Toronto is a lovely place filled with cool eateries, intriguing museums, and fantastic nightlife. With 2.6 million people, it’s the largest city in Canada. But sometimes, you just need to get away from the millions of people and the towering skyscrapers. And a road trip from Toronto is the perfect way to do that!
The best road trips from Toronto can take you just about anywhere you can imagine. Whether you’re hoping for a nature-filled destination or one that’s just a slightly smaller city than Toronto, you can make that happen.
So without further ado, here are the best road trips from Toronto.
1. Niagara Falls
One of the best road trips from Toronto is also one of the shortest. The drive to Niagara Falls only takes an hour and a half, but it still definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Niagara Falls is the largest waterfall in North America. It’s actually split into three separate falls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. If you like, you can even take the Maid of the Mist boat tour to sail as close to the falls as possible.
Many people like to pair a road trip to Niagara Falls with a stop at the little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. While there, you can stroll around the historic city center, enjoy a wine tasting at Peller Estates Winery, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
No list of the best road trips from Toronto would be complete without Muskoka. This region is just two hours from Toronto, which is wonderful if you don’t have a lot of time.
But regardless of how many days you have to spare, there are many ways to make the most of them in Muskoka. You can hike to Wilson’s Falls, take in the beauty of Lake Rosseau, attend the Muskoka Maple Festival, and rent a cute little cabin.
3. Algonquin Provincial Park
Just outside of Muskoka lies Algonquin Provincial Park. (As a matter of fact, you can make Muskoka a stop on your Toronto to Algonquin Provincial Park road trip.)
Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the best road trips from Toronto if you’re looking to escape city life and enjoy nature instead. Many parts of the park are only accessible by foot, canoe, or kayak. Most visitors actually claim that it’s easiest to explore this gorgeous park by water than by land, so get ready to put your paddling skills to use!
In addition to canoeing and hiking, there are other things to do in Algonquin Provincial Park as well. You can also try your hand at fishing, keep an eye out for moose and other wildlife, and camp overnight.
4. Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula National Park is another nature-focused getaway from Toronto. It’s primarily known for its abundance of wildlife. While there, you can see everything from black bears to coyotes to porcupines!
The best way to see all of the amazing animals is by going on a hike. The most famous hike by far is the Bruce Trail. In total, the Bruce Trail is 900 kilometres long, and it runs all the way from Niagara to Tobermory (the northernmost tip of Bruce Peninsula National Park).
While you certainly don’t have to hike all of the Bruce Trail, we highly recommend hiking a portion of it. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular wildlife, incredible lake views, and even a few hidden caves. And if you need a recommendation for a specific section of the hike, we want to highlight the Storm Haven to Overhanging Point Loop.
5. Prince Edward County and Kingston
Prince Edward County is known primarily for one thing: wine. As you drive the 200 kilometres from Toronto to Prince Edward County, you’ll pass hundreds of wineries. And we recommend that you stop at a couple of them. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a fun wine tasting?
But there’s more to this county than its rows and rows of wine grapes. You can also stroll through downtown Picton, stop at a few foodie spots on the Prince Edward County Taste Trail, and pop by Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Just outside of Prince Edward County is the beautiful town of Kingston. Since these two stops are just an hour apart, you can easily visit both on your road trip from Toronto. While in Kingston, you can enjoy the Kingston Trolley Tour, hike in Lemoine Point Conservation Area, visit the historic Fort Henry, and hop aboard the ferry to Wolfe Island.
6. Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands is so gorgeous it looks like it was plucked out of a fairytale. With 1,864 greenery-laden islands dotted in the gorgeous teal waters of the St. Lawrence River, you can’t ask for better views.
As you make your way from Toronto to the Thousand Islands, you’ll actually get to pass quite a few of these thousand islands. It’s definitely an amazing scenic drive. (You’ll also pass Prince Edward County and Kingston, so consider making those stops on your road trip as well.)
When you finally reach the Thousand Islands, you can hike, kayak, and paddleboard to your heart’s content. And there are a few non-nature-related attractions in the area as well, including Boldt Castle, Singer Castle, and 1000 Islands Tower.
You’ll need a home base when exploring the Thousand Islands, and the little town of Gananoque is a popular one. While there, you can stroll through the quaint downtown, pop by the Thousand Islands History Museum, and catch a show at Thousand Islands Playhouse.
If you drive far enough east of Toronto, you’ll eventually find yourself in the francophone part of Canada. As a matter of fact, it takes just less than six hours of driving to reach Montreal.
Odds are, you don’t want to drive all six hours in one go. Instead, take a break midway through your road trip from Toronto and stop in Ottawa. While in Canada’s capital city, you can take a tour of Parliament, explore the Canadian Museum of History, and skate on the world’s largest ice skating rink!
When you finally reach your destination of Montreal, the first thing you’ll want to do is explore Old Montreal. Much of the charm of Old Montreal comes from the little things, like the cobblestone streets, the quaint sidewalk cafes, and the St. Lawrence River views. But there are quite a few sights to see as well, including the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, Bonsecours Market, and the Old Port.
But there’s more to Montreal than just the historic section. In the more modernized sections of town, you can pop into the Montreal Biodome, explore the Jean-Talon Market, and make it to the summit of Mount Royal.
8. Quebec City
If you drive another three hours past Montreal, you’ll find yourself in Quebec City. And with midway stops like Ottawa and Montreal, this is definitely one of the best road trips from Toronto, especially for city lovers.
Like Montreal, Quebec City is a mix of historic and modern. You can explore Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral, zipline over Montmorency Falls, and pop by Chateau Frontenac.
The Toronto to Newfoundland road trip is, by far, the longest journey on this list. But if you have a few weeks of vacation time to use, I’d highly recommend it.
You’ll get to stop at many of the coolest sites from the previously listed road trips from Toronto, including Montreal and Quebec City. But you’ll also get to see a couple of others, including Cape Breton Island, and, of course, Newfoundland.
Cape Breton Island is filled with beautiful natural landscapes, adorable fishing villages, and hidden foodie gems. But if there’s just one thing you should do during your time at Cape Breton Island, it’s hike the famous Skyline Trail.
After you wrap up on Cape Breton Island, you can then hop on a ferry (with your car) to Newfoundland. While there, you can take a whale watching tour, hike through Gros Morne National Park, pay a visit to Auk Island Winery, and watch the first sunrise in North America.
Not all of the best road trips from Toronto are in Canada. Since Toronto is relatively close to the border, you can also grab your passport and make the road trip into the United States! One of the closest cities is Detroit, Michigan, which is about four hours away.
While in Detroit, there’s so much to do and see. You can wander around the Eastern Market, pop by the Detroit Institute of Arts, and explore the Motown Museum.
If you’d like to get away from this massive U.S. city for a bit, you can drive a tad further to the small city of Ann Arbor. It’s the perfect place to peruse the University of Michigan Museum of Art, explore Kerrytown, and stop and smell the flowers at the Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.
So what are you waiting for? Which of these fantastic road trips from Toronto are you going to embark on? (And when you get back, let us know how your journey went in the comments!)
If you’re looking for other bucketlist destinations within Canada, be sure to check these out.