Mini Getaways & Day Trips Near Toronto

Webster Falls Park Day Trips Near Toronto - SavvyMom

If there’s one thing families across Toronto can agree on, it’s this: We need to get out of this city, even if it’s just for the day. Thankfully, we have lots of options for day trips near Toronto that are sure to thrill your kids and still have them home in time for bed.

Below we round up over a dozen destinations that we think make great family day trips near Toronto. All of the places below are roughly two hours or less from Toronto (assuming traffic cooperates) and offer child-friendly activities like sandy beaches, gentle hikes, and flush toilets (okay, that amenity is for all family members).

For 2021, many of the spots below have capacity limits in place and some require advance registration. Specific COVID-19 protocols also vary. We highly encourage you to research any potential day trip destinations to ensure a smooth day out (well, as much as that’s possible with kids).

Mini Getaways & Day Trips Near Toronto

Centennial Park and Beach & Johnson’s Beach

65 Lakeshore Dr. Barrie, ON & Johnson’s St, Barrie, ON
Distance from Toronto: Just over 1 hour

Located on the shores of Lake Simcoe, the town of Barrie offers a number of clean, sandy beaches and offers many excellent options for day trips near Toronto. If you’re travelling with babies and toddlers, Centennial Park and Beach is your best bet, thanks to its washrooms, playground, and stroller-friendly beach. A (slightly) less busy option is Johnson’s Beach, which also has lifeguards on duty, and is connected to Barrie’s popular North Shore Trail. Have kids age five and up who are looking to burn off some energy? Then book some time at the Wibit Water Park, “a giant floating playground with climbing walls, monkey bars, slides, trampolines, and more,” located off of Centennial Beach. Passes are $20, with a $15 “chaperone pass” available for adults who are accompanying kids age 5-8.

Bingeman’s

425 Bingemans Centre Dr, Kitchener, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours

August is usually one hot month so why not take the kids to cool off in one of southern Ontario’s biggest water parks? Bingeman’s Big Splash offers 11 slides, a spray park for the little ones and a heated pool. Waterpark tickets, which must be booked ahead of time, start at $23.30 though discounted rates are available after 4pm. If the kids get tired of swimming, Bingeman’s also features a variety of other activities including an arcade, mini golf, and even bowling.

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory & Crawford Lake

2500 Kossuth Rd, Cambridge, ON & 3115 Conservation Road, Milton, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours

Need a getaway for a cold or rainy day? Then consider the entirely inside (and stroller accessible) Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Its lush gardens are home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies, colourful birds, brilliant goldfish and even a few turtles. There are also a few other creepy crawlies on display, including the always popular giant African land snail. Ticket prices start at $8 and need to be purchased in advance. And just in case the weather improves, note that the Conservatory is located close to some great hiking spots. Nearby Crawford Lake has kid-friendly trails and a long house village that
your family can explore. Just be sure to book your spot before you head over.

Cedar Park Resort

6296 Cedar Park Rd, Bowmanville, ON
Distance from Toronto: An hour

Looking for day trips near Toronto that features the opportunity to swim, picnic and even enjoy a water slide or two without breaking the bank? They exist! Look into Bowmanville’s Cedar Park Resort. It’s on the smaller, simpler side but sometimes that’s exactly what your family needs. In addition to the pool and splash pad, there is also mini golf and multiple play structures. General admission tickets start at $13.27 and while parking is included, access to the big water slides and mini golf is extra. For 2021, all tickets must also be purchased in advance.

Elmvale Jungle Zoo & Rounds Ranch

14191 Simcoe County Rd 27, Phelpston, ON & 1922 County Rd 92, Elmvale, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours

The town of Elmvale might be tiny but it is home to a couple of big tourist attractions — perfect for day trips near Toronto. First up is the Elmvale Jungle Zoo. Dozens of animals, including tigers, kangaroos and giraffes, call this zoo and its 30 acres home. While COVID-19 has put all educational presentations on hold, the completely outdoor set-up of the zoo means that masks aren’t required here. Tickets start at
$13.95 and must be reserved in advance.

Then there’s Rounds Ranch. Its Sunflower Experience and Ranchland Fun is open to the public now until September 6. Besides providing the backdrop for some adorable photos (there are 44 different kinds of sunflowers to pose in front of), the ranch also offers over 25 different attractions including tractor rides, pony rides and a 500-foot slip and slide. Tickets start at $17, and kids under two are free.

Grand River Parks

In and around Guelph, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hour to 2 hours, depending on where you go

The Grand River Parks system is packed with all kinds of ways to enjoy some of southern Ontario’s best recreational opportunities. Spend the morning relaxing at Guelph Lake’s sandy beaches then after a picnic lunch, go tubing down the Elora Gorge. While all Grand River parks are now open, not all amenities are available and certain attractions require advance booking. Additionally, all parks are operating under capacity limits. Definitely be sure to review the Grand River Parks’ website before your family heads out their door as it contains all the details you’ll need, including a status page that will let you know which parks are full (or almost full). The website also notes any applicable fees.

Hamilton Conservation Lands

Around Hamilton, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1.5 hours to 2 hours, depending on where you go

The Hamilton Conservation Authority oversees a number of beautiful properties around the city of Hamilton, most of which offer great, family-friendly hiking opportunities with no need for a reservation. Stop by the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area and see, “the watershed’s most unique natural gems,” complete with underground caves. Then pop over to Christie Lake and take the kids for a swim.

Hamilton is also well known for its waterfalls however, due to COVID-19, the best-known falls, Dundas Peak and Tew Falls and Webster Falls, do require advance registration

Lakeview Park

55 Lakeview Park Ave, Oshawa, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1 hour

Looking for a lakeside destination that’s an easy drive down the 401? Then consider Oshawa’s Lakeview Park and its brand-new splash pad and playground. The latter amenity houses a tower-style play structure that stands an impressive 30-meters tall and has two twisty slides. There’s also a net climber, zip lines, something called a “supernova,” and a smaller play structure for younger kids. And when your kids get tired of climbing and splashing around, you can all relax at the adjacent sandy beach.

Professor’s Lake

1660 North Park Dr., Brampton, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1 hour

Yes, this is a “fake lake” (though one fed by a natural spring), but that just means that Professor’s Lake is an ideal place to take little ones swimming as it has little-to-no current. What it does have is a sandy beach, a real water slide, and boat rentals. For a fee, your family can rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboard, or everyone’s favourite, a paddleboat. There is a fee to access the beach, but it’s only $10 for groups of 1-3 people and $15 for 4-6 people. Each slot is good for three hours and yep, it must be booked in advance.

Santa’s Village & Muskoka Zip Line and Aerial Park

624 Golden Beach Road, Bracebridge, ON
Distance from Toronto: 2 hours

Nestled in scenic Muskoka, Santa’s Village is a Christmas-themed amusement park that’s ideal for kids 12 and under. For 2021, the $44.95 admission cost covers access to all of the park’s dozens of rides and attractions, as well as mini golf, go karts, the new Candy Cane express train and more (kids under 36 inches are free). Santa’s Village is surrounded by Muskoka Zip Line and Aerial Park, which offers fun high above the forest floor, so long as you weight at least 44lbs and are 48 inches tall. A pass to that park, which takes around two hours to complete including an orientation lesson, runs around $60 per person.

Turkey Point Provincial Park

194 Turkey Point Rd, Turkey Point, ON
Distance from Toronto: 2 hours

Turkey Point’s two-kilometer-long beach is renowned for being kid-friendly, due to its sandy bottom, lack of an undertow, and warm (ish) temperature. The park also offers plenty of other activities including two easy hiking trails, fishing, and a discovery program that will help your kids, “discover the wonders of nature.” Also, yes, there are flush toilets. Turkey Point is one of the 17 provincial parks that in 2021, is offering reserve-in-advance day permits, a program that the public is strongly encouraged to take advantage of.

Wye Marsh

16160 Highway 12 East, Midland, ON
Distance from Toronto: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Covering 3,000 acres of national wildlife area and “provincially significant wetlands and woodlands,” the Wye Marsh is an excellent choice for day trips near Toronto. It offers trails, picnic facilities and a child-appropriate interpretation centre. And while its boat rental program is closed for 2021, its live animal demonstrations are still taking place each weekend. These educational events will give your family the chance to get up close and personal with real birds of prey. Admission starts at $9, with kids three and under free, and no advance registration is available.

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