Your Guide to Canada’s Coolest Day Trips


Plan your next great Canadian day trip with our 24–hour guides, from Richmond, B.C. to Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland and Labrador.

This story was originally published in May 2021 and was updated in February 2022.

Food, landscape, culture, people – Canada is full of riches, especially if you know where to look. Our ongoing Day Tripping series highlights some of the most delightful places to escape to inside our borders. Keep checking back as we add new destinations, and don’t feel constrained by our one–day advice: everywhere on this list rewards a longer stay.

British Columbia

February 7, 2022
Two girls bird watching on a dock in Richmond's Terra Nova Rural Park
   Photo: BC Bird Trail

A Perfect Day in Richmond

Surrounded on three sides by water, Richmond, British Columbia, is a city defined by nature and agricultural heritage. It’s also known for its Asian influences, and is home to many cultural institutions and hundreds of Asian eateries and shops clustered in the Golden Village district. Here are some of the best things to do in Richmond and what makes B.C.’s fourth largest city ideal for a quick day trip or weekend getaway.

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Related: The Best Asian Food in Richmond, B.C., is in Parking Garages and Car Washes

Aerial view of the Sumas prairie in Abbotsford, British Columbia
   Photo: Tourism Abbotsford

A Perfect Day in Abbotsford

Nestled in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, Abbotsford is a small city (with a population just shy of 150,000) that’s bursting with charming, locally owned shops in the downtown stretch and family‑run farms just a short drive outside the city centre. Adjacent to the Canada‑United States border and only an hour from Vancouver, it’s the ideal escape for authentic farm‑to‑table experiences set against the stunning backdrop of the rugged Sumas Mountain.

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A view of Bowen Island, British Columbia overlooking a lake with mountains in the background.
   Photo: Anton Bielousov

A Perfect Day on Bowen Island

A popular day trip destination from Vancouver since the era of early 20th century steamships, Bowen Island, B.C. – known as the Happy Isle – is a forested escape known for its laid‑back charm and artistic vibrancy. Reachable by the 20‑minute Bowen Island ferry from Horseshoe Bay, the destination entices guests with abundant natural beauty, active adventures and quiet beaches.

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Related: Shop Canadian: 10 Locally‑Made Products from British Columbia

A farm in a rural area of the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia with fog in the distance.
   Photo: Jacqueline Downey Photography

A Perfect Day in the Cowichan Valley

From birding in old‑growth forests to sipping homegrown gamay noir in award‑winning wineries, the “Provence of Canada” on Vancouver Island is the ideal day trip when you want to indulge in the best of the West Coast.

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A herd of deer grazing in the grassy plains of Foothills County, Alberta
   Photo: Travel Alberta

A Perfect Day in Alberta’s Foothills

When it comes to day trips from Calgary, many think west is best. But, if you can resist the call of the big‑name Rocky Mountain destinations, head just south of the city to explore bucolic Foothills County. Named for the lush rolling hills that ramp up west of the province’s plains before giving way to Rocky Mountain peaks, Alberta’s Foothills region is home to under‑the‑radar towns filled with art galleries, craft distilleries and delicious eats. Best of all, you’ll have the verdant Rocky Mountain vistas all to yourself.

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Related: Saddle Up for Skijoring, Alberta’s Ultimate Winter Sport


A spread of food offered at Regina's Avenue restaurant
   Photo: Alanna Hale

A Perfect Day in Regina

A warm and welcoming city, Saskatchewan’s capital, with a population just shy of 230,000, is often a surprise for first‑time visitors. Regina’s lush Wascana Park is its crowning gem – a sprawling, inner‑city paradise where 300,000 trees were planted by hand. From the city’s downtown, it’s pretty much a 10‑minute drive to anywhere you want to go, making it easy to explore to your heart’s content. Regina is also less than a 45‑minute drive from some of the region’s most scenic hiking trails and lakes, as well as the picturesque, glacier‑carved, Qu’Appelle Valley.

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A stylish cottage with large glass panels at Wander Resort in Prince Edward County
   Photo: Wander Resort

A Perfect Day in Prince Edward County

With its picturesque small towns, world‑class wineries, spectacular beaches and boutique hotels, it’s no wonder Prince Edward County (PEC) has taken off as one of the coolest destinations in Ontario. The County, as it’s warmly known, is an island located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, where rural life meets urban aesthetic and sensibility. Its proximity to major hubs in Ontario and Quebec – it’s a two‑hour drive from Toronto, three hours from Ottawa and four hours from Montreal – and influx of artists and entrepreneurs who have fuelled a booming travel industry make PEC ideal for a day trip or weekend getaway.

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Wine and cheese being served at the Stoney Ridge Estate Winery in Ontario
   Photo: Stoney Ridge Estate Winery

A Perfect Day in Niagara

Instead of whipping past the smaller towns of Beamsville, Vineland and Jordan en route to the larger, better known (read: busier) tourist destinations of Niagara Falls and Niagara‑on‑the‑Lake, we suggest spending a day – or two – in the quieter regions of Ontario’s wine country. You’ll be rewarded with historic towns, scenic hiking trails, small‑batch wineries and fresh‑from‑the‑farm fruit stands.

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Related: Best Places to Go Ice Fishing in Ontario

A frozen waterfall in a forest in Thornbury, Ontario.
   Photo: James Westby

A Perfect Day in Thornbury

Hugging the southern shoreline of Georgian Bay and home to cideries, wineries, hiking routes and the Apple Pie Trail, this charming village located within the Blue Mountains in Grey County should be at the top of your day‑trips‑from‑Toronto list. It’s just over a two‑hour drive northwest of the city and offers up activities in all seasons, from fruit picking in the fall (it’s the largest apple‑growing region in Ontario, after all) and snowshoeing in the winter, to waterfall swimming and patio dining come summer.

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The Champs Gewurztraminer of the Eastern Townships is covered in lush flowers
   Photo: Vignoble du Ruisseau

A Perfect Day in the Eastern Townships

Tucked in the countryside only an hour’s drive east of Montreal, the Eastern Townships offer all‑season outdoor adventure. Preserving the area’s Loyalist legacy, this small‑scale version of New England à la française – filled with picturesque towns of clapboard cottages, white churches at rural crossroads and covered bridges connected by scenic routes that run through mountains, valleys, organic farms and vineyards – allows for the perfect one‑day getaway. Here’s your plan for a summer escape in the area.

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A snowy path through a forest in the Laurentians, Quebec.
   Photo: Roger Smith

A Perfect Day in the Laurentians

For generations, Montrealers have darted for the hills an hour north of the island, to the Laurentians, to relax by a lake in summer and slice through powder in the winter (the world’s first rope‑tow ski lift was installed here in the 1930s). In the last few years, there has been a surge of young Québécois opening exciting new businesses in the region, especially around Val‑David, which has stolen the spotlight from Sainte‑Agathe as the region’s hub. Here’s how to explore the best of the new Laurentians in a day.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

A river running through the mountainous landscape of Quidi Vidi
   Photo: Adam Hefferman

A Perfect Day in Quidi Vidi

Taking a visit to Quidi Vidi – pronounced Kiddy Viddy – is like taking a giant leap back in time. While only minutes from downtown St. John’s, it feels worlds away. With its colourful wooden (and still working) fishing stages sprouting from the rugged harbourside cliffs, this centuries‑old, postcard‑perfect village – which locals refer to as “the Gut” – provides a lens into what traditional island outports were once like in Newfoundland and Labrador. Far from being stuck in the past, today’s Quidi Vidi offers up a haul of activities for day trippers to pack in.

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