8 great spring getaways near Toronto

With snowy nights and sub-zero temperatures on the outs, it’s time to start planning your weekend away. These spots are but a short drive from the city, making them the perfect option for a quick spring getaway.[Photo credit: Nikolas Koenig, courtesy of the Drake Devonshire]

8 great spring getaways near Toronto

AirBnb in cottage country

Although often expensive to snag during the summer season, there are tons of rustic, Canadiana-style cabins in the Georgian Bay and Muskoka regions offering the calm and beauty of rural Ontario – and they’re much more affordable (and available!) during the spring months. You may fight cold temperatures in the evenings (that’s why there’s a wood-burning stove, right?) but during the day you may just get some balmy sunshine to complement a canoe ride, or lakeside spring BBQ.

Get Fresh in Niagara's Twenty Valley

If you want to explore Ontario’s beloved Niagara wine region, April would be the month to do it. Not only will you avoid the crowds of the summer, but you’ll snag slightly cheaper rates to the hotels and BnBs. Plus, April 8 and 9, 22 and 23, and 29 and 30, the five sub-appellations of the Niagara region host Get Fresh, a self-guided wine tour of up to 23 award-winning VQA wineries in and around Twenty Valley. Take a day off from tastings and visit the nearby Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, which features spring hiking trails (bring your rubber boots, it’s sure to be a little muddy!) and a breath-taking waterfall.

Go glamping at an Ontario National Park

Have you picked up your 2017 Discovery Pass? Psst…it’s free! In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Parks Canada is offering a pass which grants free entry to all national parks across Canada until December 31, 2017. Many of the parks host roofed accommodations, including yurts (a hybrid between a tent and a cabin, ideal for cooler temperatures), RV camping (bring your own or rent) and some even host cottage dwellings! Ontario parks are rich with spring activities; spring in Algonquin Park, for instance, offers top-notch trout fishing as well as moose watching.

Discover Hamilton

2016 saw a renaissance in Steeltown –  the once sleepy city 45 minutes west of Toronto is no longer. Hamilton is being called the Brooklyn of Toronto, for its influx of craft breweries, independent restaurant and cafés, superb clothing and décor shopping, and an arts and culture scene that’s in full bloom. Take a weekend to explore the quickly developing new urban hub; in the spring the city hosts a slew of events, including a maple syrup festival (on until the end of March), and gritLit, Hamilton’s annual literary festival which runs April 6 to 9.

Check out the spring festivals in Prince Edward County

If you can’t swing a room at the infamous Drake Devonshire in quaint Prince Edward County, not to worry, there are plenty of cute B&Bs and lodgings available in the town - but you should most definitely drop in for a visit on Memphis Tuesdays (sing for your dinner! If you perform at the night’s open mic, you get a free burger and beer!) or  ½ Price Wine Thursdays. About two and a half hours west of the city, PEC hosts a slew of spring festivals in March, April and May. Notables include the maple syrup fest at the end of March, waterfall tours over Easter weekend and the Authors Festival April 20 to 22.

Unwind at St. Anne’s Spa in Grafton

If you’re hankering for a spa weekend out of the city, may we suggest the St. Anne Spa’s gorgeous stone estate in Grafton, ON? The one-and-a-half-hour drive to this quaint town just beyond Cobourg is all too quick - and you’ll be shocked upon arrival at the stately country inn. The spa and hotel host seven cottages all walking distance from the Main Inn, daily yoga classes, a full spa (including outdoor grotto-esque hot tubs built right into the stone building!), and a eucalyptus steam room.

Get cultural in Stratford

Celebrate the launch of the 2017 Stratford Festival which kicks off April 15 (Romeo and Juliet, Treasure Island, and Guys and Dolls are on this year’s roster). Visit the Shakespearean Gardens, gorgeously manicured and filled with colourful flower species and historic buildings. Take a stroll across the Avon River, and if you’re there April 1 and 2, you can catch the Swan Parade, part of the weekend festival which celebrates the swans’ return to the river from their indoor winter homes.

Hit the outdoors in Blue Mountain

Take a long weekend and unwind at Toronto’s favourite getaway spot: Blue Mountain. Whether hitting some early-spring slopes, trekking the town while completing the legendary Apple Pie Trail, or unwinding at one of the region’s premiere spas, there’s plenty that makes this quick two-hour drive well worth the day off work. Stay in Collingwood (also on Georgian Bay), or in the close by Blue Mountain Village proper.

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