Image: Berkay Gumustekin
Escape the City: 9 Outdoor Adventures near Toronto
If you’re looking to get out of the big city, you don’t need to go far! Allow Toronto to serve as an adventure hub, and discover many outdoor adventures within a couple hours’ drive! We’ve rounded up our top picks for day trip destinations when you need to escape the big city. Pack the car, put on the perfect playlist, and get ready to get out in nature, all summer long with these outdoor adventures near Toronto.
When you’re floating down the river on a summer’s day, it’s hard to imagine anywhere you’d rather be. Luckily, there are a plethora of rivers within close reach of Toronto where you can paddle your worries away.
We recommend the Lower Nottawasaga River in Wasaga Beach, about two hours from Toronto city centre. Enjoy a relaxing paddle as you spot local wildlife such as map turtle, swans, and possibly a bald eagle! Take it at your own pace on a self-guided trip.
The Beaver River is another relaxing waterway to paddle down! It features a gravel bar partway down the river so you can take a quick dip, or stop for lunch. Talk about the ideal day!
Check out the Hamilton Waterfalls
The City of Hamilton is home to more than 100 waterfalls tucked behind the trails of the Niagara Escarpment – all within minutes from the downtown core. Take a quick trip to Hamilton and see how many waterfalls you can visit in one day – from the picturesque Albion Falls to the beautiful Webster Falls.
Try Forest Bathing
In need of the ultimate stress reliever? Look no further than your local forest. Forest bathing allows you to enter a state of meditation while mindfully spending time in nature, and research shows that this kind of exposure reduces cortisol levels, helps to balance blood pressure, and aids in resetting your nervous system.
Not sure where to start? Yervana Local Ru can guide you into your forest bathing journey. We recommend adding in some yoga for a mind-body experience. Easily accessible in Toronto, you won’t regret spending a few mindful hours in nature!
Image: Jaime Dantas
Take it Easy in Muskoka
Muskoka is cottage country at its finest. A well-loved getaway, you can spend a day trip or a full week and not run out of things to do! You can check out scenic waterfalls, walk the boardwalk of Muskoka Wharf, go for a swim at White’s Falls, go fishing on Muskoka River, or hit the beach!
Did you know you can try caving within 2.5 hours of Toronto? Join Yervana Local Carlin and head to the top of the Niagara Escarpment, to then be lowered 70 feet down beneath the escarpment, and explore three caves. Try caving with an experienced local guide to ensure you stay safe and have all the gear you need for this unique adventure!
Hike the Bruce Trail
The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath – 900km total from Niagara to Tobermory. Though you can challenge yourself to different parts of the trail, the Toronto section runs through the Niagara Escarpment, from just south of Highway 401 west of Milton, and ends near the Cheltenham Badlands. The Toronto section is 45.2 km point-to-point, and takes an average of 10 hours to complete.
Learn how to forage, near Toronto!
Take your outdoor skill repertoire to the next level! Learn how to forage for local plants in the Toronto area, with Yervana Local David. Starting at Humber College in Etobicoke, you’ll head out on an easy-going hike, and learn to identify and sample 50-75 species of edible, medicinal, and useful plants, trees, shrubs, and lichens.
Hike and swim at McCrae Lake
McCrae Lake is completely enclosed by the boundary of the McCrae Lake Conservation Reserve, and is accessible by hiking trails. As there are no cottages on the lake, you’ll get a true wilderness experience! McCrae Lake is also fun to explore by canoe, but be ready for a couple portages along the way.
Head to Scarborough Bluffs
A picturesque place to spend the day, the Scarborough Bluffs is an escarpment on Lake Ontario that rises 91m above the lakeshore. Head out for a day hiking, sailing, paddle boarding, or simply enjoying the white sand beach in Bluffer’s Park.
If you have some more time on your hands, check out these multi-day adventures near Toronto!