Take a road trip to these tranquil island retreats a few hours from Toronto

Escape the bustling cityscape of Toronto and embark on a remarkable island adventure just a few hours from the city. These unique islands can provide a serene getaway, showcase stunning natural beauty and an array of exciting activities. Here are five of our favourites:

Pelee Island

Tucked away in Lake Erie, Pelee Island is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Known as Ontario’s southernmost inhabited island, it offers an idyllic escape with its tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking vistas. Nature enthusiasts will delight in exploring the lush vineyards, forests, and wetlands, home to a diverse range of bird species. Take a bike ride along the island’s scenic trails, savor local wines at the vineyards, or simply relax on one of the serene beaches. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness stunning sunsets over the lake, creating a captivating backdrop for a memorable evening.

How to get there: From Toronto, drive south to Kingsville and catch the ferry to Pelee. The ferry operates from April to December.

Pelee Island

Manitoulin Island

Venture further north and discover the enchanting Manitoulin Island, nestled in Lake Huron. As the largest freshwater island in the world, it offers a vast expanse of untouched natural beauty and a rich Indigenous heritage. Immerse yourself in the serene ambiance as you explore its numerous hiking trails, including the famous Cup and Saucer Trail, offering panoramic views of the surrounding forests and cliffs. Visit Bridal Veil Falls, cascading down limestone cliffs, or embark on a canoeing adventure on the serene waters of Lake Manitou. For a deeper cultural experience, engage with the island’s Anishinaabe communities and partake in traditional ceremonies and storytelling.

How to get there: From Toronto, drive north to Tobermory and board the Chi-Cheemaun ferry to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island.

Wolfe Island

Situated at the convergence of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, Wolfe Island offers a peaceful escape just a short distance from Kingston. Known for its expansive farmlands and wind turbines, the island exudes a rustic charm and is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the island’s charming villages, cycle along scenic routes, or venture out for a bird-watching expedition at the internationally recognized Important Bird Area. The area also boasts beautiful beaches, perfect for picnicking or simply unwinding amidst the serene surroundings. Don’t forget to catch a captivating sunset over the water, painting the sky with a kaleidoscope of colors.

How to get there: Drive east from Toronto to Kingston, and from there, take a ferry from the village of Marysville to Wolfe Island.

Christian Island

Nestled in Georgian Bay, Christian Island offers a serene and secluded retreat with a rich Indigenous history. Accessible by ferry, the island is home to the Beausoleil First Nation and showcases pristine beaches, clear waters, and scenic hiking trails. Immerse yourself in the island’s cultural heritage by visiting the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation and partake in traditional activities and workshops. Enjoy fishing, canoeing, or kayaking along the island’s shoreline, and take in the breathtaking views of Georgian Bay from Christian Island Lighthouse.

How to get there: Drive north from Toronto to Penetanguishene and take the ferry from the mainland to Christian Island.

Amherst Island

Situated in Lake Ontario near Kingston, Amherst Island is a haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Declared an Important Bird Area, the island provides a sanctuary for numerous bird species, including owls, hawks, and waterfowl. Explore the island’s scenic roads by bike or take a leisurely walk along the shores, enjoying the tranquility and stunning views. Visit the Amherst Island Museum to learn about the island’s history and agricultural heritage. With its unspoiled beauty and peaceful ambiance, Amherst Island is the perfect place to disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in nature.

How to get there: Drive east from Toronto to the town of Bath, and from there, take a short ferry ride to Amherst Island.

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