Summer in Ontario is a wonderful, yet fleeting time – the Game of Thrones intro lasts longer than good weather on some days. But that just means we have to take every ray of sunshine, every dip in the lake and every warm day like it could end faster than a melting popsicle. Since planes are off the table for a while, hit Ontarios's open road instead this summer on a road trip.

Who really has time to spend hours sitting in a car when you could be swimming in a waterfall? That’s why we made the ultimate summer Ontario road trip list full of quick road trips you can take from Toronto that will have you exploring a new place before sunset.

Windsor

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Canada’s southernmost city often gets a bad rap, but this border town has so much to offer. Pay homage to the city's whiskey roots on a tour of Hiram Walker & Sons, North America's largest distillery. Ample green space and waterfront boardwalks provide an ideal backdrop for afternoon strolls or bike rides (perhaps before the whiskey kicks in).

Kingsville, a 40-minute drive from downtown Windsor is a quirky gem of a town (and a favourite of Margaret Atwood) with lots of wineries like Pelee Island Winery, vintage storefronts and historic hotels like the Grove.

Niagara

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We know you know about the waterfall, but Niagara has lots to do beyond the falls. Split your time between Niagara Falls which has fun do-once-and-you’re-set touristy attractions and Niagara-on-the-Lake, the heart of Ontario’s wine country.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is often described as the prettiest town in Ontario. With its spotless golf courses, winding biking trails and notable wineries like Peller EstatesInniskillin and Jackson Triggs (don’t pretend you haven’t seen them at Wine Rack) there’s plenty to keep you occupied on this grape escape (sorry, had to).

Prince Edward County

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Technically an island in Lake Ontario, this go-to spot for screaming bachelorette parties hopped up on rosé is also the place for a little R&R. Reconnect with nature along rolling sandbanks with sand so fine you’ll want to take it out for dinner.

The county is sprinkled with conservation areas and provincial parks that any city slicker can get down with. Be sure to check out the Grange of Prince Edward Winery, the town of Bloomfield and those stunning Miller House views (the food is pretty darn great, too).

Hamilton

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Also known as the waterfall capital of the world, yup you read that correctly. The Hammer (do people actually say that?) has more than 100 waterfalls within the city’s limits.

There’s been some debate over just how many, but rest assured there are lots to go chasing. Webster’s Falls and Tiffany Falls are great starting points. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Mezcal Tacos & Tequila Bar and pickup some chicharrones to-go.

Sauble Beach

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Along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, on the south end of the Bruce Peninsula lies a beach town with long stretches of soft, white sand and nostalgic memories of summer vacations gone by. There’s plenty of choose-your-own-adventure camp grounds from the lively no-sleep White Sands to the tranquil Winding River.

Don't miss Tobermory's turquoise blue swimming holes, wave-carved grotto and flower pot island, all less than an hour away from Sauble Beach. Plus, the creators of Prince Edward County’s trendy June Motel are set to open a second location at the end of summer – pool included. 

Ottawa

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The country's capital is a less expensive, mini Toronto with grand Victorian architecture dotted throughout. Pick up some snacks from ByWard Market then have a picnic along the park-lined Rideau Canal, a prime spot for people and sunset watching. 

For an amazing view overlooking Parliament and the Ottawa River, hike up Nepean Point hill. About an hour west of the city is Fitzroy Provincial Park where centuries old trees meet the steady Carp River.

*be sure to check for COVID-19 closures and public health updates before you go.