5 places to go on a roadtrip in Ontario this spring
It might not seem like it right now, but spring is right around the corner. Warmer temperatures and sunnier weekends beg for one thing- a road trip of course. We’ve put together some of our favourite destinations in Ontario so that you can take a mini break without breaking the bank.
Nestled in the beautiful Georgian Bay are the crystal blue waters and fascinating stone structures of Tobermory. Just under a four hour drive North of the city, Tobermory is a harbour village offering small town charm, but packed full of adventure.
A sunny, spring day offers the perfect weather to go for a hike and Tobermory is home to one of the prettiest trails in Ontario - The Bruce Trail. This stunning trail runs along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World biosphere reserve. The trail starts further north in the Niagara Peninsula and ends its journey in Tobermory, renowned for offering the most gorgeous views of the entire trail.
The trail is not the only spot featuring gorgeous sights, as Tobermory is also famous for its crystal clear waters, opening up the world of shipwrecks hidden beneath the surface. Known as “the fresh water scuba diving capital of the world”, Tobermory offers plenty of options to take a dip beneath the surface at Fathom Five National Marine Park, where explorers can discover submerged canyons, forests, underwater waterfalls and over 20 historical shipwrecks. However, if the spring weather hasn’t got you toasty enough to take a splash just yet, why not try one of the many boat cruises offered in the area, and see what you can spot from above the surface.
While you’re by the water, check out natural stone formations The Grotto, carved out over hundreds of years by the lake, and Flower Pot Island.
If you want to drag your road trip out into a mini-break Tobermory offers an abundance of quaint cottages for rental and plenty of space for those who are keen campers.
Take a jaunt out of the city just an hour and a half along the QEW and find yourself at Niagara Falls, home to the world famous waterfall by the same name. However, these days the city has seen an overhaul, and is now home to so much more than just the falls.
First things first, you have to get up close and take in one of the world's most magnificent natural beauties. Overlook the falls from the many viewing platforms dotted around, including the Rainbow Bridge which connects Ontario with the U.S. If you want to get up real close and personal, take a walk to the brink of the Falls and see the rushing waters from up close, or try Niagara Parks’ Journey Behind the Falls and experience the power of the Horseshoe Falls from behind.
If you want to get active, Niagara offers some breathtaking walks, such as the White Water Walk which offers a scenic trail by the rapids, or head to Niagara Parks botanical gardens.
Away from nature, the city has also been known for serving a gaudy, toned-down Vegas vibe. Fallsview If you’re feeling lucky head to Fallsview Casino Resort- the largest gaming resort facility in the country, which boasts not only 3,000 slot machines and 130 table games, but a restaurant and plenty of shopping opportunities too.
If gambling isn’t your thing, why not take in the sights of the strip from above. The SkyWheel allows riders to ride 175-feet above the bright lights and rushing rapids, meanwhile The Skylon Tower is home to one of the most famous restaurants in the city and offers a dining experience 775-feet above the falls.
Is wine your thing? Then Niagara is the place for you. As of 2014 Niagara was home to 88 wineries which offer a variety of tasting experiences that give you an inside look into how ontario's climate lends itself to creating some of your favourite wines.
If you really want to learn something new, and step outside of the regular Niagara day-tripper schedule, go to Queen Victoria Park and take a look at the Tesla monument. One majorly underrated fact is that Niagara is the birthplace of hydroelectric power!
Head West and find this hidden natural gem nestled just 20 minutes away from downtown Hamilton. Webster’s Falls is a 22-metre high plunge waterfall hidden in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area, and is well known for its breathtaking panoramas.The area is the perfect spring haut, offering plenty of opportunity to see the spring foliage as it begins to bloom.
Pack a picnic with friends and take a walk by the falls, perfect for a photo opportunity. The park is interlaced with trails, including Bruce Trail and a side-trail leading to the historic Crooks Hollow Conservation Area, so if you’re feeling active it is well worth exploring. The area is also home to a unique, reborn version of a cobblestone bridge from 1936, which crosses Spencer Creek. Having fallen into disrepair, it was destined for demolition, until the Greensville Optimists raised the necessary funds to have the bridge reopened in 2000.
If you’re up for a longer road trip then why not visit Canada’s capital city? Roughly a four and half drive from The 6ix, Ottawa is the home of the Canadian parliament, and is a hub of politics and culture.
Standing on the southbank of the Ottawa River, the city offers everything from lessons in Canadian history to a thriving bar scene.
Starting downtown, check out the National Gallery of Canada: one of Canada’s premier art galleries which has been a part of the city since 1880. If museums are your thing then you’re in the right place, as Ottawa has an abundance of educational spots, including the Canadian Museum of Nature. Located in a heritage castle, the museum is home to some amazing dioramas of Canada’s most famous wild animals, a real life whale skeleton and a bunch of creepy crawlies.
Hopefully the spring thaw will allow for you to take a boat ride along the Rideau Canal, or take a bike ride in the gorgeous Gatineau Park.
Head to Byward Market and try out some delicious produce courtesy of Ottawa’s farmers and artisans. With over 260 stands the outdoor market offers everything from Canadian cheese and maple-infused chocolate, to locally made crafts and clothes.
Of course, it goes without saying that while in the capital you should head up Parliament Hill and check out the neo-gothic architecture of The Houses of Parliament.
You know what spring means? That summer is right around the corner, of course. So get in the mood for long, lazy days by the lake and head up to cottage country. Muskoka is home to 60,000 permanent residents, but attracts an additional 100,000 seasonal property owners so, as you can imagine, thats a lot of cottages!
Just a short drive North and you can find yourself immersed in the heart of nature. Nestled in the rocky landscape of muskoka are several picturesque towns including Bracebridge, Huntsville and Rosseau, al offering their own local favourite spots for delicious food and quaint shops. Taste out some locally brewed beer from the Muskoka brewery, or grab a cup of java from Muskoka Roastery, also native to the area, from any number of coffee shops.
There are approximately 1,600 lakes in the area, as well as a bunch of golf courses and hiking trails are plentiful- so the options for your spring-day adventure are pretty much endless. Don’t forget to get your first cliche Muskoka chair lounging snap to kick start the season.
So what are you waiting for? Get your friends together, decide which car to take on your road trip, draw straws over who is going to drive and get on your way.