Summer is just around the corner and things are looking good. We may open up and be able to explore our own backyard. I know Toronto has been cooped up forever and people are itching to get away, and we’ve got you covered.
Weekend getaways from Toronto
Dave and I have explored every nook and cranny of Ontario and have taken many road trips across the province on countless weekend getaways from Toronto. So we decided this was the summer to finally put together a comprehensive guide to the best weekend getaways from Toronto to keep you busy all summer long.Are you ready? Here we go.
Some attractions may be closed due to COVID 19, be sure to check government websites and restrictions before leaving Toronto.
1. Niagara Falls
I know, I sound like a broken record because I always include Niagara Falls in my favorite places in the world, but it’s true. I love it. This natural wonder is right in Toronto’s backyard, which makes it one of the best weekend getaways from Toronto. We also usually do a day trip from Toronto, but it’s more fun to spend the weekend.
Stay in the Fallsview resort area, our favourite is the Marriott Fallview Resort. Try your luck at the Fallsview Casino, hop on the Hornblower and take a trip behind the falls. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb Clifton Hill and visit some of the wax museums.
2. Niagara on the Lake
For a romantic weekend getaway from Toronto, Niagara on the Lake takes the cake. Stay at the historic Pillar and Post for a romantic getaway or relax in one of their historic hotels or BnBs. There are many to choose from that are within walking distance of the charming downtown heritage district.
Located just 90 minutes from Toronto, Niagara on the Lake is full of history and beauty. Catch a show at the Shaw Festival, hop on the whirlpool boat that cruises the Niagara Gorge or rent a bike to ride from vineyard to vineyard. Home to the Shaw Festival, theatre fans will love a visit to this professional theatre, and history buffs can take a stroll to the Fort George National Historic Site.
Niagara on the Lake is a 90-minute drive from Toronto. If you don’t have a car, check car rental prices here. Book this day trip from Toronto to enjoy Niagara on the LakeSee our full list of things to do hereWe have a breakdown of Where to Stay in Niagara on the Lake in our Niagara Guide.
3. Blue Mountain / Collingwood
Blue Mountain Village and Collingwood is our year round getaway. With the best skiing in Ontario, we love hitting the slopes in the winter. But summer is full of fun and adventure.
Located on Georgian Bay, Blue Mountain Village and Collingwood are full of outdoor activities. Take a boat tour, go rock climbing on the Niagara Escarpment or explore the scenic caves and suspension bridge.
This year-round destination is perfect for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, but the town comes alive in both summers with trails that turn into a toboggan ride on Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster and mountain biking trails. When you’re done with all the outdoor fun, relax at the Scandinavia Spa Blue Mountain. (our favorite activity).
Collingwood is a 2 hour drive from TorontoIt’s tricky to get there by bus or train, but doable. See Rome2Rio for more details. If you don’t have a car, we suggest you rent one here. See our full Blue Mountain travel guide hereWhere to stay in Blue Mountain, we suggest the Westin Trillium House in town. You can search for more hotels here.
4. Whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River
An amazing weekend getaway from Toronto is to head to OWL Rafting or Wilderness Tours for an all-inclusive weekend of rafting on the Ottawa River. We have done both and love spending the weekend making new friends and relaxing on the banks of the river between rafting trips.
Sign up for a sport rafting weekend with OWL for a day on a big raft. This is the only company that can go through the biggest rapids on the river. The next day is on a sport raft where only 4 people guide a small raft. It is a fantastic weekend. Both companies rent cabins and have camping. They include meals and rafting in their package and it’s a great fun time.
Muskoka is the gateway to cottage country, a couple of hours north of Toronto. Attracting movie stars and celebrities to its many lakes, Muskoka is the ultimate weekend getaway from Toronto. The Muskoka region of Ontario covers a huge area, being home to Huntsville, Bracebridge, Algonquin Provincial Park, Gravenhurst, Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay and Arrowhead Provincial Park.
Enjoy sunset cruises on Muskoka or Rosseau Lake or visit the 30,000 islands off the Midland coast. There are water sports galore, from sailing and kayaking to paddle boarding and canoeing. So how do you choose where to go in Muskoka? Let’s find out.
6. Algonquin Provincial Park
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Toronto, look no further than Voyageur Quest. They offer canoe trips to Algonquin Park that will take you to secret spots where you’re sure to see plenty of moose. But if it’s a bit of luxury you want in Algonquin Park, they’ve got that too with a private island retreat with your own beach and outdoor sauna.
Algonquin Park is a 3 hour drive from TorontoVoyageur Quest offers canoe tours and luxury cabin rentals. Algonquin Outfitters offers canoe rentals. Check out our stay at Algonquin Park here.
Deerhurst is the Grande Dame of Muskoka resorts. In operation since 1896, this lakeside accommodation is the ultimate weekend getaway. This year-round resort has outdoor adventures in both summer and winter. It’s a great place to base yourself to explore Muskoka with canoeing and kayaking, golfing, hiking trails and beaches within easy reach.
You’ll never have to leave the resort, but if you do, you’ll be close to Muskoka’s top attractions like downtown Huntsville, Algonquin Park, Arrowhead and Bracebridge.
Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville is a 2 hour 45 minute drive from TorontoYou can book a weekend stay at Deerhurst Resort.
8. Rosseau Lake
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel called Lake Rosseau home and the luxurious JW Marriott Muskoka Resort and Spa on Lake Rosseau is worthy of celebrity royalty. This A-list spot dates back to 1894, when it was known as Paignton House.
Today, this five-star retreat attracts weekend visitors from Toronto to enjoy what National Geographic once called “the most beautiful destination in the world.” Dave and I took our first expensive weekend getaway from Toronto to Lac Rosseau and it has always been close to our hearts. We didn’t do much more than take advantage of sitting by the dock, drinking wine and enjoying a boat ride on Mirror Lake.
Lac Rosseau is a 3 hour drive from Toronto. There are many hotels to suit all budgets in Muskoka, check rates here. Read more things to do in Muskoka here.
9. Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay Islands National Park is the largest freshwater archipelago in the world. You can only reach this UNESCO-designated biosphere by boat, and when you get there you’ll be transported to pristine wilderness for camping, hiking and mountain biking.
The mix of the Canadian Shield and the dense forests inspired the famous Canadian artists The Group of Seven. Stay in an oTentik to really enjoy this weekend getaway.
Visit Park’s Canada for campground availability and information. Georgian Bay National Park can only be reached by boat. The Day Tripper departs from Honey Harbour daily in season. Book your tickets here. Campsites can be booked at Park’s Canada. Honey Harbour is a 2 hour drive from Toronto.
Base yourself at Sir Sam’s Inn and Spa to explore all there is to do in Haliburton. This spa has an incredible indoor water spa that makes it a year-round retreat, with skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling within easy reach in winter.
Haliburton has plenty of outdoor adventures in the summer with canoe trails, sunset cruises and hiking trails. But our favourite thing to do in Haliburton is to visit the Haliburton Forest Wolf Sanctuary, where you can see wolves in their natural habitat. If you’re a dog lover, go sledding with Tanya and Hank at Winterdance.
11. Grey County
Bruce County is a hidden gem of Toronto, that many city slickers don’t know about. (Don’t worry, I’m an urbanite too!) But this charming part of Ontario, makes for an amazing weekend getaway. Situated on the Bruce Peninsula of Lake Huron, there are so many things to see and do here.
Make a base in Walkerton or Wiarton to explore all there is to offer on the Bruce. Sauble Beach is the second longest freshwater beach in Canada at 11 km.
Grey County is home to Wiarton Willy, our adorable groundhog who predicts spring. There are eight beautiful waterfalls to explore, including Hoggs Falls, Eugena Falls and Inglis Falls. Be sure to visit the Kincardine Lighthouse, which offers a great insight into the maritime history of the Great Lakes.
12. Wasaga Beach
One of our favourite weekend trips from Toronto always includes a beach and the mother of all beaches is Wasaga Beach. We mean it. Wasaga Beach is home to the longest freshwater beach in the world. At 14 km long, Wasaga Beach is not only long, but also sandy and shallow. Its warm waters make for some of the best swimming in Ontario.
So pack that cooler full of beer and enjoy all that Wasaga Beach has to offer.
Wasaga Beach is a 2 hour drive from Toronto Most of the accommodations in the area are motor inn type motels, so when we go here, we love to go camping. We are fans of Craigleith Campground and the provincial park 20 minutes away.But, there are many cottages that are rented out as apartments as well like this one.
Home to the world-famous Stratford Festival, it attracts theatre lovers for eight months of the year. William Shatner and Christopher Plummer performed at the Stratford Festival, and it still attracts big stars to its stages today. But Stratford is much more than just a theatre.
Stay at the Bruce Hotel for a romantic and luxurious getaway. Situated within walking distance of the Festival Theatre, its central location allows you to enjoy the centre of Stratford in luxury. The dining room is rated one of the best in Canada and the therapeutic pool and spa are to die for.
Stratford is about an hour and a half drive from TorontoBruce Hotel – We highly recommend it for a luxury getaway.
Peterborough is located directly on the Trent Severn Waterway and is home to the highest lift lock in the world. There are plenty of things to do in Peterborough to keep you busy on a weekend. Most of our favourite outdoor activities are centred around the lift lock. You definitely have to take a tour of the lock to see it from above and you can also book a lock cruise.
Downtown Peterborough is a lively place, with a music festival every summer, a campsite right in the centre of town with its own beach and plenty of dining options. Peterborough has an urban feel in the middle of the countryside.
15. Kawartha Lakes
The first thing I think of when I picture the Kawarthas is the Tragically Hip. “It was in Bobcageon, where I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time” It’s such a magical lyric. The second thing I think of is their famous Kawartha Lakes ice cream. We always had to stop on the way to Cottage Country to buy a delicious ice cream cone for the trip.
The Kawarthas merge with Peterborough and the two regions can be explored together. Both are situated on the Trent Severn Waterway and both have many lakes.
The towns of Bobcaygeon, Lindsay and Fenelon Falls are the main urban areas. Follow the butter tart trail, see the Horse and Carriage Museum or paddle the Trent Severn Waterway by canoe – we love canoe trips!
If you don’t want to paddle, rent a houseboat to explore the Trent Severn Waterway and its lakes. Kawartha Lakes is known as the houseboat capital of Ontario.
The Kawarthas are 2 hours east of TorontoRent a houseboat to enjoy an original location in the Kawarthas.
16. Port Dover / Norfolk County
I grew up on the waters of Lake Erie. My family had boats at Turkey Point and Port Burwell. And, oh, how this part of Ontario has grown with people escaping Toronto for a weekend getaway to its rugged shore.
From Port Dover to Long Point, this stretch of Lake Eerie is full of outdoor activities. The best accommodations and amenities are in Port Dover, so we suggest making a base here and taking day trips to the other beaches. Lake Erie has some of the best sandy beaches in Ontario.
There are wineries and breweries and the Turkey Point Hotel is one of my favourites. The Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover attracts great Canadian talent, and Long Point Eco Adventures offers a canoe trip and glamping.
Port Dover is a 1 hour and 40 minute drive from TorontoSuggested hotel – Eirie Beach Hotel in Port Dover.
17. Langdon Hall
Langdon Hall is a beautiful country getaway in Cambridge Ontario. The magnificent Chateaux dates back to 1898 and was the summer home of the daughter of the famous founder of New York’s Waldorf Astoria. It features a beautiful day spa with steam room, sauna and whirlpool offering treatments from pedicures to hot stone massages.
It’s a great base for exploring the Tri-City area of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. Located near the Grand River, which has rafting, kayaking and biking trails, a nearby golf course and hiking trails on the property, it’s the ultimate romantic getaway.
For this weekend getaway you don’t need to leave Langdon Hall, it’s all about enjoying its 5-star amenities with afternoon tea, 5-diamond dining and luxurious spa.
Langdon Hall is a 1 hour drive from TorontoCheck packages and availability here.
18. Prince Edward County
This is Ontario’s other wine region outside of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Situated on an island in Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County is made up of three main towns – Picton, Wellington and Bloomfield – and is fast becoming one of the best day trips from Toronto. Prince Edward County’s main attraction is Sandbanks Provincial Park, made up of giant 25-metre-high silky sand dunes. If it’s a sandy beach you’re looking for on your getaway, this is the place to go.
Splurge on a weekend package at the Drake Devonshire, which CondeNaste named one of the most romantic hotel rooms in the world. Sip champagne from your private balcony while enjoying views of Lake Ontario from your luxurious getaway.
Prince Edward County is a 2 hour drive from TorontoSandbanks Provincial Park has camping and a cottage for rent.Stay at the Drake Devonshire
Long weekend getaways from Toronto.
These trips from Toronto are a little further than the others that are only a couple of hours from the city, but they are a great road trip. Dave and I used to take the car and drive out of town to get back to work on time on Monday. But if you can, we highly recommend making them a long weekend trip.
We all know that Dave and I love Ottawa. Located five hours from Toronto or a scant hour flight from Billy Bishop Airport, Ottawa is our favourite getaway from Toronto. Canada’s capital city has so much to do, but it has a completely different vibe than Toronto. It’s an elegant city with a small town feel.
Stay at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, located on the Rideau Canal, within walking distance of the Parliament Buildings, the busy ByWard Market, the National Gallery and the Rideau Canal cruises. It’s a year-round destination, with plenty to do in summer and even more to do in winter when Winterlude is in full swing.
Visiting Montreal instantly transports you to a little piece of Europe. Stay at the historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in downtown Montreal to be within walking distance of Old Montreal and Notre Dame Basilica. Pick up a bottle of wine and take it to one of the restaurants lining the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal for a taste of French cuisine. Rent a bike to ride along the Lachine Canal or hike up to Mont Royal.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Toronto, head to the Bruce Peninsula and explore Tobermory. Tobermory is one of those places that feels like the Caribbean, until you put your feet in the water. We used to dive here on the Fathom Five back in our cold water diving days, and let me tell you, it’s a very chilly place.
Tobermory has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as people flock to the Grotto and Flowerpot Rocks on Flowerpot Island. The Bruce The Bruce Trail is an 885 km trail that follows the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the Niagara Escarpment, and some of the best views on the trail are right here in Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Tobermory is a 3 hour 45 minute drive from Toronto. We usually camp when we visit Tobermory, but there are BnBs and small hotels in the area. Check out accommodation in Tobermory here.
22. Manitoulin Island
Manitoulin Island warrants a few days visit from Toronto. Located in Lake Huron, Manitoulin is the largest freshwater island in the world. Mantioulin is the best long weekend for outdoor enthusiasts from Toronto. Stay at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current and spend the weekend exploring the Great Sprit Circle Trail and the incredible natural surroundings.
The Cup and Saucer Trail is one of Canada’s best hiking trails, the indigenous cultural experiences are some of the best to be found in the country and there are not only natural wonders, but fantastic dining options as well.
And these are our picks for popular weekend getaways from Toronto. This summer is a great time to start exploring your own backyard. Let us know which getaway you choose.
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