BY GEORGIA PAPPAS

 

Now that exams are over, there is finally an opportunity to plan out events, trips, and activities for the upcoming summer months. If you don’t know where to go, we have you covered to ensure your break is filled with adventure. Ontario has an abundance of beautiful destinations that are located in – or only short distances away from – its capital city, Toronto. It is hard to believe that these places you are about to see actually exist in Ontario; some look so exotic you would compare to places like Thailand or Australia. Here are a few of our favourite summer destinations.

 

Experience the Great Outdoors: The Bruce Peninsula

 

(photo credit: http://www.thebrucepeninsula.com/)

Home to Tobermory, Flowerpot Island, and The Grotto, the Bruce Peninsula is a paradise located only four hours north of Toronto – and surely worth the drive. You will be amazed at the colour of the turquoise water and will want to spend all day taking in the beauty of this Ontario gem. So much so that you might forget to take photos.

 

If You’re Craving a Beach Day: Sandbanks Provincial Park

 

The most popular summer activity is to spend a day in the sun at the beach. The Sandbanks Provincial Park is home to many beaches that look like they belong in Florida when you see a photo. This park is also pet-friendly! You can bring a furry friend with you to enjoy your day in the sun. The Sandbanks also offers camping for those of us who are really outdoorsy– just try imagining yourself waking up and looking out onto the beach.

 

Live Like an Influencer: Queen Street West

 

(Photo credit: Flickr)

This one is for the art lovers and the vintage shoppers. The Toronto neighborhood, Queen Street West, is artistically vibrant and is arguably the best shopping destination in the city. The vintage store, F as in Frank, caters to the brand-name vintage labels we search through value village for hours looking for. Be sure to take Instagram-worthy pictures at Graffiti Alley and stop by The Cameron House for some evening drinks.

 

If You Missed Your Invite to the Royal Wedding: Casa Loma

 

Stunning on the inside and out, Casa Loma is a gothic revival styled mansion located in midtown Toronto. It is a popular wedding destination and movie shooting location due to its exquisite beauty.  Enjoy a relaxing day exploring this castle and do not leave without checking out the vintage car garage to see some sweet wheels from the early 1900s.

 

Hamilton’s Hidden Gem: Albion Falls

 

Do not listen to the lyric “Don’t go chasing waterfalls / Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to” from TLC’s hit Waterfalls – you definitely need to chase this waterfall. The Albion Falls are located in Hamilton, which is only about an hour from Toronto. This picturesque destination comes with a forest trek to the actual waterfall. Make sure that you have some prior hiking experience before you attempt this hike, as you will have to walk down a 90-degree angle cliff and it can be dangerous if you are not familiar with the terrain. However, it is so worth the sweat and you can cool off in the water once you finally get to the base of the falls!

 

 If You Don’t Have a Cottage: Blue Mountain

 

Even though it is the main winter ski season hub of Ontario, the Blue Mountain area is even better in the summer. With activities ranging from open-air gondola rides up the mountain to bungee jumping, there is something for everyone to love. If you’re craving good food and shopping, the resort villages have so much to offer within a short walk. Plus, Wasaga Beach is only a short drive away for beach lovers!

 

Swimmer’s Paradise: Elora Quarry

 

A former limestone quarry, the Elora Quarry is a swimming hole within close vicinity to Toronto. The quarry is extremely clean, has crystal clear water, and has a beautiful landscape to appreciate. The conservation area attracts hundreds of people daily in the summer. Be sure to get your towel spot early!

 

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