5-day Ontario road trip: Adventures, attractions and sports in and around Toronto
Visit top attractions in and around Toronto, including Canada’s Wonderland theme park and the Toronto Zoo.
Score a fun trip that the whole family will love! Begin this fun-filled adventure in Vaughan and travel to Hamilton stopping along the way to visit sports halls of fame; get your adrenaline pumping on hair-raising roller coasters and ziplines; enjoy wildlife encounters; and pick up some gear from your favourite sports teams.
Vaughan – Day 1
Vibrant, family-friendly and a stone’s throw from Toronto, Vaughan, Ontario is known for being the home to Canada’s largest amusement park; Canada’s Wonderland and Vaughan Mills, Toronto’s premier outlet mall, but it’s also home to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, charming Kleinburg Village and the Kortright Centre for Conservation. So, suffice it to say, there’s a lot to see and do here.
This bustling, diverse city of over 300,000 people certainly has everything a traveler can wish for. With a rich history that began in the communities of Concord, Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill and Woodbridge, Vaughan is made up of nearly a dozen historic communities.
Things to Do
Canada’s Wonderland is a 134-hectare amusement park with over 200 thrilling attractions for every member of the family. Whether you want to ride every soaring roller coaster or chose to relax and enjoy a summer day floating on an inner tube through a lazy river, Canada’s Wonderland has something for every level of adventure.
Art lovers will want to visit the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinberg. The gallery focuses exclusively on Canadian and Inuit art and has an impressive collection of works by the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson.
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the day away at the Kortright Centre, a suburban conservation area with a 16km/9.94mi trail network for hiking and biking. The centre offers excellent programs for adults and children on biodiversity, sustainability and environmental conservation.
Vaughan Mills is one of Canada’s largest indoor shopping centres. This outlet mall features over 200 specialty stores and designer outlets.
Located inside the Vaughan Mills shopping centre, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre exhibits are made up of over two million LEGO bricks. This must-see attraction features rides, a 4D cinema, large play area and store.
Places to Stay
The Kleinburg Inn is a family run motel located in the town of Kleinburg. This hotel is the perfect choice for those looking for budget-friendly accommodation.
The Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Vaughan is the ideal hotel for those looking to be close to all the action and features an indoor pool, free parking and complimentary WIFI.
Springhill Suites Toronto Vaughan is an all-suite hotel that features free parking and complimentary breakfast as well and in-room WIFI. Located just 6km from Canada’s Wonderland.
Places to Eat
Canada’s Wonderland offers a variety of dining options throughout the park that will interest the entire family; from a Canadian classic like Tim Horton’s to many amusement park classics.
A Vaughan institution that serves all-day breakfast and classic dinner, Kotsy’s Restaurant is a retro 1950’s style diner that is family owned and operated.
Popular for its seasonal patio, Belsito Trattoria serves traditional Italian fare that combines authentic Mediterranean ingredients with premium local and imported products.
Tip: Before heading to the downtown core of Toronto for your next overnight, you might want to spend some time exploring the Toronto Zoo. Wear your walking shoes because the zoo is 287 hectares, the largest zoo in Canada, and is divided into seven different geographic zones, Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain.
Toronto – Day Two & Three
Distance to Next Stop: 42 km / 26 mi
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the most multicultural city in North America. This metropolitan centre has enough attractions and dining options to keep your family busy and full for your entire vacation. In addition to the renowned CN Tower, the city boasts unforgettable exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum (The ROM) and the country’s largest aquarium, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, just to name a few must-sees. Interested in sports? Whether it’s hockey, basketball, soccer, or baseball, the Leafs, Raptors, Argonauts, TorontoFC and Blue Jays invite visitors to see the city’s pro teams hit the ice, court or field. Every season is sports season in Toronto.
Tip: You might want to consider purchasing a Toronto CityPass which gives you entrance into five of the city’s most popular attractions. You get tickets to the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Places to Stay
For those traveling on a budget, Toronto’s Chinatown offers many budget-friendly accommodations including Hotel Ocho located centrally to some of the city’s best shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.
Chelsea Hotel, located just steps from the city's best shopping districts, world-class theatres, vibrant nightlife and exciting attractions. Three restaurants and separate family recreation areas including the ’Corkscrew‘, downtown Toronto's only indoor waterslide.
Courtyard by Marriot Downtown Toronto is one of the largest full-service Courtyard hotels. Located close to Dundas Square, the CN Tower and the Eaton Centre.
The Westin Harbour Castle, on Toronto’s harbourfront, is located within walking distance to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the CN Tower.
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, located in the heart of Toronto’s historic Yorkville district, this spacious, modern hotel is ideal for those seeking a luxurious escape following a day of sightseeing.
The Ritz- Carlton Club Lounge, family packages offer access to the club lounge with complimentary culinary offerings, including breakfast, light snacks, beverages and sweets. Ask about packages that include admission tickets to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and others.
Located in Etobicoke, just west of the city’s downtown core, Old Mill Toronto is an upscale, Tudor-style hotel located adjacent to the Humber River. With many onsite amenities including a spa, jazz club, fitness centre and upscale restaurant that offers an afternoon tea service.
Things to Do
Visit the ‘Toronto’ sign at Nathan Phillips Square (The ultimate photo spot in the city), then head for the CN Tower by Union Station and Roundhouse Park. Take in Toronto from one of the highest buildings in the world.
For a fun evening of strolling and casual dining head to The Distillery District. This national historic site charms with its cobblestone streets and painstakingly restored Victorian industrial architecture. Dating to 1832 and the founding of the Gooderham & Worts distillery, today the district is an arts-and-culture hub, home to galleries, boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
The Ontario Science Centre boasts several hundred passive and interactive displays and exhibits featuring everything science. Grab a bite at the Valley Restaurant located within and pick up a “grab and go” for the ride home.
A must for every devoted and casual hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a 65,000-square-foot shrine to Canada’s favourite sport, filled with history and collections from around the world.
Visit the world-class exhibits and kid-friendly activities at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Check the schedule for daily family-oriented tours.
The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum and has every kid’s favourite things: dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, a bat cave and a hands-on biodiversity gallery.
If eclectic is your thing, check out the Bata Shoe Museum for some shoe-themed fun! Over 4,500 years of history is told through the fascinating world of footwear, housed in the shoe box-inspired building.
Places to Eat
For breakfast or lunch in a family-friendly atmosphere, try Cora, in the heart of the Entertainment District.
Karine's Fresh, in Grange Park, offers all-day, gluten-free breakfast. From omelets to pancakes to crepes, the delicious menu is served up with fresh fruit and a friendly smile.
For lunch or dinner you’ll all have a blast at The Rec Room, with over 40,000 square feet of great games and Canadian-inspired cuisine.
The Sportsnet Grill, from burgers to bowls, to kids size meals, the Sportsnet Grill is located in the Marriot City Centre Hotel and a must-visit for sports aficionados.
Scaddabush means a little bit of everything in Italian slang. The family style tables are a perfect place to serve authentic Italian food.
Hey Lucy! is a casual Italian restaurant style famous for their hand-stretched pizza cooked in wood burning ovens. Lots of Italian favourites on the menu.
Amsterdam Brewhouse, situated on the waterfront, this brewhouse is spacious and perfect for family hangouts, with plenty of room for strollers too. Home to burgers, schnitzel, smoked brisket and fish.
The Old Spaghetti Factory is located close to the Hockey Hall of Fame and its great pasta dishes and lively atmosphere make it a favourite with families.
Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & Hamilton – Day Four & Five
Distance to Next Stop: 38 km / 24 mi to 68 km / 42 mi
Between Toronto and Niagara Falls, are the cities of Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton. This area is home to signature landscapes including the Niagara Escarpment, the Grand River, and the Bruce Trail. These unique natural settings create a beautiful backdrop for some of Ontario’s best trails, recreational routes and outdoor activities. Waterfall hunters will be pleased to learn there are over 100 in this area. The area also boasts renowned heritage sites, attractions and museums, a vibrant arts scene, distinct downtowns and delectable dining.
Things to Do
Mississauga is a family friendly community and home to: Brueckner Rhododendron Garden, “Experience one of Canada’s largest and publicly owned collections of rhododendrons and the Kariya Park and Japanese Gardens.
Alpine Indoor Ski Training Centre, Canada's only indoor ski and snowboard training centre. Perfect for all ages and abilities.
Engage in some retail therapy at one of Mississauga’s shopping malls like Square One, Sherway Gardens, Dixie Outlet Mall and more, or watch the planes landing and taking off at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) draws people from around the world to Burlington. As a National Historic Site, RBG that has been connecting people to the beauty and diversity of plants for nearly eight decades. Be sure to check out Burlington’s stunning waterfront and pier and local favourite, Son of a Peach, for some of the best pizza in town. Follow in the footsteps of legendary golfers like Jack Niclaus and Tiger Woods at the Glen Abbey Golf Club. Glen Abbey is also home to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Hamilton is home to vibrant music, art, food and beer scenes that are catching the eye of visitors today. The Art Gallery of Hamilton has a vast collection of Canadian, international and contemporary art, and Hamilton’s heritage is on full display at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and Dundurn Castle, a National Historic Site. Hess Village along Hess Street is the entertainment centre of the city and a scenic cobblestone pedestrian zone filled with bars, nightclubs and restaurant patios. Football fans will want to check out hometown heroes, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. While catching a Ti-Cats game, experience Canada’s football history and its greatest players at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, a 10,000-square-foot space in the club level at Tim Hortons Field.
Places to Stay
Centrally located close to the highway and on the border of Mississauga, Hilton Garden Inn Oakville/Toronto is a comfortable hotel featuring a restaurant and bar as well as an indoor pool. Located minutes from the Clarkson GO Station makes for ease of access to the city of Toronto.
The Barracks Inn in Ancaster Villiage is a beautiful, century-old stone building featuring 18 unique luxury suites. This luxury hotel is ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while still being close to local amenities.
Staybridge Suites Oakville/Burlington is a great option for those looking for a family friendly hotel. Featuring spacious rooms with full kitchens along with an indoor pool, laundry facilities and a “mini-mart” to grab last minute snacks.
Mississauga’s proximity to the city’s international airport make it an ideal location for all types of accommodations, from budget to luxury.
Places to Eat
Sunnyside Grill in Oakville is famous for its all-day breakfast menu.
Sunny Morning Breakfast and Lunch makes everything from scratch with fresh ingredients, locally sourced where possible.
A roadside establishment serving up its famous foot-long dog dogs with a range of toppings, plus burgers, fries & ice cream, Easterbrook’s has been a Burlington institution for over 85 years.
Eighteen at Glen Abbey offers some of the finest quality food and wine in the area in a restaurant that features spectacular views overlooking the 18th green.
Save yourself a trip to the windy city and head down to Chicago Style Pizza in Hamilton where you can get some authentic pizza along with so many other culinary options.
Boon Burger Café is a 100% animal-free, plant-based restaurant in Oakville with so many different options that are completely customizable you are sure to find something you'll love.
Enjoy this casual, but chic, dining experience in Rockton, Ontario at Cookhouse Bistro Inc. Located between Hamilton and Cambridge, it’s a local favourite, offering everything from salmon to steak to pasta.
Things to Know
- To reduce the amount of hotel changes that need to be made, consider staying in a central location such as Oakville or Toronto and traveling to multiple destinations from one accommodation.
- Regional rail and bus service, GO Transit, can help reduce the need for car travel between all the cities in this itinerary.
Last updated: August 22, 2023