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12 Best Road Trip Destinations for Hiking, Paddling, Camping, and Beaching in Southern Ontario

 

 

Algonquin Park

 

algonquin park

algonquin park

algonquin park

algonquin park

algonquin park

algonquin park

  • 2.5hr drive from Toronto, in Muskoka near Huntsville.
  • Great place to hike, kayak, portage. 
  • There is an abundance of flora and fauna. 
  • Many trail options from short to long and easy to difficult.
  • Many areas are peaceful and quiet.
  • Awesome for several days of camping.
  • Link to Algonquin Park  

 

 

 

Bon Echo

 

bon echo

bon echo, mazinaw lake, mazinaw rock

bon echo

bon echo trail

bon echo

 

bon echo beach

bon echo beach

  • 3hr drive northeast from Toronto in Cloyne
  • Great place to hike, kayak, SUP, swim, or lie on the beach. 
  • Beach is surrounded by pine trees.  Clean water and warm.
  • Has not been overly crowded on any my trips.
  • Kayak to Mazinaw rock formation/cliff for a 1.5km hike route with picturesque views.
  • Link to Bon Echo

 

 

 

 Niagara Escarpment

 

niagara, niagara hiking, niagara escarpment

niagara escarpment

niagara escarpment

niagara escarpment, best hiking ontario, best park ontario

  • 1.5hrs west of Toronto
  • Moderate to challenging hike (if you stray from marked trails)
  • Rock-climbing/bouldering
  • Great views of rapids on the bottom.  You can sit on flat rocks and watch speed boats do their stunts (or go on a speed boat tour yourself)
  • Beautiful rock formations.
  • Butterfly conservatory.
  • Golfing and a nice restaurant right by the hiking trails.
  • A “Ninja Warrior-like” obstacle course a walk away.
  • Can get pretty busy.  Not great if you are a fan of people. 
  • 30m away from Niagara Falls where there are too many activities to even list.
  • Link to Niagara Escarpment

 

 

 

Mono Cliffs

 

mono cliffs

mono cliffs park

mono cliffs park, best parks ontario

mono cliffs, best parks in ontario, ontario road trips

mono cliffs, best road trips ontario, best park ontario

  • Quick road trip from Toronto (45min).  In Mono near Caledon and Orangeville.
  • Several hiking trails of moderate difficulty with decent climbs.
  • Pet-friendly. You can bring your dog along for a couple of the routes.
  • Nice view at the top of farmland and you can see the CN Tower on a clear day.
  • Beautiful canyon/rock formation with stairs walking through it.
  • Not overly busy.
  • Link to Mono Cliffs

 

 

 

Elora Gorge 

 

elora gorge

elora gorge

elora, ontario

elora gorge

elora gorge

  • 1hr drive from Toronto, near Guelph. 
  • Easy to moderate hiking.
  • Tubing or kayaking down river.
  • Fairly busy.
  • Link to Elora Gorge

 

 

 

Tobermory and Flower Pot Island

 

tobermory

tobermory

tobermory, flowerpot island

tobermory, ship wreck

tobermory, flowerpot island

tobermory, bruce peninsula

  • 3hr drive north of Toronto, up Bruce Penninsula.
  • Take a ferry from Tobermory to Flower Pot Island
  • Great place to scuba dive/snorkel.  There are many ship wrecks. 
  • Easy hiking around the island.
  • Beautiful rock formations on the water.
  • Island can get fairly busy.
  • “The Grotto” (cave with water pool) is nearby along the way.
  • Link to Tobermory and Flower Pot Island

 

 

 

Killbear

 

killbear provincial park

killbear park

killbear, ontario

killbear

killbear

  • 3hr drive from Toronto.  A lot of nice scenery of the Canadian Shield along the way.
  • Great picturesque beach with flat rock formations to sun bathe on.  Water is clean and warm. 
  • Didn’t notice many hiking trails but there are awesome camping spots right by the water.
  • Cliff jumping into deep/safe water.
  • Link to Killbear Provincial Park

 

 

 

Webster’s and Tew's Falls

 

Webster's Falls

websters falls

websters falls

websters falls

 

Tew's Falls

tews falls

  • 45min drive west from Toronto, in Dundas.
  • Short and easy hiking trails to both falls.  Two of the nicest falls in southern Ontario (Niagara Falls, Devil’s Punchbowl and Albion Falls are the other two that surpass their beauty and size)
  • You can fairly safely climb a fence and scale down some rocks to get right to the bottom of Webster’s Falls. 
  • Link to Webster’s and Tew’s Falls

 

 

 

Collingwood Caves

 

collingwood caves

collingwood

collingwood caves

collingwood

 

  • 2hr drive north from Toronto
  • Many caves, caverns, and crevaces.
  • There is one dark, deep underground cave that is awesome.  It is a very cool break from the summer heat.  However, if you are claustrophobic this cave should probably be avoided (stick to the other several caves).
  • Easy to moderate hiking.  Fairly hilly.
  • There is a 420 foot high suspension bridge with great views. 
  • There is zip-lining available. 
  • Skiing and snowshoeing is available in winter.
  • Link to Collingwood Caves

 

 

 

Point Pelee and Long Point

 

long point

long point beach

point pelee

point pelee beach

  • 2.5hr drive west to Lake Erie, just past port Dover.
  • Point Pelee is a nature lover’s paradise for bird-watching and butterflies.
  • A short distance away is a beach lover’s paradise.  Nice soft sand beach and clean water.
  • This is Canada’s most southern point.  It is a long peninsula that stretches out into Lake Erie. 
  • A great place to cycle, paddle, and hike.
  • Link to Point Pelee  https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/on/pelee

 

 

 

Sauble Beach and Sauble Falls

 

sauble beach

sauble beach

sauble beach sunset

sauble beach sunset

sauble falls

sauble falls

  • 2.5hr drive from Toronto
  • Sauble Beach has some of the cleanest water I have seen in Ontario.
  • Narrow strip beach with soft sand.
  • Famous for spectacular sunsets.
  • Usually calm waters.
  • Beach is usually a popular busy destination.
  • Music events, car shows, and sand castle contests on the beach.
  • Nice little community with many restaurants and shops a stone throw away from the beach.
  • Sauble Falls is a short drive from the beach.  Nice rapids surrounded by tree.  There is tubing down the falls.
  • Link to Sauble Beach

 

 

 

Sandbanks

 

sandbanks beach

sandbanks beach

sandbanks beach

sandbanks beach

sandbanks beach

  • 2.5hr drive east from Toronto, in Prince Edward County near Belleville.
  • Soft sand beach and clean water.  Can walk out into water fairly far as there as sandbars. 
  • This beach is almost always busy.  Have to get there super-early.
  • Did not notice any restaurants on beach.  At least near the front entrance.  Bring own food.
  • Nearby places to paddle and can paddle right on lake (when it is calm).
  • “Lake on a mountain” (a neat feature that is 100 feet or so above sea level) is a short drive away.
  • Link to Sandbanks

 

 

Cobourg Beach

 

cobourg beach, ontario

  • 1.5hr drive east of Toronto, Beach is along Lake Ontario.
  • A long and wide beach but tends to get busy.
  • Concert events and bar by the beach.
  • The best pizza I have ever had Shawarma House & Pizza is at 144 King Street West.
  • Cobourg is a nice, quaint town with friendly people.  A lot of mom and pops shops in downtown area.
  • Link to Cobourg

Scarborough Bluffs

scarborough bluffs, ontario

scarborough bluffs beach

  • Within Greater Toronto Area.
  • Picturesque bluffs/cliffs overlooking Lake Ontario.
  • Long stretch of white sand beach.
  • There are 11 parks along the 15km stretch of Scarborough Bluffs.
  • Places to BBQ.
  • Water is clean enough to swim in.
  • Link to Scarborough Bluffs

 

 

Below are my next Ontario (mostly Southern) road trips.  Stay tuned for pictures + reviews!

 

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Sleeping Giant, Agawa, Harmony Beach, Pancake Bay, Old Woman Bay

  • Long, 15hr drive north from Toronto.  Unlike the other destinations on my list, this one requires a few days stay.
  • Many scenic stops along Lake Superior.
  • Sleeping Giant is the most difficult and lengthy of all the places on this list to hike.  You need to bring proper shoes and gear.

 

Pinery National Park and Grand Bend

  • 3hr drive west to Lake Huron, near Grand Bend.

 

Bruce Peninsula Park, Lion’s Head and “The Grotto”

  • 3hr drive north, near Orillia.

 

Rattlesnake Point

  • 45min drive northwest.  Milton/Caledon/Orangeville area.
  • Great place for hiking and biking.  Rolling hills.

 

Crystal Beach, Port Burwell, Sand Hill Park, Turkey Point,

  • 2hr drive west of Toronto, on Lake Erie.  All locations are within 30min of eachother.

 

Rouge Valley

  • Within Greater Toronto Area.

 

1000 Islands

La Cloche Mountains, Killarney

Bonnchere Caves

Awenda Provincial Park

Albion Falls and Felker’s Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________

Personal Trainer in Toronto

Eric Astrauskas, Spec. Hons. B.A.(Kinesiology), P.T.S.

Phone: 416-912-9716

Email: eric@ptinto.com

Hours: M-F 6am-8pm, Sat+Sun 8am-12pm

 

 
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