Lakes, Falls and Cities of Ontario

This wonderful self-drive itinerary mixes urban buzz and Niagara Falls with plenty of time spent in the Great Outdoors. Start in the vibrant city of Toronto before heading to Niagara to make a splash at the world-famous falls. From here, travel east along Lake Ontario to visit the gorgeous 1000 Islands and on to the nation’s capital, Ottawa.

Next up is a 3-day wilderness trip into Algonquin Provincial Park, combining canoeing, hiking, and wildlife-spotting from a cosy log cabin. Finish up at Blue Mountain where the whole family will be kept busy with the huge variety of adventure sports.

This itinerary is designed to keep driving days and locations to a minimum whilst including plenty of outdoor activities. A slightly revised itinerary can also be enjoyed in the winter.


  View Toronto from the CN Tower
  Get soaked at Niagara Falls
  Cruise or kayak the 1000 Islands
  Discover Ottawa’s quaint charm
  3-day Algonquin wilderness safari
  Family fun at Blue Mountain

15 days from £3,000 pp

Plus international flights from £450

A two-week holiday in Ontario for a family of four usually costs from £12,000 plus flights and eTAs.

View pricing guide

Lakes, Falls and Cities of Ontario day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Toronto
Welcome to Toronto – Canada’s most multicultural and vibrant city. If energy levels permit, spend the evening wandering around the pedestrianised Distillery District. This is a converted warehouse area full of independent boutiques and family-friendly restaurants.

Day 2-3 Toronto
A full day to explore. Perhaps start your day with a visit to the CN Tower, the third-tallest building in the world. Whizz up 550m in a glass-fronted elevator and hold your breath as you take a walk along the glass floor. Older children will enjoy taking the harnessed Edgewalk around the roof.

Back on solid ground, there are endless things to do. Sports fans can visit the Hockey Hall of Fame or the architectural icon of the Rogers Centre. This is home to the major league baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Shopaholics will enjoy getting lost in the landmark Eaton Centre or descending beneath the ground to explore a network of 18 miles of shops and restaurants (much needed in the Canadian winter). Or simply hop on a streetcar and nip between such neighbourhoods as Little Italy, Koreatown and Little Portugal.

In the evening you will face a hard decision – dim sum in Chinatown, kebabs in Greektown, some delicious pasta al fresco in upmarket Yorkville or fresh fish down at the harbour front. A wonderful way to start your Ontario family holiday!

Day 4 Niagara Falls
This morning head west to the Niagara Peninsula; in just 2 hours you will find yourself gasping in awe at one of the world’s greatest falls. Consisting of three waterfalls shared between Canada and America, Niagara Falls produces the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. It’s enough to fill 70 swimming pools per minute!  The noise is incredible and the spray it throws up into the air can be seen for miles. Experience the falls from the river on the Hornblower cruise, or perhaps by zipline, helicopter or from the top of the Skylon Tower.

After being surrounded by so many adrenalin-filled options (and to be honest, utter commercialisation), it is a relief to take the scenic drive along the Niagara Parkway to ‘Canada’s Prettiest Town’ – Niagara on the Lake.  Here picturesque boutiques and colonial houses make a delightful contrast to the neon glitz of the falls area. The region is also home to some of the country’s best vineyards so sample a glass of the local ‘icewine’.

Day 5 Gananoque
Today you will make your way to Gananoque, on the St Lawrence River. Highly recommended is the backcountry scenic route that takes you through picturesque farmland and wineries. This area is well known amongst foodies, so perhaps stop along the way to buy some local specialities and find a beautiful spot for a picnic.

Also worth a stop is Kingston, a historic city situated on the St Lawrence River and full of grand 19th Century buildings.

Day 6 1000 Islands
Gananoque is a charming waterfront town and the gateway to the beautiful 1000 Islands. This network of tiny forested islands (actually well over 1,000!) is home to tiny waterfront cottages, private mansions and imposing castles. Active families will enjoy taking a guided kayaking tour around the islands, stopping off in a secluded spot for lunch and a swim off a sandy beach. Others will enjoy a boat cruise, passing Millionaire’s Row and the 1000 Islands International Bridge which spans Canada and the USA. Perhaps enjoy a brief foray into America with a stop at historic Boldt Castle with its magnificent Italian gardens and striking stonework (passports and ESTAs required).

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Days 7-8 Ottawa
Following the Rideau Heritage Route, full of charming towns with plenty of picnic spots, you arrive at the nation’s unassuming capital. Ottawa is an utter delight, its low-key ambience a complete contrast to Toronto’s busy streets. You can witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony on Parliament Hill or take a city tour with a difference on an ‘Amphibus’. Spend a relaxing afternoon strolling along the Rideau Canal or for a dose of excitement take a white water rafting tour on the river just minutes from downtown.

In the evenings, Ottawa’s multicultural scene comes to life. Head to the lively ByWard Market, a historic farmers’ market by day and a popular evening venue by night. Here the pedestrianised cobbled streets are lined with outdoor bars, live music venues and a mouth-watering variety of restaurants.

Days 9-11 Algonquin Park Wilderness Experience
It’s time to experience Canada’s wilderness, in Algonquin Provincial Park. With 2,400 lakes and 750 miles of rivers, this was the first of Ontario’s protected parks. It provides a superb setting for your taste of true Canadian wilderness. Whilst the crowds head to the Rockies, you can enjoy peaceful walks through maple and fir forests. Watch beavers and otters frolic in the streams and canoe past moose grazing at the lakeshore. The park is particularly famous for its wolf population. Falling asleep to the sound of their howling cries is an unforgettable part of any family holiday.

The ideal way to enjoy the park is on a 3-day log cabin adventure. Having met your guide at your log cabin you will enjoy a sumptuous lunch before setting out in your canoes to explore the lakes surrounding the cabin. You will take an interpretive hike on a nearby island before returning to the cabin for a dip in the lake or steam in the sauna.  After a sumptuous home-cooked dinner, you will then head out in a 26-foot canoe on an exciting night wildlife safari. The kids will love the wolf howl session, waiting for the reply to echo back into the haunting wilderness.

The next day is spent paddling further into the wilderness, hiking, swimming and fishing.  There are opportunities to spot beaver, white-tailed deer, mink and moose. Watch the sunset from a scenic beach spot and enjoy a tasty cookout around a bonfire. Followed by roasting ‘S’mores’ of course….Learn about the northern sky as you canoe under the stars back to your cosy cabin. Rise and shine early on your last morning as you enjoy a memorable sunrise paddle through the morning mist. Search for moose or beaver lodges and enjoy some spectacular photographic opportunities.  Feast on a cook-out maple syrup breakfast then return to the cabin for more relaxation and swims before a final BBQ lunch. Say farewell to this pristine wilderness and head south to Blue Mountain.

Please note this is based on a group excursion, departing on Wednesdays or Fridays throughout the summer. If you would prefer a private guided excursion we can easily arrange this too.

Days 12-14 Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain is set in a picturesque location on the shores of Georgian Bay, part of Lake Huron and home to the famous ‘30,000 Islands’. It is a purpose-built resort with an incredible array of family-friendly activities that will thrill kids.

There’s a bike park, a mountain gondola, an aquatic centre with rope swings and waterslides, high ropes, low ropes, zip lines, segways and more. Pack your days with activities and spend your nights feasting on steaks, tacos, burgers, pizzas, sushi and the Canadian favourite, wings. This is a real North American experience.

If you need an escape then head out on the beautiful Bruce Trail (directly from the resort) or rent SUPs at the world’s longest freshwater beach at nearby Wasaga.

But if Blue Mountain is not your thing, then there are other lakeside resort options in the Muskoka region.

Day 15 Toronto
It’s an easy 2-hour drive back to Toronto for your flight home.


Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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