Summer Staycation Spots
Summer vacation looks a bit different this year so I'm helping you embrace the STAY-cation!
We're all trying to stay closer to home this year and while that might mean your typical summer vacation was canceled, it doesn't mean there's no way to enjoy the summer. So, I've compiled a list of staycation spots within driving distance of Toronto. Stay safe and enjoy!
1. Hamilton Waterfalls
Hamilton is home to more than 100 waterfalls tucked behind the trails of the Niagara Escarpment that cut through the city.
There are lots of self-guided waterfall hiking tours which would make a nice day trip. Cap it off at one of the many tasty restaurant patios in town before heading home.
More info here: Tourism Hamilton Waterfall Guide
2. Toronto Island
Take the 13-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto to this beautiful island oasis.
Kids and adults of all ages can find something to do or see on the Island. There are beautiful swimming beaches (including a clothing optional Beach on Hanlan's Point!), sports facilities, bike, canoe and kayak rentals, a boating marina, large grassy fields for picnics, nature paths, an amusement park (currently closed due to Covid) and a charming 150 year-old community of 600 people living year-round in cottage-like homes.
You can walk, run or take your bike on the island, walk your dog, visit the 200 year old lighthouse or the trout pond or have a coffee or beer at one of the restaurant patios.
More info here: Toronto Island Park
3. CityView Drive-in
Toronto’s newest outdoor concert and entertainment venue is host to concerts, movie nights, unique events and more. CityView is an entirely contactless experience in the heart of Toronto’s docklands, with the picturesque Toronto skyline as a backdrop.
Designed to host 200+ vehicles in reserved parking spots a minimum of seven feet apart, guests can enjoy live entertainment from the 238-foot stage and three large LED screens from the comfort of their own car. For a completely contactless experience, tickets are to be purchased in advance online and will be scanned at front gate via a touchless system.
Upcoming performances by A Tribe Called Red on August 6th, and DVSN on August 7th, with many more shows to be announced.
A full list of events here: CityView Drive-In
4. Graffiti Alley
The alley — which sits tucked between McDougall Lane and Augusta Avenue, near Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue — is a tourist hotspot after its buildings were gradually covered over the years with bright-coloured sketches and paintings. This is a great spot to wander, absorb some street art and grab a few instagram worthy snaps.
Recent murals include figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Floyd as a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
5. Bruce Peninsula National Park
Dramatic cliffs rise from the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay. In large tracts of forest, black bears roam and rare reptiles find refuge in rocky areas and diverse wetlands. Ancient cedar trees spiral from the cliff edge; a multitude of orchids and ferns take root in a mosaic of habitats. And the night is brilliant with stars in this Dark Sky Preserve. Welcome to the magic of Bruce Peninsula National Park.
More info here: Bruce Peninsula National Park
6. Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands are a group of more than 1,800 islands in the St. Lawrence River, straddling the border of the U.S. and Canada located approximately 3 hours from Toronto. A fashionable retreat for the elite in the late 19th century, today the area is a hub for outdoor activities. It’s home to elaborate island mansions such as the German-style Boldt Castle on Heart Island, and Singer Castle on Dark Island, with its Gothic windows and secret passageways.
More info here: Thousand Islands