As a busy professional, time off isn’t always easy to come by. Honestly, it’s nothing short of scarce. So, when you find yourself with a rare spare moment, you need to make it count.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to spend a day, weekend, or week off in, around, and from Toronto.
Check them out.
10 Day Off Activities in Toronto
If you’ve got one day off one thing’s for sure: you want to do something fun but you probably don’t want to spend a whole ton of time getting there.
We get that.
Here are our favourite day-off activities in and near Toronto.
1. Hike at Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
There’s no shortage of hiking around Toronto but Niagara Glen Nature Reserve is pretty incredible. An hour from downtown, this place is jam-packed with rivers, a waterfall, rock formations, and great hiking trails to get you away from work stress and immersed in nature.
2. Rock Climbing at Rattlesnake Point
If you feel like testing your strength and your nerves, head to Rattlesnake Point to do some rock climbing. Just 90 minutes from downtown, there are tons of instructional groups to help you learn. Just remember to make a reservation before you go--it’s mandatory.
3. The Caves at Eramosa Karst
You might not realize that Ontario has caves, but it sure does. Situated just outside of Hamilton at Eramosa Karst, you’ll find nooks, crannies, caves, streams, and waterfalls to explore.
4. Toronto Island
If you’re from Toronto then this is a “duh” recommendation, but you can’t go wrong with jumping the ferry from the wharf over to Toronto Island for a cheap and cheerful beach day in the summer.
5. Swim in St. Mary’s Quarry
One of the biggest swimmable freshwater reserves in the country, St. Mary’s Quarry has it all, from a grassy area to sit and chill in the sun to a floating dock equipped with a waterslide. Honestly, it’s a bit of a drive--around 3 hours from the city--but if you leave early and get a jump on your travels, you can spend a great day outdoors and be back in time for dinner.
6. Indoor skydiving
Are you a thrill-seeker but not quite enough to throw yourself out of a plane at 10,000 feet? You can get the same sensation without the risk of death. Check out iFLY in Oakville for an incredible indoor skydiving experience inside of a massive wind tunnel.
7. Bar and Restaurant Hop
If there’s one thing Toronto does better than most places, it’s food and cocktails. So, if you’re parched and have an appetite, head out into the city to hit some of our best bars and restaurants. Not sure where to start? Check out our article featuring the best locally-owned establishments to support.
8. St. Jacob’s Farmers Market
If you want to mix it up and get some incredible fresh food, hop in the car for just under two hours and check out the largest farmer’s market in Canada. St. Jacob’s Farmers Market is jam-packed with everything from local produce to farm-raised meats, antiques, and hand-made treasures. So, we’d strongly recommend going with a list, or else you’ll probably end up leaving with everything under the sun.
9. Scandinave Spa
When you’re constantly hustling and grinding, you can’t go wrong with some R&R. And, if you ask us, there’s no better way to do that than with some hot and cold pools, steam rooms, and saunas. When this is what you’ve got in mind, the Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain is unbeatable. This big, beautiful place is open daily from 9am until 9pm, but make sure to make a reservation in advance.
10. The Suspension Bridge at Scenic Caves Adventures
If you’re feeling adventurous and aren’t afraid of heights, check out the suspension bridge at Scenic Caves in the Blue Mountains. At 420 feet long, it’s the single longest suspension bridge in southern Ontario and provides some pretty unreal views of Georgian Bay.
6 Weekend Getaways from Toronto
Got a weekend to get out of town? Better yet, got a long weekend ahead? Beautiful! Here are some incredible destinations you can easily get to for a few days off.
1. Niagara on the Lake
We know this one might be another little bit of a “duh” suggestion, but you can’t go wrong with some delicious vino at Niagara on the Lake. If you’re a theatre lover, you’ll also find the town’s Shaw Festival taking place in the summer months.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen this on Instagram at some point, but The Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County is an experience unto itself. In fairness, the price tag reflects that, but it’s worth every penny. The views are great, the rooms are even cooler, and the food is amazing as well.
3. Port Stanley Beach
South of London on the shores of Lake Erie, you’ll find the beaches at Port Stanley. This is a fun beach town with a ton of great waterfront restaurants, live entertainment, and shops.
If you want to pamper yourself, you’ll love this old farmhouse-style spa located on 400 acres of rural land. We’ll be honest, it’s not cheap, but it’s incredibly cool, the hot and cold pools are amazing, and the food is great. Best of all? When you book a stay, it’s all-you-can-eat incredible food and it’s BYOB so you can bring your own beverages and take them into the pools or to a meal with you. It’s awesome in any season but the winter is especially cool.
5. Elora Mill
This spot is ideal for a fall getaway, especially if you need some variety from Niagara-on-the-Lake or Prince Edward County. Dubbed the Most Roadtrippable Town in Canada, it offers up hiking at Elora Gorge as well as cool shops, art galleries, and places to eat and drink. There’s also some pretty cool architecture to check out.
6. Montreal and Quebec City
A quick flight from Billy Bishop Airport and you can be in Montreal or Quebec City checking out some of the coolest cities in the province to our east. Quebec City offers up some old-timey European Vibes and Montreal serves up great food and cocktails. Oh, if you head to Montreal, don’t miss a day at the floating Bota Bota spa.
6 Destinations for a Week Off
A full week off? Travel restrictions eased? Boom! Sounds to us like the perfect time for a vacation.
Here’s where we’d head to.
1. The East Coast
As Torontonians, we have a unique luxury that most Canadians aren’t privy to. Namely, we’re only a two or three-hour flight from the East Coast compared to seven-plus hours for our west coast counterparts. So, if you’ve got a week off, you should definitely go check out all the incredible stuff over there, from a road trip down the coastal Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia to the world’s highest tides (and the insane looking rocks the tide leaves behind) in the Bay of Fundy.
Want to get away to a heavenly beach paradise without going too far? Head south to Cuba for an incredible week away. While a lot of people opt for a resort, you also can’t go wrong with a hotel or AirBNB in Havana. It’s an unreal town that’s rich in history, culture and great food, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Want to party until the sun comes up? You can’t go wrong with a trip down to Miami. But don’t just take our word for it. There’s a reason Will Smith wrote an entire song about a party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach till the break of dawn.
4. The Caribbean
We know we mentioned Cuba on its own, but Torontonians have incredibly fast access to every other place in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, The Bahamas, and many more. We’re spoiled!
5. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum
Mexico’s got no shortage of amazing vacation destinations only a few hours from Toronto. If you head down to Cancun, you can either stay for a party week in Cancun, act like an influencer for a week in Tulum, or take it a little bit easier in Playa del Carmen.
For something completely different from the rest, you can’t go wrong with Nashville. The hometown of country and the birthplace of bluegrass, this city’s got an amazing vibe and an incredible music scene.
Your days off are hard-earned. So, when you get them, you need to make the absolute most of them. And, if we had some time to spare, these are the places we’d head to.
Where would you head to?
By the way, if you want to come earn your days off alongside some hard-working folks like yourself, then we invite you to come join us at Project Spaces. We’re a community of supportive, like-minded, Toronto-based professionals and we’d love to have you.
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