10 Best May 24 Road Trips in Southern Ontario
Anyone reading this has gone to the cottage or their friends cottage for the May 24 long weekend. It’s the popular thing to do and rightfully so; who wouldn’t want to spend one of the first sunny Canadian long weekends up at the cottage close to nature? After months of winter hibernation and going to-and-from work I jump at the opportunity! As someone who doesn’t have a cottage of their own, I still make it a goal to do something exciting for the long weekend. If you don’t have a cottage at your disposal, here are some alternatives to the conventional long weekend road trip!
Are you tired of doing the same thing for the May 24 long weekend every year? Here are 10 different options to consider!
Niagara Falls is a great choice for anyone.
If you have young kids, it is a wonderful choice for a family trip. Niagara is a short drive from the Toronto area, perfect for excited and impatient children in the backseat! Great Wolf Lodge is a great place to stay when you’re in Niagara with the kids. It’s not just a water park; it offers spas, shopping, dining and a fitness centre as well as on-site suites so you don’t have to concern yourself with booking a hotel nearby… you can stay right inside Great Wolf Lodge! Take a walk off the resort and bring your kids to some of the haunted houses or fun houses. For dinner, your kids will get a kick out of Skylon Tower’s revolving restaurant! Have a skyscraping meal while getting an aerial view of the city and the majestic falls.
Don’t have kids? Niagara Falls is awesome for a group of friends as well. Grab some beers and lunch on the sunny patio at Sandstone Grillhouse & Lounge. After that, spend the day discount shopping at the Outlet Collection at Niagara. It’s Canada’s largest open-air outlet shopping centre with close to 100 retailers. At night, the city lights up and you have a choice between dancing at Dragonfly Nightclub and testing your luck at the casino!
Distance from Toronto: 128km (approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes driving)
The Cheltenham Badlands
The Cheltenham Badlands are located west of Highway 10 in Caledon, Ontario. This place is considered a natural Canadian landmark because badlands are unique geological formations. They are defined as soft rock that has been biologically molded into a landscape of rounded hills and gullies. The Cheltenham Badlands attract quite an audience as badlands are very uncommon in Ontario. They are rustic red in colour with streaks of a muted green peaking through. They are definitely something you need to see in person – pictures do not do The Cheltenham Badlands justice.
Distance from Toronto: 64.3km (approx. 50 minutes driving)
Address: 1501-1901 Olde Base Line Road, Caledon
Luxury Car Driving
Since you are reading Wheels.ca, I know you are a car LOVER! If you don’t have plans for the long weekend, book an ICAR experience! Ever wonder what it’s like to drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini? With ICAR you can choose from a list of dream cars and pick how long you want to drive it. If you’re spending the weekend at home and feel like doing something fun and close by, book your ICAR experience! Choose from 3 packages: 2 laps, 5 laps or the Platinum experience. Choose from a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560, a Ferrari F430, a Nissan GT-R, or a Corvette Stingray. You are accompanied by an instructor in the passenger seat for your safety. For those who appreciate the thrill of a beautiful luxury sports car but don’t feel like spending a fortune, the ICAR experience is for you.
Distance from Toronto: 31.4km (Approximately 26 minutes driving)
Address: 555 Rexdale Blvd, Etobicoke
Emily Carr at The AGO
If you live in the GTA and do not get a chance to go into the city very often, I highly recommend booking a hotel downtown for the May 24 long weekend. Go South instead of North! OR if you live in the city and don’t have plans… explore what is right under your nose! This upcoming May long weekend is your last chance to check out the Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon exhibit (on until May 20th). The exhibit showcases a fresh perspective on the artworks of our very own Canadian icon. The AGO considers this display to be the most comprehensive exhibition of Carr’s work to date.
Distance from Toronto: N/A
Address: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
It may be a bit of a drive, but you’re reading Wheels.ca. You LOVE to drive! The zip-line obstacle course at Santa’s Village in Muskoka is awesome. I did it last year with a friend and had a blast. It’s great for a confident and unconfident zip-liner. I had never been zip-lining before and was nervous about the height. The great thing about the Santa’s Village zip line is that you start off doing a small obstacle course and work your way up to the higher more intense zip lines. If you feel uncomfortable with the height at any point, there is an exit at each level and you do not have to continue… but most likely, you’ll want to keep going!
Distance from Toronto: 201km (approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes driving)
Address: 1624 Golden Beach Rd, Bracebridge, ON
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Camping in Sauble Beach
Rated Canada’s #1 fresh water beach, Sauble Beach is the perfect campground for your May long weekend. Shop, dine, go fishing, enjoy the beach, partake in fun camping activities… it’s all right at Sauble Beach. It’s just outside of Owen Sound in a town called South Bruce Peninsula… a bit of a drive from Toronto so make sure you prepare for the road trip by reading our road trip travel tips! This is a great location for first time campers and for recurring campers. Update your music playlist, pack some food, gather a bunch of friends and experience camping at Sauble together.
Distance from Toronto: 218km (approximately 3 hours driving)
Touring the Waterfall Capital of the World!
There is a reason why Hamilton is known as the Waterfall Capital of the World… it is surrounded by them! There are roughly one hundred waterfalls and cascades in the city. Albion Falls is one of my favourite waterfalls in Hamilton because of its hiking trail immersed in a leafy forest. There is something very calm about the way the water pours down at Albion Falls. However, the most fascinating of the falls would have to be The Devil’s Punchbowl. It is a unique 37 metre ribbon waterfall. This cascade differs from others because its surrounded by a round cliff, or as its name entails, a “bowl.” Keep your phone with you when hiking there because believe me; you will want to take pictures! This trail is serene and allows you to appreciate gorgeous Canadian landscapes that are close to home. It will give you that invigorating breath of fresh air you have longed for throughout the winter. Once you have had your morning walk alongside a waterfall trail, you can head to Locke Street to do some shopping! Locke Street has antique shops, chocolatiers, spas and small fashion boutiques where you can find unique outfits and gifts! A trip to Hamilton is not complete without a night out in Hess Village. With its great nightlife and over a dozen lively bars, I recommend booking a hotel and staying the night!
Distance from Toronto: 72.6km (approximately 50 minutes of driving)
Address: (The Devil’s Punchbowl Falls) Ridge Road, Hamilton
Shopping in Auburn Hills, Michigan
Tired of the regular Buffalo Outlets? Grab your passport and head to the States to shop in Michigan for the weekend! Not only is Great Lakes Crossing Outlets an amazing mall to get deals on name brands, but it’s also considered an entertainment district. On May 16th & 17th Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at Great Lakes is hosting a “Catfish Event,” with free seminars and more. After that, you have 185 stores to choose from! When you’re exhausted from all of the shopping you can head over to Toby Keith’s-I Love This Bar & Grill-between entry 1 and entry 8. Toby Keith’s has a live no-cover band performing 6 nights a week and, wait for it… a mechanical bull! I recommend riding the bull before you eat, not after… Book a hotel in Michigan and stay overnight! Minimize your travel time and spend a bit of money, take the 407 to avoid some of the highway traffic.
Distance from Toronto: 400km (Approximately 4 to 4.5 hours driving)
Address: 4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills, MI
Scenic Caves Nature Adventure
If you are in a cottage area near Blue Mountain and want to do something a bit different from your normal lounging around I suggest trying out the Scenic Caves Nature Adventure. It’s a beautiful walking trail in the Blue Mountain area. Explore the natural scenic caves themselves or take a walk across the suspension bridge. It is a 126 meter bridge (420 ft) hanging 25 meters above the valley and overlooking Georgian Bay area. You have a choice to either hike the trail to the bridge or take a 10 minute tractor ride and skip the walking. This is fun for couples, families and groups of friends.
Distance from Toronto: 160km (approximately 2 hours driving)
Address: 260 Scenic Caves Blvd., Blue Mountain
The Canadian Automotive Museum
Car enthusiasts… this one is for you! Located in Oshawa, The Canadian Automotive Museum is the only one of its kind in Canada. Since 1963 the CAM has been devoted to preserving and sharing the history of Canada’s automotive industry. This museum is home to Canadian cars, motorcycles and trucks; some that date all the way back to the early 19th century. It also features some American and European beauties. Not only can you admire the machinery, but when you visit the museum you are also educated about the history and evolution of Canadian automobiles.
Distance from Toronto: 60km (approximately 50 minutes)
Address: 99 Simcoe St S, Oshawa
Drive safe and enjoy the long weekend everyone!