Canada is a huge country and Canadians are no strangers to long road trips. But even if you love to drive, sometimes it’s nice to be able to explore somewhere new without having to go too far from home. So if you’re looking for a short getaway or a fun day trip, here are 5 great destinations within a 2-hour drive from Toronto.
Distance from Toronto: 68km (about a 50-minute drive)
Hamilton is a port city located on the shores of Lake Ontario. While the city is home to some interesting attractions, including the Canadian Warplane Museum and HMCS Haida National Historic site, the surrounding area boasts a beautiful conservation site with plenty of waterfalls. There are about 100 waterfalls located in the Hamilton area, making it the perfect place to escape the big city of Toronto in search of some nature. Some of the most popular waterfalls here include Tews Falls, Albion Falls and Webster Falls. While beautiful to visit on a sunny summer day, these waterfalls are perhaps at their peak in the fall season when combined with the colourful foliage.
The waterfalls around Hamilton are quite popular, so keep that in mind when planning your visit. If possible, try to time your visit on a weekday rather than during the weekend or early in the morning before the daytime crowds.
Distance from Toronto: 131.5km (about a 1.5-hour drive)
Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s top attractions, but for something a little more low key, skip the falls and head to Niagara-on-the-Lake instead. This area is best known for its wineries and makes for a great girl’s trip destination or a romantic getaway. It’s also home to Wayne Gretzky Estates, which offers tastings, cocktail classes, and even the opportunity to skate on a backyard rink.
While the famous wineries are a definite highlight, visitors should also make time to explore the surrounding area which is good for walking, hiking, and biking. Up for an adventure? Consider a helicopter ride that can take you over Niagara Falls. It’s quite the view!
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
Distance from Toronto: 144.6km (about 1 hour and 45-minute drive)
Ontario may not have access to the beaches by the ocean, but with the Great Lakes in our backyard, we still have some pretty beautiful beaches. Wasaga Beach is often considered to be one of the best beaches in Ontario, a title it absolutely deserves.
Wasaga Beach is a long, sandy beach located at the end of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron perfect for beach bums looking for an easy summer getaway. Wasaga Beach is a great choice for all types of beachgoers - swimmers, sunbathers, and even adventure seekers. Those looking for an adrenaline rush can rent a jet ski and, if you’re brave enough, even go skydiving.
As for accommodation, there’s a big range here to fit different budgets. From campgrounds to homey B&Bs and family-friendly hotels to cottage rentals, you’ll be able to find an option to best fit the type of vacation you are looking for. Just make sure to book early - Wasaga Beach is one of the most popular summer destinations in the province.
Distance from Toronto: 149.4km (about 1 hr 45 minutes)
This Ontario town is best known for the Stratford Festival, a theatre festival that runs annually from April to October and attracts visitors from all across North America. Every season, the largest classical repertory theatre company in North America puts on over a dozen productions ranging from classics to dramas to musicals. Coming to Stratford during the festival season for a show or two is highly recommended.
Even if theatre isn’t your cup of tea, Stratford still has quite a bit to offer for those looking to escape Toronto. Galleries, gardens, breweries, and more can be found in this town. But those who have a sweet tooth will be most excited about the Chocolate Trail, which runs all year and includes 20+ stops throughout the city.
Blue Mountain, Ontario
Distance from Toronto: 152km (about a 2-hour drive)
This year-round destination is a great spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts. During the winter months, you can hit the slopes and spend your days skiing or snowboarding. If you prefer something a little slower, strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the trails. In the summer months you can hike, bike, and visit Blue Mountain Beach.
In addition to the typical outdoor sports, Blue Mountain also offers fun activities like the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster which travels up to 42km per hour. There’s also axe throwing at AXED and AGORA, an immersive outdoor sound and light experience with six different interactive displays.
For those who want to relax and take it slow, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and spa facilities to enjoy as well. There are options for everyone which makes Blue Mountain great for friends, couples, and even family getaways.
Toronto is full of great travel destinations, but before you jump in your car for a road trip, make sure that your car is properly insured. Get your free auto insurance quote today.
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.