After long days of sightseeing around Toronto, it’s common to get that old “need a vacation from the vacation” feeling. Fortunately, you can take a respite without leaving the city. Escape the crowded downtown core with a mini getaway to Toronto’s shores of Lake Ontario. Sunbathing, sailing, cycling — do it all and be back to your downtown Toronto hotel by dinner.
1. Visit Toronto Islands
A 10-minute ferry ride from downtown, there sits a cluster of islands with 360 degrees of fantastic views. Rent a canoe or kayak and explore the islands’ waterways, or spend the afternoon at the clothing-optional beach of Hanlan’s Point, which faces away from the city — for all those modest exhibitionists out there.
2. Sunbathe on the Beaches
The city’s east end is home to several beaches but Woodbine Beach offers smooth sand perfect for beach volleyball or walking barefoot along the shoreline. You might think you’re in a sleepy coastal resort town instead of Canada’s largest city.
3. Cycle Along the Waterfront Trail
Stretching 11.1 kilometers (7 miles) from West Toronto’s Humber Bay Park to downtown, the Martin Goodman Waterfront Trail offers uninterrupted scenic cycling alongside the great lake. Rent a bike and tour a different side of the city. Celebrate your ride with a cocktail at The Roof Lounge in Park Hyatt Toronto for a completely different view.
4. Get Cultured at Harbourfront Centre
Squeezing in the sights on a weekend getaway? A walk down Spadina Avenue will put you in the heart of Toronto’s harbor. Just steps away from the Radisson Admiral Hotel, the Harbourfront Centre is where you can view contemporary art at The Power Plant gallery, attend an outdoor concert or just watch the tour boats.
5. Sail Away on a Tall Ship
Setting sail from downtown Toronto is easier than you might think. Board the 85-year-old Kajama Tall Ship for a relaxing 90-minute cruise on Lake Ontario, which offers a view of the city’s skyline and a taste of history. Regain your land legs while walking back to your room at the Westin Harbour Castle.
6. Watch the Sun Set from Scarborough Bluffs Park
The surroundings of the Scarborough Bluffs are unlike any other found around the city. Visit during any season with your camera and you’ll instantly max out your Instagram with share-worthy snapshots of these dramatic views.
7. Lunch in Port Credit
Take a long drive along Lakeshore Drive and stop for lunch in the charming town of Port Credit, just west of the GTA. Walk off a sumptuous late brunch from Snug Harbor in one of the nearby parks where the Credit River meets Lake Ontario.
8. Discover a Relic of Toronto’s Seaside History
Sunnyside Park, a once-popular summer attraction in the early 20th century, is now a quiet lakefront park with a west-end view of Toronto’s skyline. Have a drink on the peaceful patio at the beachfront Sunnyside Cafe, which is part of the historic Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion.