Now that the school year is over, thoughts of summer and the freedom that accompanies it begin to filter through my mind. I spent my final days in class fantasizing about booking a one-way ticket to Paris, and hanging out along the Seine with surrealist artists who encourage me to publish my novel, when suddenly I remember I am a student surviving Toronto on OSAP and cannot afford international travel on a whim.
While travelling abroad might be out of the question, day trips around Ontario certainly aren’t! Sometimes I forget that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada. There are plenty of student budget-friendly day trips located just a few hours from the city, perfect to celebrate completing another semester of university!
Go chasing waterfalls in Hamilton
Toronto might not think much of Hamilton, but in fact the mid-sized city is the waterfall capital of the world. With more than 100 waterfalls to explore, Hamilton is the perfect day trip from Toronto without stretching your budget. You can easily catch a GO Bus to Hamilton, spend the day hiking and snapping your best candid nature shots, and be back in Toronto for nightfall.
Capture the beauty of Elora
Elora claims to be Ontario’s most beautiful town, and after a visit to this little gem you’ll understand why. Elora is small-town Canada of the nostalgic past, nestled between a breathtaking gorge, rolling hills, and two rivers. Elora is perhaps best visited in warmer weather, as the abundance of water beckons you to partake in swimming, diving, fly fishing, and tubing. Be sure to bring your sportiest gear, as there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and ziplining as well! If physical activity isn’t your thing, do not fret as you can experience Elora from a new heights in a hot air balloon ride!
Be a tourist for a day in Niagara Falls
You might forget it when you look up at the cramped touristic avenue that is Clifton Hill, but there is a reason Niagara Falls is a world wonder. The falls themselves are a natural powerhouse, but there are plenty of other fun activities to do in this town. Hiking the Niagara Gorge is a personal favourite of mine, but there are a number of different trails to explore in this town. I recommend having lunch at Country Fresh Donuts, where you can feast on wonton soup and all the donuts your eyes can afford!
Re-discover your #wanderlust in Dundas
In the fall, my Instagram feed is covered with breathtaking photos of Dundas Peak, located in Dundas, about a two-hour drive from Toronto. Located in Spencer Gorge, this destination offers spectacular hiking views as well as waterfalls. If you want to immerse yourself in nature for a few hours, this is the place to get lost among the trees (but not too lost).
Lounge and hike along Wasaga Beach
Not only is this the longest freshwater beach in the world, but it is Ontario’s most famous! Wasaga draws huge crowds in the summer but also features cross-country skiing, ski skating, and snowshoeing in winter. There is a 32km canoe route that can be completed in a day, but I’d assume you need some sort of arm strength to get that far, which I don’t possess. There are another 30km of hiking trails for those who prefer land, making Wasaga a fun destination for the whole squad!
Feature Photo: Wasaga Info