The best day trips from Canada’s major cities

Want to get out of the city and explore but don’t have much time? That’s what day trips are for! Day trips are a fun way to escape your daily surroundings and experience somewhere new without the stress of packing, planning, organizing, and taking time off for a proper vacation. Canada is full of great day-trip options and in this article, I’m sharing some of the best day trips within 100km of some of Canada’s major cities.

The Best Day Trips from Toronto

Royal Botanical Gardens: If you’re a nature lover, then the Royal Botanical Gardens, located close to Hamilton, are a great pick for a day trip. These gardens are the largest botanical gardens in Canada and are full of flowers, plants, trees, and hiking trails that you can enjoy all year round.

Spirit Tree Cidery in Caledon: Craft cider is getting more and more popular, and since Ontario is known for its apples, it makes sense that some of the country’s best cideries can be found in the province, including Spirit Tree Cidery in Caledon. Spirit Tree Cidery has quite a bit to do on site including tours, tasting, apple picking, a farm shop, and a bistro where you can grab a meal.

Port Perry: Port Perry is a quaint little town by Lake Scugog. You have a few things to do here, including enjoying Kinsmen Beach or checking out the town of Port Perry itself which has lots of little boutiques, restaurants, and a farmer’s market. If you like craft beer, be sure to also stop in at Old Flame Brewing Co.

The Best Day Trips from Ottawa

Wakefield: Wakefield is a small village on the river on the Quebec side, just a short drive from downtown Ottawa. There’s plenty of cute little boutiques and restaurants, a boardwalk along the river, and the opportunity to rent kayaks or paddleboards on a nice day.

Merrickville: If you love to shop and are into checking out local and independent businesses, then head to the tiny town of Merrickville. Located on the Rideau River, this historic town is home to all kinds of neat stores offering everything from soaps to clothes to blown glass and more. There are also the Merrickville ruins (once a woollen mill) that you can explore.

Gatineau Park: Looking to get outside and go for a hike? Head to the Gatineau Perk, just across the river from Ottawa. It’s one of the prettiest places around if you love the outdoors. You can hike, cycle, and even swim at some of the beaches, such as the one at Meech Lake.

The Best Day Trips from Montréal

Îles de Boucherville: Located in the Saint Lawrence River just east of the city, the Boucherville Islands is the closest provincial park to Montreal. It’s great for all types of outdoor activities including kayaking, cycling, and even cross country skiing. Only 30 minutes from downtown, it’s one of the easiest day trips from Montréal.

Montérégie: Montérégie is considered to be one of the richest agricultural regions in all of Canada, making it the perfect day trip option if you are a foodie. Check out the farmer’s markets, craft breweries, cideries, sugar shacks, and more. Just make sure you come hungry!

Oka: Love cheese? Love beaches? Head to Oka for the day! Oka provincial park offers kilometres of sandy beaches (including a nude section) as well as camping, picnicking, and boating facilities. This area is also known for the famous artisanal cheese, Oka, which was originally made by Trappist Monks.

The Best Day Trips from Vancouver

Bowen Island: A quick 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, Bowen Island is a favourite day trip destination for those who love beaches, swimming, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking. On top of being a great outdoor destination, Bowen Island is also home to many artists who sell their work around the Village Square.

Squamish: Located on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish is known as Canada’s Adventure Capital. From kiteboarding to rock-climbing, mountain climbing to skiing or hiking, there’s plenty to do here! Of course, you can’t visit Squamish without visiting its best-known attraction, the Sea to Sky gondola, which offers amazing views over the Howe Sound.

Fraser Valley: If your idea of a perfect day trip involves wine rather than hikes, then head to Fraser Valley. There are seven wineries and two breweries in the area - more than enough to keep you busy! You can do self-guided tours or take a private tour to ensure everyone can partake in the tastings.

These are just a handful of the options that some Canadian cities have when it comes to easy day trips. So get out and explore your area!

Hannah Logan is a Canadian travel writer who dreams of being just like Indiana Jones. You can follow her travels on her personal travel blog Eat Sleep Breathe Travel where she shares her travel tales and (mis)adventures around the world.

Hannah Logan is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.


Sonnet is not associated with any of the locations described in this blog post.

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