Great Ideas for Weekend Getaways in Ontario (+ Mini Itineraries)

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Here Are Plenty of Great Ideas for Weekend Getaways in Ontario!

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in Ontario, you’re certainly in luck! Ontario is loaded with amazing places to visit, attractions to explore, and things to try so there is no shortage of weekend trip ideas. No matter where you are travelling from – Ottawa, Toronto, etc – and whatever your style – romantic, fun, relaxing, adventure – there is a getaway for you.

We really like exploring Ontario on mini vacations or weekend road trips since there are essentially endless options. While we usually travel as a couple, lots of the getaway ideas mentioned below can also work for families with kids or even groups of friends. We’ve done our fair share of last-minute weekend getaways and still managed to find great ideas with nice accommodations for a good price!

So, whether you are looking for romantic getaways near Toronto or staycation getaway ideas that take you on an adventure, here are our detailed mini weekend itineraries for you to enjoy. From hiking and beaches to wineries or spas, here’s our detailed guide on some of the best weekend getaways in Ontario – in summer or winter!

Relax at an Ontario Resort, Inn, or Spa

If you’ve been working hard and just want to get away and indulge in total relaxation, there’s plenty of resort or inn-style accommodations in Ontario to do that! Ontario has a nice mix of inns with spas as well as quiet lodge resorts that can take you away from the city and exchange it for nature. This goes for the summer or the winter season!

Below are a number of resorts and inns that you can have a look at. Many of these also make for a great girls’ weekend getaway in Ontario. You can find these accommodations all around the province from Niagara on the Lake to Collingwood and the Muskokas.

As the largest ski resort in Ontario, Blue Mountain certainly has a reputation to be a fantastic weekend getaway in any season. If you’re looking to relax, they offer spa packages and bundles that are sure to make you forget the stressful work week.

If you want to head up to Collingwood for the weekend, you can stay right in the main village at Blue – and don’t forget about booking a time at the famous Scandinave Spa.

For a great getaway inn/hotel located in a top wine region, head for the Pillar and Post Inn and Spa. Located just a short walk from the heart of downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake, Eric has stayed here before and loved it. They have pools, onsite dining, and spa facilities.

For a more remote and tranquil escape, head for Heather Lodge Inn. Located in Minden, this more lodge-style getaway is adults-only and offers onsite dining as well as boat rentals and canoeing. The Haliburton Highlands are a great place for a getaway to reconnect with nature and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Last but not least, you can have a classic Muskoka resort experience at The JW Marriott at Lake Rosseau. Perched on a granite bluff, the Marriott is a secluded resort tucked away in Ontario’s wilderness overlooking Lake Rosseau.

They offer spa packages for couples that include the usage of their “couples-designated” spa areas – making the JW a good stop for a spa weekend getaway in Ontario. Also good to note: This kind of weekend trip can be done in summer or in the winter!

Discover one of Ontario’s Wine Regions

Did you know that Ontario is one of Canada’s top wine-producing areas? You’d be surprised how many didn’t! When it comes to producing great wine, we can thank the geography of the province. The lakes, the soil, the geographical feature that is the Niagara Escarpment – there are so many factors that allow for Ontario to make wine. And that means that you get to enjoy it!

We really like wine (and beer, for that matter) so it’s fun for us to go to wineries, learn about them, and enjoy a few tastings. Winery hopping can also be a part of a romantic weekend getaway in Ontario or a classic girls weekend getaway.

So if you are looking to indulge in the province through its wine and the locals who make it, here are a number of suggestions for top wine regions in Ontario. These also make for great fall getaway ideas since you get to enjoy the autumn colours and the harvest season!

Yes, of course, we put Niagara on the Lake first – but for good reason. This fertile area is a mecca for wine-making – and the greater Niagara Peninsula has even more wineries to visit. You can drive around to the dozens of Niagara on the Lake wineries or you can get down there and hop on a guided winery tour (recommended). There are so many to visit but we like Ravine if you are looking for a suggestion.

To make the most of the weekend, you could stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake (the historic town). That way you can enjoy the town as well as the wineries around. We like the Pillar and Post Inn and Spa but we also have a guide on Niagara on the Lake accommodations if you want to learn more!

Another great wine region is Prince Edward County. This quaint rural area is no longer a secret. There’s a number of wineries to visit like Sandbanks Estate or Trail Estate. You can join a guided tour to the wineries but you can also drive or bike to them yourself.

If you head for The County, there are lots of other things to do while on a weekend trip. You can stay in the town of Picton for easy accessibility to restaurants and shops. Stay at the Merrill House or The June Motel for a great location in Picton or the Newsroom Suites for a nice stay in the town of Wellington.

When people think about Ontario wine, many don’t know that the area just south of Georgian Bay – Grey County – is home to a number of wineries (as well as breweries and cideries). The vast amount of shoreline is also a nice draw to this region and makes for a lovely weekend getaway for couples in Ontario.

With top stops like Coffin Ridge Vineyard & Winery and Mudtown Station Brewery and Restaurant in the heart of Owen Sound, it’s a great area to wander about. To stay nearby on the water, we suggest The Inn at Cobble Beach to make for a wonderful getaway.

Have an Outdoor Action Adventure

Considering Ontario is huge and full of different terrain – dense forests, tall cliffs, and raging rivers – there are lots of great locations in Ontario to get away and enjoy being a kid again in the outdoors. Specifically, there are a number of adventure-based activities you can try out all over the province.

The nice thing about adventure getaways in Ontario is that there is a good offering of things to do in all seasons – so don’t think for a second you’re out of luck when it comes to weekend winter getaways in Ontario! From treetop trekking in the summer to snow tubing and snowshoeing in the winter, check out these active weekend ideas.

If you’re keen for some physical activity, we suggest heading to Hardwood Hills. Just north of Toronto about two hours driving, this ski and bike facility offers over 80 kilometres of rolling trails through pine forests for mountain biking and cross-country skiing.

They also offer disc golf, volleyball, hiking, and running. You can stay nearby in Oro-Medonte at Carriage Hills Resort which comes with its own amenities.

It may not be the largest ski hill in Ontario, but Horseshoe Valley Resort is a personal favourite. The grounds offer adventurers so many activities from treetop trekking and golf in the summer to skiing/snowboarding and having the longest snow tubing hill in Ontario in the winter.

The nice thing about a weekend at Horseshoe is that you can book your stay close to where you get to play!

For a river rafting adventure, head north of Ottawa to Owl Rafting! Eric went rafting with them before and it made for a super fun weekend getaway in Ontario.

They have a small waterfront resort with meals and accommodations (from camping to cabins) so you can stay overnight and make a whole weekend out of it!

Back to the idea of adventure in the trees, Treetop Trekking (mentioned in Horseshoe Valley) also has a course up in Huntsville, too. The Huntsville location is just off of Highway 60 so it’s easy to get to. The area is beautiful if you are looking for a good dose of nature over the course of a weekend.

There are other great things to do in Huntsville if you end up spending a weekend there. We’d recommend a stay at Morgan House B&B which is not too far from the trekking.

If you want to try something a little different, Ontario is actually a great place to go SCUBA diving. This is because some lakes contain a unique underwater environment – including a high concentration of shipwrecks.

Tobermory is apparently the “SCUBA capital of Canada” with Fathom Five National Marine Park having over 20 protected wrecks to explore. If you are new to SCUBA, you can always try a SCUBA training course!

If you stay up in Tobermory, check out the Grandview Motel for a popular and cozy accommodation with Georgian Bay views just a short walk from “downtown” Tobermory.

Explore Ontario for Beautiful Waterfalls

Oddly enough, Ontario’s unique geography also makes it a home to many gorgeous waterfalls. A big reason for this is the Niagara Escarpment – that large rocky ledge that runs from Georgian Bay all the way to the Niagara Region.

Of course, you can go and see the most famous of them all – Niagara Falls – but there are lots more to explore that are tucked away in nature. Exploring waterfalls can make for a good cheap weekend getaway in Ontario because the costs are usually just things like the parking fee and/or the entrance fee for the conservation area (on top of some food and a place to stay).

That said, we’ll highlight two main areas for waterfalls in Ontario but know that there are a few others scattered all over the province. For example, you can go up to near Thunder Bay to experience Kakabeka Falls which is quite a wonder!

It’s been said that Hamilton – and the area surrounding it – is the Waterfall Capital of the World. This area has over 200 waterfalls to explore with some being more popular and accessible than others.

For those wondering, Tiffany Falls is quite popular, as is Albion Falls. We liked Felker’s Falls and we stayed at Serenity Ranch Bed and Breakfast close by in Ancaster which made for a quiet country weekend escape!

Another great area that has a number of waterfalls and conservation areas is Grey County. There are a number of popular ones to head for like Eugenia Falls and Hogg’s Falls.

While all of the waterfalls are accessible to hike to in the summer, most of them are also accessible in the winter. To stay nearby, check out the Traverston Retreat B&B!

Dive into Ontario’s Rich History

If you are looking to spend the weekend exploring something you didn’t know about, why not dive into Ontario’s past? From Indigenous peoples and European settlers to war with the Americans and modern-day advances in medicine – Ontario has quite the backstory.

Around the province, there are a number of museums and attractions where you get the chance to dive into history. We don’t think history is boring and many of these ideas can be used to fill just one piece of a weekend itinerary whether you’re a couple or a family with kids!

Not to talk about Niagara on the Lake again but the area is popular for Ontario history give the proximity to the US border and waterways. This region has numerous attractions like Fort George Historic Site and other places like the Laura Secord Homestead, the Mackenzie Printery Museum, and the Queenston Heights Park, among others.

If you want to step back into the 17th century, head for Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. Located in Midland, this re-created settlement and museum represents the spot of the oldest European community in Ontario.

To stay nearby in Midland, you might like 1875 A Charters Inn Bed & Breakfast which is a historic home located right in the heart of the town centre.

Did you know that Ontario has a secret underground Cold war-era bunker that was for the Prime Minister and is now a museum you can tour? If you didn’t, visit the Diefenbunker Museum outside of Ottawa in the small town of Carp. We went and it was honestly awesome!

If you want to stay nearby, aim for the Brookstreet Hotel which is in Kanata between the bunker and downtown Ottawa (can make a weekend out of a visit to this area)!

If the history of the waterways calls to you, head for Gananoque to explore the 1000 Islands History Museum. It’s located right at the waterfront and you can also use this weekend trip to hop on a beautiful 1000 Islands Boat Cruise! We cruised the 1000 Islands from Kingston but have heard the cruises from Gananoque offers more island time.

To stay just a short walk from downtown Gananoque/the waterfront to catch a cruise, we suggest the Sleepy Hollow B&B in an old historic house!

Check out Top Ontario Attractions

Then there are the Ontario weekend getaways that are centered around going to see or do something specific. We call these top Ontario attractions – and Ontario has a number of things to visit that are worth building a weekend around!

For this guide, we tried to stick to things that are unique experiences to Ontario so you won’t find any chain companies or brands below!

We couldn’t leave a weekend getaway in Niagara Falls, Ontario out of this post. We just couldn’t. This city – with three magnificent waterfalls to check out – is loaded with things to do and see besides the falls themselves. From the famous Hornblower Cruise to the White Water Walk and attractions on Clifton Hill, there’s something for everyone here.

We have written extensively on the subject including a post on top things to do in Niagara Falls and a guide on where to stay. Just so you know, we stayed at A Moment in Time B&B and good hotels with views of the falls are Marriott Fallsview or The Oakes Hotel Fallsview.

To explore another natural wonder that Ontario has been hiding, plan a visit to the Bonnechere Caves. This incredible cave system is a unique way to learn about nature while also going on a bit of an adventure! They are located close to Eganville (not far from Highway 60).

To stay nearby, you can check out the Bide-A-While Bed & Breakfast which is in Renfrew (a short drive from the Caves).

Lastly, if you are keen to learn more about what goes on underground in Ontario, head up to Sudbury to Dynamic Earth and to see the Big Nickel! Part of the Science North group, these science museums are world-renowned. Plus, nearby you get to visit the largest coin in the world so that’s pretty cool.

Don’t count out Sudbury for a great weekend getaway. There are other outdoor-based attractions to draw you up there. We’d suggest a stay at the Northbury Hotel close to the city centre.

Catch Some Sun at an Ontario Beach

It’s no secret that with enough lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water dotting the Ontario landscape, there are bound to be some great beaches in Ontario. Millions of years of erosion for you mean many places to lay on the comfortable sand and let the summer sun do its thing!

Of course, there are very popular beaches in Ontario like Wasaga Beach and Sauble Beach – but there are lots of other great beaches to head for as well. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway in Ontario in summer, a beachside retreat might be for you.

We’ve listed just a handful of other beaches you might want to make a point of heading to on a weekend. They are generally located in nice little towns with restaurants and a laid back atmosphere. Beaches also make for a sure-fire idea for weekend family getaways in Ontario because the beach has something for everyone!

Located close to Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend Beach is a very popular stop for weekend getaways in southwestern Ontario. There’s lots to do in the area activity wise in both the summer and the winter season. You can stay close by to the beach at a resort or campground like the Oakwood Resort.

Long Point is actually also a Provincial Park – but the sandy beaches are well-known to those familiar with Lake Erie. As the fourth oldest park in Ontario, there’s 1.5 km of sand-covered beach. Lake Erie is also typically warmer than Lake Ontario.

To stay close by, you can book the Normandale Century Inn in Normandale which is a quick drive from the beach at Long Point. There are also other beaches all over that area of Lake Erie!

Looping back to cover Prince Edward County, a trip to Sandbanks Provincial Park is a great way to hit the beach. There are actually three different beaches here. With the option to camp overnight or make use of the day-use dune areas and stay nearby, there are options for most weekend trippers.

To stay close to the actual beaches check out Our Space the Perfect Place B&B which is not far.

P.S. There are other beaches in this region like Wellington Beach or North Beach if you want to skip Sandbanks.

Hike/Camp at a National/Provincial Park

Speaking of Provincial Parks – you can absolutely make a weekend getaway out of exploring the great outdoors. Luckily, you’ve got 340 regulated Provincial Parks to choose from – and that doesn’t include National Parks or conservation areas! While this may seem like a difficult task, there are definitely some that are more popular than others.

Everyone is likely familiar with Algonquin Provincial Park, Arrowhead, or even Killarney, but there are so many other parks in Ontario to explore. Many of these green areas make for dog-friendly weekend getaways because they have “bark parks” attached.

If you stay for a weekend (and depending on which one you choose) you might decide to camp overnight (if you can). Alternatively, you can also just do day hikes but stay close by outside the park. You can even visit more than one in a weekend. It’s really up to you!

For a unique park experience in Ontario, head for Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Located just to the northeast of Peterborough, the park is special since you’ll find a large collection of Indigenous rock carvings as well as get the chance to enjoy nature and learn about the traditions of the Ojibway people. This is a place for learning and connecting and we are so looking forward to visiting.

To make a weekend out of it, you could stay at the Burleigh Falls Inn.

Often referred to as “heading to Tobermory”, Bruce Peninsula National Park is a popular but unique stop in Ontario. The Bruce Peninsula is a gorgeous area on Georgian Bay with a variety of unique aspects like the Grotto – a famous geological attraction.

You can camp in the park but you can also stay close by in the heart of Tobermory if you just want to day hike. The Grandview Motel is a great option for that.

Lastly, Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is another great park in Ontario located up near Bancroft. We tried to feature more of “The Kawarthas” since the Muskokas always get the credit when it comes to amazing outdoor areas in Ontario.

The park is fantastic to visit for camping, hiking, canoeing, and much more. It is actually the second largest park in Southern Ontario next to Algonquin.

It’s actually pretty close to Petroglyphs Park (mentioned above) so a stay at the Burleigh Falls Inn would make sense if you didn’t want to camp overnight.

Explore a Small Ontario Town

You don’t have to head to a city to have an amazing weekend. In fact, those of you in the city are likely looking to leave it for the weekend. So, exploring a small Ontario town might be perfect for you. In fact, we’d argue that the right small town can offer you more to do on a long weekend getaway in Ontario than just heading for an Ontario beach!

Ontario is loaded with small towns that actually have lots of offer visitors like local history and hikes, artisan shops, restaurants, and breweries. Local accommodations that make for a nice overnight getaway can be the piece that brings it all together to create a nice weekend getaway.

Having both of us come from small towns, we definitely have an affinity for discovering smaller places. Below are a number of great small towns to check out – some have rivers running through while others have hiking trails or lakes to enjoy!

If you are searching for a cute little town with historic stone buildings, a number of places to eat, a museum or two, local shops, and some green space by the water, you might want to have a look at Perth.

This little town is located a short drive north of Kingston and makes for a nice quiet Ontario getaway – especially in spring with the flowers blooming.

If you want to stay right in the heart of Perth, we’d suggest the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel!

For those wanting to hit up a smaller town but up in the Muskokas, Gravenhurst would be our go-to suggestion. Featuring a great little town centre with a nice brewery and the famous Muskoka steamships cruise down at the Muskoka Wharf, there’s lots to see and do in Gravenhurst.

For a nice place to stay, that is close to downtown but also close to the lake, you can check out The Inn on Bay.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the small town of Elora. Located close to Guelph, Elora is known for the Grand River running through it. It’s the home of the luxurious Elora Mill Hotel and the town is a great stop for a quiet weekend full of relaxing, getting out on the river, or hiking/tubing in the Elora Gorge Conservation Area.

Aside from the Elora Mill Hotel and Spa, another place to stay close to the town centre would be The Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast.

Get Lost in an Ontario City

It goes without saying that Ontario is huge and there are a number of cities that can definitely make for a nice weekend getaway. Depending on your interests (and your starting location), some cities might appeal to you over others. Cities also make for a great solo weekend in Ontario because you can kind of blend in among city life and enjoy it at your own pace!

There are a number of cities we really like visiting around Ontario – and all for basically different reasons. We left Toronto out since (you have to admit) many people are usually looking to leave Toronto for the weekend, not enter it! Below are some of our favourite cities to visit, things to do in each, and accommodations to check out.

For a historic city right on Lake Ontario, Kingston makes for an excellent weekend trip since it’s a doable drive from both from Ottawa or Toronto. Kingston is fantastic in the summer: You can get ice cream and walk the downtown core to check out the small shops. There are historic trolley tours and even an island boat cruise you can do.

In the winter, it’s a bit chilly but still great. You can go ice skating at Springer Market Square. There are also so many bars, breweries, and restaurants in Kingston to satisfy any cuisine in any season. We’d suggest the Hochelaga Inn for a historic bed and breakfast walkable to downtown and The Delta for a downtown hotel on the Kingston waterfront. Eric lived in Kingston so that’s why we know and love it.

If you feel like you aren’t in touch with Canada’s roots, a trip to Ottawa can fix that! In the summer, you can do a river cruise of the Ottawa River, explore Parliament, or visit one of the many museums like the Canadian War Museum or National Gallery of Canada. Pints in ByWard Market are also a great way to enjoy the weather!

In the winter, the city gets cold but there’s always Winterlude and skating on the famous Rideau Canal to enjoy! Whichever season you visit, we’d recommend the Andaz ByWard Market for a central hotel with a stunning rooftop bar.

We love exploring Ottawa and have a number of posts to get you started: things to do in Ottawa, one day in Ottawa, best Ottawa bars and pubs, and where to stay in Ottawa!

Last but not least – a trip to Guelph, Ontario is actually a great option! Located not too far from Toronto, Guelph can make for a nice weekend getaway in southern Ontario. The city has a lot of natural beauty with green spaces and the rivers that run through. The area is good for hiking and being outside, in general.

There is a nice downtown with bars and pubs, shops, and great restaurants. Of course, there are other things to do in Guelph like renting a boat at The Boathouse and getting ice cream or high tea! If you head for Guelph, the Norfolk Guest House Inn makes for a lovely stay a short walk to downtown.

Indulge On A “Food or Drink Trail”

If you want your weekend getaway to revolve around enjoying Ontario’s vibrant gastronomy scene, then you can definitely make that happen! Ontario prides itself on its local growers, bakers, brewers, and restaurant owners who have created more than one “foodie” hot spot across the province.

While a stop at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto is definitely a noteworthy adventure, there are a number of Ontario weekend trip food routes that are basically just asking you to join. From sweet treats to delicious craft beer, here are a bunch of Ontario food tour/trails that you can follow!

Are you a fan of butter tarts? The Canadian classic dessert can be enjoyed in the Kawarthas Northumberland (around Peterborough) at over 50 different locations! You can eat your way across the region sampling butter tarts – find the full details for the Butter Tart Tour here. You can also complete a version by boat!

If you do make the tour over the course of a weekend, you will need a place to sleep off those butter tarts. Stay in Bobcaygeon to be in the heart of the butter tart tasting region and check out Riverside Caygeon B&B for a great bed and breakfast!

Is cheese your thing? Then the Oxford County Cheese Trail is for you! Consisting of 24 stops ranging from cheese shops, restaurants, and other vendors around Woodstock (close to London), the cheese trail is definitely something you’ll want to spend a weekend doing! You can learn all about The Cheese Trail here!

As you will be filled with cheese, stay in Woodstock for a central location to drive to other places on the trail. The Château la Motte Guest House is a super cool looking historic bed and breakfast that might do the trick.

Since Ontario is a hot spot for craft breweries, there are many different ones situated in regions that you can explore. Prince Edward County breweries are great or you could even make a tour out of breweries around the Muskoka region (like Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge!). Please enjoy responsibly if you do this.

Once again, the heart of the region is arguably Gravenhurst so perhaps stay at The Inn on Bay to make your brewery crawl easier to accomplish! This would also work well for a one night getaway in Ontario.

And there you have it – a pretty detailed list of ideas for weekend getaways in Ontario! Of course, there are so many more weekend ideas to add here. Also, not all of these will work for you because we have no idea where you are starting from. That said, we hope this is a helpful guide to most. You know we’ll be adding to it as we explore more of Ontario!

As always, Happy Ontario Weekend Waddlin’,
– E&L

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