Toronto, Ontario’s state capital, is a bustling metropolis of 2.7 million people located in the east of Canada.
It’s a cultural, business and financial hub, and therefore it unsurprisingly holds a lot of appeal for visiting tourists.
There are museums, art galleries, theatres, a zoo, and a whole lot of excellent restaurants and bars dotted about the city.
There’s also a plethora of excellent day trips on offer in the nearby surrounds: Niagara Falls, with many great hiking spots and natural wonders, and even a few surprises that you might not have thought of.
Here are fifteen of the best day trips from Toronto:
1. Niagara Falls
An inevitable highlight of a trip to Toronto is the glorious Niagara Falls.
Nothing compares to the view of the water powerfully crashing down as seen from the Hornblower Boat on the lake.
You can also choose to have lunch with a view; find a restaurant with the falls as a backdrop while you chow down on a delicious buffet.
As part of the day trip you can also learn about the history and culture of the area from knowledgeable guides, as well as having the chance to admire the gorgeous scenery during the drive there.
2. Niagara Winery tour
Perhaps you’ve seen Niagara Falls before, or you’re keen to check out the surrounding area.
Whatever the reason, there’s a great option here that offers something a bit different.
The Niagara region is famous for its wines, and this offers you a chance to taste tipples from several different vineyards around the region.
The ice wine here is a real treat, and the region’s speciality.
You can also make a stop to explore the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Suggested tour: Niagara Winery Tour From Toronto – Full day
3. Ferris Provincial Park
Ferris Provincial Park is situated on the fringes of Campbellford, and features a unique attraction: the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge.
The bridge spans the Trent River Gorge and offers some epic views of unspoilt scenery.
The hikes around cover more than ten kilometres, and you’ll be able to find a great viewpoint over the falls.
Along the trail, spot the wildflowers in bloom, and no matter what season you’re visiting you’ll be treated to nature’s finest offerings.
4. Rattlesnake Point
Located conveniently near to Toronto is Rattlesnake Point, an excellent spot for rock climbing.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned climber, there are some great options here for enthusiasts.
Spend a few hours out on the rocks testing your strength.
When you get tired you can stretch out your muscles by wandering round the well-trodden hiking trails of the park.
This spot can get a bit crowded due to its ideal location for Toronto-dwellers, but it’s still well worth the visit, and a different way to spend the day.
5. Dundas Peak
Dundas Peak is surely one of Toronto’s hiking highlights, and that’s saying something: there’s a lot of competition.
If you’re around in autumn you’ll catch the foliage turning golden; a stunning sight from the top of the rocks, where you’ll see a multi-coloured carpet spread out below you.
You can also spot some postcard-worthy towns from your lofty vantage point.
It’s worth every drop of sweat it costs you to get up there.
6. Eramosa Karst Caves
Only around an hour’s drive away from Toronto lie the impressive Eramosa Karst caves.
This is a great place to fill up a day, as there are numerous nooks and crannies to lose yourself in.
To add to the excitement, there are plenty of streams and waterfalls wending their way around the caves and some excellent secluded spots to stop for a picnic.
Don’t miss it.
7. Cobourg Beach
To add to the wide array of natural attractions, there’s a beach spot worth visiting near Toronto, only an hour and a half away.
Cobourg is a fairly popular place to visit among locals, especially on the weekends, but that doesn’t detract from its chilled vibes and gorgeous water.
The best months to visit are July and August because of the weather, but if you’re up for a bracing dip you can certainly visit outside of the peak summer months.
Stroll along the boardwalk soaking up the holiday atmosphere, or, if you’re lucky, you might catch the yearly volleyball or sandcastle building competitions.
The beach is well-supplied with amenities, including picnic tables and changing rooms, so you don’t need to plan ahead too much to take advantage of this spot.
An up and coming tourist spot is hidden in cute Caledon and it’s not what you think: it’s a craft cider brewery.
Spirit Tree Cider is booming in popularity, along with the rest of Ontario’s craft cider scene, and this particular brewery has a great set up for a day trip, with a bistro and bakery on-site.
Drive up for the afternoon and sit yourself down with some great samples and a delicious lunch.
After you’ve drunk your fill (and perhaps taken up the offer of some souvenirs to give to friends back home), there’s the picturesque village to explore before making the drive back.
9. Grand River
For the more intrepid explorers, there is plenty of adventure on offer in Ontario’s Grand River, the largest river lying within Ontario’s borders.
Lying along the western side of the Great Horseshoe region, the main highlight of this spot is tubing: floating down the river in a rubber ring.
Ride the miniature rapids or select a calmer spot for a more relaxed experience, then simply lie back and relax.
It’s a great way to cool off in the heat of the summer, and perhaps a good option to keep the kids entertained or tire them out if their energy needs depleting for the trip back home.
For another taste of adventure, head to Kelso and the Niagara Escarpment to check out the mountain biking scene there.
This is a great spot for beginner riders, because there isn’t too much in the way of obstacles and tricky technical aspects along the trail.
Ride hard down the slopes of the route’s single track, made all the more exhilarating because of the tough climb you have to undertake simply to get up there.
When you’ve had your fill, head over to the nearby beach to cool off with a dip.
11. Algonquin Provincial Park
This gorgeous provincial park is an absolute must-visit from Toronto, particularly for nature lovers.
Get up close and personal with the abundant wildlife roaming around the park, from deer and wolves to moose.
Spend the day meandering along the many hiking trails that criss-cross the park, or kayak across one of the lakes.
If you’re lucky enough to be there in August or September, you might be able to take part in the night time wolf howl, where visitors can howl to the wolves and hear them answer back.
Suggested tour: Algonquin Provincial Park Private Tour
12. Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain is a ski resort located just outside of Collingwood, only around two and a half hours from Toronto.
It’s not just great for skiing; depending on the time of year you might find yourself biking or hiking around the peaks, if the snow isn’t forthcoming.
Ski season is busy and exciting, but summer has a lot to offer too, with plenty of outdoor events as well as some fantastic shopping opportunities.
The winter brings skating, snow shoeing and skiing, and then all year round you can take advantage of the hot tubs, rope swings and lounging chairs of the nearby aquatic centre.
13. Wonderland theme park
For a day trip sure to please the kids, Wonderland theme park is a very accessible option, only an hour north of the city.
Ride the rollercoasters ragged, stuff yourselves with sugary fair snacks, and make sure to fit in at least one show in this big day out.
You can cool off at Splash Works, and a dip in Canada’s largest outdoor wave pool should certainly not be missed.
It’s not surprising that people come from all over Ontario to visit this gloriously guilt-free theme park.
14. St Jacob’s
For an old-world trip out from Toronto, the quaint village of St. Jacob’s is an excellent option.
Though it is perched amid glorious scenery, the real draw of the place is the markets, with options ranging from artisanal crafts to home-prepared foods.
Christmas is a great time to visit St. Jacob’s, but be careful, you might have a hard time finding recipients for all those gifts you’ll be itching to buy.
Make a stop at the well-stocked food court for lunch or dinner before you head back to the big city, or simply cobble something together from the farmer’s market.
15. Gravenhurst and Lake Muskoka
Somewhat settled in the lap of luxury lies the picturesque town of Gravenhurst, home to some of the rich and famous.
For day trippers, though, there is plenty to entertain, from wandering along the lake-front promenade browsing the excellent selection of shops, to dining on the waterfront with a gorgeous view.
Take a cruise out onto the lake on one of the local steamships if boating takes your fancy, and marvel at the rugged scenery that surrounds the water.
Or, if you feel like doing something more active, there are plenty of trails lacing the countryside around to be hiked and explored.