Drive Time: 4 hours (295.6 km)
Tobermory is a gorgeous hidden gem that is a short(ish) drive from Toronto (about 300 km Northwest). Tobermory is located on the Northern tip of Bruce Peninsula.
You’ll be surprised at how much it feels like you are in the Mediterranean and not Ontario. The Grotto, which is a beautiful cave in Bruce Peninsula National Park has become a hot tourist destination for its clear bright blue water and exotic beauty.
A 4 hour drive from Toronto, here you can cliff jump (disclaimer: it IS against the official park rules), hike one of their gorgeous lakeside trails that range in ability, or go for a swim in the crystal clear water.
Do not let the Mediterranean looks deceive you, the temperature of the water even in the dead of summer is very Canadian, i.e. FREEZING.
Gananoque, 1000 Islands, Ontario
Drive Time: 3 hours (287.0 km)
If you’ve ever driven to Kingston or Montreal from Toronto, chances are you’ve driven by the unassuming Gananoque. Located in the 1000 islands region of Ontario, it’s really a wonder that this isn’t on the radar of the Torontonians I know. I first went in the summer of 2015 and its charm really sucked me in and now it’s a summer staple for me.
Go eat at Laverne’s Eatery, a local hot-spot with delicious food and a cute patio. Do yoga at The Ledger Room to wind down, shop at Steel Style Garage or if you’re feeling historical check out The Thousand Islands Boat Museum.
Obviously, the 1000 islands name is self explanatory – and let me tell you, they are gorgeous and you should get out on the water if you can. Renting a boat isn’t always realistic so you can hop aboard a 1000 Islands boat cruise to appreciate the natural beauty that is so close to the city.
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
Drive Time: 1.5 hours (144.6 km)
Torontonians are pretty luck to be so close to the longest freshwater beach in the world.
The sand is groomed and if you’re wary of things touching your feet in the water like me you’ll be happy to know there is no seaweed either.
Whether you want a beach party day or are looking for a more secluded escape from your daily life, there’s a section of the beach that will suit you.
Beach 1 is where the storefronts, bars and restaurants are all located. Similar to how I imagine Jersey Shore to be, it’s also where you will find all of the dudes in muscle shirts roaming around flexing, large groups of teens flirting with each other selfie-ing, and people coming to show off their shiny cars & motorcycles. Beach 1 is where you go to see and be seen.
If you’re looking for a more secluded beach day, I’d recommend hitting up Beaches 5 +. You can park there, take ownership of a picnic table for the day and set up shop.
You can also rent boats, jet-ski’s, go mini-golfing, paintballing and go-karting all nearby.
There are tons of cottages for rent in the area to make a weekend of it.
Dundas Peak, Dundas, Ontario
Drive Time: 1 hour (80.9 km)
Dundas Peak, a part of Spencer Gorge / Webster Falls Conservation Area is a viewpoint that offers a stunning view of the Niagara Escarpment. It’s an easy hike, probably better classified as a walk.
The view and oh, the view. IMHO, the best time to take this road trip is in the fall. When the fall leaves are at their peak, people drive here in droves just to look out over the valley and see the bright mesmerizing Ontario fall colours. Because…well, just look at the pictures.
There are tons of hikes of varying abilities that you do, some pass waterfalls (Webster Falls being the largest) some go down into the valley. There is a small fee of $4 that must be paid to walk in since it is a conservation area. It’s worth every penny, honestly.