Vacation ideas within driving distance of Toronto?
May 28, 2012 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Short affordable vacation ideas within driving distance of Toronto?

Mr. barnoley and I would like to have a short last-minute getaway with baby barnoley (age 7 months). We don't have a lot of money to spend, but basically just need a change of scenery for a few days.... it's been a tough couple of months with extended family drama and sudden deaths.

We are looking for a destination that is affordable and charming and has family friendly activities. We were thinking somewhere in the U.S. - maybe upstate New York? - since that way we could also do some cross border shopping. Or perhaps in Ontario, but we haven't done any planning so are concerned any interesting places will be already fully booked. We are planning on going sometime in June or July. We are flexible on dates since I'm on maternity leave and mr. barnoley sets his own hours.

We like long walks, good cheap food, nature.... really anything, as long as it's not too difficult to do with an infant. We would prefer the location to be within a 6-7 hour drive of Toronto. Any ideas?
posted by barnoley to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
i'll throw you two:
1. port dover. amazing little gem on lake erie in ontario. easy drive, lots of hotel/cottage rentals. great food, clean clear water beaches. lots of nearby parks, and scenic driving etc etc.

2. cleveland. (my home town of course) great food cheap places to stay, and enough nature to choke a donkey (whatever that means)

have fun, feel better.
posted by chasles at 6:52 AM on May 28, 2012

Kingston's a nice place for a little visit -- I particularly enjoy the Marine Museum (you walk around a Coast Guard ship!) and the Penitentiary Museum, which is nicely curated. Kingston has lovely architecture, nice spaces by the water, and just enough things to do to fill a short vacation. It is very walkable and I have Ergo'd and strollered my kid all over it (good: The Rocking Horse toy shop)

There are lots of good restaurants with varying price points near the water. I like hitting the Hoagie House for a grilled onion fix and the Pan Chancho is great -- I like staying at a hotel in walking distance and getting most meals from the Pan Chancho (and the nearby chip wagon, and the surprisingly large and better health food store a block or two further down Princess)

Toronto is only three hours away from Kingston, and once in Kingston you're 1h 17min from the x-border shopping in Watertown.
posted by kmennie at 7:18 AM on May 28, 2012

I guess this is weird, but Cuba: I've found it's cheaper to take a package trip there for a week than to stay for a weekend somewhere in Ontario.
posted by Paquda at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can rent a cottage for a few days on the Bruce Peninsula. My sister and I did this every year for a while. There are some very reasonable cottages, especially if you book before the start of the high season in July. It's gorgeous up there, Tobermory is adorable, there are ferry rides, beaches, it's gorgeous.
posted by biscotti at 8:30 AM on May 28, 2012

Best answer: Well, I just returned from a trip to New York City. We drove, and it ended up being about a 9 hour drive, but upstate New York/Pennsylvania/New Jersey are gorgeous states to drive through, so it wasn't so bad.

I might suggest Niagara Falls, but it's already so popular that I assume you've already been.

I've also heard nothing but good things about Pittsburgh. I was surprised when I heard that, but it's supposed to be very nice, lots of culture and good food.
posted by marcusesses at 8:41 AM on May 28, 2012

If you've never been, Niagara on the Lake is really lovely in the summer. And very charming. You could go to a play or two at the Shaw Festival, though maybe not with a baby. But there are a lot of places to walk, the Butterfly Conservatory, and really great local fruit in June and July. It might be hard to get rooms on weekends, but probably much less so during the week.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 10:24 AM on May 28, 2012

I have never been, but I'm toying with the idea...

Traverse City, MI?
posted by randomination at 11:03 AM on May 28, 2012

Prince Edward County is really nice -- being split off from the mainland is enough to make it feel kind of separated. The Sandbanks is a great beach (the water can be cold, since it's Lake Ontario), there's vineyards there to tour now, and it's just a pretty countryside kind of place. There's also some spots there that do yoga retreats and that kind of thing now too.
posted by mendel at 1:32 PM on May 28, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions!

Cuba sounds great, but we really don't want to deal with a baby on an airplane until we have to. Kingston would also be good, except we've already been several times. But I hadn't thought of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, the Bruce Peninsula or Prince Edward County. Niagara on the Lake was on our radar but it's good to hear another recommendation for it. I'll do a little more research before deciding.... but thanks for some new ideas! Much appreciated.
posted by barnoley at 11:19 AM on May 29, 2012

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