Toronto is a great city, with so much to see and do. From its museums and galleries to its world-class restaurants and beautiful parks. However, there may be times when you want to get away from the city and see something new.
Fortunately, there are lots of great short trips from Toronto you can make. Plus, the Ontario government has tax credits for staycations.The city is ideally placed for day trips and weekend getaways in Ontario and beyond. Let's take a look at some of the top short trips from Toronto to consider this year.
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When you're talking about the best short trips from Toronto, the list simply wouldn't be complete without Milton. In fact, for many locals, this is one of the best day trips from the area. It only takes about 45 minutes by car to get to Milton, so you won’t have to worry about spending long hours travelling.
Situated in Southern Ontario, Milton is technically part of the Greater Toronto Area. However, it's much quieter than the busy streets of the big city.
There are lots of lovely things to do here, including plenty of fun-filled activities that are completely free. Such as walking along the Lime Kiln Trail or riding your bikes on the Bruce Trail.
The Crawford Lake Conservation Area is another great place to visit, and active individuals will enjoy spending time at the John Tonelli Sports Centre, or visiting the Glen Eden Ski & Snowboard Centre. Milton is great to see in the winter, with some excellent slopes for skiing and snowboarding.
So, how much will you have to spend? Well, it depends on what you do. You won’t have to use much gas to get here from Toronto, and a lot of the natural spaces are free to walk around. So, you can make an affordable day trip there. Or you can spend a little money to enjoy some attractions and food.
Estimated cost of a day trip to Milton from Toronto for 2: $114
|Drive to Milton
|Two tickets on the Halton County Railway
|Dinner at Risposta Bistro
Want to see one of the world's most famous landmarks for your next short trip from Toronto? If so, head to Niagara Falls! They are arguably the most famous waterfalls on the planet. They're only about 90 minutes by car from Toronto via the QEW Highway, so you can make it there and back in a single day.
The falls are simply extraordinary and easily rank among the key landmarks to see at least once in your lifetime. You can bring the whole family here to appreciate the sights and splendour. Or if you're a couple, simply enjoy a romantic weekend getaway to Niagara Falls. Either way, you're sure to have a great time.
As well as walking around and admiring the falls, there are plenty of other activities you can enjoy here. Various companies offer cruises and boat tours all the way down to the base of the falls, or even jet boat rides among the rapids. There's also a zipline you can take, which is particularly memorable at night, as well as helicopter tours, too.
Just make sure to compare travel insurance plans before you go if you plan to enjoy one of these thrilling activities. Remember that there are also plenty of other more relaxing ways to enjoy the falls, along with some great local restaurants and good shopping areas in the surrounding area.
Estimated cost of a day trip to Niagara Falls from Toronto for 2: $165
|Drive to Niagara Falls
|Two tickets on Voyage to the Falls cruise
|Dinner at Table Rock House Restaurant
Dundas Valley is another great place to consider for your next short trip from Toronto. It's less than an hour away from the city, and you can simply follow the road south-west along the coast of Lake Ontario to get there. So this is another location that is perfectly feasible for cheap day trips, as well as more relaxing and lengthy weekend getaways.
The Dundas Valley Conservation Area easily ranks among the true treasures of Southern Ontario. The area is a haven for wildlife and a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. It boasts all sorts of plants and animals for you to look out for as you explore and enjoy the various trails and pathways.
Classed as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Conservation Area is a joy to look at. It's the perfect escape when you're feeling a little too tired of all the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Plus, there's only a small fee to park your car. Once you get inside, you can enjoy a whole host of activities, like cycling, hiking, picnics, and more.
While in the area, you could also visit Dundurn Castle, a 40-room, Italian-inspired estate dating back to the 1830s. The castle was once home to railway magnate and Premier of the United Canadas, Sir Allan Napier MacNab, and the staff here offer some informative and fascinating tours.
Estimated cost of a day trip to Dundas Valley from Toronto for 2: $65
|Drive to Dundas Valley
|Entry for one vehicle to the Conservation Area
|Guided tour of Dundurn Castle for two
If you're looking for a charming town for your next short trip from Toronto, or a romantic weekend getaway, you may want to choose Elora. One of the cutest and loveliest places in the Toronto area, Elora can be reached from Downtown Toronto in about 90 minutes.
Situated in Wellington County and founded in the 1830s, this town has a lot of history behind it. It houses the famous Elora Mill, for example, which stands five stories tall and was constructed in 1832. Over time, the mill has been a sawmill, a distillery, a flour mill, and is currently a luxury hotel and spa.
If you're looking for things to do here, there are plenty of options. Couples may want to visit Metcalfe Street to enjoy some of the town's boutiques and independent stores. They sell a range of items from attire and accessories, to handmade gifts and unique souvenirs you can take back home. Just remember to get the best travel credit card before you go.
There are also some great restaurants in the area, serving up farm-to-table meals with locally-sourced ingredients. Some of the best places have seats looking out over the river, perfect for a romantic evening. If you want something more active and adventurous, you can head out to Elora Gorge and admire the 80 foot deep chasm walls.
Estimated cost of a one-night trip to Elora from Toronto for 2: $600
|Accommodation at the Elora Mill Hotel
|Dinner at The Evelyn
Next up on our list of the best short trips from Toronto, we have Blue Mountain. It takes a bit of time to get here, with an average of two hours in the car from Toronto, but it's more than worth it.
Many people make the journey from Toronto to Blue Mountain every single year to enjoy the unique beauty and activities of this popular ski and snowboard resort.
The Blue Mountain ski resort has been around since the 1940s. It's arguably best in winter, when visitors can enjoy activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, pond skating, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. However, even in the spring and summer, there are things to do here, like golf, rock climbing, ziplines, rope courses, and hiking.
Blue Mountain Village is also a very charming place that hosts a range of events throughout the year. Including live music concerts, fireworks shows, harvest events in the fall, and more. Plus, there are some lovely shops and restaurants to try out in the local area, and some really friendly people waiting to welcome you.
How much will this all cost? Well, it depends if you choose to stick around for a couple of nights or head back quickly. But even if you do decide to stay, there are some affordable accommodation options in the area for budget-conscious travellers to consider.
Estimated cost of a one-night stay in Blue Mountain from Toronto for 2: $280
|Drive from Toronto
|One night at Blue Mountain Resort Inn
|Beers and snacks at Northwinds Brewpub
When it comes to short trips from Toronto, a lot of locals tend to head up to Collingwood. It takes less than two hours to get there by car, and it's a great place to base yourself for trips to other nearby locations. Including beaches, lakes, and ski resorts. So there really is something for everyone in Collingwood.
Wasaga Beach is one of the top spots to check out while you're in Collingwood. Long, sandy, and golden, this beach is situated at the southern end of Georgian Bay. It's actually one of the longest freshwater beaches on the entire planet. So, even on busy days, you should be able to find plenty of space for yourself and your loved ones here.
Visitors to Collingwood can also check out the aforementioned Blue Mountain ski area and village, or simply stick around in the city of Collingwood itself, enjoying places like Sunset Point Park, the Georgian Trail, or even the local Side Launch Brewery. There’s no shortage of great places to eat and drink, as well.
In terms of cost, the price you pay will depend on how long you stay. It's good to have a full weekend here, as there's so much to see and do. You can save money by enjoying free attractions and activities, like walking along Wasaga Beach.
Estimated cost of a two-night trip to Collingwood from Toronto for 2: $740
|Drive from Toronto
|Two nights at the Days Inn Collingwood
|Brewery tour with The Beer Bus for two
|Dinner at The Iron Skillet
The next entry on our list, and one of the most romantic short trips from Toronto, is Niagara-on-the-Lake. Situated in southern Ontario, right on the shores of Lake Ontario, this little town is famed for its wineries and welcoming atmosphere, and you can reach it in about an hour and a half from Toronto.
A beautiful and one-of-a-kind small town, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the sort of place that visitors want to return to again and again. Its flower-lined old town area, for example, is filled with wonderful old buildings that date back to the 19th century. The town also has some interesting historic landmarks, like Fort George, constructed by the British as a base against American offensives.
There are some great places to stay here, too. Including luxury hotels for those with big budgets, and more quaint and quiet bed & breakfast places with uniquely-decorated rooms. In terms of things to do, you can visit local shops, dine at local restaurants, admire the architecture, or even visit the continent's oldest golf course.
There are some stunning old churches dotted around the town, too. You won't want to miss the Shaw Festival, which runs from April to December every year and involves various theatrical plays and performances based on the works of George Bernard Shaw.
Estimated cost of a one-night trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake from Toronto for 2: $350
|Drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake
|Two tickets for a Shaw Festival performance
|One night at the Weather Pine Inn
Another option you have if you're planning short trips from Toronto is to head east from the big city and visit Prince Edward County, also just known as “The County” to the locals. It only takes about two hours to get to Prince Edward County from the Greater Toronto Area, and it's an ideal escape for a relaxing weekend or romantic one night stay.
So, what can you do here? Well, PEC is an ideal location for foodies and wine lovers. There are several great wineries in the area, and many of them have tasting rooms, vineyard tours, and other fun things for visitors to do. There are some great breweries, too, and a lot of high quality restaurants.
There's also quite a creative community in Prince Edward County, so you could check out some of the local galleries to see some great art, inspired by the beauty of the area. Or, if you're looking to immerse yourself in nature, head to Sandbanks Provincial Park, home of the biggest baymouth barrier dunes in the world.
For a truly special stay that you won't soon forget, you may want to visit during the area's famous Lavender Festival. There are many other great events in PEC all through the year.
Estimated cost of a one-night short trip to Prince Edward County from Toronto for 2: $470
|Drive from Toronto
|One night at The Waring House
|Half-day wine tour with PEC Wine Tours
Ontario has so many beautiful, breathtaking places, and the Bruce Peninsula ranks among the very best of them. You can enjoy the wonderful views and activities of this area with a short trip from Toronto to the town of Tobermory. It takes about 3.5 hours to get there by car, or you can take the bus, which takes a little longer.
Tobermory is a wonderful little town. Here, you'll find some great fish and chip restaurants and seafood bars with views over the water, along with lively bars and live music events in the evenings. There are some great shops, too, often selling handmade wares from local artists and creators.
Visitors can walk along the harbour and take in the scenic sights and vibrant atmosphere of the place, or head out onto the water by booking a local boat tour or cruise. You can also head over to Flower Pot Island and check out some of the local shipwrecks dating back to the 1800s.
Of course, the main attraction here has to be Bruce Peninsula National Park. One of the most visually impressive national parks in all of Canada, Bruce Peninsula is utterly picturesque, perfect for long, romantic walks, photoshoots, and cozy picnics.
Estimated cost of a day trip to Salt Spring Island from Vancouver for 2: $400
|Bus from Toronto
|One night at The Forest B&B
|Dinner at Coconut Joe's
The District of Muskoka, otherwise simply know as Muskoka, is another prime destination to choose for a short trip from Toronto or a weekend getaway. Known as cottage country, this area attracts over 2 million visitors each year, and it's a must-see spot for Torontonians, since it's only two hours from the big city.
Instantly recognizable with its crystal clear lakes and dense pine forests, Muskoka is the sort of place you can lose yourself in for hours on end. It's ideal for those who want to feel at one with nature, with a whole host of provincial parks to explore like Algonquin, Arrowhead, and Hardy Lake.
There are some highly luxurious and fancy resorts in this part of Canada, too. So, if you really want to indulge, you can book a night or two at a nice place and enjoy some of the resort's own spa services and fine dining, or you can visit local bakeries and coffee shops for good food on a budget.
Estimated cost of a short trip to Muskoka from Toronto for 2: $200
|Bus to Muskoka for two
|A night at the Bracebridge Inn
|Food from local coffee shops
Looking for something a little more cultural for your next short trip from Toronto? If so, you may want to consider a day trip or short stay in the city of Stratford, about two hours west of Toronto. Named after the English city of the same name where William Shakespeare was born, the city is famous for hosting the annual Stratford Festival, with regular performances of classic plays.
The festival runs from April to November, so you can visit and enjoy live theatrical fun for large parts of the year. But that's not all that Stratford has to offer. The city also has a great culinary scene, with some great chefs running local restaurants and serving up a fine array of gourmet meals.
Stratford is also home to some wonderful Victorian era architecture, and it can be pleasant to simply stroll along the streets and take in the views of the city that surround you. Plus, landmarks like Stratford City Hall and the Shakespearean Gardens are certainly worth a visit.
Estimated cost of a day trip to Stratford from Toronto for 2: $295
|Drive from Toronto
|$25 in gas
|Two tickets for Stratford Festival shows
|A night at The Parlour Inn
Last but not least on our list of short trips from Toronto, we can also recommend a trip over the border into the US to visit the cultural hub of Buffalo in New York State. It takes a little over two hours to drive here from Toronto, or you can take a bus straight into the city, which takes more or less the same amount of time.
So, what can you do here? Well, Buffalo is a great city to walk around, either on your own or as part of a guided tour. There are lots of impressive buildings and interesting architectural landmarks across the city, and no visit can be complete without a stroll through the Canalside area.
In terms of attractions, Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin house will appeal to art and architecture lovers, while the Naval and Military Park is a fascinating place to learn more about military history. You can also catch a Buffalo Sabres game at KeyBank Center, or admire the plants at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Estimated cost of a short trip to Buffalo from Toronto for 2: $230
|Drive from Toronto
|$25 in gas
|A night at the Baymont Buffalo
|Fried chicken from Crenshaw's Chicken and Waffles
|A tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Martin House