One of my favorite things to do when I’m staying in a city for a length of time is to plan a day trip.

It’s the perfect way to see another place without having to bring all my luggage with me. 

It’s amazing how many cool locations are so close to Toronto.

The possibilities are endless. You could see an epic waterfall, do some canoeing, taste some wine, or even go to a maple syrup museum.  

Read on to discover some of the best day trips from Toronto. 

Niagara Falls


Who wouldn’t want to check out one of the seven natural wonders of the world?

Niagara Falls is located only a few hours away from Toronto, making it the perfect day trip. You can drive, hop on the train, a bus, or even helicopter there. 

The Falls are over 10,000 years old and have access points on both the Canadian and U.S. sides of the border they straddle. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can book a zipline experience. This is something that’s on my bucket list.

The ride will take you 2,200 feet down into the gorge, past the American Falls, and landing on the observation deck of Horseshoe Falls. 

For the less adventurous, I recommend taking a cruise on the Hornblower tour boat. They’ll take you right into the mist of the falls for an up-close look at this natural wonder.

Just be prepared, even with the ponchos they give you, you’ll end up wet!

Fun Fact: Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls—Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side, and the U.S. side, the American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. 


If you’re thinking about going but don’t have a car, consider joining one of these awesome tours!


Niagara Wine Country


I believe wine is always a good idea, especially on day trips. I didn’t know until recently that Niagara is actually a famous area in Canada for wine. Like most, I’ve only associated it with the Falls.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is about an hour and a half drive south of Toronto and a mere ten minutes from the Falls.

If I were you, I’d make a total day of it hit up wine country and the Falls in one trip!

The area has a whopping 39 wineries, so you’ve got plenty of options for winery hopping. 

Some more popular vineyards to check out include Trius Winery, Reif Estate Wine, and Chateau des Charmes. 

Plan ahead of time, as most wineries require reservations for tastings.


You can also hop on a tour to the wineries or just plan an evening at the falls on one of these tours!


Niagara Glen Nature Reserve


About an hour and a half south of Toronto, and only ten minutes from Niagara Falls, you’ll find Niagara Glen Nature Reserve.  

You’ll head deep into the Niagara Gorge and past prehistoric geological formations in the Carolinian Forest. 

The best part is that it overlooks the rapid waters of the Niagara River, including the Niagara River Whirlpool.

They also have some of the best hiking trails around.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, check out the WildPlay Whirlpool Adventure Course.

They offer multiple high-ropes courses, plus an extreme course that involves a 40-foot loose line plunge toward the forest floor. 


Eramosa Karst Conservation Area


Located only 50 minutes from Toronto in the beautiful port city of Hamilton.

This spot is halfway in between Toronto and Niagara falls making it a perfect spot to swing by if you’re already heading to Niagara.

Eramosa Karst Conservation Area boasts karsts, streams, meadows, and forests. 

Basically, it’s the perfect spot to go hiking or just spend a day in nature.

If you’re about to Google “what is a karst?” don’t worry, you’re not alone… I’ve already done the Googling for you.

Karsts are a geological formation of dissolving rock in limestone foundations that have formed a cave or passage. 

Local’s Tip: Hit the trails with a map in hand. Local’s have told me they always see tons of people who end up lost going in circles on the trails. 


St. Marys Quarry 


This old quarry is less than a two hours drive west of Toronto and is perfect for a day of swimming and fun.

If you’re planning to hit up more than one spot on your day trip, this is only an hour and a half drive west from Eramosa Karst Conservation Area.

There’s a diving ledge, water trampoline, paddle boarding, and even a water-slide! 

This is a spot I’m dying to go to the next time I’m nearby.

I can’t believe I missed out on going to St. Marys Quarry while in Toronto. It truly sounds like the perfect way to spend time outside of the city during the summer.


Wonderland Theme Park


If you’re in the mood for a thrill, check out Canada’s famous Wonderland Theme Park. It’s only an hour’s drive north of Toronto. 

They have Canada’s largest outdoor wave pool, and the Yukon Striker, which is one of the world’s tallest and fastest dive rollercoasters.

If you’re in town during the winter months, check out Wonderland’s Winterfest


Caledon


Only 40 minutes away from Canada’s Wonderland you’ll find the picturesque town of Caledon.

Make a full day out of it and swing by to check out their craft cider and beer selection.

Or if you’re rides aren’t your thing just spend the whole day here.

After all, doesn’t want to spend the day sampling all the town’s specialty drinks on tap?

The must-visit breweries include Spirit Tree Estates and Badland Brewing Company.


Terre Bleu


Terre Bleu is one of the biggest lavender farms in Canada. It’s about an hour west of Toronto, near the growing town of Milton. 

If you’re already planning on sampling beer and cider in Caledon, plan on swinging by Terre Bleu. It’s only another 40 minutes west.

The farm offers guided tours on the history and uses of lavender. It also has yoga, trail walks, an herb bar, equestrian, an apiary, lavender ice cream, and a brewery. 

I’m dying to spend the day here. I imagine a day filled with horseback riding, followed by a refreshing scoop of lavender ice cream (one of my favorite flavors).

Then a cheeky Instagram photoshoot amongst the lavender, and before watching the sunset with a drink at the brewery. 

Seriously, I need to get here next summer!

Elora Gorge


If you’re looking for an escape on a hot summer day, head to Elora Gorge.

It’s only 30 minutes West of Terre Bleu and an hour and 25 minutes from Toronto.

At Elora Gorge you can cool off by going tubing down the Grand River. It’s one of their most popular attractions.

Be sure to register ahead of time for a ticket as they only offer registration in advance. 

Besides tubing, they also offer bird watching, canoe and kayak rentals, camping, and fishing.

During the winter months, they have ice-fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.


Scenic Caves Adventures


With a location in one of Canada’s UNESCO biosphere reserves, visiting Scenic Caves Adventures is a must for any nature lover.

They offer hiking and educational programs, zip-lining, and boast the longest suspension bridge in Southern Ontario. 

I recommend arriving early if you’re headed there on the weekend—it gets busy. 

Local’s Tip: It’s only an hour and 40 minutes north of Terre Bleu, so make a full day and stop by both spots.


St. Jacobs


This charming little town’s motto is “Out of the ordinary, not out of the way”, which is the perfect way to describe St. Jacobs

It’s a little over an hour west of Toronto and about 40 minutes west of Terre Bleu.

St. Jacobs offers plenty of activities to keep you occupied for the day. The town has a local theater, stylish shops, a maple syrup museum, nature trails, and a local flea and farmers’ markets boasting antiques and produce. 

If you’re nearby in December, stop by their popular Christmas market.


Cobourg Beach


Only an hour and a half drive East from Toronto, Cobourg Beach is a popular getaway for locals. The boardwalk is adorable, as are the shops and restaurants in the town. 

The beach and washrooms are clean and the water is calm, making this the perfect little weekend getaway. 

If you haven’t been to Canada during the summer, aim to go in July or August. Those are the two warmest months of the year during which you absolutely must do a beach day.


Ferris Provincial Park


Ferris Provincial Park is just over two hours outside of Toronto, and an hour from Cobourg Beach.

This park has a spectacular suspension bridge over the Trent River Gorge.

It also boasts miles of hiking trails through the forest and along the river, and a picturesque lookout over Ranney Falls. 

There isn’t much outside of a camping area and bathrooms that have seen better days, so be prepared to rough it a bit when you spend the day here. 


Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park


About two hours north-east of Toronto, you’ll find Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park.

It’s the perfect spot for a day out of outdoor activities like hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, and canoeing. 

With over 250 lakes and rivers, this spot is perfect for canoeing. If you rent a canoe, check out one of these 10 signature paddling routes.

Local’s Tip: If you feel like hitting up two parks in one day, Ferris Provincial Park is just over an hour north of here


Petroglyphs Provincial Park


This park is home to the sacred site known as “The Teaching Rocks”.

These rocks earned this name because include over 900 symbolic Indigenous carvings of animals, objects, and humans. 

The park is also home to McGinnis Lake, which is one of the few lakes in Canada that’s meromictic, which means it has layers of water that don’t intermix.

I bet you’re thinking, “why do I care about a lake that’s meromictic?”

The answer is that because it’s meromictic, the lake has an unusual and stunning bright blue and green color because of it. 

Trust me, you’ll want to Instagram it when you see it!

Local’s Tip: It’s only a 45-minute drive south from Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park.


Blue Mountain


About two-and-a-half hours north of Toronto by car, you’ll find Blue Mountain.

It’s a resort that offers skiing during the winter and ropes courses, ziplines, bike, and boat rentals during the summer.

They even have a signature roller coaster called the Ridge Runner, plus a spa for those who just want to relax.

I’m dying to check this spot out the next time I’m in Toronto for an extended time. 


Gravenhurst and Lake Muskoka


Also known as “The Gateway to Muskoka” and the “Hamptons of the North”, Gravenhurst is perfect for a day trip or weekend away from the city. 

It’s only a little over two hours north of Toronto and counts Steven Spielberg and Goldie Hawn as part-time residents, so you know it’s gotta be good.

You can stroll through the charming town, explore local shops, venture out boating on the lake, or even ride North America’s oldest operating steamship, the Royal Mail Ship Segwun.


Algonquin Provincial Park


Do you crave a day to reconnect with nature?

Look no further than Algonquin Provincial Park. This stunning park offers, kayaking, hiking, and the chance to encounter wild deer, moose, and wolves. 

Plan and try to go during one of the park’s nighttime wolf howl events.

The eerie events typically take place on Thursdays in either August or September and include a presentation on wolf ecology.

Afterward, you’ll drive to a spot along Highway 60 and wait for wolves to answer the wolf call imitations given by the staff. 




Writing this makes me wish I was still in Toronto and easily able to visit some of these spots.

I certainly have a much longer bucket list for when I return to the city again. 

If you know a spot I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to expand my Toronto day trip bucket list even further!


If you’re looking for a tour group to join on an adventurous day outside of Toronto, check out some of these popular options!

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