The Toronto Theatre Database

The Toronto Theatre Database

family road trip toronto fringe

Family Road Trip ( 2023 )

Produced by, presented by.

The Toronto Fringe Festival

Director : Danny Avila

Tarragon Theatre – Mainspace

July 6th, 2023 – July 16th, 2023

Summer Dad is proud to present their second full length sketch show. From the absurd to the emotional, the musical to the grounded this dad’s got it all. So zip up those cargo shorts, tighten your dad caps and get ready for a wild ride!

Summer Dad is a group of graduates from the Second City Training Centre. Their show, The New Not Normal, recently played to back-to-back sold out audiences at the Rivoli in addition to the Second City mainstage. ( fringetoronto.com )

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Canada’s theatre museum.

William & Nona Heaslip Foundation

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family road trip toronto fringe

Family Road Trip: sketch comedy show!

Family Road Trip is a live sketch comedy show that is part of the Toronto Fringe Festival this year. This show is presented by Summer Dad.

From the absurd to the emotional, the musical to the grounded, this dad’s got it all. So zip up those cargo shorts, tighten your dad caps and get ready for a wild ride.

Summer Dad consists of some of the best comedians in Toronto, and they are all recent graduates from the Second City Training Centre. Their first sketch comedy show, The New Not Normal, played to back-to-back sold out audiences at the Rivoli in addition to the Second City mainstage.

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SesayArts Magazine

Our (Updated) Toronto Fringe Festival 2023 Recommendation Round Up

Flora Le, crouching on the side of a parked motorcycle, her back straight and right arm resting on the handlebars, looking at the camera.

Sadec 1965: A Love Story is a compelling solo performance about a woman’s quest for answers regarding her family’s complicated history. It follows Flora Le (the show’s creator and performer), who embarked on a six week long motorcycle trip across Vietnam to uncover the truth about why her father never speaks about his hometown. Over the course of her 2100 mile journey, Le shares tidbits of her personal life and how these experiences shaped her into the woman she is today. Even though she hasn’t necessarily been dealt the best hand, she approaches each situation with a sense of optimism. You can’t help but admire her approach to life and how she never seems to give up, even in the face of adversity. Due to mature subject matter, Sadec 1965: A Love Story is best enjoyed by adult audiences. The raw vulnerability of Le’s performance is sure to have you in tears and reflecting on your own relationship with your family. This is a genuine and unforgettable story about unconditional love and identity.

Recommended by:  Denise Albeanu   Location: Tarragon Theatre Mainspace   Runtime:  60 minutes 

The cast animates the puppet to look at its creator, while the crater laughs.

Frankenstein(esque) is as unique, compelling and conflicted a creation as the monster created by Victor Frankenstein in the OG novel by Mary Shelley (which the on-stage cast are at great pains to ensure the audience does not expect fidelity to – hence the “Esque” in the play’s title). A troupe of gifted black-clad actors – Graeme Black Robinson, Steph Crothers, John Daniel, Michelle Gram, Julian Murphy – here perform a dynamic, deeply funny, and oddly mesmerizing multi-level meditation on life.  They explore what life is, the difficulty of imparting it, who the true creator or giver of life is, and what they owe or are owed. This physical and metaphysical meditation encompasses numerous types of life: natal, familial, communal, creative, narrative and artistic. And its unifying metaphorical focus is a 6-foot-tall Frankenstein-esque puppet that the actors assemble and give life to . . . then disassemble and give life to . . .  then reassemble and give life to, in a kind of rhythmic reverse communion. If you have no idea what this all means, welcome to the club. But do come see for yourself this talky and hilarious, contemplative yet crude amalgam of captivating pieces. Puzzle it out – you’ll be supremely entertained and challenged by non-sequiturs that may actually be sequiturs, and dissonance that turns into thematic echoes. Oh, and the red balloon. It’s hilarious and profundity-adjacent. It’s virtually indescribable. It’s Frankenstein-esque.        

Recommended by:  Scott Sneddon    Location: Tarragon Theatre Extraspace   Runtime:  55 minutes

The set consists of two beige wooden benches with thin arm rests. The back of each bench has 13 slats and is gently rounded on top. They benches are a few feet apart and slightly angled towards each other like a wide “V” that opens toward the audience. Each bench is gently lit in a pool of warm light that spreads to the floor.

Paz is a deft 50-minute drama about the aftermath of a child gone missing. After her Filipina nanny is fired, the child’s white mother accuses the child’s former nanny in a park. The play, which is directed by Joy Castro and stars Stephanie Belding and Christine Cortes, was inspired by playwright Alicia Payne’ personal experience working as a live-in caregiver abroad. Through its explosive premise, Paz explores cultural ignorance, racism, microaggressions, social hierarchies, the nature and structure of family, and what constitutes motherhood. The actors are compelling. Belding gives a squirm-inducingly convincing portrayal as an imperious white woman who believes she knows everything about the woman she once hired  . . . but whom she never bothered to get to know. The play holds a needful mirror up to a specific mode of othering – and to the indignities that many foreign workers are made to endure, in order to secure permanent-residence status, and an avenue to a different future. Audiences of all backgrounds will connect to the themes in Paz , and it will resonate especially strongly with parents. 

Recommended by:  Arpita Ghosal    Location: Alumnae Theatre    Runtime:  50 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Pyramid , despite being a title suggestive of pharoahs and Egypt, or perhaps pyramid schemes , is none of those things. Okay, it is a little of the last, but only tangentially. Billed as a new musical about two strangers brought together in their joint venture to throw the ultimate multi-level marketing party, it is not a satirical musical comedy either (as my family and I had assumed). Written by Steve John Dale and Katie Miller, Pyramid is instead the surprisingly sweet and only sometimes funny story of two different young women (played by Lauren Mayer and Katie Miller) brought together by happenstance. Over the course of a botched marketing event to sell skincare products, they discover that they might have some important things in common, after all. Miller and Mayer are both talented singers, and Dale’s accompaniment on guitar and tambourine not only enhances the musical numbers, but also contributes significantly to the overall mood of the story. This is an ideal Fringe show: the staging is simple and effective; the cast is small and mighty; and the narrative scope and run time are both compact. While all audiences will find something to connect to, millennials may connect with the dual protagonists’ search for purpose, connection and self-esteem, which is told with humour and heart. 

Recommended by: Arpita Ghosal Location : Tarragon Theatre Extraspace Runtime : 50 minutes

Noam Tomaschoff standing before a pink background with a surprised expression, holding a DNA testing vial

Our Little Secret: The 23 and Me Musical is no secret. Word got out, and it was one of the earliest shows to sell out its run at the Toronto Fringe. The solo musical written and performed by Noam Tomaschoff, composed by Ryan Peters and directed by Rose Bochner, tells the true story of what happens when only child “Noam T” takes a DNA test and gets shocking news about his biological parents and the life he has known for 31 years. The work uses comedy, drama, songs of varying musical styles – and even audience interaction –- to explore and question notions of family, identity, and self. The staging is appropriately sparse, with some projected backdrops, a table and chair, and a few props. This makes the show’s charismatic star the deserving focus of attention. Tomaschoff ably carries the whole show, and is a wonder to behold. Among this one-man show’s most inspired moments is a number involving three characters (yes, three), socks and a stethoscope. Since the show is performed with live singing and recorded music, all audiences, including the deaf or blind, can access it. And the lack of profanity makes the show enjoyable for intergenerational audiences. To give tour-de-force Tomaschoff a bit of a break, Our Little Secret might consider trimming its runtime slightly, but overall, the show is a smash. Those who were lucky enough to score a ticket are in for a fun and moving time at this show!

Recommended by:  Arpita Ghosal    Location: Alumnae Theatre    Runtime:  60 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

White Collars , directed by Ken Hall, offers a satirical take on the day-to-day experiences of working in the real world of the 9-to-5 tech marketing industry. Set in a fictional tech conference, the show combines sketch comedy, improv and quite a lot of audience participation. It showcases in a relatable way the challenges of 9 – 5 workers, including executive decision-making, role redundancy and layoffs, job vs. identity, and the value of corporate mission statements. Anyone with a full-time job can empathize with these challenges! Sketch comedians Arun Kirupananthan, Braeden Banks, and Maya Cieszynska are extremely high- energy performers – so much so that the show routinely breaks the fourth wall . . . and the main characters are, in fact, the audience! 

Recommended by: Denise Albeanu Location : Factory Theatre Studio Runtime : 50 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Ms Titaverse is the long-awaited, much-anticipated and eagerly-embraced second sketch-comedy revue show written and performed by the all-Filipina comedy sensation Tita Collective, made up of Ann Paula Bautista, Belinda Corpuz, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul and Maricris Rivera. Where their first show, the multi-awardwinning Tita Jokes, was a tribute to their elders, this show draws inspiration from the performers’ personal lives and stories: their intersectional identities, their heritage as Filipinas raised in Canada, and their relationship with both cultures. With Ms Titaverse (organized around the theme of a beauty pageant – where the contestants all want “world peace!”), the Tita Collective has another, albeit a more diverse, musical comedy smash. The show engagingly combines sketch comedy with music and dance, and the performances are uniformly strong, with each performer getting a chance to shine. The show is rollicking, fast-paced, and expertly executed, with the collective’s trademark razor-sharp timing. Teens and older, friends with cottages, and multigenerational audiences from all cultures will find ideas to relate to – and even more laughs to share. For detailed information about Ms Titaverse , watch the interview with Tita Collective on sesayarts.com.

Recommended by: Arpita Ghosal Location : Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace Runtime : 60 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

The Bad Mitzvah is a touching and funny story about what it means to grow up. the show boasts a large and diverse cast, a fast-paced production and an eccentric acting style. Written by Stephanie Zeit, with Brad Gira & Ahlam Hassan, The Bad Mitzvah is widely relatable because it covers such a diverse range of themes To explore its themes, including motherhood, sexuality, and self-discovery. Girls who have a complicated relationship with their mothers will especially appreciate it – and because of the premise of a bat mitzvah, it will resonate with anyone of a Jewish background. Especially noteworthy is the excellent job Zeit does of depicting what it is like to be a 13-year old girl – and every single character is well-written and contributes to the plot in a meaningful way. Reviewer’s Note: “My favourite show at the Toronto Fringe so far!”

Recommended by: Denise Albeanu Location : Factory Theatre Studio Runtime : 75 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Featherhead is the whimsical yet substantial tale of a lonely girl who doesn’t fit in (Karen Edelist), a pigeon with a broken wing (Liam Peter Donovan), and how this unlikely duo learn to be friends with each other and unique individuals who ate at ease in their own skin (or feathers). COVID-19 isolation looms in the backdrop of this story of identity, relationships and resilience – which features meaty conversation and personal reckonings that are leavened by abundant flights of pigeon humour. The two principals are compelling, and they are supported – with avian physical and stand-up comedy – by a bobbing, cooing brace of pigeons who are brought to chuckle-inducing life by Jonnie Lombard, Jenn Tan and Valeria Ventur. Featherhead transports you to a feather-strewn world adjacent to our own, and imparts talky, life-affirming truths that we can all benefit from hearing.  

Recommended by:  Scott Sneddon          Location: Alumnae Theatre         Runtime:  60 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Family Road Trip is the second full-length sketch show by Summer Dad, directed by Danny Avila and performed by Chrissy Sharma, Kevin Forster, Rachel Powell, Kaitlyn Stollery, Taylor Hreljac, Chris Johnson and David Hudon.The troup is a group of graduates from the Second City Training Centre, so the show is reminiscent of the sketch comedy revues performed at the famed comedy centre. In this case, a road trip is the framing device for a series of sketches on topics ranging from relationships to food to family dynamics – all performed with minimal props and without a set. The 7-member cast expediently configures milk crates to conjure (among other things) a minivan, a sofa, and a pizza counter. Some of the most memorable sketches include a patient bride provoking her husband into complete honesty, an especially soul-baring self-checkout, a twisted West Side Story-style street fight, and an inspired rap about pizza toppings. Due to mature subject matter and the language of some sketches, Family Road Trip is best enjoyed by adult audiences. The versatility and comic timing of this up-and-coming troupe are praiseworthy, and we look forward to much more from them. 

Recommended by: Arpita Ghosal Location : Tarragon Theatre Mainspace Runtime : 60 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

A Little Bit Pregnant , written by Kate Lavut and directed by Rana Liu , is a realistic dark comedy that uses humour to tackle fraught topical issues, including abortion, miscarriages and reproductive rights. So what audience will appreciate this unlikely show? All adult audiences! Those who are experiencing or can recall young romance may appreciate it more because they will relate to some of the arguments depicted by the on-stage couples, who are played by Julia Pye, Alexander Cruz, Aidan Cottreau and Casey Marie Ecker. The story offers frequent situational irony (e.g., a young woman unexpectedly gets pregnant while her friend who has been trying to have a baby can’t seem to get pregnant) and universally but uniquely flawed characters – which makes them (and the play) especially relatable.

Recommended by: Denise Albeanu Location : Tarragon Theatre Extraspace Runtime : 60 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Retrograde: The Concert Experience is a loud, funny and moving rock jam session spectacle that is set – and performed –in Kensington Market tavern Supermarket. It’s the time of COVID-19 lockdowns, when paying band gigs feel like a thing of the past, and the future looks like an empty void. Three musicians and a teen come together in this limbo-land, and, fumblingly, try to create new futures from the emotional residue of their past and their budding, uncertain relationships with each other. The outstanding cast – Hilary Wheeler (Barber), Chloe Castrucci (Cyan), Anthony Palermo (Bo), and James Llewellyn Evans (Kale) – deliver intense, authentic and vulnerable performances. Creator-director Jackson Doner uses the space brilliantly: the actors weave in and around unseen audience members as they race in and out for their jam sessions and gigs.  The show is uninhibited, profane, and features sexual innuendo and situations – so it’s definitely not for everyone. But beneath the raw surface and the smell of day-old beer lies a surprisingly tender tale of coming together and coming into your own in an impossible time – complete with kickass music, exquisite acting and a LOT of laughter. Not to be missed.

Recommended by: Scott Sneddon   Location : Supermarket         Runtime : 90 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Ancient Dying Chinese Dialect is a bravura solo comedy show written and performed by Chantal Lim and directed by Ken Hall. A featured selection at the Toronto Storytelling Festival this spring, this show is a love- and laughter-filled tribute to Lim’s parents and her dual Filipina-Chinese heritage. This show is deeply personal and touches on themes of identity, culture, language and family. It is perfect for audiences who love diverse stories and appreciate the art of storytelling: indeed, multigenerational audiences of all cultures will find lots of “a-ha” moments here. Lim stumbled onto comedy and acting as a creative outlet just before the pandemic hit, and based on this show, she is a rising star with a bright future ahead. For detailed information about Ancient Dying Chinese Dialect and Chantal Lim, read the article on sesayarts.com.

Recommended by: Denise Albeanu Location : Factory Theatre Studio Runtime : 55 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Catch Me in the Kitchen Story Adventures brings two classic fairy tales to life. The first story is a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Goldilocks excitedly chases a toad and reaches the forest’s edge, where she spots a sign saying ‘Forêt Dangereuse’ (meaning ‘dangerous forest’). Believing that it means ‘Welcome,’ she explores further . . . and stumbles onto a house belonging to three bears. In the second story, Lupus Maximus and the Three Little Pigs, three sibling pigs set out to establish their lives. Along the way, they are confronted by the same unwelcome visitor. Which pig will successfully outsmart “the most handsome, most daring, most petrifyingly feared wolf in all of Ontario?” The critically-acclaimed show features a unique combination of storytelling and physical theatre, and its unexpected spin on the familiar will delight audiences of all ages, from as young as 4 years of age. Catch Me in the Kitchen Story Adventures is written and performed by Ginette Mohr and Stephen LaFrenie, directed by Liz Pounsett and features music by Tim Freeman & The Pickle Peppers. For detailed information about Catch Me in the Kitchen , read the interview with Ginette Mohr on sesayarts.com.

Recommended by: Arpita Ghosal Location : St. Volodymyr Institute | Family Venue Runtime : 60 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

Kyra De Magica is a one-of-a-kind interactive solo satirical theatrical experience performed by Kyra Tang. It depicts a teenage magician’s mission to win over her celebrity crush Zac Efron through magic, mind control, telepathy, and song – all while thwarting her Chinese mother’s attempts to control her through overprogramming and high expectations. This breathtakingly silly, guffaw-inducing show features loads of audience participation and farcical fun that leaves audience members no choice but to relax into the hilarious antics of the frenetic, magnetic Kyra. Tang is fabulously charismatic, and her dauntless commitment to her absurd material deserves singular praise. And within the many laugh-out-loud moments, there is a genuine story of growing up, breaking free of parental plans, navigating cultural expectations, and coming into one’s own on one’s own terms. Teens in the audience, in particular, will find lots to connect with, and audiences of all ages will see themselves in the enterprising and cheese-loving Kyra (who even has her own magician’s assistant…of sorts). We look forward to seeing more from the show’s energetic star!

family road trip toronto fringe

No One Special is Julie Kim’s instrospective account of growing up in a real-life Kim’s Convenience. Kim, her sister and brother, are the children of Korean immigrants who, like the CBC sitcom family, own a local convenience store. Kim is quick to warn the audience that, despite the fact she is a stand-up comedian, this show will not be funny (not true – read on). Instead of a succession of jokes, No one Special is her compelling and honest unspooling – and working through – of family history and childhood memory. Kim holds up for examination countless specific memories – of her parents providing for her at their own expense, of their criticism and unwitting acts of emotional damage, of stealing candy from the store. And while she compellingly narrates these memories, she problematizes them: are they constructs or retroactive fabrications based on what others have told her? And to transcend the narrow perspective of a child, she augments these memories with research and reflection, which allow her to empathize with her parents, who even at their worst, were doing their best as immigrants battling poverty, isolation, discrimination and their own strained relationship. Kim’s narration, accompanied by family photos, is dispassionate, yet engrossing. And (contrary to her warning) she delivers some of the biggest laughs at the Fringe this year when – for just the briefest of moments sprinkled through the show – she lapses archly from balanced reflection into a self-centered comedian’s snarky take. This low-key show is G-rated (nothing to cringe about here) and has depth, quirks, humour and a lack of neat resolution that will resonate with anyone who has a family.         

Recommended by:  Scott Sneddon    Location: Tarragon Solo Space     Runtime:  50 minutes (60 when I saw it!)

family road trip toronto fringe

Amor De Cosmos: A Delusional Musical is a novel new solo show written by British Columbia-based writer Richard Kelly Kemmick, with music by Lindsey Walker. The show, which is performed by Toronto-based actor Anton Gillis-Adleman, combines words, song and music to tell the fascinating life story of Amor De Cosmos (born William Alexander Smith), who was a journalist, politician and reformer before serving as the second premier of British Columbia and the first Member of Parliament. After he was elected to the federal government, however, De Cosmos was declared legally insane. He retreated to haunting Victoria’s taverns and eventually died in poverty without recognition. The most remarkable feature of the show is that Kemmick has written the script in iambic pentameter (that’s right – Shakespeare’s metre of choice). Amor De Cosmos is a history buff and language lover’s dream. It’s no exaggeration to say that Kemmick has done for De Cosmos what Lin-Manuel Miranda has done for Alexander Hamilton. It’s important to note that the 90-minute show requires concentration (and even a little preparation) to appreciate the full magnitude of Kemmick’s artistry. For instance, Gillis-Adleman performs multiple characters – often with a single change in prop and photographs behind him that are emblematic – so knowing just a little about De Cosmos’ eventful life would allow spectators to focus more on the show’s beautiful use of language, its clever word play, Walker’s gorgeous musical accompaniment, and Gillis-Adleman’s gripping performance – rather than work to follow the historical timeline of events. A little bit of “homework” will yield huge dividends in the enjoyment of Kemmick’s inspired tale of this intriguing Canadian figure. 

Recommended by: Arpita Ghosal   Location : Al Green Theatre         Runtime : 90 minutes

family road trip toronto fringe

The Man with the Golden Heart is a new musical written and directed by Andrew Seok with Assistant Director Tess Benger and Music Direction by Jonathan Corkal-Astorga. Ahead of the performance, Seok tells the audience in a brief address that he wrote this musical as a beacon of hope in a bleak time. He has more than met his aim with this magnificent new work. The story has the urgent feel of a comic-book origin story: a man (Bruce Dow) is born with a golden heart, which he can use to help people who are hurt and struggling. However, each time he does so, he loses a piece of his heart, which kills him a little. In the production, we journey through three pivotal moments in Canada’s history: the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway by immigrant Chinese laborers during the 1880s, Canada’s participation in World War I, and the global stock market crash in 1929. At each of these moments, the man encounters people in pain . . . and wields his powers with unexpected results. The production suits the atmospheric church venue, with the magnificent organ, wood panelling and stained-glass windows serving to underscore the historical aspects of the narrative. The acoustics are greatly enhanced by the church’s high, vaulted ceilings, and the voices of the all-star cast soar. The music is simply beautiful, and there are some truly inspired plot ideas – especially one involving the destiny of a young married couple. In summary, this is a mature, ambitious and audience-ready work, and a production company should give Seok a budget to prepare it for a larger audience. The Man with the Golden Heart has tremendous potential to become the next great “born at the Fringe” Canadian musical. If you have the opportunity, catch it here first! 

Recommended by: Arpita Ghosal   Location : Trinity-St Paul Church     Runtime : 95 minutes

Reserve tickets on fringetoronto.com .

© Sesayarts Magazine Team, 2023

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Family Fun Toronto

Toronto Fringe Festival: KidsFest

By family fun toronto | june 14, 2023.

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Toronto Fringe Festival, Ontario’s largest theatre festival, returns with another season of KidsFest, whose shows are intended for families and run early in the day. For KidsFest shows, tickets are only $6 per child and babes-in-arms are free, plus they also host KidsFest Club , a safe and welcoming play space for kids of all ages and their families.

When: July 5-16, 2023 Where: St. Volodymr Institute, 620 Spadina Ave., Toronto Website: www.fringetoronto.com

Find more Concerts & Shows in Toronto here !

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Family Fun Toronto is a complete resource of events and activities for your family to enjoy in Toronto and surrounding areas!

Disclaimer:  While we endeavour to provide the best, most up-to-date information on fun events and activities in and around Toronto, we cannot guarantee the information on times, dates, admission, etc. These things out of our control, and we encourage you to call the facility before you head out on your fun activities!

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My Entertainment World

Toronto Fringe, 2023

Three of our writers reviewed 70 Toronto Fringe productions in eight days. Click the links below to read our thoughts.

Frankenstein(esque) (A)

Hullaboo And The End of Everything  (A)

Amor de Cosmos  (A)

Morning After  (A)

Fatal Charade  (A)

Corporate Finch (A)

Good Old Days  (A)

Our Little Secret: The 23&Me Musical  (A)

The Family Crow: A Murder Mystery  (A)

The Camp Campy Campfire Show  (A)

La Voix Humaine (A-)

Constellation Prize  (A-)

My Evil Twin, a new cabaret musical  (A-)

Blake & Clay’s Gay Agenda  (A-)

Aliya Kanani: Where You From From (A-)

CAEZUS  (A-)

In Passing  (A-)

Ms Titaverse  (B+)

Jessie and Me  (B+)

Jackes and Jills  (B+)

Back to the Bar  (B+)

Mail Ordered  (B+)

Juxtapose  (B+)

Levels: The Play (B+)

A Little Bit Pregnant  (B+)

Ancient Dying Chinese Dialect  (B+)

Are You Catching What I’m Throwing?  (B+)

muse: an experiment in storytelling and life drawing  (B+)

One Night Only  (B+)

BUNNY!   (B)

No One Special  (B)

White Collars  (B)

The Man with the Golden Heart  (B)

Absolute Magic with Keith Brown  (B)

A Woman Is…  (B)

A Jew in a Gentile World   (B)

Maggie Chun’s First Love & Last Wedding” (B)

Sarah and Raquel Rule the World  (B)

The End of Everything  (B)

The Inevitable Frankie Green (B)

You Think You’re Better Than Me (B)

Things We Lost in the Fire  (B)

Sophie  (B)

An Incomplete List of All the Things I’m Going to Miss When the World is No Longer:  (B)

All Our Parents Are Asian (B-)

The Will of a Woman (B-)

Family Road Trip  (B-)

Emo Majok: African Aussie  (B-)

Pyramid  (B-)

Retrograde: The Concert Experience  (C+)

An Ode to Home  (C+)

House of Whale  (C+)

Fertility Slippers  (C+)

The Bridge  (C+)

Third Wheel: A Musical  (C+)

Insert Clown Here  (C+)

Bad Mitzvah (C)

Hermaphroditus  (C)

James & Jamesy- Easy as Pie  (C)

Dana + Tim = Comedy  (C)

Hymns and Hearse  (C)

2 East 4 West: A Comedy (C)

Inside  (C-)

Dead End  (C-)

Red-Nosed Ruddie  (D)

B-Max & The Re-Revolution Presents: Magic on the Mic an Acoustic Evening of Theatre  (D)

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The Toronto Fringe Festival

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The “fringe movement” is a worldwide network of indie theatre festivals. As the name suggests, the movement is about celebrating under-represented voices and those on the margins of the performing arts world. As a result, the shows are a result of a lottery system of producers and writers who submitted their plays. It’s a festival where anyone can put on any show, without having to pass through a jury – where theatre students can mount their first production outside of school, where emerging artists can get their big break, and where established artists can test out new work. Popular shows like da Kink in my Hair and The Drowsy Chaperone got their start at Fringe. Whether you’re watching a show (or number of shows) in the back alley behind the famed Honest Ed’s, or smaller theatres in Toronto like the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, you’ll be in for a cheap treat.

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The fringe: theatre al fresco.

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Adventure Family Travel - Wandering Wagars

Toronto With Kids: How To Plan The Perfect Family Trip To Toronto

Thinking of visiting Toronto with kids? Our insider tips will help you plan the perfect family trip to Canada’s largest city.

Visiting Toronto with kids

The city of Toronto is one of the most exciting places to visit in Canada. The country’s largest city is teeming with family-friendly experiences, from outdoor fun to some of the world’s leading museums. So whether you’re looking for spectacular nature, historical sites, world-class sports, or shopping, visiting Toronto with children opens up a wonderful chance to explore some of Toronto’s best family-friendly experiences.

About Toronto

Table of Contents

The Gooderham Building in Toronto with kids

Toronto, Canada, is one of the unique cities in the world. With nearly half of its population born outside of Canada, Toronto is considered the most multicultural city globally.

Throughout the city, you’ll find neighborhoods that represent nearly every culture on the planet. Yet Toronto isn’t simply a melting pot of world culture. Instead, this city has a unique identity that puts it on par with many of the world’s greatest cities.

Toronto is situated on the blue shores of Lake Ontario and is one of the world’s safest metropolitan areas in all of North America. The city is just one part of the larger Greater Toronto Area, which is made up of cities that includes several municipalities, including Peel, Durham, York, and others that make up an area of nearly six million people.

So follow along as we explore the best things to do in Toronto with kids!

How To Explore Toronto With Kids

My family lives in the Greater Toronto Area. We’ve spent years exploring the city, eating at the best family-friendly restaurants in Toronto, and wandering through many of the cities often-overlooked gems.

So, whether you’re looking for the most popular things to do in Toronto for families or hoping to find some of Toronto’s kid-friendly secrets, we have everything you need to visit Toronto with children.

Climb The CN Tower

The CN Tower in Toronto with children

For decades, the CN Tower has been one of the coolest places to visit Toronto for families. At 1,815 feet tall, the tower dominates the Toronto skyline. In fact, for decades, this was the tallest freestanding structure in the world.

Ride the high-speed glass elevators to the lookout level, where you can stand on the glass floor and gaze out at the best view over the city. For those who love to live adventurously, you can even strap on a harness for the Edge Walk. This experience takes you 1,000 feet above the Toronto skyline along a 5-foot ledge with nothing between you and the ground but air. Participants need to be at least 13-years-old to participate.

You can also take in 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. This rotating restaurant sits above the lookout deck. Although I won’t say that it’s the best food in the city, there are few places where you’ll get a better view.

Wander The Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for families

The ROM, as locals refer to it, isn’t a stuffy museum. Instead, it’s a fascinating journey through natural history, world cultures, and geology that families will love.

While there, Wander through the Age of Dinosaurs, explore the Gallery of Biodiversity, and get hands-on with ancient Egypt. Kids will love the ROMKids experience that includes drop-in programs, family activities, and even overnight sleepovers.

Explore The Toronto Islands

A boy stand up paddleboarding at the Toronto Islands

Accessed via the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the base of Jarvis St. or one of the many Toronto Island water taxis that line the shores of Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands are definitely a must-do experience in Toronto with kids.

You’ll find one of only two Blue Flag Beaches in Toronto on the island, a “haunted” lighthouse, the Centreville amusement park, and some of the most beautiful nature in Toronto.

Rent a kayak or standup paddleboard from Toronto Island SUP and take in one of the best views of the Toronto skyline. Or visit to the Gibraltar lighthouse, which was built in 1808. Be careful, though. This scenic landmark is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former lighthouse keeper.

You can check out our Toronto Islands video on YouTube right here. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. It really helps us and we sincerely appreciate all of you who do.

Discover The Ontario Science Centre

Children play at the KidSpark experience at the Ontario Science Centre

Without a doubt, the Ontario Science Centre is one of the coolest science centers in all of Canada. With hands-on exhibits from rainforests to space and everything in between, this Toronto science museum is educational family fun at its best.

Families of young kids in Toronto will love the KidSpark experience, which offers a fun and educational play space for children under 8. Visitors can also take in the spectacular IMA Dome theater that features stunning movies is ridiculously high definition surrounded by 44 speakers.

Take A Harbor Cruise On The Tall Ship Kajama

A boy raises his arms on the Tall Ship Kajama in Toronto for families

Boarding at the Toronto Waterfront near the Harbourfront Centre, the Tall Ship Kajama is one of the most relaxing ways to get those awesome Toronto skyline views.

Board a century-old triple-masted ship for a tour of the Toronto Harbour or around the Toronto Islands. The ship has an onboard bar and restaurant serving up great food (our kids really loved the soft pretzels), so you’ll have lots to munch on as you drink in the views.

Shoot Through The Hockey Hall of Fame

The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto with kids

Toronto is a hockey town at heart. Sure, our basketball team has been gaining popularity since they’re, you know, winning games, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have been around a lot longer!

As a celebration of that hockey heritage, Toronto is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame at the corner of Yonge St. and Front St. This iconic landmark houses hockey memorabilia dating back over a hundred years along with photos, equipment, and videos from some of the sports most important moments.

Try your hand at the hardest shot in the NHLPA Be A Player Zone or strap on some goalie gear and take an NHL-calibre shot.

Relax On The Beach

Sugar Beach in Toronto kids activities

Toronto is home to 11 swimmable public beaches spread out along the Lake Ontario shoreline if you’re a fan of sand and sunshine. However, on top of those swimmable beaches, several Toronto beaches are more designed for lounging than they are for getting wet.

For some of the best swimming in the city, head out to the Toronto Islands and visit Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island, or Woodbine Beach. For beaches on the mainland, head out to Bluffers Parks in Scarborough or Balmy Beach in the aptly named “The Beach.” Finally, Cherry Beach, on the Leslie St. Spit, is a fun place to enjoy the water for something central.

Find The Secret Passages Of Casa Loma

Casa Loma kid-friendly Toronto things to do

Yes, Toronto has a castle! If you’ve ever explored the castles of the Thousand Islands , the historic Casa Loma will feel familiar. However, this incredible property isn’t the remnant of a film set from Hollywood North. In fact, this sprawling structure was the mansion of a Canadian financier who had grand plans to live out his childhood dreams.

Unfortunately, his financial planning skills did not translate into real estate, and he was forced to abandon the project before its completion. But his loss is the city’s gain. As a result, visitors can now explore what is no doubt the most unique and luxurious property in the city. Wander the Great Hall, the Library, the Conservatory, and the Stable while your children search for the castle’s hidden doorways and rooms.

Enjoy A Picnic In A Park

Evergreen Brickworks park in Toronto with children

Toronto is full of incredible parks to explore, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. And if you’re looking for awesome kid’s activities in Toronto, these should definitely be on your list.

High Park, which runs from Bloor St. down to The Queensway, is one of the best. Not only does High Park explode with cherry blossoms during the spring, but it also houses one of the best playgrounds in all of Toronto. So if you’re visiting Toronto with kids, you won’t want to miss it.

Evergreen Brickworks is a combination farmers market, children’s playground, and trail network in east Toronto. You’ll find some great restaurants, a nature walk that is absolutely laden with turtles, and lots of great places for families to explore.

Rouge National Urban Park is the only urban National Park in Ontario. This magnificent property is accessible via public transit and includes some of the best hiking trails in the province. You can read about all of the national parks in Ontario here .

Enjoy One Of The Many Toronto Festivals

Toronto Light Festival with kids

Toronto has countless amazing festivals throughout the year that are an absolute blast for families. During the winter, you can experience the Toronto Christmas Market and the Toronto Lightfest, bringing some excitement to the short days. During the summer, there are amazing celebrations such as Caribana and Pride that bring a thrill.

And don’t forget the amazing musical events and live shows that are put on throughout the city. A trendy spot for live music is at Yonge and Dundas Square near the Eaton’s Centre. You can find the full list of Toronto events here .

Where To Eat In Toronto With Kids

Love is Love ice Cream from the Fixx Cafe in Toronto

As one of the world’s greatest ethnic melting pots, it’s no surprise that you’ll find some of the best cuisines from around the world in Toronto. In fact, if you’re looking for amazing family-friendly restaurants in Toronto, you won’t have to look far.

But it’s not just about great restaurants in Toronto with kids that will make your visit to the city unforgettable. It’s also the amazing and fun treats you can find around the city.

To start your kid-friendly food tour of Toronto, head over to St. Lawrence Market. Toronto’s oldest market has been in operation since 1803 and houses over 120 vendors selling produce, meat, fish, dairy products, and much more. But, of course, you’ll find great food vendors as well.

If your family loves BBQ, stop by Barque Smokehouse on Roncesvalles. Enjoy a taster of seasoned popcorn before a meal of smoked brisket ribs or pulled pork. I love that the kids’ menu isn’t the normal chicken nuggets and burgers. Instead, it’s just a scaled-down version of the adult menu.

For some great ice cream treats, head over to The Fixx on the waterfront. They switch up their unique sundaes to fit the exciting events happening around the city.

And if you’re up for a real laugh, head over to the Poop Cafe at Bloor and Clinton near Christie Pitts. This dessert bar serves up delicious treats with a hilarious toilet theme. I went here with my kids, and we laughed our way through more ice cream than we could finish.

Where To Stay In Toronto With Kids

Kids jumping on a bed at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto

There are loads of great hotels in Toronto for families. But where you stay can have a big impact on your family vacation in Toronto. So here are some of our favorite hotels in Toronto for families.

The Westin Harbour Castle

Conveniently located next to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, the Westin Harbour Castle is the best hotel for exploring the Toronto waterfront. The restaurant serves up incredible food, has large, comfortable rooms and some of the best views of the Toronto Islands.

You can check out their prices and availability here .

The Chelsea Hotel

Situated right in downtown Toronto just steps from the Eaton’s Centre, the Chelsea Hotel is one of the best places for families to stay in Toronto. This Toronto hotel has excellent rooms and a fantastic patio.

You can find their prices and availability here .

While the downtown core holds some of the most popular family attractions in Toronto, many of the city’s best experiences are quite spread out. Casa Loma, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Toronto Zoo all sit outside of the city center. So, if you’re looking for hotels close to the activities you’re looking to experience, check out our guide to the best family-friendly Toronto hotels .

Final Notes On Visiting Toronto With Kids

Toronto is a wonderful destination for family travel. And I don’t say that just because I live here. Toronto is safe, vibrant, and an amazing chance to get the jump-off to other incredible places such as Niagara Falls and Prince Edward County .

Toronto, after all, is just one small part of the province of Ontario. And Ontario is an amazing place to explore. You can find much of that on our  Ontario family travel blog .

If you’re new to family travel, head over to our  tips for international family travel  post or our  family travel gear guide  to ensure that you have everything you need to explore Jordan comfortably. Many of the destinations in Jordan are not stroller-friendly. I recommend parents travel with a  child carrier  rather than a stroller for anything other than urban exploring.

And feel free to drop any questions or comments below. I always answer them.

If you’re passionate about family travel, head on over to our  Family Travel Support Group on Facebook . It’s a fantastic community of parents who love travel. We share experiences, knowledge, and the lessons learned along the way. You can also sign up for our  newsletter  to keep in the loop about new family travel adventures.

Disclosure: Many of these activities were supported by Destination Toronto, Family Traveller Magazine, and Marriott Bonvoy . As always, all opinions remain our own. Wandering Wagars is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates.

You May Also Like To Read

Family-friendly Toronto hotel

Monday 8th of May 2023

Hi, I Hope you are doing well.

We (myself 48years, my wife 39 years, 19 year son and 6 years daughter) will arrive in Toronto on 14 August 2023 and will leave for Halifax on 18 August 2023 before noon. We haven't book hotel yet as it depends on the package visit tour. We are from Bangladesh. My son is studying in St. Mary's University, Halifax, NS.

We are definitely interested to book one day (16 or 17 Aug) for the Niagara Falls tour but for the rest of the days we need to visit some other places (like CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Centre, Nathan Phillips Square, HarbourFront Centre etc.) if you are able to arrange a package.

Please let me have your feedback to take further action.

Best regards

Kevin Wagar

Monday 15th of May 2023

Hello Amin,

This sounds like a great trip. Enjoy Halifax, it's a beautiful city and I wrote a guide about it here. As for your time in Toronto, You'll be happy to know that you can comfortably visit all of those places in just a day or two. Toronto is a very easy city to navigate and many of those spots are very close to each other.

I am not a tour guide, so I don't put together packages or guiding tours. But I'm also happy to say that all of these places can be easily visited without a guide. If you're looking for a guided tour of the city in order to make your visit easier, this is a great option.

In terms of hotels, I highly recommend the Westin Harbour Castle for great views of the waterfront or the Chelsea Hotel for easy-access to much of downtown Toronto.

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The Musical Stage

In The News

family road trip toronto fringe

OUR TOP MUSICAL THEATRE FRINGE PICKS FOR 2019!

It’s that time of the year again, everyone’s favourite summer theatre festival is back! To help you sort through all 150+ shows of The Toronto Fringe Festival , we have carefully curated a must-see musical list! Check out our top picks below and get Fringin’! 

The 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival  is on from July 3 – 14, visit them online for more information and tickets.

  1. DRAMA 101

By Stephen Gallagher and Kevin Wong.

When the students of Roselawn High School gather to celebrate the retirement of their favourite teacher, memories are shared, rivalries surface, and love blossoms. Featuring a cast of young artists ages 13-19, Drama 101 is a funny and heartwarming new musical about the joys and challenges of high school, theatre, and life. Written by Fringe Festival favourites Steven Gallagher ( The Last Party ) and Kevin Wong ( The Preposterous Predicament of Polly Peel, Part 1 ) and directed by Steven Gallagher, Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts is pleased to present a new musical that is sure to ring true for theatre kids of every age.

“Drama 101 is about the joy of finally finding that place where you belong, and the astonishment that there are kids out there just like you. It’s about finding your voice, finding your passion, and finding your talent. It’s about the power of theatre and music and art and love and friendship and happiness. And it’s about the dedicated teacher who recognizes that spark in you, and tells you that you’re special.” – Steven Gallagher and Kevin Wong   

buy tickets

  2. boy falls from the sky: jake epstein live at supermarket.

family road trip toronto fringe

Directed By: Robert McQueen

He’s been “that guy from  Degrassi ”, starred in US National Tours of  Spring Awakening  and  American Idiot , played Spider-Man on Broadway in  Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark  and originated the lead role of Gerry Goffin (Carole King’s husband) in  Beautiful: The Carole King Musical . Not bad for a kid who dreamed about performing on Broadway in the back seat of his parents’ minivan on their annual family road-trip to NYC. But the thing about dreams is, they don’t always go as planned. Through a series of funny and revealing stories and songs, ranging from touring the US, to surviving Spider-Man, to enduring steroid shots and Broadway Boos, Jake Epstein shares the rejection, stage fright and heartbreak behind a seemingly successful career in this showbiz tell-all. For anyone who’s ever tried to go after their dreams.

“I’ve spent my life going after my singular dream of performing in musicals on Broadway. And what’s crazy is that I actually achieved that dream. But the reality is that going after your dreams, and even achieving them, can be complicated and filled with disappointments. This show is my attempt to turn those disappointments into theatrical moments of joy and humour. I love story-telling and I thought this was a good story to tell. And you might even laugh.” – Jake Epstein, Playwright/Creator  

3. Be Kind, Rewind

family road trip toronto fringe

Judy Blume meets High Fidelity in this funny and heart-warming coming-of-age story written by Barbara Johnston and Suzy Wilde, two of Toronto’s most prolific emerging musical theatre writers. When fifteen-year-old Deirdre and her younger sister Dawn are sent to live with their cousins in Tortoiseshell Lake in the summer of 1995, Deirdre gets a job at the local video store where she finds her voice and falls in love with movies. This is a staged reading of a new musical work from the creative team that brought you Summerland and One Small Step.

“ Be   Kind , Rewind shines a light on growing up in the mid-90’s and pays homage to the now extinct video store. The musical will  be  presented by Edge of the Sky Theatre as a fully staged reading of the show’s second draft (the first draft was developed at the Randolph Academy pre-college program) and will feature over 25 of some of the most talented and diverse young performers in the city with a live acoustic band made up of professionals and emerging musicians. For those who have love 90’s nostalgia, original songs, movies and stories about coming of age, this show is for you!” – Barbara Johnston  

4. Every Silver Lining  

family road trip toronto fringe

“When we first began down this path together almost four years ago, we had no idea where it might lead. We stumbled our way through creative decisions and roadblocks, eventually finding our footing and our stride as co-creators, standing proudly where we are today. With the guidance, belief, enthusiasm and wisdom of our many colleagues, friends and contemporaries, we have been built up by our community to create this work for you. To all of those who were special to us in our lives, who live in our memories and in our actions, our work is for you and those who love you.” – Allison Wither, Composer

5. Boy’s Don’t Cry

family road trip toronto fringe

Boys Don’t Cry explores what it means to be a man in our world through the story of Jayden Stone. As Jayden falls in love with outspoken feminist Roseanne, he is forced to reconcile the influence of his troubled late father on his life, and reevaluate the kind of man he wants to be. Mateo Lewis, an award-winning, young songwriter explores his complicated relationship with gender in this musical coming-of-age story.

“We raise the men in this world to be obsessed with competition and superiority.  If you look around, every issue in society is caused by insecure men feeling like they have something to prove.  This show came out of a question — “How can we raise our young men to be a focused on love and kindness, instead of selfishness and competition? And how can we be better than the men who came before us?”   As a queer man, having the opportunity to explore these themes of toxic masculinity and getting to work with this unbelievable team of artists and humans, is an absolute dream come true. Can’ t  wait for Fringe — hope to see you all there!”  – Mateo Lewis

  6. TITA JOKES

family road trip toronto fringe

Meet the Spice Girls of Comedy with a Filipina Twist. They sing, they dance, and they’re going to make you snort-laugh halo-halo through your nose! Join the Toronto SketchFest 2019 Producers’ Pick winners, the Tita Collective, for a musical sketch comedy spectacle to remember. TITA POWER!

“As Filipinx, we grow up dancing, singing, acting, and making jokes with our family. A typical Famjam usually consists of gathering around the buffet table set up by your parents, exchanging stories filled with laughter and often chismis (which means gossip – now you know), with the not-so-distant sound of relatives singing along to your Tito’s acoustic rendition of “My Way”, and the younger cousins joining the Titas in an impromptu line-dancing battle. The celebration of life shown through these heart-filled moments is what we as the Tita Collective wanted to honour through our upcoming show, Tita Jokes . By sharing these stories, we share our people’s affection for storytelling, music and humour. By sharing these stories, we share with everyone else how our Titas and Titos show their love towards us.” – The TITA Collective

family road trip toronto fringe

Best friends Amanda and Devin are totally real adults who want to celebrate their 30th birthdays at The Most Magical Place On Earth. Only a few things stand in their way: money, jobs, partners and timing. Fuelled by boxed wine and an indie-pop soundtrack, Amanda and Devin are determined to make this trip happen. If only real life didn’t have real responsibilities. Three-time Fringe Festival award winners Bad Dress Productions return with a new original musical by Greg McLeod (Good For Grapes).

“When Bad Dress Productions was drawn in the Fringe lottery, real-life BFFs David Poon (Writer/Producer) and Jessica Kostuck (Director) met in Montreal, their former university stomping grounds, to drink a box of wine and write a musical. So, naturally, BFFs has actors drinking an entire box of wine on stage throughout the course of the show – which requires quite a bit of bladder control!” – Jessica Kostuck, Director 

8. UNRAVELLED: A New Musical

Three of the greatest love stories of all time (Romeo & Juliet, Orpheus & Eurydice, The Gift Of The Magi) are retold and reimagined to create an entirely new and epically romantic tale.World famous musician, Orpheus and the beautiful noblewoman, Eurydice instantly fall in love and quickly marry. At their wedding, Romeo (Eurydice’s brother) and Juliet (Orpheus’ dear friend) see one another from across the room and cannot take their eyes off each other. Meanwhile, Della and James (from The Gift Of The Magi) desperately want to buy each other special gifts for their upcoming anniversary but neither has any money, as Della is Juliet’s servant (nurse), and James is a poor apothecary who sells medicines and potions in a broken old shop. Letters are written, potions are sold, and love is abound. All three stories begin as they always have, but quickly intertwine and take a dramatic turn from how we all know them. Who lives, who dies, who finds love, and who loses everything when all is unravelled?

“I had always dreamed of writing three separate musicals of these three epic love stories as they all explore the idea of what we do for love, and what we will do for those we love. The thought of writing ‘one’ musical with all ‘three’ stories, however, never occurred to me until I sat down and started writing a completely different show. As soon as I asked, “What if Della from ‘Magi’ was Juliet’s nurse?”, everything fell into place and the story unfolded effortlessly. I was surprised by how quickly the narrative took what I had originally thought of as problem sections and turned them into opportunities to intertwine the three stories even more. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with some of the greatest literary tales of all time.” – Andrew Seok

family road trip toronto fringe

Diary of a Toronto Girl

11 Fun Weekend Road Trips from Toronto

By: Author Jessica Lam

Posted on Published: June 27, 2020  - Last updated: September 19, 2023

Categories Ontario , Toronto

11 Fun Weekend Road Trips from Toronto

Planning some weekend road trips from Toronto to go on?

Whether you’re looking to do a last minute weekend getaway from Toronto or plan an extravagant long weekend escape, there are plenty of awesome short trips you can do near the city.

As downtown condo dwellers, Adam and I don’t have our own car, and we usually rent one.

If you’re also coming from downtown Toronto, you can typically rent a car on Expedia from Friday through Sunday for around $150, which includes unlimited mileage and free cancellation up to 6 hours before pickup.

If you’re not coming from downtown, car rentals are even cheaper!

Here are some fun and epic weekend road trips from Toronto to go on this summer, whether it’s for a quick getaway or long weekend!

Be sure to also follow me on Instagram and TikTok – I share a lot more content on those platforms that don’t make it to the blog!

If you’re looking for more fun things to do in Ontario , you might enjoy these posts:

  • Searching for more road trip ideas around Ontario? Go on one of these day trips from Toronto or winter getaways in Ontario .
  • In the mood for a hike? Try one of these hikes in Durham Region .
  • Love visiting local farms? Check out these lavender fields in Ontario or pumpkin farms in Ontario .
  • Looking for Instagrammable spots? Visit one of these Instagram-worthy spots in York Region .

Weekend trips from Toronto

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

1. Visit the Niagara Region

Niagara Falls is a classic destination for weekend trips from Toronto.

Stop by Horseshoe Falls, explore Clifton Hill (a street full of tourist attractions and restaurants), and hiking along the Niagara Glen.

You can also check out these other fun activities in Niagara Falls:

  • Zipline over the Niagara River Gorge
  • Journey Behind the Falls to see the icy falls up close
  • Stop into the Butterfly Conservatory
  • Head up the Skylon Tower (free entry if you dine at the restaurant)
  • Take an epic helicopter flight

If you’re in the mood for a little wine tasting, stop by one of the dozens of wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, or hit up this icewine and chocolate tasting tour or this Winter Wonderland food tour !

It’s the perfect place for a weekend road trip, but you can also spend a day trip in Niagara Falls .

Niagara Falls is a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Toronto (128 km). Drive west along the 403 and transfer to the Queen Elizabeth Way.

Chedoke Falls in Hamilton, Ontario

2. Chase waterfalls in Hamilton

Don’t let TLC tell you not to chase those waterfalls.

With over 100 waterfalls, Hamilton is known as the waterfall capital of the world.

Spend a weekend road trip hiking to waterfalls and eating at some of the best restaurants in Hamilton!

If you enjoy hiking, you should definitely do the Dundas Peak hike for the incredible views.

Activities you can do during your visit to Hamilton:

  • Hike Websters Falls, Tews Falls, and Dundas Peak (a shuttle takes you to each destination on weekends)
  • See other great waterfalls (Tiffany Falls, Albion Falls)
  • Take in the city views at Sam Lawrence Park
  • Eat at one of the amazing restaurants on King William Street

There are also a bunch of cute and Instagrammable spots in Hamilton , including Motel Restaurant and Hello Baked Sugar Shop .

Hamilton is a 50 minute drive from Toronto (69 km). Drive west along the 403.

Downtown Stratford, Ontario

3. Delve into the arts in Stratford

Stratford is all about arts and culture, and they’re famous for the Stratford Festival.

This Shakespeare-loving town is filled with quirky boutiques, awesome local eats (the Stratford Chef School is located here), and tons of fun things to do.

There’s even a craft brewery here called the Shakespeare Brewing Company !

Activities you can do during your visit to Stratford:

  • See a show at the Stratford Festival
  • Explore the Victorian buildings
  • Shop at the local boutiques

Stratford is a 1 hour 40 minute drive from Toronto (149 km). Drive west along the 401 and transfer onto highway 8.

Sauble Beach, Ontario

4. Explore the Bruce Peninsula

On your way from Toronto, you can explore both the South Bruce Peninsula and Northern Bruce Peninsula.

Gaze at the views of the Georgian Bay, stop by the picturesque Sauble Beach , and swim in the clear waters of the Tobermory Grotto .

You can also take the ferry to Flowerpot Island!

The nice thing about this drive is that you can break it up in the middle so it won’t be as long and grueling.

We stayed overnight in Owen Sound (about two thirds of the way) when we went to Tobermory.

I have a blog post all about how to spend a weekend road trip in Bruce Peninsula !

Tobermory is a 3 hour 30 minute drive from Toronto (296 km). Take the 410 north, then highways 10 and 6 north.

5. Go cottaging in Muskoka

If you’re looking for a more relaxing weekend getaway, hit up Muskoka aka cottage country.

Rent an Airbnb cottage for the weekend and relax at the lake, or get outside and do something active like biking, zip lining, or doing an ATV tour.

There are tons of outdoor activities you can do in Muskoka!

Muskoka is a 2 hour 25 minute drive from Toronto (222 km). Take the 400 north, then highway 11 north.

Algonquin National Park

6. Hike in Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is the perfect weekend escape if you’re looking to getaway in nature and wilderness.

It’s next to Muskoka, so you can also do them both in the same weekend.

From hiking, to canoeing, to fishing, there are plenty of fun things to do in Algonquin during the summertime.

You can also do whitewater rafting on the Madawaska River !

If you’re looking to try camping with an expert, this 2-day group camping adventure is a great option and departs from and returns to Toronto!

Oh, and if you plan on camping, be sure not to watch the horror movie Backcountry before your visit.

Algonquin Provincial Park is a 3 hour drive from Toronto (276 km). Take the 400 north, then highways 11 and 60 north.

How to spend a weekend in Port Hope, Ontario

7. Wander in the historic town of Port Hope

Port Hope is a charming little heritage town, and there are tons of fun things to do downtown all year round.

It’s also the town they filmed the It  movies in, so you can go around and find all the filming locations!

We visited while they were filming, which is why you see American flags in the photo above.

It: Chapter 2 is available on Crave Canada if you want to watch before scouting locations in Port Hope!

Port Hope is a 1 hour 10 minute drive from Toronto (107 km). Drive east along the 401.

Terre Bleu Lavender Farm in Milton, Ontario

8. Eat your way through Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County is one of the most adorable weekend getaways from Toronto.

Hit up some wineries, sunbathe at the beaches, and taste local eats in the picturesque Prince Edward County.

Here are activities you can do during your visit to PEC:

  • Visit one of the 40+ wineries
  • Visit the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm
  • Watch a movie at the Mustang Drive-In Theatre

Stay at the Drake Devonshire, June Motel, or the Prince Edward County Church for Instagrammable accommodations.

Prince Edward County is a 2 hour 10 minute drive from Toronto (204 km). Drive east along the 401.

1000 Islands Helicopter Tours in Gananoque, Ontario

9. Go island hopping at the 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is an epic weekend getaway just a few hours east of Toronto.

There are 1864 islands divided between Canada and the U.S., and Gananoque is the Canadian gateway to the islands.

You can see the islands by boat, kayak, or helicopter, and you can even rent a weekend property on some islands!

If you’re interested in visiting, I’ve got a weekend guide to the 1000 Islands .

Otherwise, here are some fun activities you can do during your weekend at the 1000 Islands:

  • Do a boat cruise around the 1000 Islands
  • Kayak around the 1000 Islands
  • Do a helicopter ride over the 1000 Islands
  • Hike at Landon Bay (a family-friendly hiking spot)

Gananoque is a 2 hour 44 minute drive from Toronto (287 km). Drive east along the 401.

10. Explore Ottawa, the capital of Canada

While Ottawa may not sound like an exciting place to visit to Torontonians, there are actually a lot of fun things to do in Ottawa.

They’ve also got an incredible and multicultural food scene, whether you’re in the mood for shawarma or ramen .

Activities you can do during your visit to Ottawa:

  • Explore the historic buildings
  • Explore ByWard Market (great shopping and restaurants)
  • Go river rafting along the Ottawa River

Ottawa is a 4 hour 10 minute drive from Toronto (452 km). Drive east along the 401.

Saint-Catherine Street in the Village, Montreal

11. Get cultured in Montreal

Montreal is probably around a 6 hour drive from Toronto including bathroom stops, but you can easily head up early Friday morning and later Sunday afternoon to spend a weekend there.

You’ll also want to visit one of the many incredible Montreal restaurants during your visit!

Activities you can do during your visit to Montreal:

  • Explore Old Montreal (European-esque neighbourhood)
  • Explore Le Plateau (hipster neighbourhood with lots of cool street art)
  • Walk along the Old Port
  • Attend the Osheaga Music Festival

Montreal is a 5 hour 10 minute drive from Toronto (541 km). Drive east along the 401.

Best weekend road trips from Toronto:

  • Niagara Falls
  • Bruce Peninsula
  • Algonquin Provincial Park
  • Prince Edward County
  • 1000 Islands

There are plenty of awesome weekend road trips from Toronto you can go on, no matter what activities you’re interested in doing!

Sometimes we forget how great our own backyard is, and it’s nice to vacation locally every now and then.

If you’re interested, I’ve also got a blog post all about road trip tips that you might find helpful.

Will you be doing any weekend road trips from Toronto this summer? What are some of your favourite road trips to do around Ontario? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram !

Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

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13 of the Best Canada Road Trips That Will Blow Your Mind

April 30, 2019 By Matthew G. Bailey 12 Comments

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Alberta Road Trips in the Kananaskis

Canada Road Trip Last updated: April 1st, 2022

If the thought of being behind the wheel while driving amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world excites you, then this Canada road trip article is for you.

As world travellers that specialize in Canada travel, we’ve done some epic road trips in our lifetime, including the Australian East Coast, the Oregon Coast, California, and parts of Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, and New Zealand. Still, nothing compares to the 150-day road trip across Canada we did back in 2017. Comprising over 27,000 kilometres of asphalt (and some dirt roads as well), we got to explore Canada from coast to coast to coast. However, not everyone has 150 days to dedicate to driving across Canada.

While there are many other road trips not listed here, as well as a variety of incredible destinations that may not include an iconic road trip, we believe these 13 itineraries below are some of the best road trips in Canada and we hope they are helpful suggestions when you’re ready to take your next Canada road trip.

Let’s get started.

icefields parkway canada

Table of Contents

Icefields Parkway, Alberta

How could I not start an article about Canada’s best road trips without first mentioning the Icefields Parkway, which has often been ranked as one of the best road trips in the entire world? Stretching 232 kilometres through both Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, this highway invites you into a journey of mind-blowing scenery, including mighty mountains, waterfalls, turquoise-coloured lakes and rivers, and glaciers too. While the drive from Banff to Jasper really only takes upwards of three-four hours, you’ll probably want to budget an entire day for all the stops you’ll be making to take photos, short hikes, or even full-on tours at the Columbia Glacier. Popular stops include Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefield, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls, just to name a few. For those coming from Calgary to Banff , you just continue towards Lake Louise and then head North on highway 93.

Best time to go: This Alberta road trip is best from June to September, although May works as well. October is also good if you don’t mind a higher chance of rain in exchange for much fewer tourists. From November until April, you should expect snow and ice. This is also a beautiful time to do the road trip, but you’ll need to be much better skilled at driving and expect delays. In addition, many things such as the Columbia Icefield tour are closed.

Bonus: Due to the popularity of this area, it’s also a great place for delicious food. There are so many restaurants in the area and we’ve made some extensive guides, such as our guide to the best Banff restaurants and the best Canmore restaurants .

things to do frank slide

Cowboy Trail, Alberta

If you’re looking for some prairie and mountainous “wild west” scenery, Alberta’s Cowboy Trail is the road trip for you. Primarily located just south of Calgary, you could start your experience in the province’s biggest city, taking time to explore the many things to do in Calgary such as the Glenbow Museum, Heritage Park, Studio Bell, or the new central library. If you’re up for a party, time your visit with the Calgary Stampede, which is known as the greatest outdoor show on Earth. You could even stop by the Alberta Boot Company and grab yourself some authentic Cowboy boots or other Western-style clothing.

While the actual “Cowboy Trail” refers to Highway 22, which travels all the way from the Edmonton area down into the USA, our favourite part starts around Bragg Creek and takes you down past Turner Valley, Black Diamond, Okotoks, High River, Longview, and down towards Pincher Creek. You’ll pass a lot of stunning scenery and historical sites such as the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site as well as a number of Western-style towns before winding up in the Rocky Mountains such as the Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes. If you’re not wanting to continue into the USA, you could return to Calgary via Highway 2, stopping to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump .

Best time to go: This is one of the best road trips from Calgary and is best done between May and October.

Parque Nacional de Banff

Banff to Vancouver via the Trans-Canada Highway

While the Trans-Canada Highway can take you across the entire country, the most beautiful part, in our opinion, is from Calgary to Vancouver . After just an hour or so, you’ll arrive in Banff with nothing but gorgeous scenery for the remainder of the drive. This 900-kilometre slice of the Trans-Canada takes you through Banff National Park, Yoho National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park of Canada, and finally into Vancouver, which is nestled next to the Pacific Ocean. While this drive can be done in one very long 12-hour day, you’ll obviously want to take as long as possible to make use of the incredible national parks you’ll be driving through. There are also a number of side trips you could take, such as highway 93 down into Radium Hot Springs, and Highway 97, which will take you down to Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.

Tour Idea: Click here for a Smartphone Audio Driving Tour Offer .

Best time to go: This largely depends on what you aim to do. The safest time to go is during the warmer months when the highways are clear. However, if you’re into skiing, this is one of the best places in the world to shred powder, which is typically best between January and March.

For more tips on what to bring on a road trip, check out our Road Trip Essentials article.

There are so many things to do in Kelowna, which is why it makes such a great Canada road trip.

Road Trip around the Okanagan Valley, BC

While the Okanagan Valley isn’t really known as a specific “road trip”, it is home to one of Canada’s most famous wine regions, a gastronomic hot spot, and beautiful Lake Okanagan. There are all sorts of beautiful towns to visit, such as Kelowna , Penticton, and Vernon. There are all sorts of award-winning wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, and sandy beaches as well. This also happens to be one of Canada’s warmest regions, which can hit 40 degrees Celcius in the summer months.

Best time to go:  June to September for the warmest temperatures. April, May, and October are also great and a bit cooler.

best things to do in bc

Sea to Sky Highway, BC

This is the shortest road trip mentioned in this article but a great one to take if you’re in the Vancouver area. The Sea to Sky Highway links Vancouver to Whistler, which are less than two hours apart, making this one of the most popular road trips from Vancouver. Driving along the coast, this is a great place to see the beautiful west coast. Popular stops include Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, Shannon Falls, and the Britannia Mine Museum. There’s also the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, which provides unforgettable views and a suspension bridge and of course, Squamish and Whistler, which provide all sorts of adventurous activities. In addition, don’t forget to experience Vancouver whale watching while in the city as well as all the other fun things to do in Vancouver .

Tour Idea: Sea-to-Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip Tour .

Best time to go:  July to September is Vancouver’s dry season, but if the rain doesn’t bother you, almost any time of year is good. If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, January to March is best.

things to do on vancouver island

Vancouver Island, BC

Vancouver Island is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Canada and is home to some of the best things to do in British Columbia . Not only does it have one of the mildest climates in the country, but it’s also home to a variety of landscapes, including rainforests, mountains, rugged coastlines, and scenic towns and cities, making it a great place for a BC road trip. It’s also home to beautiful gardens, epic hikes, surfing, scuba diving, and whale-watching tours. Two of the most popular places to visit include Victoria and Tofino, which are on opposite sides of the island. While driving between the two, don’t forget to stop at Cathedral Grove to marvel at the massive trees as well as the many other parks and towns along the way. Finish the trip with one of Tofino’s stunning sunsets.

Best time to go: a West Coast road trip is best between March to May and September to November. Summer is great too but is very busy and expensive.

Before you go, check out our article about things to do in Victoria BC .

One of the most adventurous Canada road trips is the Dempster Highway and this is how to drive the Dempster highway

Dempster Highway, Yukon

As Canada’s only all-weather road that goes past the Arctic Circle, the Dempster Highway has become one of the most unique road trips in Canada. However, this is not your average highway. The Dempster Highway is a 700-kilometre extremely isolated dirt road with only one service station (they also offer accommodation and a restaurant) option along the way in Eagle Plains. This road trip takes a little more preparation than the others and will be much harder on your vehicle than any other road trip mentioned in this article. However, for those who choose this adventure, you’ll be rewarded with incredible arctic scenery and the chance to drive all the way to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean!

Best time to go: The best time to go would be in the warmer months between May and early October. The road is open year-round but the driving becomes much more dangerous in the winter. Spring will bring a lot of bugs, summer will bring a lot of tourists, and the fall has no bugs and beautiful fall foliage (hint: our favourite time is the fall). However, if you time your arrival in Inuvik for mid-July, you might be able to experience the Great Northern Arts Festival.

These are the best views of niagara falls Ontario Canada. Located close to Toronto and Ottawa, Niagara Falls is a great place to visit during a Canada road trip.

Georgian Bay Coastal Route, Ontario

Looking for one of the best road trips from Toronto? With more than 30,000 islands and over 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) of shoreline, the Georgian Bay Coastal Route loops around the Bay from Toronto and features some of Ontario’s most stunning scenery. Some of the most popular stops include the Bruce Peninsula, Parry Sound, and Killarney Provincial Park. There’s also beautiful Manitoulin Island, which is the world’s largest freshwater island, as well as Wasaga Beach, which is the world’s largest freshwater beach.

In addition, you could also extend the road trip and add in the Chatham-Kent Corridor, which is comprised of 23 small communities overlooking Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and the Thames River. Basically, it goes from Toronto to Amherstburg, which makes this one of the most popular road trips from Toronto. This route is popular with motorcyclists but is equally impressive on four wheels. Without a doubt, the most famous stop along the way is Niagara Falls Canada .

Best time to go: Summer is great but also busy. Shoulder season in late August to mid-September or in the spring from May to June is also great. Either way, this is one of the best things to do in Ontario .

If you like lakes, the lake superior circle tour is a great Canada road trip.

Lake Superior Circle Tour, Ontario

While the entire Lake Superior Circle Tour takes you to both Canada and the USA, you could opt to do a half-circle tour and just stay on the Canadian side. Either way, it’s a beautiful drive and a really cool place to get out in nature. Lake Superior is absolutely massive and will make you feel as if you’re driving alongside the ocean. It’s home to some incredible scenery as well as some interesting history from the war between Canada and the USA. In fact, you can even go scuba diving to see shipwrecks. Popular stops include Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ruby Lake Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, and Thunder Bay. This is one of those places where you should plan to spend at least a few days and perhaps go camping, hiking, or enjoy some time on the lake. It’s a great road trip in Ontario for those who love the outdoors.

Best time to go: The warmer months from May to October. July and August will be the busiest. Before going, don’t forget to enjoy one of the many awesome things to do in Toronto !

things to do in quebec

Montreal to Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec

For those wanting to experience a world-class city like Montreal, followed by a scenic road trip, the Gaspe Peninsula is the one for you. This 9-hour trip takes you along the St. Lawrence River, from Montreal to Quebec City, and up to the Gaspé Peninsula. Known for its pine forests and looming cliffs, the Gaspé Peninsula is a stunning place to visit. Some of the highlights include visiting the pierced rock in Percé, spending some time at the Parc de la Gaspésie, and taking a boat tour to Bonaventure Island. Obviously, the cities of Quebec and Montreal aren’t so shabby either. This is a great road trip for those wanting to mix urban and rural fun.

Best time to go:  June to mid-September. Want more? Here are other things to do in Quebec as well as the top things to do in Montreal .

best things to do in prince edward island

Prince Edward Island Coastal Drives

With so many beautiful coastal drives, the hardest thing might be picking the right one. Then again, you could always do all three. The tourism board has three road trips they recommend, which include the North Coast Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive, and Points East Coastal Drive. The North Coast will introduce you to its Mi’kmaq culture as well as some unique stops, including a potato museum and a college for the Highland arts. The Central Coastal Drive includes the Red Sands Shore and the Green Gables Shore region. This area is great to experience the beautiful red sand that PEI is famous for as well as the historical landmark of Anne of Green Gables. Lastly, there’s the Points East Coastal Drive, which is characterized by its parks, trails, and lighthouses. Either way, you’ll be treated to an array of stunning coastal views and delicious seafood along the way.

Best time to go:  The Eastern Canada road trip is best in the warmer months, as many attractions close in the winter. Want more ideas? Here are other things to do in Prince Edward Island .

Cabot Trail Nova Scotia

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

For those visiting the East Coast, don’t miss a scenic drive on Cabot Trail, which is easily one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia . Cradling the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail has become one of the most famous road trips in Canada and the most famous East Coast Canada road trip. At 300 kilometres in length, most of which hug the coastline, this road trip is perfect for those who love the ocean and incredible views. Traversing through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, there are all sorts of places to stop off and go for a hike as well. One of the most popular hikes is the Skyline Trail, which takes you up to the peak of the highlands for jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are also some small communities of Celtic and Acadian descent, which are also home to many artisans. This is another road trip that only takes 3-4 hours to complete but is better done over one day or more.

Tour Idea: Click here to learn about a low-cost Smartphone Audio Driving Tour .

Best time to go: June to September is best for good weather but October is great to see the fall foliage.

Spending more time in Nova Scotia? Don’t forget to enjoy some of the best things to do in Halifax !

Gros Morne National Park Hiking

The Viking Trail and Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Known to locals as “The Rock”, Newfoundland is one of the most unique and beautiful provinces in Canada. It has its lively music, food, culture, and a really friendly laid-back charm. It’s also a great place for a Canada road trip thanks to Gros Morne National Park and the Viking Trail. In fact, there are many great road trips in Newfoundland but this one stands out as the best. If you’re looking for incredible scenery, wildlife, adventure, and ancient history, there’s no better place to go. It all starts with Gros Morne National Park, which is home to landlocked fjords, mountains, forests, barren cliffs, and the sea. It’s also home to the only place in the world where you can walk on the Earth’s mantle. There’s also loads of wildlife, including moose and caribou. Then there’s the Viking Trail , which takes you from Gros Morne National Park up to St. Anthony’s. This is the tip of Newfoundland and home to the thousand-year-old Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Both Gros Morne and L’Anse aux Meadows are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Best time to go: June to early October is the best time for good weather. It’s also the only time L’Anse aux Meadows is open. For more, check out our article on the best things to do in Newfoundland

icefields parkway canada

Road Trip Canada – Canada’s Trans-Canada Highway

The Trans-Canada Highway is the most epic and incredibly long road trip you can take in Canada. It stretches across the country through all 10 provinces. Starting in Victoria, it ends in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Some of the (many) highlights awaiting road-trippers include Vancouver, Banff National Park , the Alberta Badlands, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal, Fundy National Park, and Gros Morne National Park, just to name a few. In fact, there are far too many highlights to include here. Just make sure you have a lot of time. Stopping only to sleep, this trip will take approximately 7 days. Personally, I’d want at least one month to do the whole journey from coast to coast. Add in an additional 2-4 weeks if you plan on going North to the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Best time to go:  April to October for optimal weather coast to coast. However, some parts of Canada still get snowstorms up until May.

We hope this list has inspired you to take a Canada road trip somewhere in this country, if not all the way across.

If you’re exploring Canada, we have many other articles you might enjoy as well, including:

  • Things to Do in Drumheller
  • Things to Do in Jasper
  • Whale Watching Canada
  • Things to Do in Calgary
  • Camping in Alberta

Happy Travels!

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13 Canada Road Trip Ideas

About Matthew G. Bailey

Matthew G. Bailey is the founder and editor-in-chief of Must Do Canada. Growing up in Alberta to a mother from Quebec and a father from Newfoundland, Matt spent his childhood playing hockey under the Northern Lights and hanging out in the forest before moving to Calgary and travelling to more than 250 cities spanning 42 countries and 6 continents. He loves travel, learning new things, playing sports, writing, making videos, photography, and scuba diving. You can also find him at LiveLimitless.net .

Reader Interactions

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March 18, 2020 at 5:18 am

Traveling by car can get you places which can be very difficult to reach by public transport or tour. It gives you the convenience of going your own way, in your own time, and it can often be cheaper than public transport alternatives, especially if traveling as a couple or a group. Many car rental services are giving comfortable rides at affordable rates Here, some top road trip ideas to inspire you : 1) The Trans-Canada Highway 2) Sea to Sky Country, British Columbia 3) Icefields Parkway, Alberta 4) Country Routes, Quebec 5) The Dempster Highway, Yukon and Northwest Territories 6) Coastal Drives, Prince Edward Island

I mentioned above places are when I visited last time in Canada by ReRyde ride share service. It is easy for me to travel all the places at affordable rates within the scheduled hours. I enjoyed my trip happily by seamless ride To get more information: https://www.reryde.com/

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June 9, 2020 at 7:33 pm

I am especially interested in the Dempster Highway drive. Could you send me a guide please?

Mike Richins 325-660-8904

5058 Oaklawn Drive Abilene, Texas 79606

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June 10, 2020 at 3:23 pm

We don’t have any guides to sell. We might create a digital one, but it wouldn’t be ready anytime soon.

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June 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm

I’m looking for some good road trips as I’m RVing from Kingston, Ontario to Vancouver Island in September and taking a month to do it.

June 25, 2020 at 1:23 am

Oh awesome, that sounds like a great trip. So much to see along the way. Riding Mountain NP, Grasslands NP in Sask, Calgary, the Rocky Mountains, etc 🙂

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September 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm

My wife and I are planning to drive from Surrey BC to London Ontario. Leaving October 9th, or 10th 2020. wish me luck. we are hoping for good weather.

September 9, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Very cool! That’s a big drive! Just going for fun?

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January 30, 2021 at 8:32 pm

There is the Northern Woods and Water Highway road trip that is the furthest North people can travel east west in Canada. See the website http://www.NWWR.ca As an Association we promote a different view of the prairies. It can be connected with the TransCanada or Yellowhead for a circle tour of Western Canada from Winnipeg to Vancouver and return. Get on anywhere and experience woods, water and wildlife.

February 1, 2021 at 3:56 pm

Very cool! Thanks for sharing! Are you like a Tourism Board for the area? We’d love to feature this one day on the channel

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April 28, 2021 at 5:12 pm

just got some new wheels so anxious to hit the road….when we can once again do that! thanks for the great ideas!

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April 3, 2023 at 9:01 pm

Do you have suggestions for renting a car that would allow you to rent the car on the west coast and leave it on the east coast?

April 4, 2023 at 1:51 pm

Not really. Some do allow that though for a fee. Sometimes you can book it this way through a site like Rentalcars.com, Expedia, etc.

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Ultimate Ontario

5 Best Road Trips From Toronto: Discover The Most Beautiful Short Drives From The GTA

There is no shortage of road trips from Toronto, and that’s why we break down the top 5 road trips from Toronto, with a little something for everybody.

Road trips from Toronto

Thinking about ways to travel locally within Ontario has become more critical than ever before. Luckily, here in Ontario, we’re blessed with many great experiences right at our doorstep.

Depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for, there are plenty of  charming small towns ,  beautiful hikes  and  romantic getaways  scattered across the province.

Some of these options are great for a day or two. However, sometimes–especially if you live in or around Toronto–you might be looking to escape for a little bit longer.

There are so many ways to plan multi-day road trips from Toronto. You could leave Toronto heading any direction and easily find a week’s worth of activities to do.

If you live in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area and are searching for the best Ontario drives , then you’re in luck. Keep reading to choose from this list of the five best road trips from Toronto.

family road trip toronto fringe

The Best Road Trips from Toronto

City life is the best for those who love it. But even the most dedicated Torontonian needs to escape the big smoke once in a while. So to help you out, this is a list of the five best road trips from Toronto.

There’s a lot of power in taking a spontaneous trip . The benefit of these trips is they’re all local and easily accessible by car. If the decision is too difficult to make, I don’t blame you! I promise you that there isn’t a short straw in this bunch of Toronto getaways.

Road Trip from Toronto #1: The Eastern Shores of Lake Ontario

Recommended Length: 3-5 days Round-trip Distance from Toronto: 530km

When you’re planning a road trip from Toronto, heading east is a great option. There are plenty of scenic drives and beautiful towns to enjoy.

For this road trip from Toronto, we’ll make the first stop in Port Hope.

Port Hope is a charming little town with over 250 heritage designated buildings. It’s also the hometown of the Canadian author and environmentalist, Farley Mowat. Make sure you see a play at the intimate Capitol Theatre, a Canadian National Historical site, during your visit.

If these reasons aren’t enough to sell you on it, Port Hope is also one of the most charming small towns in Ontario .

family road trip toronto fringe

Continue your road trip from Toronto by making the short drive to Cobourg. Also located on Lake Ontario, Cobourg is known for its large sandy beach.

It’s unexpected to see a beach of this calibre within an hour’s drive from Toronto. If you want to spend some extra time on the Cobourg beach, I’d recommend choosing from one of the quaint bed and breakfasts in Cobourg. And if it’s too busy, consider this list of the best beaches in Ontario .

Prince Edward County

Next on this great drive from Toronto, head to Prince Edward County. This gorgeous Ontario wine region is often fondly referred to as “The County.”

If you’re taking the 401, consider stopping at the iconic Big Apple in Colborne on the way. You’ll know where it is when you see it. It makes for the perfect pit stop for those with a sweet tooth. They have a variety of baked goods (including homemade apple pies!) and an 18-hole mini-putt and outdoor picnic area.

There are endless opportunities to explore Prince Edward County. While it’s known best for its wide array of wineries and breweries, The County has way more to offer than just that.

Prince Edward County makes for a fantastic  romantic getaway in Ontario . It has delicious restaurants and cute bed and breakfasts. The small towns of Picton and Wellington and the drive-in movie theatre between are not to be missed.

Be sure to drive east on the peninsula from Picton to Lake on the Mountain before leaving for some beautiful panoramic views of Lake Ontario’s surrounding bays.

family road trip toronto fringe

Sandbanks Provincial Park

If natural surrounds are more to your taste, head to Sandbanks Provincial Park while you’re in Prince Edward County.

It has some of the most impressive sand dunes in Ontario and expansive trails for biking, hiking and camping. Plus, the beaches on the shores of Lake Ontario make for an excellent day trip.

Continue your road trip from Toronto by heading east to Belleville.

I’d recommend taking the Loyalist Parkway from Picton to Belleville. It’s one of  seven breathtaking drives in Ontario .

When you arrive in Belleville, it has a really lovely downtown area. The city has put quite a lot into redeveloping its historic core over the past few years. You may be there on a Saturday morning for a delicious croissant breakfast sandwich at L’Auberge de France. Or maybe you’r there for an afternoon beer at Signal Brewery, or a cocktail at The Lark. Or perhaps you’re even there for dinner and live music at Capers. There are so many great places to eat and drink.

Finish your time in town by touring the historic homes in the East District. Head through Corby Park to Glanmore Estate. Finally, take a stroll or bring your bike along the waterfront trail before heading east to Kingston.

family road trip toronto fringe

The last stop on this road trip from Toronto is to head to Kingston. Continue east on the Loyalist Parkway to get here.

Kingston was the original capital of Upper Canada and was intended to be the capital city of Canada. Despite its significant role in Canada’s history, this is still a fact that surprises many Canadians.

The capital city, as we know, became the lesser-known (and lesser-settled) town of Ottawa. This was due to fear of attack by the Americans on Kingston thanks to its proximity to the American border.

All that being said, Kingston has a lot to offer. Its history speaks for itself, and the incredibly preserved limestone buildings of downtown Kingston and the historic Queens University campus are an Ontario treasure.

On top of that, there are some wonderful restaurants, performances, festivals and opportunities to spend time on Lake Ontario on your visit to Kingston.

Also, be sure to arrange a tour of the historic and picturesque Fort Henry before leaving town.

If you have a little extra time on your road trip from Toronto, be sure to check out Wolfe Island. It’s a unique island in Lake Ontario just across from Kingston. You’ll need to arrange for a ferry to get yourself there.

family road trip toronto fringe

Road Trip from Toronto #2: Ontario’s Highlands

Recommended Length: 5-7 Days Round-trip Distance from Toronto: 590km

Ontario’s Highlands make for a great place for a road trip from Toronto. There are a lot of fantastic lakes and small towns in this region. If you’re looking for something a little extra, then this route is for you.

family road trip toronto fringe

Peterborough and the Kawarthas

About an hour outside of Toronto sits the Kawartha Lakes region.

It’s home to the famous Ontario creamery, Kawartha Dairy. But there’s a lot to see in this region that goes beyond heaping scoops of ice cream. By the way, if you haven’t sampled Kawartha Dairy ice cream yet, you’re officially missing out. You’ll see what I mean about the scoops’ size when you visit one of their locations on your road trip from Toronto.

The two largest lakes in this region are Sturgeon Lake and Balsam Lake, but given the name of this region, as you can imagine, there are many other lakes that you can enjoy.

You can visit the charming harbour town of Rosedale or the larger town of Fenelon Falls. As many will know, the Trent-Severn waterway runs through here. Be sure to stop and watch the locks at Fenelon in action if you’re able to.

family road trip toronto fringe

Continuing north on your road trip from Toronto from the Kawarthas, Minden and the surrounding Minden Hills are a great place to spend an afternoon or an overnight. It’s part of what makes this route one of the best road trips from Toronto.

In the historical centre of Minden, you can take a peaceful stroll along the Gull River. Stop for a beer tasting at Boshkung Social, a favourite local watering hole.

If you visit in the summertime, they’ve recently opened Minden River Run, which is basically Ontario’s take on the “lazy river.” If walking is old news for you, rent a tube beginning at a higher point in the Gull River, and drift into town.

If you’re looking to extend your time spent in this region, between the Minden and Haliburton areas, there are many unique bed and breakfasts and cottages for rent. The lakes in this region are special – that’s worth noting when you’re planning this road trip from Toronto.

family road trip toronto fringe

Driving about 30 minutes northeast of Minden, you’ll find the charming town of Haliburton. It’s a great stop on this road trip from the GTA.

Nestled around the shores of Head Lake, Haliburton is a small but tight-knit community and town. It’s home to a lot of local arts and culture. There are many artists who live there year-round or spend time there in the summer.

You can visit the sculpture forest at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art and Design, or walk along the main street of Haliburton to enjoy the shops and restaurants.

Be sure not to leave before stopping at Baked and Battered for some delicious fish and chips.

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After staying overnight somewhere in the region of Minden or Haliburton, continue your road trip from Toronto by heading towards Bancroft.

As you drive between Haliburton and Bancroft, be prepared to pass some pretty views of lakes and hills, as this is the heart of Ontario’s Highlands.

Bancroft is known for its high hills with scenic panoramic views from Eagle’s Nest Lookout. You can see all of the town and surrounding region. They also have a wonderfully intimate and historic theatre called The Village Playhouse. It’s definitely worth a stop to check out a performance.

An optional extra to add to this road trip from Toronto would be a trip to Bon Echo Provincial Park. It takes you a little further west before coming back to Madoc.

If you’re interested in hiking, Bon Echo Provincial Park also made our list of 10 of the Most Beautiful Hikes in Ontario .

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The small town of Madoc makes for a great stop to finish this road trip from Toronto.

Madoc has a charming main intersection with historic brick storefronts. You can visit the grounds and trails of the O’Hara Mill Homestead & Conservation Area to explore some of the local nature.

Be sure to stop by Hidden Goldmine Bakery for one of their signature butter tarts before leaving. You could also stop by Ivanhoe Cheese if savoury is more to your taste.

From Madoc, you can head south to Belleville, and then back to Toronto. Feel free to check the recommendations for Trip #1, since you’ll pass many of these stops on your way home.

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Road Trip from Toronto #3: Northern Nature

Recommended Length: 5-7 Days Round-trip Distance from Toronto: 690km

If you drive north from Toronto, you could theoretically drive straight for nearly 20 hours, and keep going until you reach northwestern Ontario and Manitoba.

Given that people planning a road trip from Toronto are likely looking to circle back, I’ve decided to keep this option relatively close to home.

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Collingwood & The Blue Mountains

The first stop on this road trip from Toronto is Collingwood and t he Blue Mountains . They have a lot to offer for a Toronto road trip, and many Torontonians will be familiar with Collingwood.

Collingwood is just over two hours from Toronto. It’s an excellent option for those who want to remain close but feel away from it all.

This region is home to the famed Scandinave Spa near Blue Mountain. In Collingwood’s centre, there are some tasty local restaurants and breweries and a variety of scenic rental properties.

Finally, you can head to the charming Blue Mountain Village for an evening out. There are some great restaurants, bars and clubs in this picturesque town.

If you’re interested in outdoor activities, there are plenty of opportunities for skiing and snowboarding on Blue Mountain in the winter and mountain biking and hiking in the summer.

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Sauble Beach

Just an hour’s drive from Collingwood, Sauble Beach’s main attraction speaks for itself.

Known for its long, white sandy beach and rental cottages, this area makes for a great place to relax and enjoy the shores of Lake Huron.

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Bruce Peninsula

Sauble Beach is just one of the many fantastic places to check out on the Bruce Peninsula.

This small peninsula on Lake Huron makes a significant imprint on its visitors. You can head to Sauble Falls Provincial Park, go hiking on the Bruce Trail or the Apple Rail Trail.

If you’re keen on camping, there are some beautiful spots in Bruce Peninsula National Park.

If you’re staying overnight, the Bruce Peninsula is also one of the best places for stargazing in Ontario .

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Your tour up the Bruce Peninsula can take as long or short as you’d like. It’s only an hour’s drive from nape to neck, but there are so many things to see and do that you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Regardless of how long you choose to spend on this road trip from Toronto, if you drive the full length of the peninsula, you’ll find yourself in the charming town of Tobermory.

Tobermory is a small yet charming harbour town on Lake Huron. Its location is primarily used as the jumping-off point to explore the sights of Flowerpot Island and the Blue Grotto.

Tobermory makes for an excellent place to stay if you’re looking to explore the surrounding areas.

You can check out the vast array of options for overnight accommodations for yourself. They have everything from charming bed and breakfasts to rustic cottages.

You can finish your road trip by heading back to Toronto the same way you came, or cutting down south towards Guelph and back to Toronto.

If you plan to do the latter, see if you can make a plan to intersect with some of the suggestions from Trip #4.

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Road Trip from Toronto #4: The Central Hills of Arts and Nature

Recommended Length: 4-6 Days Round-trip Distance from Toronto: 358km

The beautiful thing about this trip is it’s one of the short road trips from Toronto. It’s a closer loop than several of the other road trips from Toronto on this list.

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Forks of the Credit Provincial Park & Cataract

Start by driving an hour and a half to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. You can enter from either McLaren Rd. or Cataract Rd.

The driving entrance and the parking lot is off McLaren, but Cataract is more off the beaten path, and there’s a beautiful train leading in. You can do a loop to reach either place in the park.

Whichever entrance you choose, this park has some excellent and pleasant areas for hiking. There are dramatic hills and cliffs, rolling rivers, and scenic bridges and train tracks.

This whole area is also friendly for biking. If biking is more your speed, then you’ll be happy to know that you can actually bike all the way from the small town of Cataract to Elora on the Elora-Cataract Trailway. Many people do, in fact.

Choose which adventure suits you, but I’d recommend looking into staying at the charming Forks of the Credit Inn as your jumping-off point on this road trip from Toronto.

It’s owned by a wonderful couple and has some of the coziest rooms in the Provincial Park’s beautiful natural surroundings. It also makes for a great place if you plan on spending an extra day exploring Alton, as you should.

The next stop on this road trip from Toronto isn’t very far from Cataract. Just a few kilometres away, Alton is a beautiful area with a lot of character. For the arts and culture lovers, Alton Mills is not to be missed. Alton Mills is a fantastic community hub.

There’s a marketplace with many goods and crafts for sale made by local vendors. There are also artists’ spaces upstairs which you can walk around and visit with the artists’ permission.

In the summer and winter, the grounds around the mill are great for walking around and exploring. It was originally a mill, after all, so it’s worth exploring.

Be sure to stop by Good Lot Farmstead Brewing Co. while you’re in Alton. It’s located on the farm where they grow their own hops, and the beer is delicious.

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Orangeville

Another short drive from Alton is the city of Orangeville . Orangeville has a charming little historic centre, with a renowned theatre and excellent bars and restaurants. If you’re interested in tasty cheeses, Fromage Orangeville is definitely worth a stop.

While you’re in the area of Orangeville, be sure to visit Adamo Estate Winery for a tasting.

If you plan on spending a little extra time in the area, you can head to Hockley Valley Cabin restaurant, or stay overnight at their resort.

If you visit the region in winter, Hockley Valley made our list for the 10 Best Resorts for Downhill Skiing in Ontario .

On this road trip from Toronto. you’re going to spend longer getting to Elora from Orangeville. Elora is known for the beautiful Elora Gorge.

It’s also home to the Elora Centre for the Arts. Similar to Alton Mills, it’s a space where artists can share their work with the community. Be sure to stop by Elora Brewing Company.

You have to take a tube along the Grand River if you visit Elora in the warmer months. This tubing experience is a well-known one in Ontario, and for a good reason.

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The final stop on this road trip from Toronto is an hour from Elora.

Stratford is a charming small town. It’s known for its world-renowned Stratford Festival. Each year, theatre professionals from around the world come to act, direct and create for its stages.

In addition to its famous festival, Stratford is very picturesque. It’s set on the scenic Avon River and Lake Victoria. You can typically find small groups of swans on its waters.

There are some beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces to explore in Stratford. There are also some charming cafes, restaurants and shops. Be sure to see about staying at a local bed and breakfast when you go.

If you want to extend this road trip from Toronto, from Stratford, you can head south to connect with the end of Trip #5, and then loop back to Toronto from there.

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Road Trip from Toronto #5: Westward to Norfolk County

Recommended Length: 4-6 Days Round-trip Distance from Toronto: 370km

This is another one of the short road trips from Toronto. It takes you southwest of the city.

Start by driving just under an hour (depending on traffic) to the city of Hamilton . It has a history of being an industrial hub on the shores of Lake Ontario. However, in today’s time, it’s more notable for its many historic brick buildings and Victorian houses.

In addition to some fantastic restaurants such as Earth to Table Bread Bard and tasty cafes like Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe, there are great places to stop here.

Before pressing on to Norfolk County, there’s good hiking here, and the region is known for its waterfalls. Head to Albion Falls, Webster’s Falls or Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

Norfolk County

Next, head to the charming Norfolk County . It’s home to some amazing farms, restaurants, breweries and wineries and outdoor experiences.

Port Dover is a small and intimate beach town. It’s a breath of fresh air on the shores of Lake Erie.

You can stay for a day by the beach or just stop for lunch and some ice cream while taking in the sandy views.

Instantly, when you visit Port Dover you feel away from it all. Top your visit off by seeing a show at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre or the Port Dover Harbour Museum.

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Simcoe is the largest town in Norfolk County, however, its centre is still very small and charming.

The historic centre of Simcoe has some excellent places to stop for a bite. Joy Bakery Cafe has delicious coffees, lattes, and baked goods if you’re looking for a quick snack.

If you’re in town with time for a sit-down meal, The Combine restaurant is an great choice. Come for the historic charm of this old home which has been converted into a restaurant, but stay for the tasty food.

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Turkey Point & Long Point

On your drive to Turkey Point from Simcoe, be sure to detour and check out Charlotteville Brewing Company. It’s a beautiful and rustic spot, with lovely owners and a great outdoor patio if the weather permits.

Turkey Point is home to Turkey Point Provincial Park and the small coastal town of Turkey Point. There’s a lovely beach on this quiet little slice of land on Lake Erie.

In addition to the natural beauty of Turkey Point, the region is also home to some must-visit places to visit such as Burning Kiln Winery and Long Point Eco-Adventures. The two are across the street from one another.

Long Point Eco-Adventures offers many different types of activities including zip-lining, guided foraging hikes and apiary tours. They also offer a great place for people to camp, stay in cabins or use their glamping tents with full electricity.

After your visit, top it off by walking across the street to try some of the award-winning “Kiln Hanger” wine from Burning Kiln.

You can finish this road trip from Toronto by heading back the way you came, or heading north to connect with Stratford at the end of Road Trip #4.

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Choosing the Best Road Trips from Toronto

By now you’ve had a good overview of different options. When you’re choosing the road trips from Toronto, consider the length of time and the distance you spent driving.

Even from this list of unique road trips from Toronto, it’s amazing to think about how mildly this even begins to scratch the surface of what’s available in Ontario.

When you’re looking great drives from Toronto, you might want to go even farther or longer. There are so many great options that will take you further in this province, but that will have to wait for another time.

Do you have a list of favourite road trips from Toronto? Swing by our Ultimate Ontario Facebook community and share them with us! Join in the conversation and you’re bound to get even more great ideas for travel in Ontario.

Bri Mitchell

Bri Mitchell is a travel writer and content creator from Toronto, Ontario. She loves to highlight all things nature, food, wellness, history and adventures in her work. Bri writes and shares her travel experiences from across Canada and beyond on Instagram and TikTok @brimitchelltravels, and in her articles for travelingmitch.com , Ultimate Ontario, and here on We Explore Canada.

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Frozen lake in Ontario at sunset

15 Best Winter Road Trips from Toronto

Toronto is a vibrant city, famous for its diverse food scene, major sports events and buzzing arts and entertainment scene. Though the city shows no signs of slowing down once snow hits the ground, you've got plenty of choices if you want to escape for some winter fun elsewhere.

Whether you want to embrace the snow or head for warmth, a winter road trip from Toronto can involve outdoor recreation in stunning nature, foodie cities and wineries, winter festivals in picturesque settings, or seeking warmer weather at the coast.

Whichever kind of winter road trip you have in mind, we've pulled together key information for a variety of destinations to help inspire your trip. Read on for our guide to the places to go, how to get there, and what to do once you arrive.

Best winter road trips from Toronto: a quick overview

Single day trips (under 3 hours each way).

If you want to experience the snow at its most picturesque, head out of the city and enjoy one of these shorter trips for quaint Christmas markets, stunning winter scenery and a whole range of snow sports.

1. Kitchener (Christkindl Market) and St Jacob, ON

1 hour 30 minutes from Toronto (120 km)

Why you should visit: The shortest day trip from the city on the list, this destination offers a unique program of seasonal festivities with a German flare.

Kitchener is a former German Mennonite town that is rich in German heritage - walking through the snowy streets it really feels like you've stepped back in time to Bavaria, Germany.

Downtown Kitchener historic district on a sunny day, Ontario

How to get there: Head west on ON-401 out of Toronto and turn north on Highway 8 west towards Kitchener. From Kitchener, head north on ON-85 to St Jacobs, then onward to the St Jacobs Farmers' Market.

Our highlights: Turn back the clock 200 years and this region was settled by German Mennonites, whose heritage is prevalent in Kitchener's architecture, language and cultural traditions.

One such tradition is the Christkindl Market, which from December 1 to 4 is a charming place to browse vendor stalls, get Bavarian-style treats, and do some holiday shopping.

Kitchener boasts another famous market - the St Jacobs Farmers' Market - which features over 250 vendors selling everything from fresh produce, baked goods, home furnishings, toys, crafts, and a flea market.

November is a great time to go as the whole venue is lit up with sparkles, and you can even take horse-drawn winter sleigh rides!

If you want to try skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, the Chicopee Ski Club offers all three, or try the Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club cross-country ski trails that cover southern Kitchener.

For a hit of culture, check out the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, which displays selections from the culturally diverse city of Kitchener as well as art on loan from other galleries.

Bonus: During the holidays, Victoria Park puts on a Christmas Fantasy festive light display with a synthetic ice-skating rink, which is free to experience!

Our travel tips: Book any outdoor activities in advance and check weather conditions online before you set off.

2. Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake

1 hour 50 minutes from Toronto (150 km)

Why you should visit: The Niagara River is a stunning sight to behold even in the colder months, and the scenery created by the Falls with ice and glistening snowy surrounding is not-to-be-missed.

Avoid peak summer times and see this world wonder in the winter instead when it's quieter and enjoy the festive holiday vibe in the surrounding city.

Historic Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, Canada in the snow with horse drawn carriage in the foreground

How to get there: Head south on Queen Elizabeth Highway through Hamilton. Take the exit for Regional Road 55 towards Niagara-On-The-Lake. Take Niagara Parkway south to Niagara Falls.

Our highlights: The surrounding areas are filled with local wineries - we recommend Wayne Gretzky's which has an ice rink on-site or Peller Estates which has an ice bar. If you're looking for something more romantic that's great for couples, try the Trius Winery and Restaurant.

The Icewine Festival in January is a festive winter wonderland that might just convince you to stay for the weekend - with special winery visits and tours as well as dinner pairings.

Sentineal Carriages operate horse-drawn carriage rides, which is a nostalgic way to explore the historic town of Niagara-On-The-Lake.

Niagara Falls is obviously the star of the show and is particularly spectacular in the winter when parts of it freeze over. In the city of Niagara there are plenty of restaurants and shopping, as well as a butterfly conservatory which keeps the butterflies (and you!) warm all winter.

Bonus: Inniskillin winery is the original maker of icewine, which you can sample at their premises. Icewine is made with grapes that have frozen on the vine and is very sweet, like a dessert wine.

Our travel tips: If you want, you can cross the Rainbow International Bridge to step onto American soil, though immigration customs checks do apply.

3. Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Why you should visit: On the shore of Lake Ontario, this park is open all year round and offers a unique chance to see ice cliffs, ice volcanoes, and other ice formations up close during the winter months.

This wintery wonderland can be explored by car or on foot, for a peaceful moment of solitude in the wilderness.

Swans at Presquile Provincial Park in the winter

How to get there: Go east on ON-401 and turn south at Purdy Corners on CR25 to follow County Road 2 to the park entrance.

Our highlights: See elusive animals such as foxes, river otters, long-tailed ducks, bald eagles, snow buntings, and snowy owls on the Winter Wildlife Detective Program.

See the famous ice cliffs from the shoreline of Lake Ontario, including pancake ice formations and icebergs. It's also a great place to go snowshoeing, with plenty of outfitters nearby and established trails.

Brimacombe is a small ski area midway between Toronto and the park, which is especially good for beginners!

Waldeinsamkeit means “solitude in the forest”, and there is plenty of that on offer here during quiet winter months in the park.

Our travel tips: Don't walk directly on the ice on the shoreline of the lake as this can be dangerous! Stay on the trails on solid land unless you are with an experienced guide.

4. Collingwood and Blue Mountain Ski Resort

2 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (170 km)

Why you should visit: With a beautiful setting on the shore of South Georgian Bay, this area is under 3 hours from Toronto and offers plenty of winter recreation activities including skiing, snowboarding and sledding.

The Blue Mountains area boasts nearly every winter sport imaginable, as well as indoor activities in the historic village and local spas. So, whether you are looking to hit the slopes or want to pamper yourself, this road trip has those boxes checked.

Blue Mountain Village ski resort in the winter at dusk

How to get there: Take ON-400 north to ON-26 W to Collingwood, then take Mountain Rd (19) to the Blue Mountain Ski Resort.

Our highlights: The Blue Mountain area is not actually a mountain, but in fact the edge of the Niagara Escarpment which is one of Canada's UNESCO biosphere preserves, hence the stunning landscape.

Blue Mountain Ski Resort boasts 43 runs for skiing or snowboarding and a snowmaking system so you always have fresh powder. It also offers tubing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails.

If skating is more your thing, Woodview Mountaintop Skating is a 1km loop on top of the “mountain” with views off the escarpment, accessed via the Scenic Caves Road. You can also take in the landscape from the suspension bridge at the Scenic Caves Nordic Center.

After you've worked up an appetite, Collingwood is a historic cultural town with quaint shops and dining options.

Bonus: Collingswood has multiple craft beverage breweries, from beer to kombucha and coffee houses - make sure to take a local tour to sample some!

Our travel tips: Look out for scenic drives along Pretty River Provincial Park, Eugenia Falls and along Highway 26.

5. Muskoka Lake and Bracebridge, ON

2 hours 15 minutes from Toronto (200 km)

Why you should visit: This nearby region is only a short hop from Toronto and offers a range of unique winter activities in a stunning setting.

The Muskoka region is known for its natural scenery and is the closest natural wilderness to Toronto, featuring crystal lakes, pine forests and rocky shorelines.

The Little Falls Cottage country area Washago Muskoka County. Lake area in winter

How to get there: Head north on ON-400 out of Toronto and onto ON-11 to Muskoka District Road to reach Bracebridge. Lake Muskoka is to the west of Bracebridge and has multiple access points.

Our highlights: During the winter you can visit Santa's Village, a Christmas-themed amusement park with a petting zoo, rides for kids (and big kids!), and a zip line.

Muskoka Lake Farm and Winery is situated directly on the lake - you can fly around their unique ice-skating trail on a bed of frozen cranberries before enjoying some local wine and cheese by the fire.

Go ice-fishing on Lake Muskoka or Three Mile Lake, with many outfitters and companies in the area offering packages including snowmobile tours.

You can also take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride at Twin Maples Farm, which is located south of Bracebridge.

Bonus: The town is exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole, which is the inspiration behind the Santa's Village Theme Park.

Our travel tips: Book Santa's Village in advance, as it's open only on weekends from November through December. For New Year's Eve they hold a ‘Partybration' on December 31!

Click here to skip back to the top.

Weekend trips (3-6 hours each way)

Getting a bit further out of Toronto offers an even greater range of outdoor winter activities, but you'll also find towns with significant cultural heritage, spas and festive experiences.

Whatever your speed, what these weekend trips have in common are stunning scenery and cozy places to unwind after a day in the snow.

6. Huntsville and Algonquin Provincial Park, ON

3 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (300 km)

Why you should visit: This untouched region houses spectacular waterfall scenery in a remote setting, with the chance to encounter local wildlife.

Away from the city and well-traveled areas, this haven of solitude has a plethora of outdoor adventures on its doorstep, such as world-class skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding.

Red Fox sitting in the snow in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

How to get there: Head north out of the city on ON-400 N and ON-11 and take exit 219 to Huntsville. From Huntsville, head east on Muskoka District Road 3 to ON-60 east towards Ottawa via Algonquin Park.

Our highlights: There are a whole host of snow sports on offer in Algonquin Provincial Park, including snowmobiles, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing or biking around the old railway trail. There are plenty of outfitters in Huntsville who can get you kitted up.

Winter camping is allowed in the park, or you can rent a yurt. There is plenty of wildlife to encounter, including moose and bears if you're lucky!

You can stay at Deerhurst Resort or Hidden Valley Resort to access the Hidden Valley Highlands ski area, which has lots of options for ski-and-stay packages, with runs for all levels and ski schools for kids.

If you've still got the energy, there's an ice-skating trail and cross-country skiing trail within Arrowhead Provincial Park north of Huntsville

Bonus: You can go dog sledding through the snowy forest north of Huntsville - make sure to book ahead.

Our travel tips: Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin takes place in mid-February, so visit then for indoor and outdoor events throughout the park.

7. Lake Nipissing, ON

3 hours 30 minutes from Toronto (350 km)

Why you should visit: This trip is the furthest north from Toronto, and it is worth the longer travel distance to see the beautiful Lake Nipissing and explore the surrounding wilderness.

Lake Nipissing is a fisherman's paradise and a great place to try your hand at ice fishing. It contains over 40 species of fish and attracts keen anglers from all over.

Grand Lake or Lake Nipissing at dusk close to Algonquin Provincial Park

How to get there: Head north out of the city on ON-400 and exit slightly east to ON-11. Head north to Powassan and from there head west on ON-534 to Nipissing.

Our highlights: There are plenty of lodges that can gear you up with bait and tackle for a day of ice fishing on the lake. The lake itself is only 4.5m deep but can get choppy, so make sure you check the weather ahead of your trip.

Local fishing hot spots include Callander Bay, Smith Island, Deep Bay, and Nipissing Beach.

Once you've seen your fill of fish, there are lots of other wildlife to spot - moose, wolves, bald eagles, ospreys, ducks and loons can all be found along the shores of the lake for the keen observer.

There are many small towns and communities that border the lake, many of which are worth visiting to eat fresh fish. North Bay is the largest lakeside city that offers the most dining and overnight options.

Bonus: Try and spot Manitou Islands Provincial Park in the middle of the lake – these mysterious islands are said to be haunted by ancient people. You can catch a glimpse of the islands from Highway 17.

Our travel tips: Ice fishing season generally starts around New Year's Day and continues while the lake is frozen until mid to late April.

8. Kingston and Morrisburg, ON

4 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (400 km)

Why you should visit: Take this trip to discover the host of islands along the St Lawrence River, many of which light up for the festive season. This trip takes you on a rustic drive through stunning island scenery and with the opportunity to discover historic sites and museums.

Man in period costume with horse drawn carriage at Ontario Open Air Museum, Morrisburg

How to get there: Head east out of the city on ON-401 to Kingston. Continue on ON-401 and take exit 758 south towards Morrisburg and the Upper Canada Village on County Road 2.

Our highlights: There are literally thousands of islands in the Lawrence River that you could spend days exploring. There are boat trips during which you can see the mansions and cottages atop this unique archipelago, which stretches from Kingston to Morrisburg.

Upper Canada Village is a living history museum that travels back in time to 1866. There are over 40 historical sites to explore and you can speak with interpreters about early English Canadian lifestyle.

During winter, the Alight at Night festival transforms the village into a winter wonderland.

If you're into history, Kingston is home to several significant sites such as Fort Henry (built to protect the navy dock during the War of 1812), the Grand Theater, Penitentiary, Royal Military Museum, and Bellevue House.

Bonus: The famous Thousand Island salad dressing gets its name from this group of islands, though no one is quite sure how it originated.

Our travel tips: The drive along CR 2 following the St Lawrence River is highly scenic, but can move slowly in winter weather.

9. Ottawa, ON

4 hours 50 minutes from Toronto (450 km)

Why you should visit: Ottawa is the capital of Canada and a smaller city that offers its own unique charm away from the bustle of Toronto. In winter, this charming city is blanketed in snow and transforms into a stunning winter wonderland with quintessential northern charm.

Ottawa in winter at dusk with a purple-hued sky and the water in the foreground

How to get there: On this road trip from Toronto to Ottawa , head east out of the city on ON-401 E and turn north on ON-416 N to Ottawa. Take exit 120 from the Trans-Canada Highway/ON-417 to reach the city.

Our highlights: The Winterlude Festival takes place in February, a region-wide celebration of Canadian winter activities including dining and culinary experiences, ice sculpture contests, concerts and a giant snow playground in the middle of the city!

Ottawa is a multicultural city with influences from the First Nations, French, Irish, Scottish, and English so there is a huge diversity of cuisines. With an abundance of surrounding agriculture, you'll also find many local farm-to-market eateries and wineries.

If you want to get active, there are natural skiing areas just outside of Ottawa at the Chelsea Nordic Ski Club, or you can ice skate on the frozen Rideau Canal - a UNESCO world heritage site.

As the nation's capital, the city boasts seven major national museums displaying art, history, science, and military objects. You can also see the government buildings where Canada's parliament meets or visit the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica built in the 1800s.

Bonus: The largest spa in North America is actually in Ottawa - visit Nordik Spa Nature for a Scandinavian-inspired retreat and the only saltwater floating pool in Canada!

Our travel tips: Don't miss the Christmas lights around Ottawa leading up to the holiday weekend, while Winterlude takes place for the whole month of February.

READ MORE - Road Trip from Toronto to Ottawa

Longer trips (6+ hours each way)

If you're keen to head slightly further afield, there are a whole host of cities within reach that each offer their own charm. From high-end shopping and bright lights to foodie capitals and historic markets, there are plenty of rich destinations to set your sights on from Toronto.

10. Montreal and Mont-Tremblant

7 hours from Toronto (670 km)

Why you should visit: Winter is the tourism off-season in Montreal, meaning fewer crowds at the Christmas markets and amazing restaurants - it's also the food capital of Canada!

Montreal and Mont-Tremblant are in close proximity, meaning you can get your culture and foodie fix before heading up to the picturesque ski resort for a winter getaway on this winter-wonderland road trip .

Mont Tremblant Village, Quebec with chairlift coming down the mountain

How to get there: Head east out of the city on ON-401 to Montreal. From Montreal, head north on Autoroute 15 to Trans Canada Highway and then follow QC-117 to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. Head north from Mont-Tremblant on Mnt Ryan towards the Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort.

Our highlights: Old Montreal is a delight in the winter - get in the spirit at the downtown Christmas festival with sparkling lights, Christmas markets, ice skating and a Ferris wheel.

The city's namesake Mount Royal is a fun place to go sledding tubing or snowshoeing through the forest, and a great spot to catch a vista of the whole city.

For a unique spa experience, visit Bota Bota - a converted steamboat in Montreal - Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal or Ono Spa Tremblant. All these spas offer traditional Scandinavian treatments and hot and cold water plunge pools.

At Mont-Tremblant resort you can ski, tube, snowboard and even hit the casino at this scenic ski resort at the edge of the Mont-Tremblant National Park.

Bonus: Montreal is known for its food scene, and a great way to learn more is to take a food tour that teaches you more about the history, cultures, and cuisines on offer.

Our travel tips: Montreal is French-speaking, so you might want to brush up on your language skills in advance to fit in with the locals!

READ MORE - Road Trip from Toronto to Montreal

11. Stowe, VT

7 hours 40 minutes from Toronto (740 km)

Why you should visit: Winter brings a quiet beauty to the mountains of Vermont that's worth braving the cold for.

Stowe is one of the most established skiing areas in North America and has extensive facilities for all levels, while still maintaining its small-town charm and scenic beauty.

Festive traditional shop front on Main Street in Stowe, VT at Christmas time

How to get there: Take ON-401 east toward Montreal. Cross into the USA via A 15 S and take I-89 south to Burlington. From Burlington head south on I-89 towards Montpellier and take exit 10 on VT-100 toward Stowe. Head up VT 108 to Stowe Mountain

Our highlights: Stowe Mountain Ski Resort will cater to all of your winter sports and recreation needs. The surrounding area also features activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, biking and sleigh rides.

Downtown Stowe is straight out of a storybook, with cute shops, cafes, breweries, bars, and hotels. It's at its best when decked out for the holidays with lights and greenery, and you can visit Church Street Winter Marketplace in Burlington for festive food and drinks.

Bonus: On the way to Stowe, stop by the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury for a tour and a pint.

Our travel tips: If you find Stowe Resort is too crowded, you can try Bolton Valley Resort on the west side of the mountain.

12. New York City, NY

8 hours 30 minutes from Toronto (760 km)

Why you should visit: New York City is a classic trip all year round but is particularly spectacular in winter when it is lit up for the festive season.

New York City is a metropolis known for its endless shopping opportunities, food scene and nightlife. It's also world-famous for its Christmas celebrations - with trees, lights and countless Christmas movies set on its streets.

Rockefeller Center decorated for the holidays, with festive lights at night time

How to get there: Take Queen Elizabeth Way, ON-403 W, to Buffalo, NY. Take I-190 and NY-400 south to Aurora, NY. Head south on I-390, I-86, NY-17E, I-81 and I-380 to I-80, I-280 into Newark, NJ. Cross the Hudson River via the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City into Manhattan.

Our highlights: It wouldn't be New York without a trip to Fifth Avenue, the most famous shopping street in the city with luxury brands and storefronts straight out of the magazines. Take the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping or stare at the famous window displays.

Become a Christmas cliché by visiting the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and ice skating in the plaza or booking a seat at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. There are also festive markets to visit at Bryant Park, Dyker Heights and Union Square.

The famous Times Square New Year's Eve Party takes place every year, featuring celebrity performances, the legendary ball drop, and TV specials broadcast worldwide.

For something more low-key, Lower East Side Orchard Street has art galleries, museums, and eclectic shops to browse. To round off the day, take in a Broadway show!

Bonus: The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is lit on Dec 1 with over 50,000 lights.

Our travel tips: Get your Broadway tickets in advance or try your luck at the red TKTS booths for same-day tickets.

New York is especially busy near the holidays, so make sure to book accommodations and attractions early if possible. If you'd like to learn more about the best areas to stay in NYC before you plan your trip, you can find our detailed area-by-area guide here .

READ MORE - Road Trip from Toronto to New York

13. Trois Rivières and Quebec City, QC

8 hours from Toronto (810 km)

Why you should visit: Quebec is the farthest Canadian city from Toronto by distance but is a charming destination for exploring the heart of French-Canadian culture.

Quebec City's old town is particularly charming in the winter, when it is covered in snow and festooned with Christmas lights and decorations.

Laviolette Bridge, spanning the St Lawrence River near Trois-Rivieres during winter, with ice on the river

How to get there: Take ON-401 E toward Montreal. Continue East on A 20 through Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada and onto Quebec City.

Our highlights: Celebrate at the Quebec Winter Carnival from Jan-Feb each year, with drinks, games, shows and shopping - make sure to visit the sugar shacks and eat maple syrup rolled on top of the snow!

Spend the night at the Hôtel de Glace, a hotel constructed fully from ice every January to March. You can also drop by for a visit and have a drink in the ice bar or explore the surrounding park.

The Quebec City Christmas Market is a German-inspired outdoor market from November up until Christmas. German meets French culture in the food and drink on offer - sample a glühwein and a vin chaud!

Trois-Rivieres is the oldest city in Quebec and offers a historical display of 17th-century architecture. Named for its three rivers, this town is filled with picturesque streets, manors, prisons, churches and museums to visit.

Bonus: Quebec City's toboggan run is one of the oldest attractions in the city, built in 1884. Old doesn't mean slow - you can reach speeds of up to 70km/hr as you slide down the luge track!

Our travel tips: If you want to get out of the city and into nature, you can cross the St Lawrence River to access the Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve.

READ MORE - Road Trip from Toronto to Quebec City

14. New Orleans, LA

22 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (2,240 km)

Why you should visit: Avoid the crowds by visiting New Orleans in the winter months when they still have warmer weather compared to chilly Toronto.

The winter months in New Orleans play host to festive celebrations, and you can still get fresh seafood no matter what time of the year!

Holiday decorations in New Orleans' French Quarter at night, with taillights streaking by

How to get there: Take ON-403 and ON-401 west out of the city towards Detroit, MI. Take I-75 S to Cincinnati, and take I-71 S to Louisville, KY. Take I-65 S to Nashville, TN and follow I-40 west to Memphis, TN, then head south on I-55 to New Orleans, LA.

Our highlights: On the way to New Orleans , make sure to stop in Nashville or Memphis, TN, both home to live music and great southern food.

Once you arrive, hit the Christmas Market in Jackson Square, or the Deutsches Haus Christkindlmarkt for a German-inspired festive shopping experience.

If you're in New Orleans for New Year's Eve, head to Bourbon Street or any of the private parties and galas throughout the city, including on the riverboats!

The famous Mardi Gras celebrations take place in February, but in the weeks leading up to the official event there are countless parties and parades to get into the spirit of things!

Bonus: Mardi Gras means ‘Fat Tuesday', and usually takes place in early February, 40 days before the start of Easter.

Our travel tips: Along the way, you could stop in Louisville, KY to sample and shop for their famous bourbons.

READ MORE - Road Trip from Toronto to New Orleans

15. Orlando and Miami, FL

23 hours 20 minutes from Toronto (2,400 km)

Why you should visit: Escape the cold weather for good and drive in a straight line south - all the way to Florida !

Florida boasts warm weather all year round - it's possible to swim in the ocean even in December. Orlando's famous theme parks are specially decorated for the festive season, and they play host to a range of holiday events.

View of Orlando skyline with holiday decorations on palm trees at sunset

How to get there: Take Queen Elizabeth Way, ON-403 W to Buffalo. From there take I-90 S to I-79 S towards Pittsburg, PA. Take I-77 S (via state highway 19 in Virginia) to Columbia NC. Take I-26 Southeast to meet I-95 S to Jacksonville, FL.

Follow I-95 South to Miami, or detour via I-4 and the Florida Turnpike through Orlando.

Our highlights: En route, make sure to take a break in the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains to experience the fantastic hiking trails and dramatic scenery. There are plenty of other cities worth a stop, including Pittsburg, PN, Charlotte, NC and Savannah, GA.

In Florida, visit the rocket launch pad at Cape Canaveral, or visit the Kennedy Space Center, home of NASA. Get your fill of nightclubs, food and beaches in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, or go surfing at Cocoa Beach.

Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios are especially festive during the holidays, particularly if you want to experience Christmas at Hogwarts. You could easily spend a few days here before continuing to Miami.

Bonus: Florida is actually home to one million wintertime residents, people who only stay during winter and migrate back north for other seasons.

Our travel tips: This drive has many different route options, so we'd recommend taking at least 3 days to complete the drive - more if you want time to explore more places on the way!

You could also add detours onto the route to visit other destinations such as Asheville, NC, Charleston, SC, Hilton Head Island and Jekyll Island.

READ MORE - Road Trip from Toronto to Orlando

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Times Square, New York, at daytime with yellow taxis

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8 Easy Road Trips From Toronto To Try In 2024

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Toronto is packed full of fun activities with kids ; however, sometimes you just want to escape the busy city life and check out the other amazing attractions in Ontario. So pack up the car and the kids and head out to explore these scenic drives from Ontario that are truly “ Yours to Discover. ” 

There are so many road trip ideas from Toronto, and it can be hard to narrow down the choices, so our goal is to provide you with some insight to make the best choice for your family based on your interests. We also have included the distance and time it takes to reach that destination from Toronto, as depending how much time you have to explore will impact which road trip you choose.

If you are looking for fun and adventure, check out these 10 Road Trips from Toronto, including One Day Road Trips and Weekend Road Trips!

  • You’ll find all our favorite Canadian Road Trips here!

Canada Family Road Trip planning tips

Easy One-Day Road Trips From Toronto

CA 7+ Easy Road Trips From Toronto Map

There are lots of nice drives from Toronto that allow you to truly discover how different the rest of Ontario is from the city center hub of Toronto.

Ontario is such a beautiful province to explore and discover, and there are so many scenic drives from Toronto that can be completed within a day and don’t require an overnight stay. All of these drives are 200 kilometres and below.

Check out some of the best scenic drives near Toronto that will help you escape the loud noise and busy atmosphere of Downtown Toronto, even if you don’t have a few nights to spare for a weekend getaway .

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 128 KM via The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) (1 hour and 20 minutes)

Known as one of the world’s top natural wonders, Niagara Falls is beautiful to visit, no matter the season. Enjoy watching the thunderous waterfall by boat, or get an up-close look with Journey Behind the Falls. For those who love thrill and adventure, then you will want to try the zipline over the falls over the Niagara River Rapids.

As you walk along the pathway near the falls, you can also stop at one of the many local restaurants, shops, or breweries that are located only minutes from the falls. In the summer, you can enjoy a peaceful walk through Canada’s largest rose garden in Canada at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens .

The fun doesn’t stop there as Niagara Falls is home to many family-friendly tourist attractions, including Safari Niagara, Butterfly Conservatory, Whirlpool Aero Car, Ripley’s Wax Museum, Ferris Wheel, outdoor mini golf, and much more! There is an activity for families of all ages.

Pro Tip : Search for coupons online before heading out, as many attractions offer discounts, including Attractions Ontario .

Muskoka, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 220 KM via Highway 400N and Highway 11 (2 hours and 30 minutes)

Enjoy the picturesque scenery of forests and over 1000 lakes in the Muskoka region, making it a popular destination in the summer for boating, swimming, paddling, and fishing. The lush natural forests are perfect for hiking and mountain biking. 

CA 7+ Easy Road Trips From Toronto – Muskoka

Muskoka is home to a connection of small lakes, rivers, and streams that bring many tourists in the summer to enjoy a relaxing time by the water in one of many charming small towns. Many people enjoy renting boats to check out caves and small private islands. 

Muskoka is a great place to visit in the winter as it offers amazing winter activities, including sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, skating on frozen lakes, and dog sledding. There is nothing better than stopping by a local restaurant to warm up with hot cocoa and a yummy snack.

Pro Tip: No trip to the Muskoka’s is complete without trying local Kawartha Dairy ice cream which is one of the best ice creams ever. Also, on the way up to the Muskokas, make sure to stop for a snack at Weber’s BBQ, where you can enjoy burgers, fries, and milkshakes in a converted train car.

Collingwood, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 162 KM via Highway 400N and Highway 26 West (2 hours)

Nestled along the shores of Lake Huron, Collingwood is an outdoor wonderland year-round, as the area offers both summer and winter outdoor activities. Collingwood is a great getaway from city life as it offers a relaxing environment not too far from home. 

In the winter, check out Blue Mountain for some awesome skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and skating. Once you are ready to relax after a long day of winter sports, then check out the Scandinave Spa, which encourages a cycle of saunas, hot and cold plunge pools, hammocks, and fire pits. 

The summer offers multiple outdoor fresh air experiences, including beautiful beaches, local hiking trails, and a gondola. Families can enjoy playing mini putt, ziplining, and the ropes courses or stop by the Scenic Caves to explore the unique caves and Southern Ontario’s longest zipline.

Prince Edward County, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 204 KM via Highway 401 East (2 hours and 11 minutes)

Prince Edward County is known for picturesque small towns that have unique boutique shopping and tasty local restaurants. Some of the best local Ontario wines are created in the countless vineyards in Prince Edward County. Wineries, craft breweries, and cideries are open year-round to grab a drink. 

CA 7+ Easy Road Trips From Toronto – Sandbanks Provincial Park

Stop by for a visit to Picton and stroll through the main street of antique stores, small boutiques shops, and check out the historic Regent theater. Stop by the Beacon Bike and Brew coffee shop for a beverage and a snack.

This small island can be accessed by one of 4 bridges or the small ferry. This cluster of hamlets and villages offers beautiful wineries to visit, farm-fresh farm-to-table meals, and nature and art experiences.

The region is deeply rooted in agriculture, and whether you stop by a vineyard, farm stand, or local restaurant, you are sure to experience ever-changing menus inspired by the season. Take your time and check out the Taste Trail to discover the best food and ice cream around!

Prince Edward County is home to beautiful shallow beaches that are perfect for kids to take a dip and splash around. Check out the Bay mouth barrier sand dune formation at SandBanks Park and explore the different rolling sand dunes along the branch. Sandbanks is a beautiful park to explore the hiking trails throughout the park.

Pro Tip: If you plan on taking the ferry, then plan ahead, as the ferry only holds 21 cars

Elora, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 115 KM via Highway 401 East (1 hour and 15 minutes)

Check out one of Ontario’s Most Beautiful Villages in Ontario, as this small town offers an activity for everyone in the whole family. The shopaholic of the family will enjoy checking out the local unique small businesses that offer unique products and gifts located in Elora Mews which is a quaint little shopping area.

The foodie of the family will enjoy local restaurants and cafes, including the famous Lost and Found Cafe, which serves coffee that has been roasted to perfection and offers a small-town community vibe as it is a gathering place for the local community.

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Elora Gorge is a natural area in the Grand River Valley area and offers a beautiful lookout point on the Elora Gorge Trail as the Grand River cuts through the area surrounded by high rock cliffs. Down below, you will often see tubing and paddling kayakers navigate the rough waters. Another unique trail to check out is the Trestle Bridge which is a 1KM loop that is suitable for younger kids.

No day is complete without visiting the Elora Quarry , which is a 12-meter-high limestone quarry that offers beautiful swimming conditions and tree-covered picnic spaces.

Pro Tip : The Elora Quarry tries to limit environmental impacts, so they have a 1300-person maximum daily, so arrive early to beat the rush.

Weekend Road Trips from Toronto

Weekend Road Trips are a great way to explore unique parts of the province of Ontario and explore different regions and local activities.

Expect lots of different attractions, including wineries, outdoor activities, museums, and much more! Embrace all that Ontario has to offer by exploring on weekend road trips.

Sudbury, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 404 KM via 400 North (4 hours)

Sudbury offers beautiful scenery and has a rich mining history, and is known as “Nickel City.” Sudbury has beautiful hiking trails at Onaping Falls , where you will find a 55-meter waterfall.

However, the best viewing point is from A.Y. Jackson Lookout. Explore dense forests and beautiful bridges that cross the riverbed, or stop by the visitor center to learn more about local geology.

CA 7+ Easy Road Trips From Toronto – Big Nickel Dynamic Earth

Sudbury is home to Science North , one of the Top 10 Science Centres in Canada, and has four levels of interactive displays for kids to do what they do best – explore and learn through play.

Be sure to check out the planetarium and Imax theater, as it’s an unforgettable experience for kids. Don’t forget to take an Instagram-worthy photo with the Big Nickel, which is over 9 meters tall.

Dynamic Earth is also great for kids, as the hands-on displays will teach kids about mining and rocks. Kids will enjoy panning for gold during Mine Training. The main attraction will take you deep below the earth to truly explore more about mining, including simulated explosions.

Tobermory, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 273 KM via Highway 10 and Highway 6 N (3 hours and 22 minutes)

Bruce Peninsula park is located on the traditional lands of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation in Tobermory, so the land is rich in history and offers a naturally beautiful environment to explore.

Tobermory has multiple beautiful beaches, and a popular attraction called the Grotto that takes you through ancient cedars and a limestone cave that leads you to the beautiful beaches that have turquoise waters to swim.

Nearby is the Fathom Five National Marine Park , which has 24 historical shipwrecks that can only be viewed by scuba diving or taking a glass bottom boat tour.

Don’t miss out on taking the ferry and exploring Flowerpot Island, a natural sea stack in the shape of a rock pillar. While on the island you can explore caves, hiking trails, and a historic lighthouse.

Point Pelee Island, Ontario

Distance from Toronto ~ 350 KM via 403 West and 401 West (3 hours and 30 minutes)

Pelee Island is a great location for adventure while enjoying beautiful surroundings. To access Pelee Island, you will have to first drive to Leamington and then catch a ferry to Pelee Island, which takes about 90 minutes. Point Pelee offers the perfect amount of history, fun, and relaxation for families of all ages.

CA 7+ Easy Road Trips From Toronto – Pelee Island

Visit the southern point of Ontario, known as one of Canada’s Best Kept Secrets, and experience all the island has to offer. If you enjoy outdoor activities, you will love biking around the island, hiking along the trails, and swimming at one of the beautiful beaches.

Pelee Island is a calm and relaxed environment that offers new sights and sounds to explore, including historic sites, boutiques, and amazing food and drinks to enjoy! If you enjoy wine, stop by the Pelee Island Winery , as the weather in the area is perfect for winemaking.

Top Tips For Planning Road Trip Ideas from Toronto

  • Ontario has 23 On Routes which are travel plazas that offer food and beverages, restrooms, and gas, all in one convenient plaza located just off the highway exit, perfect for road trips and planning out emergency pit stops.
  • Highway 407 , a 150 Kilometers long toll highway, encompasses the Greater Toronto Area and may be faster to take when heading out on a road trip but be prepared; you will be billed for tolls if you don’t have a transponder.
  • You can check road conditions and traffic with CP 24 before heading out on your road trip.
  • Never forget an important road trip item again! Use our Downloadable Road Trip Essentials List before your next family road trip.

download your free road trip checklist click here button

Exploring More Of North America By Road

The fun doesn’t end in Ontario; we also have detailed guides to:

  • Taking on a Toronto To New York Road Trip
  • Explore more of Upstate New York and the northeast USA on this drive Boston to Toronto
  • Heading east, try these 5 Incredible Scenic Drives in Nova Scotia
  • Heading west, discover the best of BC and Alberta Road Tripping From Vancouver To Banff
  • Or for an even longer adventure, you can even drive all the way from Toronto to Vancouver !
  • Skip some of the long stretches and focus on these 13 Sensational Stops From Calgary to Vancouver
  • Get deeper into the Rockies, explore Banff to Glacier National Park (USA) By Road

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Ideas & Inspiration

Photograph peak blooms at the toronto botanical garden, hit refresh with a health & wellness trip to toronto, 6 top toronto spas for last-minute spontaneous pampering, the perfect toronto weekend itinerary for maple leafs fans, the classics, celebrate local ontario flavours at these 10 toronto restaurants, food & nightlife, local picks: best pizza in toronto, toronto's best sports bars for watching the big game, global tastes, toronto's best restaurants for plant-forward dining, culture & entertainment, 10 toronto blue jays fan experiences at rogers centre, museums, galleries & attractions, 10 amazing toronto escape rooms & games for all ages, 5 great toronto attractions if you are blind or visually impaired, shopping guides, where to buy uniquely toronto gifts & souvenirs, style & design, an architecture buff’s guide to queen’s park, 5 iconic toronto buildings for architecture buffs, where to shop for earth day-friendly souvenirs in toronto, outdoor adventures, 9 underrated spots to see cherry blossoms in toronto, more canada, top cycling routes in toronto, indigenous stories, 10 ways to support indigenous creators.

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Family-Friendly Bike Trails for Exploring Toronto

Riders of all ages will enjoy the city experience and also see why toronto is known as a park within a city, exploring a number of areas on two wheels. .

What better way to get to know the city than a pedal through the parks and neighbourhoods of Toronto? 

While many of the parks are attractions themselves, they also are great jumping-off points to see nearby sights that the city is famous for. Let the extensive network of off-road paved trails and paths be your guide around the city with these top suggested rides for families visiting the city, a great way to keep all active and engaged in fabulous urban outdoor settings. 

The Jamie Bell Playground at High Park

High Park & Humber River 

With so much to see and do, it is well worth a visit to the largest park in the city . Coordinate a ride that gives you enough time to see the giant trees and stop at the nature centre before getting to the show-stopping magical and massive castle playground. 

Kids might be lured away to see the ducks, geese and frogs on the nearby pond, with soft serve ice cream, or a visit to the zoo to see the animals, bison and deer included, all located in the southeast corner of the park.

On weekends and holidays, family riders can enjoy a more relaxing ride on the car-free park roads. For more ambitious riders from the south end of the park, it is easy to connect to the waterfront trail for a ride that can stretch to any distance, Humber River to the west, Ontario Place to the east, and lots of playgrounds, a pool and other park amenities along the way. 

Getting There: High Park TTC Station or several streetcar options. Parking is limited in the park, and only available on weekdays. Parking at the waterfront is an option and a short ride away, but younger children need to be carefully supervised as busy road crossings are required.

Hartman - Family Cycle - Destination ON

Toronto Islands

The kids will happily spend hours running free and riding far on the Toronto Islands . Just a short ferry ride across the harbour, be transported to the lush green park, island waterways, beaches and more. 

Pack a picnic and blanket to spread out beside one of the many playgrounds, splash pads or the Franklin Children’s Garden. Bike rentals of all types are available from the kiosk on the south side of Centre Island, with the four-seater quad bikes being most popular with young families and perfect for a fun tour to Hanlan’s or Ward’s Island. 

Also on Centre Island is a mini amusement park, big enough to amaze the smallest visitor. For tired little legs, the Sky Ride chairlift floats across the park, a mini train circles all amusements, and a giant swan ride makes for an easy float on the pond . 

Far Enough Farm is also located within the amusement park, and for free, kids can interact with over 40 different animals. Canoes and kayaks can be rented by the hour to paddle, play and explore more of the inland island waterways.

G etting There: Union TTC Station has streetcars with stops near the ferry terminal. To take the City ferry , it is best to buy tickets online in advance, as the ferry terminal can be extremely busy. An alternate ride option and a way to beat the summer crowds are the water taxis that depart from many locations along the waterfront. 

There are a number of parking lots along the waterfront, with rates that can be pricey but may be convenient if bringing bikes.

Bikes are welcome on all City ferries except the Centre Island ferry on weekends. Water taxis also transport bikes.

Bike Share

Sunnybrook Park

Located northeast of downtown is a delightful green space that has trails that connect north and south. Stop at Sunnybrook Stables, and if your timing is right, see the beautiful show horses and riding lessons from the edge of the large outdoor paddock. 

Follow the new Wilket Creek trail spur for a ride under the trees, crisscrossing the creek on a series of bridges, it is just 2.5 km to Edwards Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Garden . 

From the large parking area on the south end of Sunnybrook Park , access the West Don River Trail, ride a small section between park areas, or if young riders have the stamina for more, keep riding south as the Don River off-road trail system stretches all the way to downtown. 

From the trail, an educational and fun detour can be made to the Ontario Science Centre , a huge complex that will keep all amused for hours on end.  

Getting There: Make use of parking lots at park areas, or if visiting the Ontario Science Centre use their large parking lot. Some parking areas require a fee. Until the Eglinton LRT train opens, TTC buses are required to access the park.

Children on the sand at Woodbine Beach in Toronto

The Beaches, Woodbine Beach

A   day on the beach and along the waterfront in this east-side community is sure to please all. The busy waterfront trail is 5 km from end to end, with enough to do to fill out a day. 

Pedal into the delightful Kew Gardens , and stop at the enclosed playground with a summer wading pool. Located right beside all the shops and restaurants of Queen Street, grab a takeout spread to fill one of the many park picnic tables. 

Additional playgrounds can be found at both ends of the trail, and boardwalk ice cream cafés and smoothie bars provide extra treat options. 

Lock up the bikes or bring them onto the sand for some real beach time and a swim in Lake Ontario; lifeguards are on duty come summertime at these Blue Flag, swimmable city beaches. 

Also nearby is the gigantic Donald D. Summerville outdoor pool. If the gang is well fuelled, pedal west a few kilometres on the dedicated bike path to Tommy Thompson Park , a marvellous adventure and car-free urban wilderness, 5 km from entry to tip.  

Getting There: There are a number of paid parking lots close to the beach. During the summer season and festival days, these can be busy. 

While TTC streetcars allow for bikes outside of rush hours, travelling with bikes for all could be a challenge.

Black Creek Village  (PC: Destination ON)

Black Creek Village & Trail

Take a step back in time with a visit to the pioneer village located northwest of the city centre. Tour the old buildings and get immersed in the industry, farms and lives of early settlers within this authentic park filled with costumed guides living the life. 

Open all seasons, an early spring or colourful fall ride can be enjoyed by accessing the Black Creek Trail that runs south from the Village parking lot, following creeks and tributaries on an easy trail through this naturalized watershed area.

An extended trail ride can be enjoyed south and east to Downsview Park , a former air base that still has a small airport nestled in parkland, plus the Aerospace Hub, with models of de Havilland aircrafts on display throughout the park. 

Access another well know North Toronto park on an eastward trail connection following the Finch Corridor Hydro Trail that skirts York University campus to G. Ross Lord Park, another gigantic city park full of playgrounds and park amenities. 

Getting There: Pioneer Village or York University TTC Stations provide easy access to Village and trails. Paid parking is available at Black Creek Village and also at nearby parks. 

With no shortage of park trails and nearby attractions, a family trip to Toronto that includes some outdoor adventures and bike rides should definitely be added to this year's travel plans. 

People ride bikes on the Martin Goodman Trail along Toronto's waterfront in summer

Additional Notes 

Bike Rentals and Bike Share Toronto

There are a number of bike rentals in the city, more easily found and centred around the Harbourfront area. Bike rentals are also available on Toronto Islands. Toronto does have a large and convenient Bike Share  network, but users have to be 16+ years old. Bring your own helmets. 

Getting Here on GO 

City driving can be challenging. Consider a family or weekend pass to get to the city using GO Transit if arriving from one of the many stations out of the city. Bikes are allowed on trains during non-peak travel times, free of charge.

Bike and Ride Safety 

For a carefree ride, stick to the numerous off-road paved trails and separated bike paths throughout the city. Know the rideability of young riders and anticipate having to stop or make changes to plans as needed. 

Be sure to secure all bikes when locked up at attractions, stops along the way or left on vehicle bike racks to avoid bike theft. The City has extensive bike safety information and resources that are useful for any ride experience and can be viewed here.  

Article originally published on Ontario By Bike

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People ride bikes on the Martin Goodman Trail along Toronto's waterfront in summer

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COMMENTS

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    Image courtesy of Toronto Fringe. Family Road Trip is the second full-length sketch show by Summer Dad, directed by Danny Avila and performed by Chrissy Sharma, Kevin Forster, Rachel Powell, Kaitlyn Stollery, Taylor Hreljac, Chris Johnson and David Hudon.The troup is a group of graduates from the Second City Training Centre, so the show is ...

  7. Let the Fringe Festival Guide You Through Toronto

    Fringe Toronto (July 5-16, 2023) is a Toronto institution. Each July more than 30 off-the-beaten-path venues open their doors to usher in culture junkies in search of the city's most unique theatre experience, the Toronto Fringe Festival. The festival is a 12-day-long celebration of the stage, and over 1,200 artists participate.

  8. Summer Dad Presents: Family Road Trip Toronto Fringe 2023 Forever

    106 likes, 8 comments - crickeettAugust 1, 2023 on : "Summer Dad Presents: Family Road Trip Toronto Fringe 2023 Forever grateful to perform alongside this incredibly talented, devoted and ..." Summer Dad Presents: Family Road Trip Toronto Fringe 2023 Forever grateful to perform alongside this incredibly talented, devoted and ... | Instagram

  9. Toronto Fringe Festival: KidsFest

    Toronto Fringe Festival, Ontario's largest theatre festival, returns with another season of KidsFest, whose shows are intended for families and run early in the day. For KidsFest shows, tickets are only $6 per child and babes-in-arms are free, plus they also host KidsFest Club, a safe and welcoming play space for kids of all ages and their ...

  10. Toronto Fringe, 2023 » Theatre

    Toronto Fringe, 2023. Three of our writers reviewed 70 Toronto Fringe productions in eight days. Click the links below to read our thoughts. Frankenstein ... Family Road Trip (B-) Emo Majok: African Aussie (B-) Pyramid (B-) PAZ (B-) Retrograde: The Concert Experience (C+) An Ode to Home (C+)

  11. Review of The Toronto Fringe Festival

    The "fringe movement" is a worldwide network of indie theatre festivals. As the name suggests, the movement is about celebrating under-represented voices and those on the margins of the performing arts world. As a result, the shows are a result of a lottery system of producers and writers who submitted their plays. It's a festival where anyone can put on any show, without having to pass ...

  12. Toronto With Kids: How To Plan The Perfect Family Trip To Toronto

    Toronto is a wonderful destination for family travel. And I don't say that just because I live here. Toronto is safe, vibrant, and an amazing chance to get the jump-off to other incredible places such as Niagara Falls and Prince Edward County. Toronto, after all, is just one small part of the province of Ontario.

  13. THE 27 BEST Road Trips From Toronto

    Great fun for the whole family along the coast. Read more Map. 24. Miami. 🚗 1,670 miles ⏱️ 28 hours. The beaches of Miami are renowned, as is the art deco architecture and Latin cuisine. After dancing the night away, relax on South Beach. ... Longer road trips from Toronto. 1. Quebec and Saguenay Fjord. 🚗 2,850 miles ⏱️ 32 hours.

  14. Our Top Musical Theatre Fringe Picks for 2019!

    The 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival is on from July 3 - 14, ... Not bad for a kid who dreamed about performing on Broadway in the back seat of his parents' minivan on their annual family road-trip to NYC. But the thing about dreams is, they don't always go as planned. Through a series of funny and revealing stories and songs, ranging from ...

  15. Toronto to New York Drive: 9 Essential Family Stops

    The shortest distance from Toronto to New York by car is 497 miles (798 km). There are two different routes, but they are quite similar and only 10 minutes difference in length of time. You can either take the I-86 E or the I-90 E for the majority of the drive, depending on which side of upstate New York you want to drive through.

  16. 11 Weekend Road Trips from Toronto

    I have a blog post all about how to spend a weekend road trip in Bruce Peninsula! Tobermory is a 3 hour 30 minute drive from Toronto (296 km). Take the 410 north, then highways 10 and 6 north. 5. Go cottaging in Muskoka. If you're looking for a more relaxing weekend getaway, hit up Muskoka aka cottage country.

  17. 13 of the Best Canada Road Trips That Will Blow Your Mind

    Looking for one of the best road trips from Toronto? With more than 30,000 islands and over 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) of shoreline, the Georgian Bay Coastal Route loops around the Bay from Toronto and features some of Ontario's most stunning scenery. Some of the most popular stops include the Bruce Peninsula, Parry Sound, and Killarney ...

  18. 5 Best Road Trips From Toronto: Discover The Most Beautiful Short

    The first stop on this road trip from Toronto is Collingwood and the Blue Mountains. They have a lot to offer for a Toronto road trip, and many Torontonians will be familiar with Collingwood. Collingwood is just over two hours from Toronto. It's an excellent option for those who want to remain close but feel away from it all.

  19. Fringe Archives

    Road Trip; Support Local; Family Fun; Itineraries; National Parks; Romantic Getaways ... Home » Toronto » Fringe - Toronto. Fringe. Past; This Week; This Weekend; This Month; Today; Next Month; All; Apologies, but no results were found for the requested archive. See & Do. Support Local Festivals Family Fun Trip Ideas What's On This Weekend ...

  20. 25 Family Getaways from Toronto

    Collingwood. Gateway to the year-round resort town of the Blue Mountains and located in the Nottawasaga Bay, on the shores of the Georgian Bay. An area with endless recreational opportunities like, skiing, hiking, cycling, fishing, boating, caving and ziplining to name a few! 3. Manitoulin Island.

  21. 15 Best Winter Road Trips from Toronto

    4. Collingwood and Blue Mountain Ski Resort. 2 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (170 km) Why you should visit: With a beautiful setting on the shore of South Georgian Bay, this area is under 3 hours from Toronto and offers plenty of winter recreation activities including skiing, snowboarding and sledding.

  22. 8 Easy Road Trips From Toronto To Try In 2024

    Muskoka, Ontario. Distance from Toronto ~ 220 KM via Highway 400N and Highway 11 (2 hours and 30 minutes) Enjoy the picturesque scenery of forests and over 1000 lakes in the Muskoka region, making it a popular destination in the summer for boating, swimming, paddling, and fishing. The lush natural forests are perfect for hiking and mountain biking.

  23. Family-Friendly Bike Trails in Toronto

    Bike rentals are also available on Toronto Islands. Toronto does have a large and convenient Bike Share network, but users have to be 16+ years old. Bring your own helmets. Getting Here on GO City driving can be challenging. Consider a family or weekend pass to get to the city using GO Transit if arriving from one of the many stations out of ...