Toronto offers a lot to do all summer long, but it’s also conveniently located within reasonable distance of many of the province’s must-see attractions.
If you need a break from the city life this summer, start your to-do escape list off with these locations.
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Algonquin Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada. It’s a sprawling park, at nearly 7,700 square kilometers with upwards of 2,400 lakes contained within its borders.
Lush landscapes, camping sites that range from remote locations only accessible by canoe or kayak to car camping lots, with portages and trails suitable for all levels of hikers, Algonquin Park is a popular summer destination. It’s located roughly 3 hours-plus from Toronto so more suitable to camping than a day trip, but book your permits early because availability vanishes quickly.
Located a tick under four hours northwest of Toronto between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula features rocky cliffs, massive plots of cedar trees, trails, and numerous lighthouses scattered along the shoreline.
The Bruce Peninsula contains two National Park sites, eight Ontario Provincial Parks, and four Federation of Ontario Naturalists Parks.
Just over two hours by car from Toronto, Collingwood and the surrounding area is a solid year-round destination. While Blue Mountain makes for a great spot to hit the slopes in the winter, there’s Wasaga Beach and the sites along the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures there to keep the people visiting through the summer months.
Hamilton – City of Waterfalls
Hamilton is a mere one hour drive from Toronto. “Steeltown,” “The Hammer,” and “The Ambitious City” are all well and good as nicknames, but we prefer “The City of Waterfalls” thanks to the sights to see at the Spencer Gorge, Webster Falls, and Albion Falls.
Dundas Peak, which has been called Hamilton’s “riskiest selfie spot,” offers breathtaking views of the urban and wilderness landscapes surrounding the area. Just try to keep yourself out of scenario that requires a helicopter rescue!
The Elora Gorge is located roughly 110km west of Toronto, and the hour and a half you might spend in a car will be well worth it upon arrival.
The Grand River rushes through 22-metre high cliffs along the Elora Gorge, which features great camping sites and hiking trails. The “Tooth of Time” (pictured above) was once intended to be part of the first bridge built over the Grand River, but it was vetoed in 1927. Thankfully, it’s still intact and offers onlookers an incredible sight at the start of the Gorge.
Prince Edward County
“The County” has quickly become one of the province’s top tourist destinations. Classic farmhouses line the streets of the surrounding towns, which feature various wineries, small batch breweries, and an eclectic mix of restaurants.
Sandbanks Provincial Park features the world’s largest fresh water sand bar and dune system.
A world of discovery awaits just a mere three hours east of Toronto. Thousand Islands boasts historic buildings like the Boldt Castle, as well as the incredible architecture featured in many of the modern homes that line the shores viewable from the Palace and Palisades Cruise through the islands. You can also explore the hundreds of shipwrecks via chartered scuba diving tours.
While you’re enjoying all of the natural beauty Ontario has to offer this summer, remember the role we all can play in helping to keep it that way. In Ontario, 96.8% of the population lives within 10 km of a Recycle My Electronics approved drop-off location, so let’s all do our part to safely recycle our end-of-life electronics and keep them out of landfill.
Image via Flickr/Ashwin Kumar