Home is where the heart is, and nowhere is that more true than when living life to the fullest in the GTA. Still, sometimes nothing compares to the sense of renewal that comes with exploring new places, with unfamiliar experiences and exciting new adventures. Being away for a week or two can also help you fall in love with your home all over again.
You don’t have to look far when seeking to create unique memories with your family this summer, or any summer for that matter. Living near Toronto means something new and exciting is around the corner every day of the week, either right in your own neighbourhood or within a day’s drive.
Glamp or Camp
Packing up for a weekend camping trip can be one of the fondest and most memorable family vacations you’ll ever experience. This is one way to stay close to home while feeling the sand under your feet and relaxing to the sounds of nature. Of course, if your idea of camping more closely resembles a stay at a five-star resort, then “glamping” might be more your style. Spacious safari tents, geodesic domes, or wilderness pods are a luxurious alternative to roughing it. Glamping means immersing yourself in nature in all of its rustic glory without the hassle of setting up tents and sleeping on the ground. Instead, you’ll relax and unwind with creature comforts that include comfortable beds, warm blankets, private decks, hot coffee and other little luxuries. Here are a few places just outside the GTA that are close enough for a weekend or even just a day trip.
- Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat (Grafton, Ontario)
- Riverside Oasis Farm (Wellandport, Ontario)
- Long Point Eco-Adventures (St. Williams, Ontario)
- Wishing Well Animal Sanctuary (Bradford, Ontario)
Do you want to know more about living in or investing in Toronto? The posts below will open you up to endless possibilities:
- Top Ten Luxury Neighbourhoods In Toronto
- How Toronto Compares To International Cities
- 5 Up-And-Coming Neighbourhoods For Investment In Toronto
A Day or Weekend in Niagara Falls
Do you want your child’s face to light up with sheer joy? Just announce that you are taking a trip to Niagara Falls, and the excitement will begin. At one of Canada’s favourite tourist destinations, you’ll find a non-stop list of fun things to do and experience. From the endless attractions of Clifton Hill and the Butterfly Conservatory to soaring over the Niagara Gorge in the Whirlpool Aero Car, there is something for everyone of all ages. If you’re looking for something more low-key, there are many beautiful spots for a relaxing picnic lunch. Before you know it, the day is over, and everyone has a fond new memory and story to tell!
Niagara Falls is also the perfect overnight destination for your little ones. If you book early, you might even score a room with a breathtaking view of the Falls! In addition, many hotels offer indoor and outdoor swimming pools where children can float and splash until their hearts’ content.
The Scenic Beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake may be more well-known for its vineyards and wineries, but it is also an incredible location for a memorable day with your family. The quaint streets are landscaped beautifully for the summertime, and numerous heritage buildings are a fantastic way to entertain children while giving them a glimpse into history.
As you stroll down the scenic streets, why not stop for ice cream or visit one of the many unique boutiques and shops? You might even get a chance to take in a summer concert at the Jackson Triggs Amphitheatre, an intimate 500-person venue that showcases some of Canada’s top talent. Whether you plan your trip to a T or make a spontaneous decision, a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake is always a day well spent.
For a more luxurious touch, consider booking an overnight stay at a nearby inn, such as the Pillar and Post, or a bed and breakfast like Greenview Manor, where you can wake up and relive the fun all over again. Reservations are recommended, especially during the busy season.
Visit Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County lies approximately two hours east of Toronto. With its clusters of small hamlets and villages, it’s a picturesque destination that features a variety of famous attractions, including music festivals, water activities, and outstanding restaurants.
During the hot summer days, Prince Edward County also draws many visitors to Sandbanks Provincial Park, where you’ll discover fascinating dune formations and some of the best beaches in Canada. Cottage rentals are available for extended stays. And once you visit, this outdoor paradise just might become one of your annual destinations!
A Trip Around Grand Bend
Located three hours away from Toronto lies Grand Bend, one of the best family-friendly destinations in the province. The sparkling waters of Blue Flag Beach are recognized for their quality and cleanliness and draw enthusiastic beach lovers every season!
When you’re not enjoying fun in the sun, you and your family might relax at a movie at the drive-in or kill some time with a round of mini-golf. When the hunger pangs start, you’ll find plenty of delicious places to satisfy even your pickiest eater along the vibrant and hopping Grand Bend Main Strip. If you have energy left over for a stroll, the Grand Bend Pier & Lighthouse provides spectacular views of Lake Huron! Grand Bend is well worth a visit, with plenty of fun activities for a day or for a week. However, the word is out, so you might want to reserve a room well in advance.
Unwind Right in the City
If you live in Toronto, you don’t have to drive anywhere. Blissful vacation and staycation ideas are practically on every corner. For example, did you know that Toronto’s outdoor swimming pools are free of charge all summer long? There’s no need to suffer or sweat it out on a blistering afternoon when you can simply escape to one of 58 facilities to splash your cares away.
If you want to make a day of it, you can round up your family for some fun in the sun at the beach. With Toronto’s location on the shores of Lake Ontario, you’ll find some of the best waterfront escapes in the province. Eat your heart out, cottage country!
Ideas for a Rainy Day
When you think of all of the fantastic indoor adventures that await you in Toronto, you’ll never catch anyone in your family humming “Rain, rain, go away.” A trip to one of Toronto’s many vibrant attractions can help anyone chase their blues away when the clouds roll in.
Famous standbys like the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Ripley’s Aquarium can be magical places to visit anytime. The Ontario Science Centre is one of our personal favourites as it is both exciting and educational! And did you know that there are countless smaller galleries, museums, and other attractions that can transport you into what feels like a different reality? Here are just a few must-visit attractions for this summer:
Looking for more family-friendly neighbourhoods within the GTA: Here are some of our favourite places you’ve got to explore:
- The Joy Of Oakville Living for Families
- 5 Family-Friendly Mississauga Neighbourhoods to Call Home
- Our Top Burlington Neighbourhoods For Families
Incredible Day Trips in the City
In the heart of the city, fun and adventure are all around you, ready to welcome you, whether you crave a day of excitement or an afternoon of tranquillity. Toronto has so many beautiful parks, conservation areas, and outstanding attractions that it’s easy to let the stresses of your day melt away. Best of all, these Staycation escapes are all around you, meaning you don’t have to travel very far to rejuvenate your mind and body.
Enjoy the summer without straying far from your own backyard:
- Admire the beautiful walking trails and gardens at High Park. This stunning park also features a zoo, which is free to visit, along with one of the epic outdoor playgrounds in Toronto!
- Take a ferry ride to the Toronto Islands, where you can spend a day biking, walking, picnicking, or relaxing on the beaches.
- Visit Centreville on the Toronto Islands, an amusement park with more than 30 rides and attractions that your children will talk about for months.
- Explore the Scarborough Bluffs, a series of escarpment parks so beautiful that you have to see to believe. Bring your whole family together for an unforgettable afternoon of hiking, cycling or paddleboarding. And don’t forget your swimsuit because Bluffers Park is famous for its white sandy beach and sparkling waters!
- Immerse yourself in the greenery at the Don Valley Trails.
- Discover the wonder of the Leslie Street Spit at Tommy Thompson Park.
- Relax by the water or have a picnic at Humber Bay Park.
- Surround yourself with colourful, fragrant beauty at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
- Spend a day at Rouge National Urban Park, Canada’s first national urban park, offering hiking trails, birdwatching, camping, and guided programs through Scarborough’s diverse natural landscape.
Whether you want to get away for a day, a weekend, or the whole week, the sky is the limit in Toronto. A non-stop list of fun adventures at your fingertips makes our city one of the best places to live and raise a family!