With warmer weather on the horizon, you may be looking for something fun and relaxing to do with your family. One of the easiest ways to spend time outside of the house is by going on a scenic road trip. Ontario is full of various beautiful locations accessible by car. We’ve got this comprehensive list of the best scenic drives in Ontario that are perfect for family quality time, any day of the week!
1. Lake of Bays (Muskoka)
One of the best scenic drives in Ontario can be found approximately two hours north of Toronto in Muskoka. This road trip follows 80 km around the Lake of Bays, passing through the towns of Baysville, Dorset, and Dwight Ontario. It’s breathtaking year-round, but is especially impactful in the spring due to the melting lake and the sprouting trees. You’ll get a 360-degree view of the entire lake and the surrounding landscapes. One classic stop that you can visit is the Robinson’s General Store in Dorset, Ontario. Robinson’s is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm, and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. This classic general store includes both a grocery store and a souvenir shop and is a great example of the simple way of life at the Lake of Bays. More information can be found on their official website Robinsons General Store.
2. Algonquin Provincial Park
All year-round, Algonquin Provincial Park provides stunning landscapes and a fantastic escape. This scenic drive in Ontario is a great way to expose your family to nature and to also get some exercise in. There are campgrounds and accommodations to use during a longer stay, and plenty of hiking trails available to explore. The hiking trails vary in difficulty and length, so make sure to check out the Ontario Parks official website for more details, along with pricing for admission.
3. Ottawa River/Gatineau
There are a variety of scenic drives in Ontario that are outside of the GTA, and Ottawa is a location that should definitely be at the top of your list this spring. Gatineau Park is a quick drive from Ottawa’s downtown core, which allows you and your family to experience both an urban and rural scenic drive. Take time to explore the natural landscapes surrounding Ottawa by driving the Champlain Parkway, the Gatineau Parkway or the Rockcliffe Parkway, to name a few.
4. Downtown Toronto Skyline
Although this scenic drive in Ontario is not full of nature, taking the time to drive around downtown Toronto is a fantastic way to appreciate the city in a new way. We recommend taking Lake Shore Drive in order to get a full view of famous landmarks such as the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre. You’ll also get stunning views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline! You and your family will have the option to park by the lake and go for a walk on the boardwalk, as well. If you have interest in exploring beyond the downtown core, consider driving north on Yonge Street for an additional 40 kilometers. You’ll end up in Newmarket, allowing you and your family to experience both the urban and rural beauty of the GTA.
5. Niagara Falls/Niagara-on-the-lake
One of Ontario’s most impressive, natural landscapes is Niagara Falls, which is iconically one of the seven “wonders of the world.” What better scenic drive in Ontario is there than visiting The Falls with your family? There are many things in Niagara to enjoy, so this road trip is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some attractions, such as Clifton Hill. Niagara Falls can get busy, so we recommend getting there early in the morning, if possible. Hop on the Niagara SkyWheel for unmatched views of The Falls, or practice your putting skills at Dinosaur Adventure Golf. If you’re looking for a more adults-only trip, the Niagara Parkway will bring you to Niagara-on-the-Lake in approximately 30 minutes. There are many attractions, shops, and restaurants to enjoy, including many wineries. Take a walk down Queen Street (the main road) and enjoy the historical architecture!
6. Bruce Trail Conservancy (Hamilton)
If you and your family are feeling adventurous this spring, hop in the car and take a drive to Hamilton and visit the Bruce Trail Conservancy. Known as the “City of Waterfalls”, Hamilton and the Bruce Trail Conservancy is known as the Waterfall Capital of the World and includes more than 100 waterfalls. Many of these waterfalls will be freshly running after being frozen all winter, so we still highly recommend driving out to Hamilton to experience them.
7. Oxford County Cheese Trail
One of the most unique scenic drives in Ontario can be found in Oxford and is centered around 24 different local cheese and dairy vendors. This self-guided tour is a fun and interesting way to learn about the art of cheese-making and is also a great way to support local businesses. In order to ensure availability, we recommend calling Tourism Oxford at (519) 539 9800 Ext. 3359.
We hope that these scenic drives in Ontario will help make this spring one to remember!