Canada’s largest city is a great place to explore. From major league sports to world-class museums and attractions, there are loads of fun things to do in Toronto. However, sometimes we all need a road trip, and thankfully there are lots of weekend getaways from Toronto.
From world-famous destinations like Niagara Falls to cultural hotspots, rural areas, camping opportunities, and ski resorts, there are so many things to do within a five-hour radius of the big city.
Whether you’re a local looking for something new or a visitor looking for more things to do outside of Toronto, we’ve got you covered with the best weekend getaways from Canada’s largest city.
It might be cliche but due to its popularity and beauty, we wanted to start off with Niagara Falls, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. Niagara Falls is only 1.5 hours from Toronto, which makes it a very easy weekend getaway from Toronto.
There are also lots of things to do in Niagara Falls, including the popular Hornblower Cruise to the falls, flying over the falls in a helicopter, going on a journey behind the falls, gambling at the casinos, or staying in a romantic hotel with views over the massive waterfalls.
If you want to join a small group tour that includes live commentary, skip-the-line tickets, and more, click here to see the most popular tour in the area.
Where to Stay: Click here for the top hotels in Niagara Falls.
Also close to Niagara Falls and 1.5 hours from Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a popular weekend getaway from Toronto, especially for those who love wine. Home to some of Canada’s most famous wineries, this destination is perfect for visiting wineries and staying at historic boutique hotels. It’s also home to loads of history and colonial-style architecture as it was once the capital of Upper Canada.
If you are interested in history, don’t miss the Fort George National Historic Site, a reconstructed military base dating back to 1812. Interpreters in period costumes reenact daily life from the time period, including the firing of ancient muskets.
Interested in a tour? Click here for a popular day tour from Toronto that includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls.
Where to stay? Click here for the top 4-star hotels in Niagara on the Lake.
Algonquin Provincial Park
One of the most popular provincial parks in Ontario is Algonquin Provincial Park, which is only a three-hour drive north of Toronto, and yet feels worlds apart. This is the place to go if you’re looking for some peace and tranquillity, enjoying nature at its finest. Although it’s a very popular park, it’s still a great place for families, couples, groups, and solo travellers.
Some popular activities include paddling a canoe, kayaking, hiking, or just admiring the wildlife, such as the loons as they sing their toon across the lake. Accommodation options are quite varied here, including campgrounds, rustic cabins, or even luxury lodging.
Tour Offer: Click here for the best rates on a popular 6-hour canoeing adventure.
Where to stay? Click here for the best places to stay in Algonquin Provincial Park.
Wanna visit a beach for the weekend?
Located less than two hours north of Toronto, Wasaga Beach is a lively vibrant town that truly comes alive during the summer months. It’s the longest freshwater beach in the world, and its sandy shoreline and shallow, warm waters are ideal for families and anyone wanting to take a dip.
However, there are also lots of options for hiking, biking, and walking, as well as some lovely sand dunes just back from the beach.
If you’re looking to visit another city, Ottawa is an excellent choice. Located only four hours from Toronto, there are lots of fun things to do in Ottawa, including world-class museums, Parliament Hill, an underground bunker, rafting, the Rideau Canal, and even a helicopter tour of the city. The city is one of the most beautiful in Canada and is full of history.
Ottawa is also special because it’s literally connected to Quebec by a bridge, allowing you to walk to another province. Gatineau, which is just on the other side of the river, is also home to some cool things to do, such as the Canadian Museum of History and the Nordik Spa-Nature, which is not too far away.
Another cool thing about choosing Ottawa as one of your weekend getaways from Toronto is you can also take the train if you opt not to drive. To see the best options for visiting new destinations from Toronto, check out Rome2rio.
When we’ve talked with local Ontarians, they often say that Elora is one of their favourite weekend getaways from Toronto. This is because it’s a small beautiful village with a great combination of outdoor adventures and small-town charm.
Historic Metcalfe Street is full of shops selling clothing, gifts, and local artisanal goods, most of which are housed in beautifully restored buildings from the 19th century. There are also loads of restaurants serving innovative fare with local ingredients, some of which can be enjoyed on a patio overlooking the river.
There are also many art galleries, green spaces, and the Elora Gorge where the Grand River flows through a narrow chasm with sheer walls reaching nearly 80 feet.
One of the most famous weekend getaways from Toronto is Muskoka, an area home to towering pine trees, beautiful lakes, and rocky shorelines.
Weekend getaways from Toronto to Muskoka usually involve water activities, such as swimming, water skiing, tubing, and jet skiing, just to name a few. Muskoka is a fairly large area, including access to a few different provincial parks such as Algonquin, Six Mile, Arrowhead, and Hardy Lake.
There’s also a wide variety of accommodation options, including everything from camping to cottage rentals and luxury resorts.
Blue Mountain in Collingwood
Whether you’re looking for weekend getaways from Toronto in the winter or in the summer, Blue Mountain in Collingwood is a popular choice.
During the winter, Blue Mountain Ski Resort offers some great downhill skiing options, not to mention cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and other winter sports. In the spring, summer, and fall, this is also a great area for hiking and mountain biking. There are also festivals throughout the warmer months and it can be a wonderful place to experience the changing colours of the fall.
Another thing people love about Blue Mountain is that it has a car-free pedestrian area at the base of the hill where you can find many shops, restaurants, and patios.
Prince Edward County
If the thought of cozy B&Bs, freshly made cheese, small chef-run exclusive restaurants, and stunning scenery gets you excited, you might want to add Prince Edward County to your bucket list.
Located just two hours from Toronto, this county is home to beautiful countryside with small towns and rolling hills, making it a great place to unwind for a weekend. For those visiting during the summer months, you’ll also want to visit Sandbanks Provincial Park, which is home to big sand dunes flowing right into the clear waters of Lake Ontario.
Click here to see the best vacation rentals in Prince Edward County.
Anyone who loves the outdoors will want to make a visit to Tobermory high on their list. Located less than four hours from Toronto, Tobermory is a nature lovers’ paradise. Found right at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, the Tobermory area is a spectacular place for hiking, camping, photography, biking, boating, and even scuba diving! It makes up the core part of the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere and is home to the picturesque Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Like many parks, the most popular time to visit is during the warmer months when Georgian Bay’s clear waters prove tempting for a cool dip. For those wanting to scuba dive, this area is also one of the best dive spots in Canada, with many shipwrecks to explore.
If culture is more up your alley, Stratford is one of the top weekend getaways from Toronto. This is because of the sheer number of theatre options to be found, with four stages throughout the city hosting productions from the Stratford Festival. Perhaps this is why Justin Bieber is from Stratford.
The entertainment season runs from April to November and Stratford is only 150 km away from the big city, just a short drive west of Kitchener. Accommodation options include everything from local B&Bs to luxury hotels.
In addition to entertainment, Stratford is also known as the pork capital of Canada. If that’s your thing, you can purchase a pass to the city’s Bacon & Ale Trail, which includes five stops on a self-guided tour of Stratford’s best beer and bacon pairings.
Located less than a one-hour drive from Toronto, Hamilton is a great place to enjoy a variety of attractions, such as the Dundurn Castle, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Hamilton Farmer’s Market.
The town also has that trendy “hipster” vibe with coffee shops, local boutiques, and delicious restaurants, many of which line graffiti-laden streets. There’s also a variety of award-winning breweries to indulge in, and for those looking for some nature to intertwine with their urban prowess, there are more than 100 waterfalls in and around the area, which has led to Hamilton’s nickname as the “City of Waterfalls”.
Kingston, which is only a three-hour drive east of Toronto, is another great weekend getaway. Known among locals as “Limestone City”, the city is rich in history and located near some of the most beautiful scenery in the province, such as the 1000 Islands, which we’ll talk about below.
Once home to the nation’s capital, it’s a great place to visit for those interested in history, with one of the most popular visits being Fort Henry, a UNESCO World Heritage Historic Site. However, it doesn’t stop there. There’s also the Kingston Penitentiary and the unique and award-winning Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, as well as the Bellevue House, which was home to Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and his family.
Toss in a wonderful restaurant scene and the fact that the famous Thousand Islands Region is right next door, and it’s no trouble to see why Kingston has become a great weekend getaway from Toronto.
If you love nature, islands, and paddling adventures, it’s hard to beat the Thousand Island region of Ontario. Located right next to Kingston, this amazing area, which lies on both the Canadian and US side of the St Lawrence River, has more than 1800 islands of all shapes and sizes, spread over 8,000 acres including 30 miles of walking trails. It is one of the most scenic waterways in the world, with historic houses, quaint waterfront villages, stunning holiday cottages and some interesting wildlife too.
One of the most popular ways to explore 1000 Islands is by renting a canoe or kayak, taking a cruise or renting a private boat.
Just a two-hour drive from Toronto is London, which is a popular university town with lots of energy. There are lots of things to do in London, Ontario, including 100 Kellogg Lane, Canada’s largest entertainment complex, Museum London, a museum that features more than 5000 works of art, Banting House, the former residence of the inventor of insulin, and Fanshawe Pioneer Village, an open-air museum that uses historical reenactments and activities to portray the lives of the early settlers in the London area.
Killarney Provincial Park
Just four hours north of Toronto is Killarney Provincial Park, a true gem for anyone that loves nature. Known affectionately as the “Crown Jewel of the Ontario Parks” program, Killarney Provincial Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Canada and even inspired the Group of Seven, a famous Indigenous artistic group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933.
With more than 150 pristine lakes with white quartzite mountains, thick forests, and beautiful wildlife, there is no shortage of adventure, including hiking, biking, paddling, camping, and so much more.
Montreal needs no introduction. It’s one of Canada’s most popular cities and a city full of festivals, attractions, nightlife, restaurants, and history. Although it’s on the further side (a six-hour drive from Toronto), it’s still very much a great option for a weekend getaway if you’re looking for a different city vibe.
Quebec’s most cosmopolitan city is also the province’s most Anglophone-friendly. This city is a great place for food and drinks lovers as well as great for history lovers as well as the city recently celebrated their 375th anniversary. Some popular attractions include Jean-Talon Market, Montreal’s Museum of Fine Art, Old Montreal, the famous Notre Dame Basilica, and so much more.
For more on what to do, check out our detailed guide to the best things to do in Montreal.
Those looking for unique accommodation will be truly happy to choose Montebello, Quebec as your weekend getaway from Toronto. Although it’s a 5.5-hour drive from Toronto (very close to Montreal), it offers some truly amazing accommodation options to whisk away your weekend of bliss.
One of these accommodation options is the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, which claims to be the world’s largest log cabin and is one of Canada’s most unique luxury hotels. Inspired by the luxurious alpine lodges from Switzerland, a crew of 800 worked around the clock using 10,000 giant cedar logs to build the resort’s three main buildings, all cut and set by hand. It really is a work of art and the central log chateau has a three-storey central atrium with a massive six-sided fireplace with a central chimney. Some of the hotel guests over the years include Sir Richard Attenborough, Sandra Bullock, Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family of Monaco.
However, our favourite accommodation in Montebello, and perhaps in all of Canada, are the wolf cabins at Parc Omega. This park, which is home to a variety of local animals that you can visit during the day, is also home to some unique cabins that back onto a wolf sanctuary. Not only can you go to sleep with the howling of wolves in your backyard, but you can also lift open the curtains and have the wolves come right up to your floor-to-ceiling windows for a truly intimate experience with these stunning animals. To really see what it’s like, check out our video below.
Whether you’re looking for some of the best skiing in Eastern Canada or a great place for summer activities, Mont-Tremblant is a fabulous place to explore. Located six hours away from Toronto, it’s one of the longer weekend getaways mentioned in this article but is totally worth it.
For those who ski and snowboard, this is Quebec’s iconic winter resort. East of the Canadian Rockies, it’s probably the best place to glide down a mountain, all with views of the beautiful Laurentian Mountains.
However, we’ve explored Mont-Tremblant in the summer and there’s so much to offer. Hiking and biking are some of the most popular activities but there are also some of the best zip-lining in Canada, a fabulous experience to get close to birds of prey, and some festivals as well, such as the Mont-Tremblant International Blues Festival held each year in August.
Wanna see Mont-Tremblant in the summer? Check out our Quebec Youtube video below.
Buffalo, New York (USA)
Did you know that you can travel internationally as one of your weekend getaways from Toronto? The United States border is actually very close to Toronto, which opens up more possibilities to explore new places for the weekend.
One of these places is Buffalo, New York, which is just across the border from Niagara Falls. Buffalo is a very walkable city and is a hot spot for dining. It’s also a great place for shopping as it’s home to great outlet malls and has a number of popular attractions such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House and the RiverWorks, the beautifully transformed waterfront that’s home to an entertainment complex with skating, hockey, curling, concerts, dining, bars, and concessions.
Rochester, New York (USA)
Slightly further than Buffalo, Rochester is another option for an international getaway. The city is bursting with fine museums, including the world-famous Eastman Museum & Mansion, the Strong National Museum of Play, the Memorial Art Gallery, and the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, just to name a few. There’s also a massive 85-foot waterfall tumbling off a cliff in downtown Rochester, which people love to see.
Detroit, Michigan (USA)
Located less than four hours away from Toronto, Detroit is another option for a weekend getaway.
Once the heart of America’s automobile industry, it’s no secret that Detroit has fallen on hard times recently. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a great place to explore. One of the popular things to do, which just makes so much sense for Detroit, is the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and the Fort Rouge Factory tour.
There’s also Motown Museum, which is one of the best places to visit in the world for those who love music. However, keep in mind that it could take weeks to get in, so make sure you book in advance. If art is more your thing, other popular attractions include the Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and The Heidelberg Project.
Looking For Even More Things to Do?
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Chris MacDonald says
Love these recommendations…..never thought of the 1000 Islands as a weekend trip but it is a must-do now!
Correction: The Group of Seven were not indigenous.
Matthew G. Bailey says
I think you’re following a different group of seven. https://www.josephmsanchez.com/pniai-native-group-of-seven