Summer’s here, which means longer days and line-ups for patios as most Canadians try to maximize what precious little time we’ll have in the sunshine. If you aren’t into the idea of queuing up for a seat outdoors at a restaurant downtown (which, let’s be real, is the ultimate test of patience), I’ve put together a list of five destinations that are close enough to stay connected, but far away enough to feel like a getaway from the city.

And the best part of all? TELUS offers coverage at all of these destinations, keeping you connected to family and friends – just make sure to turn off those work email notifications. I’ll be heading out on a trip this summer and you can bet I’ll post Instagram & Snapchat content along the way 🙂

Gananoque/1,000 Islands

Video source: gunnarolla

From Toronto: 3 hours

I’ve visited 1,000 Islands as a child, but coming back recently as an adult renewed my appreciation for this Canadian attraction. You can experience it by boat as most people do, but taking it all in on a helicopter tour is another experience and well worth the price tag (I recommend Kouri’s Kopters). If you’re feeling adventurous, you could take things one step further and book a skydiving adventure – one of the cheapest and most scenic available in Ontario.

Hidden gem: Riva Italian Restaurant in Ganonoque, Italian fare with several vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Blue Mountain Village

Video source: gunnarolla

From Toronto: 2 hours

Many Ontarians are familiar with Blue Mountain as a ski destination during the winter months, but it is actually a pedestrian village that operates year-round! Blue Mountain in the summer is just as fun, offering a whole range of activities like the bag jump, zipline, coaster, canoeing & kayaking, Hummer, helicopter & wine tours, rock climbing, mountain biking, and an open-air gondola to take in all the views. Blue Mountain also hosts various arts & music festivals so there is no shortage of things to see and do over the summer. There are also a number of resort hotels, lodges and bed & breakfasts, like the Westin Trillium House, and of course, the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, if you’re looking for a vacation destination within a vacation destination.

Hidden gem: Apple Pie Trail. Just thinking about it… I’m going to need a second.

Read more about our adventure in Blue Mountain

Tobermory & Bruce Peninsula National Park

Video source: Travellers from the six

From Toronto: 4 hours

When I was younger, family vacations would consist of a roadtrip across one direction in Canada. I have fond memories of camping in Georgian Bay, a trip that we took a few times over the course of my childhood. Although it is a bit of a drive to get there, the pay-off is worth it. This destination spans a large area which also makes it perfect for those coastal drives. In Bruce Peninsula National Park, you’ll find a little bit of everything: camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, scuba, snorkeling, golf, cliffs, caves, beaches, and even islands. You’ll want to make a stop in Tobermory, a little vacation town at the northern point of the coast. The locals are friendly and the weather is great at this time of year.

Hidden gem: Flowerpot Island, in the Fathom Five National Marine Park, accessible only by boat from Tobermory

Sandbanks & Prince Edward County

Video source: Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism & Commerce

From Toronto: 3 hours

Located in Prince Edward County is Sandbanks Provincial Park, the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation. Here you’ll find some or the largest and most beautiful beaches in Ontario, and all of the wonderful summer activities you’d expect from a Canadian provincial park: camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, boating, sailboarding, fishing, swimming, and even educational programmes. Prince Edward County is home to a various arts & music festivals, and a number of bed & breakfasts, spas, and wine tours, which make it a perfect getaway for two.

Hidden gem: Drake Devonshire, a luxe boutique hotel from the same team that brought us The Drake Hotel in Toronto, so you know it’s got a certain vibe (more cool than me tbh)

Niagara Falls/Niagara-on-the-Lake

Video source: Expedia

From Toronto: 1.5 hours (on a good day)

I mean, who hasn’t been to Niagara Falls at some point in their lifetime? The attractions on Clifton Hill are fun for all ages (or maybe I just really like being over-stimulated) but if you’re looking for a more grown-up experience, there is the casino, and a number of options for dining, spas, golf, hiking, and winery tours. The Niagara Parks and Niagara-On-The-Lake websites offer a comprehensive listing of attractions away from the main strip at Clifton Hill. Treat yo-self! Just make sure to book in advance, because this place is popular (especially due to its proximity to Toronto).

Hidden gem: You’ve gotta make a stop at Nightmares Fear Factory on Clifton Hill. You’ve probably seen the viral images of people screaming their faces off. I’ve visited this attraction twice and it’s so worth it.

So, that’s my list! Start planning your summer roadtrip now – and check back, because I’ll be heading to one of these destinations soon 😉

Looking to travel outside of Ontario? Check out other Canadian destinations on the TELUS blog

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by TELUS. All opinions are my own.

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