Day Trips from Toronto in Summer

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Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake
Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake

By Lori Bosworth

We’re not too far away from the Victoria Day weekend, which, for many, signals the beginning of summer. It’s great to make the most of the weekend by hopping in the car for day trips from Toronto. If you prefer to know where you’re going, we’ve compiled some of our favourite summer day trips that are a short drive from Toronto.

Victoria Hall, Cobourg, photo by NormanEinstein at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3091725
Victoria Hall, Cobourg, photo by NormanEinstein at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3091725

Cobourg, Ontario

Cobourg is about an hour east of Toronto approached by Hwy 401 and exit 474 at Division Street. Bring your bathing suit and towels because the Town of Cobourg has a gorgeous beach and boardwalk, that is the town’s jewel in the summer. Walk along the boardwalk to the marina or rent a paddle board, kayak or canoe at Green Canoe Outfitters, rent a bike from Cobourg tourism on the boardwalk. Visit Victoria Hall that houses the Art Gallery of Northumberland. Take a stroll along King Street and browse in the shops. Stop for lunch for Mediterranean fare at The Corfu Grill or fine dining at the Woodlawn Inn. Here are some festivities taking place in Cobourg in summer 2017:

Cobourg Highland Games – June 17, 2017
Busker & Art Festival – June 17 and 18, 2017
Summer Waterfront Festival – July 1-3, 2017

St. Jacobs, Ontario

St. Jacobs is an hour and 15 minutes west of Toronto and features the well-known St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market where you’ll find home decor, crafts, clothing, books and food. This is the largest year-found farmers’ market in Canada and it gets busy so arrive early. (The market is open Thursday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In addition, it is open Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 13, 2017 to August 29, 2017. After the farmers’ market, take in a play at the St. Jacobs Playhouse, which will be performing The 39 Steps, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Lucky Stiff in summer 2017 or visit the Block Three Brewing Co. to sample some excellent craft beer. This small microbrewery specializes in Belgian beer so take some home with you to Toronto. Jacob’s Grill is a great place to stop for coffee and sandwiches.

Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake
Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake is about one-and-a-half hours southwest of Toronto. It is truly one of Ontario’s prettiest towns and is one of the popular day trips from Toronto. Plan to spend some time shopping in the quaint boutiques on Queen Street, enjoy lunch on the flower-trimmed patios, or dine like royalty and enjoy afternoon tea at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. Take in a play at the Shaw Festival 2017 or go for a stunning bike ride along the long and winding Niagara Parkway, which leads out of town.

Port Dover Erie Beach is one of the popular day trips from Toronto, photo by JasonParis from Toronto, Canada - Port Dover, ON, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17813348
Port Dover Erie Beach with Port Dover Lighthouse in background, photo by JasonParis from Toronto, Canada – Port Dover, ON, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17813348

Port Dover, Ontario

Drive southwest from Toronto for about one hour and a half and you’ll land at the lakeside town of Port Dover. The public beach at Port Dover features good swimming and public washrooms. After swimming, walk over to the pier to see the historic Port Dover Lighthouse, built in 1905. If you are a seafood lover, make sure you try the Lake Erie pickerel or perch at Fisherman’s Catch Bar & Restaurant or The Beach House. Those interested in local history might want to stop at the Port Dover Harbour Museum that showcases artifacts and documents many of the shipwrecks on Lake Erie.

What are your favourite day trips from Toronto? Please let us know in the comments.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I have never been to Toronto but I’ve heard so many amazing things about it! I have a huge bucket list that I’m working on and Toronto is one of them. I truly love how beautiful the city is (from pictures I’ve seen) and it’s high on the bucket list to visit since I live in NY.

  2. Toronto is on my to-do travel list. I heard so many great things about this city. Thanks for showing us more day places to visit when coming up to Toronto.

  3. My husband has been to Toronto a few different times and has commented on how much there is to see and do. From all of the photos I’ve seen, it looks beautiful as well. Hope one day we’ll be able to make it there as a couple!

  4. I have never been to Toronto, but I have been to Victoria and to this date is still the beautiful place i have ever visited. I enjoy seeing Toronto through your photos.

  5. I live in Windsor and can’t even count how many times I’ve been up to Toronto…and the only place I’ve been to on the list is Niagara!! I’ll definitely check some of these other places out. Northern Ontario is stunning!

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