Family road trip to theme parks, attractions and summer fun in the Toronto area

Plan a trip the whole family will love on this multi-day adventure across the border to Ontario, Canada.

A family of three feeds a giraffe a carrot at African Lion Safari.

African Lion Safari | Hamilton Halton Brant

Visit top attractions in and around Toronto, including Canada’s Wonderland theme park, the Toronto Zoo and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Cheer at an exciting pro sports game and journey back in time at historical museums and castles.

Suggested length of trip: 5 days

Border crossing information

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

Before travelling, check border wait times

Border crossing locations from Michigan into Canada include:

Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan

Approximate distance and travel time:

  • from Sarnia, 180 miles (290 kilometres), 2 hours and 45 minutes
  • from Windsor, 230 miles (370 kilometres), 3 hours and 45 minutes

Vibrant, family-friendly and a stone’s throw from Toronto, Vaughan is a bustling, diverse city that’s home to Canada’s Wonderland, the entertaining first stop for your road trip.

Where to stay in Vaughan

Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Vaughan

An ideal hotel for those looking to be close to all the action, this property features an indoor pool and free parking.
Location: 3201 Highway 7, Vaughan

SpringHill Suites Toronto Vaughan

This all-suite hotel that features free onsite parking and complimentary breakfast just four miles (six kilometres) from Canada’s Wonderland.
Location: 612 Applewood Crescent, Vaughan

Things to do in Vaughan

Amusement park thrills

Canada’s Wonderland

Canada’s Wonderland is a 330-acre (134-hectare) amusement park with over 200 attractions for every member of the family including soaring roller coasters and lazy river tubing.

With over a dozen thrilling roller coasters and gravity-defying drops, including the Leviathan and the Tundra Twister, older kids are guaranteed to be entertained all day long. Splashworks, Canada’s Wonderland water park, boasts 20 acres (eight hectares) of wave pools, water slides, cliff jumping and kiddie slides.

For families with younger kids, KidZville features multiple attractions for kids like Taxi Jam, Splash Station, Character Carousel and Jumpin’ Jet.

Fuel up with food at sit-down dining spots like the Treetop café or the Chicken Shack. Head to the Grab & Go Market or one of the many stalls across the park for something quick. Gluten-free, Halal, vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Find information on tickets and passes. Purchase tickets online before your visit to save on the price of admission.
Location: 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan

More family-friendly attractions

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

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, a large play area and a store.
Location: 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The permanent collection at Canada’s largest publicly funded art gallery includes over 7,000 artworks by Canadian, Indigenous and contemporary artists.
Location: 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg

Kortright Centre for Conservation

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this suburban conservation area with a 9.94 mile (16 kilometre) trail network for hiking and biking. The centre offers excellent programs for adults and children on biodiversity, sustainability and environmental conservation, and sells maple syrup products.
Location: 9550 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge

Where to eat in Vaughan

Kotsy’s Restaurant

A Vaughan institution that serves all-day breakfast and classic dinner, Kotsy’s Restaurant is a retro 1950s-style diner that is family-owned and operated.
Location: 2104 Highway 7, Concord

Belsito Trattoria

Popular for its seasonal patio, Belsito Trattoria serves traditional Italian fare that combines authentic Mediterranean ingredients with premium local and imported products.
Location: 10429 Islington Avenue, Vaughan

Ciao Roma

This local favourite serves Roman-style pizzas, house-made arancini and build-your-own salads made fresh to order.
Location: 28 Roytec Road #12a, Woodbridge

Old Firehall Confectionery

Satisfy your sweet tooth with the finest chocolates and cookies made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 
Location: 10449 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg

Toronto Zoo

Approximate distance and travel time from Vaughan to Toronto Zoo: 30 miles (50 kilometres), 40 minutes

Tip: Save time and money with the Toronto CityPass that provides entrance into five of the city’s most popular attractions including the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Toronto Zoo

Before heading to the downtown core of Toronto for your next overnight stay, visit the Toronto Zoo.

Wear your walking shoes because it’s the largest zoo in Canada, covering over 700 acres (287 hectares). The zoo is divided into seven different geographic zones: Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain.

Location: 2000 Meadowvale Road, Toronto


Approximate distance and travel time from Vaughan to Toronto: 25 miles (40 kilometres), 45 minutes

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the most multicultural city in North America. Start your visit at the “Toronto” sign in Nathan Phillips Square (the city’s ultimate selfie spot), then take in all the sights, attractions and food options this metropolis offers.


  • Due to construction in spring/summer 2024, the area around the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto and the downtown will be very busy. Book extra time to get to your destination and consider alternative routes or public transit.
  • Find parking around Toronto at pay & display meters. Most paid parking spots are valid for three hours and bookable using their mobile app. Check the signage and the rate card carefully before parking.
A family of four marvels at the bright and colourful fish at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada | Destination Toronto

Where to stay in Toronto

The Sutton Place Hotel Toronto

Located on Blue Jays Way in Toronto’s entertainment district, The Sutton Place Hotel is within walking distance of numerous sites and attractions. The hotel offers on-site parking, a fitness centre and an indoor pool.
Location: 355 King Street West, Toronto

Sheraton Centre Hotel

Located close to the Eaton Centre and CN Tower, this hotel features a swimming pool with a lifeguard on duty. The hotel is directly accessible via the underground PATH network with shops, services and restaurants. Paid valet parking is offered.
Location: 123 Queen Street West, Toronto

Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto

This property offers family-friendly stays near Dundas Square, the CN Tower and the Eaton Centre. The hotel features a 24-hour gym. Paid parking is available.
Location: 475 Yonge Street, Toronto

Chelsea Hotel

Chelsea caters to families with a fun zone complete with a teen lounge, kids’ centre, heated pool and Toronto's only indoor waterslide, the “Corkscrew”. Underground paid parking is available.
Location: 33 Gerrard Street West, Toronto

Things to do in Toronto


CN Tower

No visit to Toronto is complete without a ride to the top of the 144-storey, 180-foot tall (55-metres) CN Tower. Get lunch at the revolving 360 Restaurant, or join an EdgeWalk, an open-air, hands-free walk around the exterior of the tower.
Location: 290 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Explore the aquatic world with multiple viewing galleries and artificial reefs, a discovery centre and live diving shows.
Location: 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto

Little Canada

Enjoy detailed, miniature exhibits representing some of the most iconic landmarks in Canada. You can also create a mini replica of yourself to take home or add to the exhibit.
Location: 10 Dundas Street East Basement 2, Toronto

Toronto Botanical Garden

Tour the garden and learn about the local ecology, ecosystems, botany and horticulture. Kids will enjoy the interactive, hands-on activities at the Teaching Garden.
Location: 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto

Black Creek Village

Step back into the 1800s with historically accurate buildings, costumed interpreters and live demonstrations of traditional crafts.
Location: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto

Toronto Islands

From the 30 exciting rides at the Centreville Amusement Park, the petting zoo at Far Enough Farm, bike rentals, beaches and splash pads, there are many activities for the whole family to enjoy at Centre Island. Catch the ferry to Toronto Islands at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.
Location: 9 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Museums and culture

Toronto Railway Museum

Discover Canada’s rail history. Located steps from the CN Tower, the museum offers tours of a historic roundhouse and a chance to walk through historic rail cars.
Location: 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto

Ontario Science Centre

Science comes to life with kid-friendly interactive displays, giant IMAX® theatre and live events.
Location: 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto

The Royal Ontario Museum

Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum offers everything from a bat cave and hands-on biodiversity gallery to dinosaur exhibits and Egyptian mummies.
Location: 100 Queens Park, Toronto

Bata Shoe Museum

Explore over 4,500 years of history as told through the world of footwear. This unique museum houses an impressive permanent collection, inside a shoebox-inspired building.
Location: 327 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Art Gallery of Ontario

One of Canada’s premier art galleries, the AGO offers the chance to view world-class exhibits and participate in kid-friendly activities. Check the schedule for family-oriented events. The museum is free for all visitors 25 and under.
Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Museum of Illusions

Experience mind-bending optical illusions! You’re encouraged to interact with the exhibits at this engaging and educational attraction.
Location: 132 Front Street East, Toronto

ECHO by Cirque du Soleil

Don’t miss ECHO by Cirque du Soleil, Canada’s largest contemporary circus extravaganza with entertaining storytelling through live music, dance, acrobatics and theatrics in Toronto from May 8 to July 21, 2024.
Location: 2150 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke

iArtS Museum

Toronto’s first 3D illusion art exhibit invites visitors to immerse themselves in 3D art installations and discover new perspectives.
Location: 580 King Street West, 2nd Floor, Toronto


Toronto Eaton Centre

With over 230 shops and restaurants, the Toronto Eaton Centre offers endless shopping entertainment. Located in the heart of the city on Yonge Street, across from Yonge-Dundas Square.
Location: 220 Yonge Street, Toronto

The Distillery District

A national historic site in Toronto’s east end charms with its cobblestone streets and painstakingly restored Victorian industrial architecture. Dating to 1832, the district is an arts-and-culture hub, home to galleries, boutiques, restaurants and cafés. For a unique adventure, take an exciting segway tour through the best photo ops in the Distillery District.
Location: The Distillery District, Toronto


Hockey Hall of Fame

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.

Location: 30 Yonge Street, Toronto

Major League Sports

Depending on the time of year you plan to visit, Toronto offers numerous opportunities to watch live professional sports. If the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs or NBA’s Toronto Raptors make the playoffs, cheer them on at the Scotiabank Arena. Catch an MLB Blue Jays game in the Rogers Centre, aka the Skydome. Toronto also offers an opportunity for football fans to catch the local CFL team, the Toronto Argonauts, at BMO Field or Toronto’s Major League Soccer team, the Toronto FC.
Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay Street, Toronto
Rogers Centre, One Blue Jays Way, Toronto
BMO Field, 170 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto

Where to eat in Toronto


For breakfast or lunch in a family-friendly atmosphere, head to the heart of the Entertainment District for a variety of hearty brunch options ranging from French toast and pancakes to skillets and sandwiches.
Location: 106 Front Street East #102, Toronto

Patrician Grill

Find classic diner-style breakfasts and lunches at this downtown Toronto landmark. Built in the 1950s, the diner features cozy booths and 50s-style counter service.
Location: 219 King Street East, Toronto 

The Rec Room

Enjoy dining and gaming at The Rec Room. This unique food and entertainment spot offers over 40,000 square feet of family-friendly games and Canadian-inspired cuisine.
Location: 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto

Sportsnet Grill

Located inside the Marriott City Centre Hotel, the Sportsnet Grill serves everything from burgers to bowls and kids-size meals.
Location: 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto

Medieval Times

Dine on food fit for royalty! You’ll enjoy a four-course meal that includes garlic bread, roasted chicken, sweet, buttered corn and herb-basted potatoes and dessert while being entertained by an exciting tournament of jousting and horsemanship.
Location: 10 Dufferin Street, Toronto

Amsterdam Brewhouse

Choose from burgers, schnitzel, smoked brisket or fish, along with a view of the harbour. The restaurant also features a large patio, weather permitting.
Location: 245 Queens Quay West, Toronto

The Old Spaghetti Factory

A Toronto classic serving pasta dishes and more in a lively, family-friendly space. Located minutes from the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Location: 54 The Esplanade, Toronto


Approximate distance and travel time from Toronto to Hamilton: 44 miles (70 kilometres), 1.5 hours

Known as the “City of Waterfalls”, Hamilton is renowned for great food and drink, its CFL team the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and a wide variety of family-friendly attractions.


Find $2/hour parking meters throughout downtown Hamilton, and pay & display machines in most city car parks. Some are free on Saturdays or after 6:00 p.m. Check the parking meter for the operational hours and required fee.

Where to stay in Hamilton

Sheraton Hamilton Hotel

A modern, comfortable hotel within walking distance of many popular attractions like the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton Farmers’ Market and FirstOntario Concert Hall. Park in the hotel-owned car park.
Location: 116 King Street West, Hamilton

Homewood Suites by Hilton

Enjoy spacious family suites along with access to the indoor pool, fitness centre and complimentary hot breakfast. Onsite parking is available.
Location: 40 Bay Street South, Hamilton

Things to do in Hamilton

Culture and history

Art Gallery of Hamilton

Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton holds a permanent collection of over 10,000 works of Canadian and international art, along with numerous special exhibits throughout the year. Admission to the gallery is free every Thursday.
Location: 123 King Street West, Hamilton

Dundurn Castle

Built in the 1830s, Dundurn is a 40-room Italianate-style villa built on Burlington Heights—the site of a British military encampment during the War of 1812. Guided tours can be booked in advance.
Location: 610 York Boulevard, Hamilton

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Explore Canada’s aviation history. Book an actual flight in a vintage Lancaster Bomber, or try out their FZ Fly Zone virtual reality flight simulator.
Location: 9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope

HMCS Haida

Tour a Tribal class destroyer that served in the Second World War, the Korean Conflict and the Cold War. A National Historic Site, the HMCS Haida is a must-see for anyone interested in military history.
Location: Pier 9, 658 Catharine Street North, Hamilton


Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Cheer at a CFL football game at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field. The season runs from May to October, with tickets available for purchase in advance.
Location: 64 Melrose Avenue North, Hamilton

Forge FC

At the same Tim Hortons Field, watch a Canadian Premier League soccer match.
Location: 64 Melrose Avenue North, Hamilton

Hamilton Bengals

Catch a game of lacrosse played at the Dave Andreychuk Arena.
Location: 25 Hester Street, Hamilton

Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Learn about Canada’s football history and its greatest players. This 10,000-square-foot space can be found on the club level at Tim Hortons Field.
Location: 64 Melrose Avenue North, Hamilton

Fun attractions

Wild Waterworks

With a large, heated wave pool, twisting waterslides and a wading pool with mists and sprays, you’ll cool off from the summer heat in no time.
Location: 680 Waterfront Trail, Hamilton

African Lion Safari

Drive your car through the park or take a guided tour on a safari bus, where you’ll see lions, giraffes, zebras and more. You can also watch engaging animal presentations like the birds of prey flying demonstration.
Location: 1386 Cooper Road, Cambridge

Adventure Village

Enjoy mini golf, batting cages, bumper cars, rock climbing, laser tag and more at this fun amusement park perfect for the young and young at heart.
Location: 580 Van Wagners Beach Road, Hamilton

Places to eat in Hamilton

Electric Diner

A colourful spot for creative breakfasts in a trendy neon-lit space.
Location: 96 George Street, Hamilton

Jet Café

Fuel up for the day with casual diner classics like omelettes, eggs Benedict or breakfast poutine. 
Location: 184 King Street East, Hamilton


Fill up on monster hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and class milkshakes.
Location: 207 Ottawa Street North, Hamilton

Chicago Style Pizza

Enjoy authentic deep-dish Chicago-style pizza, a large selection of pastas, salads and more.
Location: 534 Upper Sherman Avenue, Hamilton

Panini & Ice Cream

Indulge your kids (and yourself) at this popular dessert spot known for delicious “half and half” half milkshake and half ice cream creations.
Location: 1505 Main Street East #1505, Hamilton

Hamilton Farmers’ Market

Satisfy everyone’s craving with a variety of ready-to-eat food stalls and sweet treats.
Location: 35 York Boulevard, Hamilton

For trip planning support, connect with one of our travel counsellors who can help you build your road trip itinerary.

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Last updated: May 2, 2024

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