The weather is finally beginning to warm up, so you might be already looking for a beautiful place to get back in contact with nature and take in the fantastic sights of Canada. Well, as it turns out, you don’t even have to leave Ontario to find that place! The region is home to so much natural beauty that’s hard to believe how close it is all to each other, and now it’s the perfect time to go hiking, cycling or kayaking on their roads and rivers.
This list will show you some of the best summer getaways from Toronto, and what you can do in each of them. It was so hard to choose only five, and we know you would visit each of them one after another if you had a long-enough summer (or no chores to take care of back home), but alas, perhaps you’ll save the rest for next year. Regardless, all of these are home to incredible landscapes of tranquil rivers, deep blue lakes, dense forests and plenty of opportunities for the whole family to enjoy a nice outing, or even to set up camp for a couple of nights. Enjoy your trip!
Killarney Provincial Park
Over 245 square miles of beautiful wilderness awaits you in the Killarney Provincial Park, a true jewel of the Ontario region and absolutely worth the 4.5-hour drive from Toronto. Killarney is perhaps best known for being next to the La Cloche Mountains, a range of stunning white quartzite peaks that stand in contrast with the deep blue waters and lively green treetops all around. The amazing bright pink cliffs around Georgian Bay make for a sight unparalleled throughout all Canada, one of many that was immortalized on canvas by the artists known as The Group of Seven. You will find many hiking trails, camping spots, and be able to spot the abundant wildlife, like bears, deer, fox, moose, and more.
Bon Echo Provincial Park
Located in South Eastern Ontario, the Bon Echo Provincial Park is perhaps the most family-friendly park in our list, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less beautiful than the rest. The main attraction is the 328-feet-high cliffs of Mazinaw Rock, which are across Mazinaw Lake from the park’s campground, offering an amazing view all through the day as the sun rises then goes down. You’ll want to take the whole family in a canoe or kayak into the cliff’s face, which has some 260 aboriginal pictographs etched into them, and you’ll have an incredible view from the top afterward. There are very few accommodations around the park, so keep this in mind and go well-prepared to camp if you want to visit this place.
Quetico Provincial Park
Are you a nature lover looking for a remote, rugged, and wild experience? Then the Quetico Provincial Park is calling for you. A different breed of park than others around Southern Ontario, Quetico is known for its pristine forests and lakes, a vast country of untamed wilderness that is not full of tourists but of animals and trees. Quetico extends over more 1730 square miles and, while a small highway reaches the campground area of the park, most of the park is only accessible by float plane, boats, or canoeing, so you know this is the real thing. Newcomers are suggested to get help from a local outfitter, even for short trips; some of them will even fly you into place.
Point Pelee National Park
Now it’s time for a more peaceful option that still lets the incredible natural sights of Ontario surround you. Point Pelee National Park is located at the southernmost tip of mainland Canada (which is curiously on the same latitude as Rome), and the park itself forms an almost entirely triangular peninsula that touches Lake Erie and is lined by long stretches of beach. Most of the park is an incredibly rich wetland ecosystem where many migratory birds stop to rest, but perhaps the most popular visitors in Point Pelee are the Monarch butterflies that arrive with the fall each year. You can take a pleasant stroll through the marshes via a narrow boardwalk, but adventurous people will want to use a kayak to traverse the beautiful scenery.
Killbear Provincial Park
Another park on the shores of Georgian Bay, and one that is also very family-oriented, the Killbear Provincial Park is full of rocky beaches and lovely sunsets that reflect over the crystalline waters. With seven dedicated campgrounds, many visitors bring their whole families specifically to spend the night at Killbear, and none of the features in the park are rugged or wild enough that a kid won’t be able to tame it under adult supervision; there are plenty of areas with shallow waters and the trails are good for hiking and cycling. What makes this one of the best provincial parks in Ontario is that just sitting on the shore watching the beautiful morning sky extending over the bay is a treat that you won’t easily match anywhere else.