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Algonquin Park

5 Epic Daytrips from Toronto

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Toronto is located in Southern Ontario along the 401 corridor, which makes it a great base for taking daytrips. No matter which direction you travel, there is something exciting to do.

Growing up in Toronto, I always looked forward to the daytrips my family took outside the city. I particularly loved visiting the countryside since the natural surroundings were so much different than what I was used to. The destinations outlined below have been long-standing favourites of my family for years. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


Northumberland County

Where is it: Northumberland County is about 1.5hours east of Toronto by car.

Who should go: Families, Couples, History Buffs, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Foodies

What there is to do: 

  • Go fishing in Hastings, Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town
  • Delight your tastebuds in Campbellford, home to the award-winning cheese factory, Empire Cheese, Dooher’s Bakery, voted “The Sweetest Bakery in Canada”, and the World’s Finest Chocolate Factory
  • Cross the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge located within Ferris Provincial Park
  • Take a dip in Lake Ontario while spending the day at Cobourg Beach
  • Unwind at Ste. Anne’s Spa, Canada’s largest all-inclusive destination spa
  • Shmurgle (cuddle) with baby goats at Haute Goat or take a walk with an alpaca at the Old Mill Alpaca Farm
  • Witness the birds and butterflies migrate through Presqu’ile Provincial Park during the spring and fall

When to go: Spring, summer and fall are all great times to take daytrips from Toronto to Northumberland County.

How to get to Northumberland County from Toronto: Take ON-401 E to exit 461 for Northumberland 2/Toronto Road toward Welcome/Port Hope.

Related Posts: Things to do in Northumberland County


Prince Edward County

Where is it: Prince Edward County is an island located on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. It is roughly 2 hours east of Toronto by car.

Who should go: Families, Couples, Art Lovers, Outdoorsy Folk, Foodies, Wine Connoisseurs

What there is to do: 

  • Tour Prince Edward County’s award-winning wineries, breweries and cideries 
  • Admire the lavender and sunflower fields in the summertime
  • Cycle through the heart of Prince Edward County along the Millenium Trail
  • Spend the day at one of Prince Edward County’s beautiful beaches
  • Eat at local restaurants which feature locally sourced ingredients 
  • Hike along the trails in Prince Edward County’s conservation areas
  • Stroll through downtown Picton, Bloomfield, and Wellington to browse the charming shops
  • Admire the scenery at Lake on a Mountain, a mystifying lake with no apparent water source
  • Check out the local artist’s studios and galleries along the Arts Trail

When to go: The most popular time to visit Prince Edward County in the summertime. While some people prefer to visit during the offseason, it is important to note that some businesses close at this time. 

How to get to Prince Edward County from Toronto: Take ON-401 E to exit 522 County Road 40/Wooler Road. Turn right onto County Rd 40 (signs for County Road 40 S/Wooler Road S). Turn right onto Loyalist Pkwy/County Rd 33/Regional Rd 33 (signs for Picton). Continue to follow Loyalist Pkwy/County Rd 33.

Related Posts: Things to Do in Prince Edward County


Niagara Falls

Where is it: Niagara Falls is about 1h 45min away from Toronto by car.

Who should go: Families, Couples, Thrill Seekers, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Outdoorsy Folk, Shop-a-holics, History Buffs

What there is to do:

  • Marvel at the colourful lights and exciting attractions on Clifton Hill
  • Enjoy a meal 775 feet above Niagara Falls in the revolving dining room at the Skylon Tower
  • Feed the Lorikeets on an up-close and personal animal encounter at Bird Kingdom
  • Soar 2,200 feet along the edge the Niagara river gorge on a thrilling zipline adventure
  • Try your hand at Blackjack in one of Niagara Falls two casinos
  • Hear the thundering roar of 2,800 cubic meters of water cascading over the falls each second on a Journey Behind the Falls
  • Hop aboard a Hornblower Cruise (formerly known as The Maid of the Mist) for a close-up look at the American Niagara Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls
  • Take an unforgettable aerial tour of Niagara Falls on an Airbus H130 helicopter
  • Stroll amongst lush greenery, exotic blossoms, and more than 2,000 colourful butterflies at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory
  • Test your knowledge of the past on a visit to the Niagara Falls History Museum
  • Admire the old-town charm along Queen Street in Niagara on the Lake

When to go: The best time to visit Niagara Falls is midweek and during the offseason. During these times it’s less crowded and the prices are much more reasonable. Avoid the height of summer when temperatures soar. There are several very steep hills in Niagara Falls, and they are considerably more challenging to climb in the extreme heat. We found this out on our most recent trip (July 2019) when the humidex reached 42°C.

How to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto: Take the Gardiner Expressway W to the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). Continue on the QEW/ON-403 W, following signs for Niagara/East Hamilton/Fort Erie. Take the ON-420 exit toward The Falls/Niagara Falls U.S.A.


Algonquin Provincial Park

Where is it: Algonquin Park is located roughly 3.5 hours northeast of Toronto by car.

Who should go: Families, Couples, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Outdoorsy Folk

What there is to do: 

  • Sleep under the stars at one of Algonquin Park’s beautiful campsites
  • Break records by catching all 54 species of fish in Algonquin Park
  • Paddle through some of the 2,000 kilometres of canoe routes and portages
  • Try to spot a moose, deer, bear, or even a wolf
  • Take a dip in one of the 1,500 lakes in Algonquin Park
  • Hike along the many trails to admire the scenery
  • Wear your woollies for a day of skiing, snowmobiling or dogsledding in the wintertime

When to go: Spring, Summer, and Fall are all fantastic times to take daytrips from Toronto to Algonquin Provincial Park. Wintertime is great for skiing and snowshoeing but is important to remember most park facilities close from November to late March/April. Gas stations are also closed during this time.

How to get to Algonquin Provincial Park from Toronto: Take ON-400 N toward Barrie. Keep left to continue on ON-11, follow signs for Orillia/North Bay.  Continue straight onto ON-11 N until exit ON-60 E toward Ottawa. Follow ON-60 E directly into Algonquin Provincial Park. 


Hamilton

Where is it: Hamilton is located on the Niagara Escarpment just over an hour from Toronto by car. 

Who should go: Families, Couples, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Outdoorsy Folk, History Buffs

What there is to do: 

  • Pay a visit to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum to see their impressive display of nearly 50 military jets, propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters
  • Take a tour aboard Canada’s most famous warship, the HMCS HAIDA
  • Step back in time at Dundurn Castle, a 40-room mansion which was built in the 1830s
  • Drive through 9 kilometres of game reserves at the African Lion Safari
  • Take a hike to one of the Hamilton area’s 100 waterfalls
  • Stop and smell the flowers at the Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Float down the lazy river or get your adrenaline pumping on the waterslides at Wild Waterworks
  • Shop for fresh local produce at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market

When to go: In order to see all of Hamilton’s great attractions, it’s advisable to visit anytime from late spring to early fall. 

How to get to Hamilton from Toronto: Take the Gardiner Expy W to the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). Continue on the Queen Elizabeth Way/ON-403 W following signs for Hamilton/Brantford. Take the Main St exit toward ON-8 E, then merge onto Main St W/Hamilton Regional Rd 8


Do you have suggestions for other great daytrips from Toronto? Let us know in the comments below!


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