The 5 Best Day Trips From Toronto

Algonquin Park near Toronto is among the many beautiful spots within reach of the city
Algonquin Park near Toronto is among the many beautiful spots within reach of the city | © All Canada Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
Overlooking Lake Ontario and peppered with pristine parks, Toronto has no shortage of outdoor spaces for reprieve from busy city life. Sometimes, however, only a day trip out of the city will suffice. Close to spectacular natural attractions like Niagara Falls, the provincial capital is within driving distance of numerous natural beauty spots. So plot your route, pack a bag and hit the road – here’s our pick of the best day trips from Toronto.

Algonquin Park

Wandering among the towering pines of Algonquin Park, you’ll feel a million miles away from the city. In reality though, this enormous provincial park is just a few hours’ drive from Toronto – making it perfect day trip territory. Capture brilliant photos of the fiery orange or deep green forest canopy, spot the country’s national animal – moose are rife in the area – or take a dip in one of the thousands of lakes to cool off after a day of hiking.

ActivitiesAlgonquin Park Canoe Trip
From $112 per person
6 hours

This trip proves that you don’t have to stay overnight to experience the best of Algonquin Park. For six immersive hours, you’ll spend time canoeing, hiking and swimming throughout this six-hour adventure. Your guide will discuss the ecological and social historical significance of the space, pointing out notable flora and fauna and answering any questions you may have. Foodies will love foraging for edible goods in the forest, while daredevils can try their hand at cliff jumping into the lake.

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Nestled on the shores of Lake Ontario directly on the border with the USA, this picturesque town is a hotspot for wine lovers owing to the acres of wine country which surround it. Not only that, but Niagara-on-the-Lake is also packed full of quaint houses, verdant open spaces and culinary delights. Head there to sample the region’s best wines and stay for an enchanting small-town atmosphere.

ToursNiagara-on-the-Lake Walking Tour
From $21 per person
2 hours
4.9 (10)

On this two-hour walking tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake, you’ll discover the town’s connection to the American War of Independence, the Civil War, and the French and British conflicts. Your guide will lead you past beautiful homes and churches of the colonial period, and share stories experienced by the town’s characters over the centuries. To bring the tour to a close, you’ll visit a local wine store to taste a range of the area’s best varietals.

Niagara Falls

An exercise in stark contrasts, Niagara Falls sit just outside the eponymous town; the former an awe-inspiring piece of nature, the latter a neon-clad skyrise filled town. While at the falls themselves you can look the power of Mother Nature in the face, the town is perhaps better known for slightly cheesy honeymoons and scaled-down Las Vegas vibes.

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ToursNiagara Falls and Underground Railroad Tour
From $94 per person
3 hours
4.6666665 (7)

Travel back in time to discover the fascinating history of the Niagara region’s underground railroad on this small-group tour. Your guides will be donning period outfits, helping you to visualise what life was like during this important era. You’ll head to sites like the suspension bridge over the Niagara River, which played a key part in shuttling tens of thousands of African-American people to freedom as they sought the best crossing points into Canada. And finally, you’ll visit the falls themselves and hear about their significance to the underground railroad.

Niagara Wine Country

Although Niagara Wine Country is arguably best known for its ice wine, the region is fast becoming recognised around the world for its other varietals. Its climate and topography allow grape varietals like pinot noir, chardonnay and cabernet franc to grow in abundance. The many vineyards you’ll see across the region are shared among more than 100 wineries – leaving you spoilt for choice when it comes to sampling the smooth and fruity results.

ToursBrewery, Distillery and Winery Tour
From $86 per person
4 to 5 hours
On this tour, you’ll get both an educational and literal taster of Niagara’s beverage-making culture, with visits to two local breweries, a distillery and a winery. In each location, your guide will take you through the historical and modern-day production methods used to make each drink. There’ll be ample tasting opportunities, and you’ll also get to take home a two-litre growler (a glass bottle used to transport draft beer) as a souvenir.

Thousand Islands

Once the favoured holiday destination of the 19th-century elite, Thousand Islands comprise over 1,800 islands in the St Lawrence River between the US and Canadian borders. On them you’ll find an intriguing mix of old baroque mansions and even one or two castles – no longer holiday homes but compelling tourist attractions. Today, the islands are magnets for lovers of outdoor activities such as sailing, diving, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

ToursThousand Islands Cruise and Aquatarium Entry
From $40 per person
3 to 8 hours

Cruise down the St Lawrence River on a spacious sightseeing vessel to see the best of Thousand Islands in just one day. With a local guide at the helm, you’ll sail past notable sights such as Brockville’s historic waterfront and the St Lawrence Seaway. After your cruise, there will also be the chance to learn more about the area’s unique ecosystem and its flora and fauna at the popular Aquatarium.