15 Best Places to Visit near Toronto in Winter + Day Trip Ideas
Last Updated on March 31, 2023
Toronto is a vibrant and exciting city year-round, but there’s something special about visiting during the winter months. While the cold weather might make you want to hibernate indoors, there are actually many great destinations near Toronto that offer unique winter experiences and make great day trips.
From skiing and snowboarding to ice skating and different winter festivals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
In this list, we’ll highlight 15 of the best places to visit near Toronto in winter, so you can plan the perfect winter getaway. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or cozy indoor experiences, these destinations will help you make the most of the winter season!
RELATED POST – Best Things to Do in Canada in Winter
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
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Blue Mountain Ski Resort, Collingwood
Blue Mountain Ski Resort is located about 2 hours north of Toronto and about 10km west of Collingwood. It is a popular winter destination and makes a perfect winter day trip from Toronto. The resort offers a variety of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and tubing.
The resort has 43 ski and snowboard trails that cater to all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, with over 360 skiable acres of terrain.
Also, Blue Mountain offers a variety of accommodations, from hotels and condos to chalets and vacation homes. The resort offers a variety of restaurants to suit every taste and budget, as well as several other dining alternatives including grab-and-go options, pubs, and snack bars.
With its beautiful natural scenery, numerous amenities, and wide range of activities, Blue Mountain Ski Resort is a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike.
Niagara Falls is about an hour and a half away from Toronto. While most people visit the falls during the summer months, it’s also worth considering a winter visit.
The falls are surrounded by a wintry landscape, and during the months of January through March, they tend to partially freeze. The buildup of ice results in a picturesque display of frozen waterfalls adorned with icicles along the edges and a frozen mist covering the nearby trees.
Niagara Falls can be especially striking at night when it’s illuminated with colored lights, creating a magical and unforgettable experience.
Also, in the winter you can see the Winter Festival of Lights which is a 3 million lights display spread throughout the city.
While the winter weather can be cold and snowy, the stunning beauty of Niagara Falls in the winter is well worth braving the elements for.
Recommended Experience: Niagara Falls in One Day: Deluxe Sightseeing Tour of American and Canadian Sides
Algonquin Provincial Park
In the winter, Algonquin Provincial Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy making it one of the best places to visit near Toronto in winter. You can go snowshoeing on the park’s extensive trail system, cross-country skiing on groomed trails, ice skating on natural ice, or camping in the winter wilderness.
The extensive trail network and backcountry of Algonquin Park hold a great appeal for many visitors. They are drawn to the deep snow, opportunities for wildlife viewing, and vast stretches of solitude.
Even though many animals are hibernating in the winter you can still spot a deer, fox, moose, etc.
Whether you want to take part in organized activities or venture out on your own, Algonquin Provincial Park is a beautiful and exciting destination for winter adventures.
To see a map of the trails and find more information, check out the Algonquin Provincial Park winter guide.
Recommended Experience – Algonquin Provincial Park Day Tour from Toronto
Known as “cottage country,” Muskoka offers beautiful scenery, winter activities, and attractions, making it one of the best winter day trips from Toronto. Visitors can enjoy snowmobiling on extensive trails, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
The region’s natural beauty provides a stunning backdrop for winter activities, with snow-covered forests, lakes, and trails.
Also, the region hosts winter festivals, featuring ice sculptures, outdoor activities, and live entertainment. An interesting activity to point out is the Eclipse “Walk with Light”.
The Muskoka Heritage Place offers an immersive and creative experience with a sound and light forest night walk that is one-of-a-kind.
After a day of outdoor activities, visitors can unwind with a spa day at one of Muskoka’s many spas such as Sir Sam’s Inn and Spa and Trillium Resort and Spa.
Snow Valley Ski Resort, Barrie
Snow Valley Ski Resort is located near Barrie, Ontario about an hour away from Toronto. It offers a range of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing. They even offer the option to host social events and weddings.
The resort has 8 lifts, 21 ski runs of varying difficulty levels, as well as terrain parks for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.
Also, the resort provides lessons for beginners and equipment rentals for all activities.
Snow Valley Ski Resort offers some lodging as well if you decide to stay overnight.
It is a popular destination for locals and tourists looking to enjoy outdoor winter activities in the Barrie area.
Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County is a charming region east of Toronto that offers similar winter activities as the above places. The frigid lakeshores provide a picturesque backdrop for breathtaking sunsets and photography.
The county is home to several wineries and breweries, providing the perfect opportunity to sample local wines and craft beers. You can indulge your taste bud and thaw out by a cozy bonfire available at many of them.
Foodies will love the county’s diverse culinary scene, with numerous restaurants offering farm-to-table cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.
For art lovers, the area has a vibrant arts community, with galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists.
Also, you will find a variety of charming boutique shops where you can find unique, locally-made gifts.
Recommended Experience – Wine Tasting Tour in Prince Edward County
Laurentian Ski Hill, North Bay
The Laurentian Ski Hill is a ski resort situated approximately four hours from Toronto in North Bay, Ontario. With over 300 feet of vertical drop, 6 runs, and 3 lifts, it offers skiers and snowboarders of all levels a winter sports experience.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Laurentian Ski Hill also offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails, making it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts.
Also, there is a cozy chalet with a fireplace, restaurant, and bar where visitors can relax and enjoy some hot food and drinks after a long day on the slopes. It is a smaller ski resort compared to the ones mentioned above. However, the resort is known for its affordable prices and family-friendly atmosphere, making it a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike.
The City of Kawartha Lakes
The City of Kawartha Lakes is located about 90 min North East of Toronto and is one of the best places to visit near Toronto in winter. The area has over 250 lakes and rivers which offer endless opportunities to explore the beautiful nature.
One of the most popular winter activities in the area is snowmobiling, with over 160 km of well-maintained trails offering riders the chance to explore the beautiful countryside. Additionally, the city has many cross-country ski trails that offer a quieter, more peaceful way to enjoy the winter scenery.
For those who prefer indoor activities, the city has many cultural and entertainment options. Visitors can enjoy a night out at the theatre, explore local museums and art galleries, or indulge in some retail therapy at local shops and boutiques.
The city also hosts many winter festivals and events throughout the season, such as holiday markets, Christmas parades, and outdoor winter carnivals.
Canada’s Wonderland is an amusement park located in Vaughan, Ontario about 45 mins from Toronto. It is known for its thrilling rides and attractions.
A popular winter activity at Canada’s Wonderland is ice skating. The park’s International Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a beautiful skating rink called Snow Flake Lake. Visitors can rent skates and glide around the rink while enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Another popular winter attraction is the WinterFest, which features over 5 million twinkling lights, holiday-themed shows, and visits with Santa Claus. Also, there are themed areas with festive decorations, seasonal treats, and live entertainment.
For those looking for a thrill, some of Canada Wonderland’s most popular roller coasters are open during WinterFest. Visitors can take a ride on the Leviathan or Behemoth, two of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in Canada.
Lanark County’s Maple Trail
Lanark County’s Maple Trail is a popular winter day trip from Toronto, taking visitors on a journey through the heart of maple syrup country. The trail consists of a series of stops at various maple syrup producers throughout the Lanark County region.
At each stop, visitors can learn about the maple syrup-making process, taste different varieties of syrup, and purchase maple products such as syrup, candies, and other treats. Also, some of the stops on the trail offer tours of their facilities, allowing visitors to see how the syrup is made.
The Maple Trail typically runs from late February to early April, which is the prime season for maple syrup production in the region.
The Lanark County Maple Trail is a great way to experience one of Canada’s most iconic products and learn about the important role that maple syrup production plays in the local economy.
Along with visiting the maple syrup producers, visitors can also enjoy other winter activities in Lanark County, such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and winter festivals.
Dagmar Ski Resort, Uxbridge
Located about an hour and 45 mins from Toronto, this is another ski resort to check out if you love winter activities. With four chairlifts, including two quads and two triples, you’ll be whisked to the top of the slopes in no time. Dagmar Ski Resort has also 18 runs featuring varied terrain for all skill levels.
If you don’t know how to ski, expert instructors provide lessons and fun programs to teach new skiers the basics.
After a day on the slopes, relax in the charming chalet, with beautiful views overlooking the slopes. There is a restaurant and a fully licensed lounge, including a coffee bar.
Dagmar Ski Resort even has a pro and repair shop for ski and snowboard tuning, and a gift shop with a great selection of helmets, goggles, gloves, souvenirs, and more.
Located about 2.5 hours north of Toronto, Haliburton Highlands offers some very interesting winter activities. Have you ever heard of Snowga? Snowga is an activity that combines Yoga and Snowshoeing.
Take a journey through beautiful trails and connect with nature in a mindful way during your one-hour snowshoe trek. Your adventure concludes at a tranquil indoor location where you can unroll your mat and further release any built-up stress. You’ll be guided through a gentle one-hour yoga practice to complete your rejuvenating experience.
Another unique activity is ice climbing which should totally be on your bucket list. You’ll receive instruction on safety, gear selection, and basic techniques for ice climbing, and have plenty of opportunities to put it all into practice.
Lastly, have you heard of Fat Biking? A Fat Bike is an innovative design of a mountain bike that allows riders to tackle any terrain, regardless of weather conditions (has thicker tires). Who said you cannot bike in the winter?
Stratford is a small town that is located 2 and a half hours Southwest of Toronto. Known for its famous theater festival, Stratford also hosts the Stratford Winterfest. It usually runs for a weekend at the end of January.
What began as a single-day event in 1998 has now evolved into a multiday celebration of winter. This festival features both indoor and outdoor events that are perfect for couples, groups of friends, and families. They can participate in a variety of sports, live entertainment, artistic adventures, and different activities for kids.
Another activity that is popular in Stratford is shopping. Discover unique stores featuring upscale modern fashions, art, and boutiques, and an impressive selection of handmade items and antiques.
Throughout the holiday season, Stratford is adorned with festive decorations including lights and Christmas trees, enhancing the already charming ambiance of the town.
Kingston is located about 4 hours away from Toronto. One of the top things to do there is to skate at Springer Market Square, which is the city’s outdoor rink located in the downtown area. You can rent skates on-site and enjoy skating across the ice beneath the twinkling lights.
For winter sports enthusiasts, there are several nearby ski resorts like Calabogie Peaks and Mount Pakenham (both are 2hrs north of Kingston) where you can go skiing or snowboarding. Keep in mind that Canada is a huge country and things are far apart and yes we are still in the same province (Ontario).
Alternatively, if you prefer a winter hike, Kingston has many trails and parks, such as the Lemoine Point Conservation Area or the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, perfect for an afternoon of outdoor exploration.
Lastly, be sure to check out the Kingston Winter Market, where local artisans, bakers, and farmers gather to sell their products every other Sunday.
The Bruce Peninsula National Park and Tobermory
Both are located about 4 hours away from Toronto. In the Bruce Peninsula National Park, visitors can explore a winter wonderland of snow-covered forests, frozen lakes, and dramatic cliffs overlooking Georgian Bay.
The park offers several trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, providing a unique perspective of the jagged landscape. Additionally, the park’s star attraction, the Grotto, is equally enchanting in the winter months, with icicles hanging from the rocks and a frozen-over turquoise pool.
In Tobermory, visitors can enjoy the quiet charm of this small town, with its cozy shops, and restaurants. For those who enjoy winter sports, there are opportunities for snowmobiling to the nearby lakes.
In addition, visitors can take a scenic drive along the shoreline of Lake Huron, taking in the beautiful winter scenery.
Winter in the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Tobermory offers a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beauty of nature in its winter attire.
Recommended Experience – Bruce Peninsula Day Trip from Toronto
In conclusion, Toronto may be a bustling city, but it is surrounded by beautiful destinations that offer a wide variety of winter activities. Blue Mountain Ski Resort is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. Meanwhile, Stratford Winterfest is a fun event that celebrates the winter season with activities like a variety of winter sports, live entertainment, and shopping.
These are just two examples of the many incredible places to visit near Toronto in the winter. From stunning national parks to cozy small towns, there are endless opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and fun.
Whether you’re looking to hit the slopes, explore the great outdoors, or simply cozy up by the fire, the winter season near Toronto has something for everyone. So, pack your warmest clothes and get ready to experience the magic of winter in these incredible destinations!
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