Home Canada Road Trips from Toronto – The 10 Best Ontario Road Trips

Road Trips from Toronto – The 10 Best Ontario Road Trips

by Andy Vanr

Our top 10 Ontario Road Trips take you to some of the province’s most amazing destinations and places to visit.

Ontario offers stunning scenic drives, perfect for your next weekend road trip from Toronto. Just a few hours from the city there are beautiful natural landscapes, charming small towns, and exciting attractions waiting to be explored.

10 Best Ontario Road Trips

  1. Niagara-on-the-Lake – 2 Days
  2. Algonquin Park – 2 Days
  3. Prince Edward County – 2 Days
  4. Ottawa – 1 Day
  5. Niagara Falls – 2 Days
  6. Camping at Killbear Provincial Park – 2 Days
  7. Rideau Canal Towns – 1 Day
  8. Grey County Waterfalls – 1 Day
  9. Manitoulin Island – 2 Days
  10. Thunder Bay – A Northern Ontario Road Trip – 2 Weeks

Map of the 10 Best Places to Visit in Ontario

These 10 road trip destinations are an easy drive from Toronto. Click on any of the coloured circles on the map to see our detailed articles.

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Duration: 2 Days

Niagara-on-the-Lake is our pick for the best Ontario road trip destination.  Its beauty, relaxed atmosphere and many attractions keep us coming back year after year.

Start your visit with a stroll down flower-lined Queen Street and do some shopping in the quaint downtown shops.  Treat yourself to some tasty fudge or ice cream. A visit to this heritage downtown is not complete without indulging in afternoon tea at the historic Prince of Wales hotel.  The dainty sandwiches and scones are delicious!

There are many fine restaurants, pubs and breweries to try.  Enjoy the traditional English-style pub fare and live tunes at the Olde Angel Inn, Ontario’s oldest operating inn. 

Learn about Canada’s early history on a tour of Fort George and the many museums and historic sites in the area.

Military fife drum marching band demonstrate Fort George Niagara-on-the-Lake

The town is the largest wine producing region in the Niagara Peninsula. Visit renowned Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries, sipping several celebrated Ontario vintages. We highly recommend indulging in a gourmet dinner right at the vineyard.

Top off your visit by experiencing world-class theatre at the renowned Shaw Festival.

With its beautiful setting, quaint shops, renowned wineries, and cultural attractions, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect weekend escape!

See our article, Best Things to Do in Niagara-on-the-Lake, for more great spots to visit in this picturesque and charming town.

Downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake Memorial Clock tower street scene

Algonquin Park

Duration: 2 Days

With its vast and diverse landscape, Ontario has many places with great hiking options.  One of the best places for hiking is Algonquin Park.  This is Ontario’s oldest and largest Provincial Park.  Algonquin serves up easy to access, premier hiking.  There are more than 15 trails to choose from just along the main Highway 60 corridor.

Make a day trip, or spend a weekend and explore these trails.  Top picks include the easy 1.5-km Spruce Bog Boardwalk loop to see a fascinating bog ecosystem up close.  The 2.1-km Whiskey Rapids Trail treats you to river views while the 3.5-km Hemlock Bluff loop you through hemlock stands and Jack Lake vistas.

For a challenge, we recommend hiking the 10.4-km Centennial Ridges loop. The panoramas from the high ridges are well worth the effort.

You’ll need to book your campsite reservation 5 months in advance, as these popular campgrounds fill up fast.

For more information on camping and hiking, see our article Best Hiking Trails in Algonquin Park.  In the article, we’ve selected our 6 top picks for an unforgettable Algonquin adventure.

Water treed islands treed hills behind

Prince Edward County

Duration: 2 Days

Prince Edward County, located on the shores of Lake Ontario is just 2 hours from Toronto, making it a great weekend getaway.

Start with a wine tasting tour.  The region’s viniculture has grown rapidly in the last two decades with over 30 wineries to visit.  You’ll discover amazing vintages like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Can’t decide which wineries to go to?  We’ve got you covered with our 10 Best Wineries in Prince Edward County.

seated woman holding wine glass Closson Chase barn

Make sure to spend time at Sandbanks Provincial Park.  Its massive sand dunes and landscapes are impressive and somewhat unique in Ontario.  For beach goers, Sandbanks has three white sand beaches.  North Beach Provincial Park, located nearby, also has excellent beaches.

For history buffs, the charming town of Picton has lots to offer.  Discover 19th century buildings and visit Macaulay Heritage Park. 

Just outside of town, take a relaxing stroll along the rows of purple flowers at the lavender farm.

Be sure to sample some local beer on an outdoor patio at one of the many craft breweries in Prince Edward County.

Prince Edward County has become a popular Ontario destination.  With its natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and of course the wineries, the County provides an unforgettable escape.

To discover everything there is to see, check out our article Best Things to Do in Prince Edward County.

Aerial water sides strip land

Ottawa

Duration: 1 Day

In just one day you can see the best of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.  Take a walking tour with a focus on hitting the iconic downtown sites.

Start on Parliament Hill with its Gothic Revival buildings and monuments honouring famous Canadians.  Snap photos at the Rideau Canal Locks and the castle-like Château Laurier hotel.  Don’t miss the ByWard Market, bustling with shops, cafes and restaurants.  As the sun sets, see the city and the Parliament buildings light up!

Chateau Laurier behind Ottawa Locks

With a second day, go further and visit the great museums that Ottawa has to offer.  Visit the National Gallery to admire Canadian and European artworks. Discover natural history at the Museum of Nature and Canada’s heritage at the War Museum and Museum of History.

Just beyond the city, see the waterfalls at Rideau Falls Park and tour the grand Rideau Hall.

Ottawa offers vibrant city sites, natural beauty and world-class museums for an unforgettable visit, no matter how long you stay.

For a detailed description of this walking tour and more information on all of Ottawa’s great museums, see our article, Ottawa in a Day.

Parliament Buildings on hilltop above Ottawa River

Niagara Falls

Duration: 2 Days

Get ready to jam in a lot of activities on a weekend in Niagara Falls.

Start at iconic Horseshoe Falls for a breathtaking view of the famous falls.  To get even closer, take the elevator down to the tunnels and prepare to get wet on the thrilling Journey Behind the Falls.

For families, head over to Clifton Hill to ride the go-karts or mini-golf with the huge dinosaurs.  Ride the Sky Wheel for panoramic views of both the falls and the city.

Night lights SkyWheel at Clifton Hill

At night, there’s still plenty to do.  Try your luck at the casinos’ endless gaming options or visit the Niagara Falls Power Station.  At night their mesmerizing “Currents” light show brings the falls’ history to life.

On the next day, see the falls again from totally different perspectives.  Enjoy the Hornblower cruise up the Niagara River right up to the tumbling water of the falls.  For another drier view ride the Zipline and soar over the gorge.

For a slower pace, walk among fluttering butterflies at the Conservatory or visit the local History Museum.

Visiting Niagara Falls is one of the best road trips from Toronto. See our article, 2 Days in Niagara Falls, for the 12 Best Things to Do in a packed and fun-filled weekend.

Niagara Falls Table Rock park people

Ontario Camping at Killbear Provincial Park

Duration: 2 Days

Ontario has a plethora of drive-in and backcountry camping opportunities.  In addition to the many private campgrounds, the province operates over 100 provincial parks that have car camping.  Our favourite place to camp is Killbear Provincial Park.

Located just 3 hours north of Toronto, this is an easy park to visit for a day or the entire weekend. 

Pitch your tent at one of the park’s many campsites, like family-friendly Beaver Dams or popular Kilcoursie Bay.  There are over 1000 campsites to choose from.

Hike the trails and see the lighthouse or take in the bay views from Twin Points.  After an exhilarating day, unwind on the rocks to enjoy the perfect sunset.

One of the most unique activities at the park is cliff jumping.  From the ledge at Harold Point, cliff jump 10 metres into the waters of Georgian Bay below.

See our article, Camping and Cliff Jumping at Killbear Provincial Park, for even more details on how to enjoy camping at this park.

Man kayak by rocky shore trees background

Rideau Canal Towns

Duration: 1 Day

This scenic road trip travels from Kingston to Ottawa.  Along the way, discover charming towns and learn about the historic Rideau Canal. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal is an engineering marvel.  It is the only 19th-century canal still fully functioning on its original route.

Stop at Jones Falls to see the massive stone dam, built entirely by hand in the 1820s. Walk the easy loop to see the locks, blacksmith shop and the fortified lockmaster’s home. Have a picnic at Chaffey’s Lock.  Then explore Perth‘s downtown, lined with heritage buildings.

Continue to Smiths Falls to visit the canal museum in an old grist near the original lock station. Here you can see functioning canal locks up close. Nearby is a railway museum with its collection of vintage railcars. Finish the day by wandering the heritage village of Merrickville, grabbing a tasty ice cream.

We highly recommend doing this drive in the Fall to enjoy the seasons’ changing colours.  For more details on this fabulous road trip, see our article, Rideau Canal Towns – A Scenic Road Trip to Ottawa.

Treed park reflected pond

Grey County Waterfalls

Duration: 1 Day

Head over to Grey County for an amazing waterfall road trip.  Just two hours from Toronto, Grey County makes a perfect weekend or day trip escape.

Start at Holstein Dam located at Jubilee Park.   Bring your swimsuit to cool off in the whirlpool below McGowan Falls.  The hike to Hoggs Falls is one of the best-kept secrets along the Bruce Trail.

The star of the show is the mighty Eugenia Falls, the highest in Grey County at 30 metres.  Visit the waterfall and walk the trails of this lovely Conservation Area.

Another amazing waterfall is 18-metre high Inglis Falls, which cascades over a series of limestone shelves of the Niagara Escarpment.  There are several more waterfalls to enjoy.

Our guide Grey County Waterfalls Road Trip directs you to all eight must-see waterfalls in the region.

Waterfall surrounded woods

Manitoulin Island

Duration: 2 Days

Manitoulin Island is the perfect destination for outdoor adventures, small town charm, and Indigenous cultural experiences. It is one of the best road trips in Ontario.

To get to the island, take the car ferry from Tobermory to South Baymouth on the island or cross the famous Little Current Swing Bridge to access Manitoulin from the north.

Make your first stop at Bridal Veil Falls.  It is a beautiful 11-metre waterfall.  Walk behind the waterfall for a different perspective.

Another must-do activity on the island is the Cup and Saucer Trail.  This can be a challenging hike.  Once you get to the top, you are rewarded with stunning vistas over Lake Manitou and beyond.

Ten Mile Point Trading Post Manitoulin

The island has many lovely towns to explore.  At the village of Kagawong, learn about the area’s history at the Old Mill Museum.  Gore Bay is known for its museums and brewery, and Providence Bay is home to a long sandy beach and a lovely boardwalk.

Experience Indigenous culture by visiting the First Nations communities of Wikwemikong and M’Chigeeng. See their cultural sites and attend a traditional Pow Wow festival.

See our article Manitoulin Island Road Trip, for more details on all the places to visit on this fabulous road trip.

Treed fingers of land boardwalks lighthouse

Thunder Bay – A Northern Ontario Road Trip

Duration: 2 Weeks

As well as all the great road trip ideas in southern Ontario, a longer trip to the vast beauty of Northern Ontario should not be missed.

This trip to Thunder Bay can be done in one week.  However, we recommend spending 2 weeks or even longer.  With its towering forests, the rugged Canadian Shield and Lake Superior’s stunning shoreline, there are so many worthy places to stop along the way.

Drive north from Toronto to Highway 17 and the road trip route to Thunder Bay.  Enjoy the city of Sudbury’s attractions before continuing west to the city of Sault Ste Marie.  The route has many small towns to discover.  Learn about their mining and forestry heritage.

Continue along the Lake Superior shoreline to some of Ontario’s best provincial parks.  Include time in your trip plan to climb Sleeping Giant, considered Ontario’s best day hike.

Man atop cliff looking over lake Tee Harbour background

In Thunder Bay, visit historic Fort William and see the magnificent Kakabeka Falls, the second highest waterfall in Ontario after Niagara Falls.

Return home by driving the same route back, visiting places you missed, or better yet, drive the northerly Highway 11 to see even more of remote Northern Ontario.  See the polar bears at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat.  Visit the historic mining towns of Timmins and Cobalt.  Make a final stop at North Bay to take a boat cruise and watch the sunset over Lake Nipissing.

With so much natural splendour and opportunities for adventure, a Northern Ontario road trip is the perfect summer getaway.  For more details, check on our article, The Ultimate Northern Ontario Road Trip.

Highway coloured forest hill truck distance


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