and a half from Toronto, this charming city offers a perfect blend of rich heritage, stunning waterfront views, and a vibrant cultural scene. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or foodie, Kingston promises an unforgettable getaway that showcases the best of Ontario’s offerings. It is renown for “Engine 1095” that is located at the waterfront and provides a photo ops for tourists visiting Confederation Park.

Engine 1095Pin

For history enthusiasts, you can explore historic Fort Henry National Historic Site. This restored 19th-century military fortress offers guided tours, interactive exhibits, and live demonstrations that bring the past to life. Step back in time as you explore the barracks, watch a military drill, or witness the firing of an authentic cannon overlooking the shimmering waters of Lake Ontario. Kingston is also home to the Royal Military College, the university where most Canadian military cadets take their degrees.

As you plan your next trip from Toronto, consider adding Kingston to your itinerary and immerse yourself in its captivating blend of heritage, culture, and natural beauty.

11. The Thousand Islands

Straddling the border between Ontario and New York, the Thousand Islands region is a true gem for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. It’s located just a three-hour drive from Toronto, is dotted with over 1,800 islands of varying sizes, each with its own unique character and charm.

Explore the region by boat, taking in the breathtaking vistas of towering cliffs, historic castles, and charming waterfront communities. Visit Boldt Castle, a grand Gilded Age mansion built by a wealthy American hotelier in the early 20th century, learn about the region’s rich history at the Thousand Islands Antique Boat Museum, or tour the opulent Singer Castle, once the private retreat of the Singer sewing machine fortune. For a more active adventure, hike through the lush forests and rocky shores of the scenic 1000 Islands Parkway, keeping an eye out for bald eagles, ospreys, and other local wildlife.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a journey through time, the Thousand Islands offer a truly unique and unforgettable getaway from Toronto.

As you plan your next getaway from Toronto, consider exploring one (or more!) of these enchanting destinations, each with its own unique charm and offerings. Immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty, indulge in world-class cuisine and wine, and discover the rich history and vibrant communities that make Ontario such a captivating and diverse travel destination. Pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to discover the best that Ontario has to offer beyond Toronto’s bustling streets.

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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