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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.