The weather has been treating us real nice these past few days. With all that sun and rising temperatures, it almost feels like a crime to spend any time indoors other than what’s strictly necessary. So, we created a list of six Ontario outdoor destinations that are great for enjoying nature, soaking up some sun and making your weekends excitingly active. And because they are just a few hours’ drive from TO, they are perfect for a spontaneous day trip.
And while we are at it, might we also recommend the perfect road-trip snack? How about some protein-rich, gluten-free 100% Canadian beef snacks from Big Chief? For years now, the family-owned, Canadian brand has been an obvious choice for us every time we need a quick snack- post-workout, in between meals, on hectic workdays. It’s healthy and delicious (legit snacking on Teriyaki Beef Jerky RN).
Plus, it’s easily available at more than 500 convenience stores in Ontario. You’ll likely find it at any gas station on your way if you don’t already have a stash at home. And you’d likely be interested in knowing that these don’t need refrigeration. Super convenient!
Circling back to Ontario our outdoor destinations list, here it goes—
Okay, we already know of this gem, courtesy of its Blue Flag beach status. Whether you want to canoe, paddle, kayak or simply take a dip in the warm waters of Lake Huron, this is the place to be. The Pinery Provincial Park, in particular, is a great place to start if you want a good hike before you relax and sunbathe at the beach. For off-beach adventure, you can hit the golf course or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, go skydiving.
Drive from Toronto: 3 hours 15 minutes
It’s no news that the Elora gorge is what attracts people here. But how you enjoy the gorge is totally up to you. You can take in top views of the gorge by hiking along the trails at the Elora Gorge Conservation Area. Or dip your feet in the shallow waters after a hike through Victoria Park. Or take a nice, long walk of the town to catch stunning glimpses of the gorge while also revelling in the small-town vibe. Or, our fave, go tubing down Grand River.
Drive from Toronto: 1 hour 45 mins
Gananoque & The Thousand Islands
Frankly, there are a thousand ways to enjoy Thousand Islands. From hiking up trails to sailing the blue waters to merely driving along the scenic shore, the region has enough to keep us going back for more. And one of our fave spots here happens to be the historic Gananoque town. With a Victorian vibe, a small-town charm and plenty of fun experiences, Gananoque is a must-visit.
Drive from Toronto: 3 hours
Algonquin Provincial Park
This massive park is perfect for nature-lovers, fishing fanatics and camping enthusiasts. Or even people who are simply looking to up their ‘Gram game. With several trails along its forested maple hills, fishing and canoeing opportunities on the many lakes, views that last for days and tons of photo ops, the park makes for a great road trip destination. Plus, the drive to the park too is pretty easy on the eyes.
Drive from Toronto: 3 hours
Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve
As is apparent from the name, the park is, by far, the best place in Ontario star-gazers. With stunted trees and no lights, you get a clear, 360° view of the magical night sky. But a day here is just as amazing as the night, thanks to the three well-marked trails here that can be used for hiking and mountain biking. And of course, the park offers the Muskoka signature of emerald and turquoise beauty with forests and wetlands.
Drive from Toronto: 2.5 hours
This isn’t exactly a day trip destination but more like a mini weekend vacation spot. And it’s straight-up magical! That’s the best way to describe this majestic island sitting on Lake Huron in southern Ontario. Sure, it’s the largest freshwater island on planet Earth, but that isn’t what makes it magnificent. What truly makes this a dreamy oasis is its unbelievably gorg topography, the 100 lakes within the island and the forested mountains. Basically, it’s the perfect place to get our fill of the outdoors.
Drive from Toronto: 6 hours
Frankly, outdoor junkie or not, these Ontario outdoor destinations are just too beautiful to be missed. So, pack your bags, fuel up your cars and get tripping. And, don’t forget to snag a few flavours of Big Chief beef jerky on your way to keep you healthy and your taste buds happy.