From its countless freshwater lakes to the historic city of Hamilton to the scenic Blue Mountains, the province of Ontario, Canada, is chock-full of tourist destinations. No matter what you’re looking for, Ontario is a top Canadian hub for fun travel and tourism.
To pull off a complete tour of Ontario, however, you need a solid plan. Below, we cover the nine top tourist spots in Ontario to help you and your family get started.
You simply can’t discuss tourist locations in Ontario — or in all of Canada for that matter — without mentioning Niagara Falls. This popular tourist destination consists of three sets of waterfalls, but the crowd-pleaser is the largest of the group, the Horseshoe Falls, which has a 57-metre drop.
Niagara Falls is actually on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, spanning Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York. To get the best view, you can simply walk down the main strip in Niagara Falls, Ontario, right to the edge of the falls. There are also day trip tours around the falls and even the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which takes you to the base of the falls. To enjoy this trip, you’ll need to head to the U.S. side of the falls, about 3 km away.
Ontario has many tourist destinations, but none stand as tall as the 553-metre-high CN Tower in Toronto. No matter where you are in Toronto, the CN Tower is virtually always visible, making it a legendary landmark in the city.
Near the top of this monstrous skyscraper is an observation deck that gives you a panoramic view of Lake Ontario. The view is so vast, you can even see the mist from Niagara Falls on a clear day. We recommend visiting at night too, as this gives you a wonderful view of Toronto all lit up. It’s quite the sight.
If you’re feeling daring, you can even attempt the death-defying CN Tower EdgeWalk. This $195 experience lets you walk to the edge of the tower — high above the clouds on some days — and lean over to get a once-in-a-lifetime view of the capital city of Ontario.
As a bonus, you can also visit Ripley’s Aquarium, located at the base of the tower, during your visit.
Want to see where laws are made in Canada and one of the finest examples of architecture in the country at the same time? Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is a wonder for the eyes. Parliament Hill is actually made up of three parliament buildings: Centre Block, West Block, and East Block, so leave yourself at least two hours to see it all.
Admission to this historic site is also 100% free, as are the free tours on offer all year round. Simply head to the Info-Tent at The Hill and get tickets between May and early September. In late September through May, you can get your free tour tickets in the visitor welcome centre in the Peace Tower, which is part of the Centre Block.
Tour tickets are for the same day and are limited, so get there early to ensure you get as many as you need.
Algonquin Provincial Park is a must-see if you’re heading to southeast Ontario. This park is filled with forests, rivers, lakes, and many hiking trails for you and your family to enjoy the great outdoors. You may even run into a moose or two along the way.
Algonquin Provincial Park also offers you and your family a wide range of recreational activities. These activities include backcountry camping, kayaking, backpacking, biking, canoeing, dog sledding, fishing, whitewater canoeing, and much more.
To enter the park, you need a permit. For a daily permit — not including overnight stays — you will pay $21 per vehicle per day along highway 90. From all other locations, this pass runs $18. Some activities, like an overnight stay, will require additional fees.
Fancy the outdoors? Georgian Bay is another great tourist destination in Ontario. Often referred to as the sixth Great Lake, Georgian Bay has over 2,000 km of shoreline and a whopping 30,000 islands. Whether you’re looking for a serene beach to spend the afternoon on or a spectacular cliff to get a bird’s eye view of the bay and Lake Huron, Georgian Bay has it all.
On top of the many tours available, Georgian Bay also offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, backpacking, and paddling. If you prefer a more relaxed outdoor activity, you can take advantage of the vast wildlife in the area through birdwatching or scanning the bay for its vast marine life.
No, not the salad dressing. We’re talking about Thousand Islands, the top tourist attraction just three hours south of Ottawa and east of Toronto. This massive Canadian archipelago in the St. Lawrence River is made up of over 1,800 islands of various sizes and rests right on the Canada-U.S. border.
In this wonderland, there are countless activities to get into, including castle exploring, cruises, crafts, golf, hiking, biking, fishing, diving, and more. There’s even fun for the kids, including go-karts and miniature golf. Even the most difficult person to please in your family will find something they love here.
If you want an entire peninsula to explore, Tobermory on Bruce Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in Ontario to visit. It’s home to crystal clear waters, the Niagara Escarpment, and Flowerpot Island. How much more beauty can one are hold?
On top of this, there are two national parks to visit while you’re there: Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park. You can also explore various shipwrecks, go kayaking or canoeing, or even take in fine local cuisine.
No matter what you fancy, Tobermory has plenty to offer.
Another city in Ontario to check out for your next getaway is Thunder Bay. This city lies on the coast of Lake Superior, so it offers plenty of watersport activities, such as boating, skiing, fishing, and more. But it’s more than just a coastal city. Thunder Bay is filled with culture, including various art galleries and museums.
On top of its culture, Thunder Bay also offers recreational activities for all ages, including golf, swimming pools, adult centres, parks, campgrounds, and more. You want it, Thunder Bay has it.
Constructed between 1911 and 1914 as a home for Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is now a historic site and museum in Ontario. This massive castle-like home in Toronto is a top tourist destination and brings in 650,000 visitors annually, making it a must-visit destination if you are near Toronto. It was even named the Best Venue in North America in 2016 by BizBash.
The castle is open daily from 9:30 am through 5 pm on most days, but Mondays they stay open until 10 p.m. General admission tickets range from $20 for kids 4-13 years old to $40 per adult 18-64 years old.
There’s also onsite dining, including the well-reviewed Blueblood Steakhouse, so you can plan an entire day around touring this vast residence.
Ready to check out all the best tourist places in Ontario? You’ll want to make sure you have a vehicle that’s up for the task. That’s where Clutch, Canada’s premier online automotive retailer, can help.
We have a vast pre-owned vehicle inventory ready to take your next big trip through Ontario. All our vehicles have been through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure they are prepared for the journey, whether you‘re heading to more rural northern Ontario or the more metropolitan southern Ontario.
We also back every vehicle we sell with a 90-Day Protection Plan and nationwide roadside assistance, so you know you‘re covered if something arises. And if you’re concerned about buying a vehicle online, our 10-Day Money-Back Guarantee will put you at ease: if you don’t love your Clutch vehicle during this time, we’ll give you a full refund or exchange the vehicle for another, no questions asked.
Check out our vast online pre-owned car inventory today and choose the vehicle you love. You can complete the purchase, set up auto financing, and even get an estimate for your trade in 100% online — no need to step foot into a dealership.