Road Trips from Toronto: Hamilton or Prince Edward County

With Toronto as your anchor, experience big city fun and uniquely urban outdoor adventure or small-town appeal and the rustic charm of Ontario’s picturesque countryside on these two road trip options. From Toronto’s downtown, travel west to Hamilton, the waterfall capital of the world or east to Prince Edward County, Canada’s trendiest wine and foodie destinations this fall season.

A man and woman laughing together with a glass of wine in hand.

Prince Edward County | Destination Toronto

Getting Here

Visitors can cross the border from the United States into Ontario, Canada by land, air and water.
 

Documentation Needed

Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to cross the border into Canada.

Travelling By Plane

The majority of flights into Toronto land at Toronto Pearson International Airport, approximately 18 miles (30 kilometres) northwest of the city centre. Several major car rental companies provide convenient service from Terminal 1 or travel downtown by taxi or public transport. UP Express connects to Toronto’s Union Station or you can access Toronto’s Transit system (TTC) via the airport bus

Porter Airlines provides flight service between New York City and Billy Bishop Airport, located along Toronto’s waterfront just minutes from downtown. And, in partnership with Amtrak, VIA Rail provides rail transportation between Toronto and New York City.

Peaking through tree leaves is a view of the Toronto CN Tower.
Toronto | Destination Toronto

Day 1-2: Toronto

From Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, to cuisine from around the world, exceptional museums, galleries and attractions and endless entertainment, you’ll want to explore one of North America’s most dynamic cities.

Where to Stay in Toronto

 

Things to Do in Toronto

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Toronto

  • Local favourites to start your day, whether that’s breakfast or brunch, include Café Boulud in Yorkville, Union on Ossington, Bonjour Brioche Bakery and Café and Lady Marmalade in the east end on Queen Street.
     
  • Toronto is home to a dizzying array of restaurants, cafés, pubs, breweries, food trucks and more. Let local foodie show you around on a food and drink tour.

 

Day 3-6: Go East from Toronto to Prince Edward County

Located in the northeast end of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County (PEC) or “The County” as it’s known by locals, has a long and rich farming tradition. With the introduction of grape-growing in the region, the last few decades have seen The County grow into one of Ontario’s most popular destinations for wine, food, the arts and lakefront views. And for good reason, PEC wines are making a huge splash worldwide.

A group of people enjoying drinks on a patio by Lake Ontario.
Wellington | Destination Ontario

Note: This is a self-drive road trip. Car rentals are available from Toronto Pearson Airport, or you can rent a vehicle from a downtown car rental company.


Route

Make your way from downtown Toronto to the Don Valley Parkway north, exit onto the Ontario 401 Express eastbound, continue on ON-401 East/Macdonald Cartier Freeway, take exit 522 and head south on County Road 40, turn right onto Regional Road 33/Loyalist Parkway into Prince Edward County
Approx. distance & travel time: 125 miles (200 kilometres), 2.5 hours


Suggested detour

Port Hope and Cobourg, just under two hours east of Toronto


Suggested Stop

The Big Apple, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of Port Hope

  • Every road trip needs a wacky roadside attraction. The Big Apple is just that and more — with onsite dining, shopping and even a cidery.
    Location: 262 Orchard Road, Colborne

Where to Stay in Prince Edward County

There are several towns and communities in Prince Edward County, each with its own charm, character and selection of places to stay. Make your home base at a boutique hotel, motel or inn.

Where to Stay in Picton


Where to Stay in Wellington


Where to Stay in Bloomfield

 

Things to Do in Prince Edward County

Winery Tours & Tastings

  • Prince Edward County is home to over 35 wineries that offer everything from wine tasting and tours to fine dining, culinary classes and more. Find a complete list of wineries and experiences, or use the free PEC Wine Explorer app to find a wine that fits your unique preferences. Don’t miss the sparkling wines at Hinterland Wine Company, Chardonnays at Closson Chase and Baco Noirs at Waupoos Estates, Prince Edward County’s original winery.
     
  • Explore Prince Edward County’s backcountry roads to wineries and more by bike. County Bike Rentals provide bicycle rentals, helmets, locks and route suggestions, as well as free delivery and pick-up.


Natural Wonders

  • From beaches and sand dunes to forest and trails, fall is a great season to explore the parks and outdoor spaces in The County. Sandbanks Provincial Park is a popular spot in the summer and well into the fall season. Visit midweek for a chance to follow the Sandbanks Dunes Trail: spend some time on the beach and go bird watching in the forest.
    Location: 3004 County Road, Picton
     
  • As its name suggests, Lake on the Mountain is an elevated body of fresh water with a mysterious water source. The park offers great views of the Bay of Quinte, where you can watch the Glenora Ferry cruising back and forth across the bay to Adolphustown.
    Location: 296 County Road 7, Picton


Art & Culture

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Prince Edward County

Day 7: Extend Your Trip

Add a spa day on your way back to Toronto at Northumberland Heights Wellness Retreat and Spa, spend an extra day exploring the city or travel west to Hamilton on another adventure.

Day 3-6: Go West from Toronto to Hamilton

With nicknames like “The Hammer” and “Steeltown” due to its industrial history, visitors to Hamilton are often surprised by how much outdoor adventure, culinary excellence and cultural experiences this city has to offer. Known as the “City of 100 Waterfalls”, there are gorgeous cascades and waterfalls, as well as parks, gardens and nature trails in and around Hamilton due to its proximity to the Niagara Escarpment. Hamilton has also become a foodie and cultural hotspot for its creative fusion cuisine, craft breweries, historical sites and arts community.

A waterfall in the middle a forest
Albion Falls | Hamilton Halton Brant

Note: You have the option of a self-drive road trip or a car-free getaway as Hamilton is accessible by train and bus.
 

Driving Route

Make your way from downtown Toronto to the westbound Gardiner Expressway, continue along the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW)/403, remain westbound on the 403 when the two highways split, exit on Highway 8/Main Street into Hamilton.
Approx. distance & travel time: 45 miles (70 kilometres), 1 hour & 15 minutes
 

Car-free Route

GO Transit provides regular train service to Hamilton from Union Station in downtown Toronto
 

Suggested Detour

Oakville, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) west of Toronto off the QEW, or take GO Transit to the Oakville GO Station. Bus service is provided by Oakville Transit.

  • Oakville sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is known for its spectacular lakefront setting. Old Oakville makes the perfect place for a stroll. Find restaurants, bars, boutiques, art galleries and more, all within walking distance along Lakeshore Boulevard.
     
  • Step back in time with a visit to the Erchless Estate, the former home of Oakville’s founders. Guided tours of the museum’s collections of costumes, textiles, ethnological artefacts and decorative arts are available, or you are free to wander the museum on your own.
    Location: 8 Navy Street, Oakville

Where to stay in Hamilton

 

Things to do in Hamilton

Nature & Outdoors

  • Diligently maintaining and preserving its outdoor spaces, trails and over 100 waterfalls (all located within the UNESCO recognized Niagara Escarpment Biosphere), Hamilton has earned the title of “Waterfall Capital of the World”. Some of the most popular include the 63 foot (19 metre) tall Albion Falls, 69 foot (21 metre) high Tiffany Falls located in the Tiffany Falls Conservation Area and the 72 foot (22 metre) high Webster’s Falls. Many of these falls are accessible via the Bruce Trail. Note that parking is limited for most waterfall attractions, and some may require pre-booking so plan ahead.
    Locations: Find a full list of waterfalls near Hamilton.
     
  • Spanning over 2,420 acres (979 hectares), the Royal Botanical Gardens, located a 12-minute drive from downtown Hamilton, is home to more than 1,100 types of plants, including a large collection of native species. The gardens are popular with birders — over 300 species of birds can be spotted at various times of the year.
    Location: 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

 
Arts, Culture & History

 

Where to eat in Hamilton

Day 7: Extend Your Trip

Add a day of hiking on your way back to Toronto at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, spend an extra day exploring the city or travel east to Prince Edward County on another adventure.

  • Rattlesnake Point Conservation area offers numerous ways to enjoy the outdoors with hikes along the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail, Vista Adventure Trail and plenty of opportunities for just admiring the autumn views. Please note, park reservations for visitors are required.
    Location: 7200 Appleby Line, Milton

Enjoy your visit!

Remember, this is only a sampling of the many hotels and attractions available. Find more road trip itineraries in Ontario, Canada.

Last updated: September 29, 2022

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