6 easy must-do weekend trips from Toronto

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Best weekend trips from Toronto

Toronto isn't the capital of Canada. But it may as well be. Often referred to by other Canadians ironically as the Center of the Universe, there's no denying that Toronto is the cultural and economic center of this vast country. If you're looking for the best restaurants, the best museums, the best shopping, and the best cultural activities in Canada, chances are good you'll find them in the city on the shores of Lake Ontario.

As Canada's biggest city, Toronto has a more fast-paced environment than most other Canadian cities. And for all that the city has to offer, sometimes you may find yourself craving a weekend getaway to recharge your batteries and appreciate more of what Canada's about.

You're in luck. Toronto is surrounded by some of the best weekend getaways Canada has to offer. All you have to do is drop off your bags at a luggage storage in the city and check out some of these excellent weekend getaways from Toronto. Traveling light will make it much easier to take advantage of the great weekend getaways you'll find here.

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Weekend trips from Toronto to Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County

As close as it is to Toronto, Prince Edward County is the perfect place to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life. With beaches, provincial parks, impressive views of the Great Lakes, and an enviable selection of wineries, breweries, and great restaurants, this is where Toronto comes to unwind.

Distance from Toronto:

Approximately a two and a half hour drive from downtown Toronto, Prince Edward County is best reached by car.

Our activity recommendations:

Take a wine tour: Ontario is one of the best wine-growing regions in Canada, and Prince Edward County is one of the best in Ontario. Therefore, taking a tour of the wineries of Prince Edward County is one of the most classic weekend getaways from Toronto you can participate in. A wine tour of vineyards like Huff Estates and Sandbanks Estates will introduce you to the varied world of Canadian wine and give you a better sense of what makes this area so perfect for wine production. You'll also get to taste several vintages and find lots of great restaurants to dine at.

Sandbanks Provincial Park: Easily one of the most popular weekend getaways from Toronto, Sandbanks Provincial Park is home to what is widely regarded as some of the best beaches in Canada. On the shores of Lake Ontario, this park is a bird migration hotspot and an excellent place to take a hike, do some mountain biking, or just relax on the beach. There are also lots of cottages for rent here, so you can create the perfect weekend getaway in this charming location.

Take the Taste Trail: Foodies won't want to miss this one. The Taste Trail guides you through local restaurants and wineries in the region to taste the best of what Prince Edward County has to offer. The farm-to-table movement is hugely popular here, so you can dine on the freshest ingredients prepared by talented chefs and enjoy the best of Canadian cuisine.

Best season to visit:

Prince Edward County has something to offer in almost any season of the year. Summer is the best time to enjoy the beaches, but fall can be a good option if you want to experience the wine harvest.

Weekend ski trips from Toronto

Blue Mountain Village

One of the most popular ski resorts in Ontario, Blue Mountain Village on the shores of Lake Huron, offers one of the best weekend getaways from Toronto, whether in summer or in winter.

Distance from Toronto:

Around 160 km north of Toronto, Blue Mountain Village can be reached with a drive of just over two hours.

Our activity recommendations:

Skiing: Blue Mountain resort is one of the closer ski resorts to Toronto, and as such, it makes a great weekend getaway if you're longing to hit the slopes. You can bring your own gear or rent it at the hill, and there are plenty of instructors who can help you develop your skills at skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. There are also miles of trails perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Blue Mountain Village: The village itself is home to an astonishing range of attractions, so even if you visit in the summer when the slopes are bare, you won't struggle to find things to do. Check out the iconic Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, a roller coaster that runs past the ski hills. There is also axe throwing, a virtual reality room, tennis courts, and an aquatic center, so you'll find tons of family fun in this resort.

Georgian Bay: If you prefer to get away from it all, the beaches and hiking trails surrounding Georgian Bay are a great place to do just that. Take in dramatic views of the lake and stretch your legs as you explore, or take a scuba class and go underneath the water to discover the world below.

Best season to visit:

If you're looking to ski, winter is obviously the best time to visit Blue Mountain Village. But there's plenty to do here in the summer, too.

Weekend trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

One of the natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls is something you simply have to experience while you're in the area. And beyond the Falls themselves, there are enough entertainment options around here to keep you busy for several days. Plus, there are enough hotels to house thousands of tourists, so it's easy to plan a weekend getaway from the city to Niagara Falls.

Distance from Toronto:

120 km south of Toronto, Niagara Falls makes for an ideal weekend getaway from Toronto since you can reach it in around an hour and a half.

Our activity recommendations:

Maid of the Mist: These iconic boats ply the waters at the very base of the dramatic waterfall that gives the town its name. You'll hear the thunder of the roaring water and feel the spray as you take a tour around one of the natural wonders of the world. There are few better ways to get up close and personal with the falls than this, and a boat ride will help you experience the true scale of this magnificent waterfall.

Journey behind the falls: Another way to appreciate this breathtaking waterfall is to journey behind it. You can ride an elevator down to the base of the falls and travel through the tunnels behind the falling water, where you'll learn more about the geology and history of this unique area. As on the boats, you should expect to get wet, but ponchos will be provided.

Great Canadian Midway: This entertainment complex is a guaranteed hit with kids. Covering 70,000 ft.² just a short walk from Niagara Falls, this is a popular option for weekend getaways with kids. You'll find more than 300 games here, along with rides like Ghost Blasters and the Cosmic Coaster 6D Experience. It won't be just the kids that have a great time here.

Best season to visit:

Niagara Falls is at its best in summer, when the warm weather makes spending time outside much more enjoyable. However, it's also at its busiest at this time of year, so you may find it better to visit in the spring or fall when things are less busy.

Weekend getaways to Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake

One of Ontario's prettiest towns, Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a great place to relax, explore history, and have a great time on a weekend getaway.

Distance from Toronto:

Around 130 km from Toronto, you can reach the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake in around an hour and a half.

Our activity recommendations:

Explore downtown: Although it's close to Niagara Falls, far fewer tourists make it to Niagara-on-the-Lake. But they're missing out because it's widely known as one of the prettiest towns in Canada. Take a stroll down Queen Street and enjoy the historic buildings of what was the very first capital city of Upper Canada. The well-preserved buildings make the perfect backdrop for photos on your weekend getaway.

Visit Niagara Apothecary: Stepping inside this charming store is like taking a trip back in time. This perfectly preserved pharmacy provides a glimpse back into the past, and you'll learn more about the sometimes dubious cures that were available to the first settlers on the shores of Lake Ontario as you explore the shelves here on your weekend getaway.

Try ice wine: Ice wine is made when grapes freeze on the vine, boosting the sugar content. Thanks to Ontario's cold winters, it's something of a local specialty. Head to Inniskillen Winery just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake to try a variety of delicious ice wines and get a taste of this unique local product.

Best season to visit:

Summer is the best time to enjoy a weekend getaway to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Take a stroll along Queen Street with an ice cream, and you'll be enjoying one of the best weekend getaways from Toronto there is.

Bruce Peninsula national Park weekend trip

Bruce Peninsula National Park

If you want to get away from it all, there are few better places near Toronto than this. The Bruce Peninsula is the perfect weekend getaway for nature lovers.

Distance from Toronto:

At 270 km from Toronto, Bruce Peninsula National Park is kind of pushing it for weekend getaways from Toronto. The drive will take around three and a half hours. But if you want to get away from it all, it's worth taking the time for one of the best weekend getaways in the area.

Our activity recommendations:

Visit the grotto: The park's famous grotto is unquestionably one of the top attractions here. This natural cave can be reached with a short one-kilometer hike from the parking lot, and it offers expansive views over the glittering blue waters of Georgian Bay.

Flowerpot Island: This small island takes its name from the unique rock formations found here that resemble flowerpots. You can reach the island with a short boat trip from the park, and they're also some great hiking trails with spectacular views to enjoy from here.

Singing Sands: The fragile and beautiful dunes of this area are well worth exploring while you're in the park. The boardwalk and hiking trails will help you get to know this unique ecosystem and learn more about the plants and animals that call it home.

Best season to visit:

With so many outdoor activities to enjoy, summer is undoubtedly the best time for weekend trips to this national park.

Weekend trips from Toronto to Stratford, Ontario

Stratford

Primarily known for the famous Stratford Festival, Stratford is a cultural hub of Ontario and a great place to visit on a weekend getaway at any time of year.

Distance from Toronto:

At 150 km from Toronto, this is one of the closer weekend getaways to the city.

Our activity recommendations:

Stratford Festival: Perhaps the biggest draw for weekend getaways on the Stratford calendar, the Stratford Festival is Canada's biggest Shakespeare Festival. Running from April to October every year, the festival attracts some of the best thespians in Canada. And it isn't solely focused on Shakespeare. You can also see new and contemporary plays by some of the hottest playwrights in the world at this giant arts festival.

World in a Weekend: Another popular festival, World in a Weekend is geared towards families, with puppet shows, musical performances, and lots of other great activities to keep kids entertained.

Take a boat ride: Like its namesake in England, Stratford sits on the river Avon, and this placid river makes a great place for a ride. You can rent a canoe or a paddleboat and head out on the water or rent a bike to explore the path along the stream. It's a great way to stay active on one of the best weekend getaways from Toronto.

Best season to visit:

Ideally, you want to visit Stratford between April and October so that you can take part in all the festivities of the Stratford Festival.

Conclusion

In reality, there is no shortage of great weekend getaways from Toronto. And if you're pressed for time, you can also take advantage of the best day trips from the city. Toronto has so much to offer, even if you only have three days to explore. But don't neglect the great weekend trips that are available in this part of Ontario.

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