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Best weekend getaways from Toronto

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway near Toronto or some last-minute weekend getaway ideas, here are some travel tips to keep you exploring. 

Long weekends in Canada

There are plenty of opportunities for long weekend getaways from Toronto throughout the year. Here are the public holidays in Ontario for 2021.

Ontario’s statutory holidays 2021

So for your next long weekend escape, you just need to decide whether you want to be surrounded by city lights or sandy beaches. Here are some popular destinations for future weekend getaways from Toronto.

Please note: Travel restrictions for Canadians is changing all the time. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest global health updates and guidance from the Government of Canada and the World Health Organization, along with the destination you plan on visiting before undertaking any type of travel. 

1. Guelph, Ontario

dog by the lake in Guelph, Ontario
Best weekend getaways from Toronto

Spend a last-minute weekend getaway enjoying Guelph’s architecture and festivals

Why visit: Rated one of Canada’s most livable cities, Guelph is an underrated destination in Ontario that you should consider for your next weekend getaway. The city is located less than one hour west of the GTA, making it an ideal option for last-minute weekend getaways from Toronto. Architecture and history buffs are sure to appreciate the limestone architecture and many national historical properties throughout the city. Plus, Guelph has plenty of activities to amuse kids and entertain parents.

What to do: Explore the towering limestone cliffs and caves at the Rockwood Conservation, which is open year-round and offers plenty of activities. Wander through McCrae House, the childhood home of John McCrae; writer of the poem In Flanders Fields. If you’re travelling with kids during the summer months, be sure to check out the Teddy Bear Picnic. In the mood for some shopping and sights? Roaming around downtown Guelph weaving through Victorian era buildings and boutique shops is the perfect way to spend a spring afternoon.

For more things to do on your weekend escape to Guelph, take the kiddos to the Children’s Museum at the Guelph Civic Museum. Animal lovers will want to flock towards Snow Yoga with Alpacas or visit the Donkey Sanctuary.

Places to eat: For places to eat in Guelph, head to the Old City neighbourhood and warm up with a bowl of homemade ramen at Crafty Ramen on Macdonell St. For something unique check out Miijidaa, whose menu draws inspiration from First Nations, French, and British cuisines. For those looking to enjoy a leisurely stroll and sample some fresh produce, Guelph Farmers Market is open year-round on Saturdays. If you have a sweet tooth, Killer Cupcakes offers a variety of delectable items to satisfy all cravings–just be sure to arrive early before they sell out for the day!

Getting around: Downtown Guelph is easily walkable so if you’re looking for weekend getaways from Toronto without a car, Guelph is a solid option. You can travel from Toronto to Guelph by Via Rail and Go Transit trains. Once in the city, Guelph Transit buses provide frequent and timely service throughout the city.

2. Prince Edward County

shoreline of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County with a lighthouse, on a winter's day
Prince Edward County. Photo credit: George Fischer Photography

Sip the weekend away at wineries and soak in the sunshine of The County

Why visit: Take a two hour-drive east along Lake Ontario from Toronto and you’ll hit Canada’s new favourite staycation destination, Prince Edward County. Locally referred to as “The County”, you can discover relaxing vistas of natural beauty, award-winning wineries, and culinary offerings that will tantalize your taste buds.

What to do: Taste your way through the region by sampling cheese at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese and nosing different types of vinegars and wine at Black Prince Winery. Since many people visit The County in search of wine, booking a wine tour before your weekend trip is highly recommended. Head down to Main Street in Wellington and explore the work of local artists at Side Street Gallery. Want to watch a movie the old school way? Check out The County’s popular Mustang drive-in theatre.

Places to eat: There’s no shortage of culinary delights in Prince Edward, making this one of the best weekend trips from Toronto for food lovers. Swing by the Blue Sail for some fresh seafood (try their tartare) and be sure to check out their market, too. If you’re visiting Sandbanks Provincial Park be sure to visit the seasonal seafood shack, Sand and Pearl, which is minutes from the beach. Stella’s Eatery and the Drake Devonshire are popular options if you’re looking to enjoy a leisurely afternoon enjoying some nibbles and drinks on a patio. The sunset from Stella’s is epic, too!

And if you’re looking for a weekend escape filled with sand and sun, some of the most beautiful beaches in Ontario are found here, so spending an entire day at Sandbanks Provincial Park is not hard to do.

Getting around: A car is highly recommended when visiting Prince Edward County. There’s no public transport in The County and visiting most of the amazing spots requires your own set of wheels.

3. Quebec City

Quebec City streets in Vieux Quebec in winter during the day
Best weekend getaways from Toronto

Spend the long weekend enjoying Quebec’s unique history, culture, and food

Why visit: Looking for romantic getaways from Toronto? Or just need a fun-filled long weekend escape? The quaint capital city of the province of Quebec has so much to see and do. Boasting some noteworthy natural sights and plenty of historical landmarks, a weekend getaway to Quebec City might just be for you. Spend your Canada Day weekend or Civic Holiday here, when the weather is warm and sunny and you can dine on a restaurant patio on the cobblestone streets of Vieux-Québec.

What to do: From the Citadel to the Plains of Abraham, the world-class Museum of Civilization and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Fortifications; the only preserved walled city of its kind in all of Canada and the U.S., French colonial history of North America tells its story here in Quebec City. Be sure to spend a few hours wandering the Quartier Petit Champlain in Old Quebec. Just a short drive north of downtown is the nearby Montmorency Falls, one of the top natural sights in Quebec City. Towering at 83 metres, these falls are higher than the ones in Niagara Falls!

Places to eat: Check out Le Grand Marché and get some of the freshest produce, meats, and cheese from local farmers. For a top-notch farm-to-table dining experience, the chef at Légende par la Tanière shows his guests the best food that this Boreal region has to offer. If you’re looking for some authentic French Canadian fare, try the Buffet de L’Antiquaire, which serves classic Québecois dishes.

Getting around: Vieux-Québec is very walkable and a lot of the major sights in Quebec City are within close proximity to each other. The RTC is the city’s public transportation system which connects the main neighbourhoods and main attractions. You can get a day pass for $8.25 and single fares are $3.50.

4. New York City

architecture in a new york city neighbourhood. this destination is a popular weekend getaway from Toronto
Best weekend getaways from Toronto

Experience New York’s museums, parks, shopping, and food for a long weekend

Why visit: World-class shopping, sights, architecture and food, New York City is consistently an excellent destination for a long weekend getaway from Toronto. Beat the intense summer heat and explore New York City during Victoria Day weekend.

What to do: New York City’s many parks are inspiring and easy to explore, especially during the fall and spring months. Central Park, Battery Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park are some of the most popular choices for a New York City trip. Splurge on your long weekend getaway and go shopping (or just window shop) at the many boutiques along Fifth Avenue. With some of the best museums in the world, no trip to the Big Apple is complete without a visit to at least one of New York’s museums. Check out our guide on free things to do in New York City for information on free museum days.

Places to eat: If you want some of the best food that New York has to offer, head downtown to Katz’s Deli for some classic deli food in this New York establishment. For a splurge, there’s Gramercy Tavern, which is consistently one of New York City’s top-rated restaurants. Or you can head completely Uptown to Harlem and experience the Red Rooster for classic American fare, live music, and inventive cocktails (try their Bourbon Negroni with nutmeg-infused bourbon). What can’t you do in New York?!

Getting around: The five New York City boroughs are accessible by public transport: from the MTA and the Staten Island Ferry. You can purchase a 7-Day Unlimited MetroCard for easy access to the New York City subway system and discounts on numerous New York City attractions. New York City’s three major airports; JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia, all have shuttle services that take passengers from the airport into Manhattan. Buy a round-trip ticket at your destination airport to save some money.

5. Boston

close up of two buildings in downtown Boston
Best weekend getaways from Toronto

Boston offers so many kid-friendly activities, historical walks, and architecture to fill a weekend getaway

Why visit: Often overlooked by other cities along the east coast, this U.S. city is just waiting to be explored. Fill your time in Boston with historic walks, visits to outdoor markets, picturesque neighbourhoods, and indulge in some excellent food. There’s also plenty of kid-friendly activities in Boston if you’re planning a family vacation. Boston is an ideal weekend getaway in the warmer months, as it’s a very walkable city and a lot of the sights are outdoors. Try planning a long weekend in Boston for Victoria Day or Canada Day.

What to do: A Boston attraction (or a series of attractions, really) that will take you the entire day is the Freedom Trail. Stretching 4 kilometres, this outdoor history museum experience passes through Boston’s oldest neighbourhoods. The Boston Public Garden is a beautiful place to explore, especially during the spring months when the tulips are in bloom. Take the kids to the Boston Children’s Museum, complete with a toddler play area, a science playground, and an art studio. The hands-on exhibits are sure to keep everyone entertained (and educated!) for at least a few hours.

Places to eat: The popular Boston restaurant Fire and Ice takes an interactive concept to the dining experience, where you can pick your ingredients buffet-style and the chefs grill your food in front of your eyes on a large circular grill area! The Boston Public Market on Hanover St. has a huge selection of local food including produce, meats, fish, cheese and some gourmet snacks.

Getting around: The neighbourhoods and main sights in Boston are very walkable, so book a hotel in the city to be close to your favourite Boston attractions. The MBTA or “the T” is Boston’s public transportation system which connects the city and metro area by subway, train, bus, and ferry. Rent a car and explore the surrounding area of Boston and some of the country’s top universities: Harvard and MIT are just a short drive away from Boston’s city centre.

6. Miami

beach in Miami
Best weekend getaways from Toronto

Miami is home to beautiful beaches, art, and culture and makes for a great long weekend getaway

Why visit: With stylish sandy beaches along its shores to booming and beautiful art scenes scattered around its vibrant neighbourhoods, Miami is the closest you can get to paradise on a long weekend getaway from Toronto. When things start to cool down in Toronto, head to Miami for a quick weekend escape or take a longer beach getaway over winter break.

What to do: The Wynwood Arts District in the north of Miami features the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum home to the works of some of the world’s top graffiti and street artists. Wander and admire the art all day, and all for free! For some outdoor experiences, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden offers free admission and is a beautiful space to explore for a few hours.

Travelling with kids? Head to the Miami Children’s Museum where you can spend the day enjoying interactive exhibits like Pet Central, Sketch Aquarium, and the Construction Zone. And of course, you should leave space in the itinerary for Miami’s many beaches. Head to Miami Beach and head south until the infamous South Beach.

Places to eat: A top-rated Miami restaurant is the Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, which serves some of the best soul food in the city. For some excellent Cuban cuisine in a classy setting, try the Versailles Restaurant along the popular Calle 8. And if you just can’t get enough, the real Havana is less than an hour away.

Getting around: The Miami Trolley is free and an easy way to get around major attractions and tourist areas like Miami Beach, Wynwood, Downtown and Little Havana. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are also very popular ways to get around Miami.

7. Washington D.C.

cherry blossoms in DC with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance close to sunset
Best weekend getaways from Toronto

Fill your vacation time in D.C. with visits to free museums, walkable outdoor sights, and excellent food

Why visit: From alternative neighbourhoods to world-class museums, the U.S. capital might surprise you! This city is filled to the brim with sights that can easily fill a long weekend vacation with friends, your partner, or a fun trip with the kids. Washington D.C.’s weather is comfortable throughout the year, but the most popular time to visit is in the spring to see the cherry blossoms.

What to do: There are 11 Smithsonian Museums located in the National Mall area of D.C., most notably the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of American History with exhibits of the best of American pop culture and politics, and the Air and Space Museum. There’s an IMAX theatre close by if you want to keep the kids extra entertained. The National Mall from the U.S. Capitol Building to the memorial lawns of the Vietnam and Korean wars to the Lincoln Memorial were designed to be walked and wandered through day or night.

Places to eat: For excellent food options and atmosphere, head to the neighbourhood of Georgetown. Along Wisconsin Avenue, you can choose between establishments like Martin’s Tavern or head south to Chaia Tacos Georgetown for some tasty vegetarian and vegan tacos made with homemade corn tortillas.

Getting around: The main areas and attractions of Washington D.C. are easily accessible by the city’s metro system. The National Mall is one of the most walkable sights in the country, so bring comfortable shoes and get exploring.

Frequently asked questions

Where should I go for a short weekend trip?

For a short weekend trip from Toronto, some other popular options include Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, the small town of Paris, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York.

Where should I go for a weekend in Canada?

Depending on where you live in Canada, there are lots of options for weekend getaways. Try Montreal, Victoria, Toronto, Winnipeg, Halifax, Muskoka, Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon.

Which U.S. cities are close to Toronto?

If you’re looking to fly from Toronto, then Boston, New York City, and Chicago are always fun options for weekend getaways. For a weekend road trip from Toronto (when the land borders open), try Rochester and Lake Placid in New York and Ann Arbor and Erie in Michigan.

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