Weekend Trips and Getaways From Toronto, Canada

Explore the Thousand Islands on a weekend excursion
Explore the Thousand Islands on a weekend excursion | © MURILLO LARA MARIA LUISA / Alamy Stock Photo
Molly Codyre

Toronto’s position amid enormous lakes, provincial parks and wildlife reserves makes it the ultimate starting point for a weekend trip. Rejuvenating for even the weariest city dweller, these escapes feel a million miles away from the big city.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Immerse yourself in more than 2,934 sq mi (7,600 sq km) of dense wilderness at Algonquin Provincial Park, where 18 interpretive hiking trails wind their way between more than 1,500 lakes and immense pine forests. Have it all on your doorstep by staying at a wood cabin just 10 minutes from the East Gate entrance to the park. The town of Whitney is also close by, so you can pick up supplies, visit restaurants and rent canoes.

1. Algonquin Provincial Park Canoe Trip

Activities, Tours

This adventurous tour is the best way to sample as much of Algonquin as you can, without committing to an overnight camping trip. Settling off in a traditional Kevlar canoe, you will paddle up to 10mi (16km), physically exerting yourself at times but with tranquility drifting over the water at others. You’ll be taken on a hike through the pine trees to swimming spots where the brave will have the opportunity to go cliff jumping. Throughout the day, you’ll visit historic landmarks, forage for food and observe wildlife native to the area, pointed out by your experienced naturalist guides.


This waterside town – perched on the edge of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River – feels frozen in time. With a quaint collection of 19th-century houses, brightly colored buildings and even brighter flowers, it has a charming atmosphere that’s matched by a thriving culinary scene and good wine from local vineyards.

2. Wine and Cheese Tasting Tour

Tours, Activities

Discover the birthplace of Ontario’s wine industry on this guided small-group tasting tour through Niagara-on-the-Lake’s surrounding wine country. Visiting both big and boutique vineyards, you’ll get a great overview of wine production in the area. Starting with a tour that takes you from the vine to the tasting room at a major winery, you’ll then move onto smaller wineries and have the opportunity to try Ontario’s famous ice wine, complete with a cheese pairing. Your expert guide will have you tasting like a connoisseur by the end of the trip.


There’s more to the Canadian capital than its political significance. With gothic parliament buildings adding a fairytale flair to its architecture, a visit during winter will make you feel like a character from Disney’s Frozen (2013). And that’s before you’ve laid eyes on Rideau Canal, frozen thick with ice and illuminated with twinkling lights to create an atmosperic ice-skating rink. Regardless of the season, however, its large leafy parks and buzzing culture make Ottawa a great year-round destination.

3. Ottawa Neighborhoods and Nature Tour

Tours, Activities

Experience two sides of the city on this bike tour around Ottawa. You will explore some of its lively neighborhoods, such as Centretown, the Glebe and Hintonburg, getting a sense of the local life along the way. It’s a great way to see all the major sites while also making the most of the capital’s numerous nature trails and waterways.

Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park is an outdoor playground at all times of the year. In autumn, hiking is the activity of choice, as the leaves turn fiery orange and crunch underfoot. Meanwhile, winter is all about cross-country skiing. In the summer, you can go mountain biking and cool off with a dip in one of the park’s many lakes. And no matter what season, the luxurious Nordik Spa-Nature will soothe any aching limbs and joints with its multitude of thermal pools.

4. Sportif Bike Ride of East Ontario and West Quebec

Tours, Activities

Join your professional guides for a biking tour of Gatineau Park on a sportive bike. Your light aluminum or carbon bike will be expertly fitted to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. You’ll ride either a 19mi (30km) or a 31mi (50km) loop, traveling along the river, through the trees and around the park’s lakes. As it combines exercise, nature and sightseeing, you’ll get a great guided insight into this beautiful park.

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