With its wealth of natural wonders, vibrant urban hotspots and cultural attractions from coast to coast, Canada offers an abundance of exciting destinations perfect for memorable day trips without overnight stays. As you seek awesome one-day getaways to marvel at thundering waterfalls, come face-to-face with exotic wildlife or experience the energy of Canadian cities, this vast country rewards intrepid travellers with stunning locales found just a reasonable drive away.
From the iconic falls in the Niagara region to the aquatic animals of world-class zoos to the glitz of Quebec casinos, discover some of the best destinations for your day trips, offering convenient access to natural beauty, urban energy and more that you can experience in just one day before returning home.
5 Best Zoos & Conservation Parks in Canada
As home to the largest zoos and wildlife conservation areas, Canada provides incredible encounters with exotic species from around the globe. When searching for the best Canadian zoos suitable for families, couples and wildlife enthusiasts, these five fantastic options allow visitors to discover top-rated attractions during their day trips.
Sprawling over 710 acres, the Toronto Zoo in Ontario’s Rogue Valley is the largest and best zoo in Canada. With over 5000 animals representing 450+ species, it’s expertly divided into seven zones based on global regions. Highlights include the Great Barrier Reef aquatic exhibit, the gorillas in the African Savanna habitat and daily keeper talks. Don’t miss the Safari Simulator ride for an immersive wildlife adventure.
Location: Toronto, ON
Hours: Daily, 9:30AM-4:30PM
Fee: $18/child; $23/adult
On the lovely St. George Island in Calgary, the Calgary Zoo charms visitors with over 100 unique species. Home to giant pandas, lemurs, penguins and diverse birds, the zoo blends naturalistic habitats with engaging programs. Must-see exhibits include the rainforest-inspired South America zone and kid-friendly Canadian Wilds focused on local species like grizzly bears and whooping cranes.
Location: Calgary, AB
Hours: Daily, 9AM-5PM
Fee: $19.95/youth; $29.95/adult
Just an hour from Montreal, Granby Zoo covers 60 acres showcasing over 200 animal species. Beyond its menagerie of exotic creatures ranging from hippos to monkeys, this one of Canada’s best zoos incorporates amusement park rides like rollercoasters, a log flume, and a Ferris wheel. Its reptile house, a petting zoo with Nigerian goats and free-flying butterflies in an indoor garden, is also a thrill.
Location: Granby, QC
Hours: Varies by season
Fee: $14.99/child; $2.99/adult
The Cheltenham Badlands in Caledon, Ontario, shows beautiful, red-coloured hillsides formed through erosion. The smooth, rippling formations look like desert areas of the American Southwest. You can no longer walk on the badlands because their shale makeup is fragile. Newly opened walkways and trails offer great views without hurting the environment. The high amount of iron oxide makes the unique formations their red color mixed with faint green streaks. The public cannot walk on the actual badlands anymore. But the 1.3-kilometer Bruce Trail section and the shorter 325-meter Badlands Trail give visitors dramatic viewpoints to see the amazing formations and landscape. After enjoying the views, visit nearby protected areas or have some cider at the Spirit Tree Estate cidery.
Location: Caledon, ON
Hours: Closed to public access
Kelso Conservation Area
Kelso Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario, turns into an outdoor playground for hiking, biking, and water sports when the snow is gone. Families really like the lakefront beach with lifeguards and renting equipment to canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Brave people test their skills on Kelso’s mountain biking trails that twist through the forest or climb to new heights on the raised ropes challenge course. When fall leaves are very colourful, weekend chair lift rides provide a special overhead view of the bright hues around Kelso Reservoir. With fun year-round recreation from snowshoe trails to boating in its lush natural setting, Kelso Conservation Area offers an easily accessible adventure getaway right outside Toronto.
Location: Milton, ON
Hours: Daily 9AM-7PM
Fee: Cost depends on the activity
5 Breathtaking Waterfalls to See on Day Trips
Canada is also home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. From powerful torrents to gentle trickles, waterfalls can be found across the country’s diverse landscape. As the waterfall hot spot in Canada, Ontario hosts some of the most impressive cascades thanks to the Niagara Escarpment cutting through the province. If you’re searching for stunning waterfalls near your location or planning unforgettable day trips, discover some of Canada’s very best right here in Ontario.
As part of the world-renowned Niagara Falls straddling the Canada-United States border, Horseshoe Falls is located on the Canadian side of the Niagara River in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Stretching an incredible 2,600 feet (790 meters) across, this gigantic waterfall drops dramatically over the river’s edge at a towering height of 188 feet (57 meters). With one of the highest flow rates globally, it barrels over 681,750 gallons (2.5 million litres) of water per second down the cliffside. The tremendous power of this one of the best waterfalls in Ontario creates billowing clouds of mist that drench viewers at vantage points like Table Rock.
Flowing over the face of the Niagara Escarpment, Albion Falls is situated deep within the lush forests of King’s Forest Conservation Area in Hamilton, Ontario. The ribbon waterfall features a stunning 19-meter cascade over beautifully carved shale cliffs and ledges and is one of the best waterfalls in Hamilton. Easily accessible from the intersection of Mud Street and Arbour Road, the photogenic falls filled by Red Hill Creek have been a popular, though occasionally tragic, sightseeing spot for centuries.
Location: Hamilton, ON
In the heart of waterfall country, the mystically beautiful Sherman Falls is located in scenic Ancaster, Ontario. Along a portion of Bruce Trail that crosses near private property, the 17-meter cascade marked “Angel Falls” tumbles down a sheer rocky cliff. Following the trail from the parking area off Artaban Road, hikers walk less than 500 meters through tranquil woods to reach the idyllic falls fed by Ancaster Creek.
Location: Ancaster, ON
Within the stunning Spencer Gorge Conservation Area in Dundas, Ontario, the iconic Webster’s Falls cascades 22 meters through the forested valley. Crossing the restored 19th-century cobblestone bridge over Spencer Creek, visitors can admire the classic curtain waterfall as it spills over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Stairs descending into the gorge allow adventure seekers to view the falls from below its photogenic crest.
Location: Dundas, ON
Rock Glen Falls
Situated within Rock Glen Conservation Area near Arkona, Ontario, Rock Glen Falls flows 10 meters through a creek, slicing a sheer canyon. Visitors can walk less than a kilometre from the parking area into the Carolinian Forest preserve to access stairs that lead down the eroding cliff sides to the base of the cascade. The waterfall ends in a plunge pool that streams over 350-million-year-old fossil beds open for exploration.
Location: Arkona, ON
5 Best Casinos to Visit
From Vancouver to Quebec City, here is a selection of five Canadian casinos that day trips Canada guarantee will not disappoint you.
№1 The Montreal Casino
Casino Montréal, in Montreal, is the largest casino in Canada. It features 4,800 slot machines, more than 150 gaming tables, electronic bingo, an electronic racetrack, video lottery, as well as a theatre, and four restaurants, all spread over nine floors. The Montreal casino also has four bars; our favourite is the magnificent Le Jardin terrace bar, which is, without doubt, the most beautiful terrace in the city. A real treat for casino lovers!
The second in the day trips Canada list is the Charlevoix Casino, which is located in an extraordinary setting: it was built in the former summer theatre of the Manoir-Richelieu, on the cliff of Pointe-au-Pic. For more than 20 years, it has welcomed tourists and casino enthusiasts at its 20 gaming tables, 5 Texas Holdem tables, and 950 slot machines. The casino is adjoined to a 405-room hotel, with a conference room, spa, golf, and swimming pools, and has four restaurants: the Rôtisserie St-Hubert, Le Charlevoix, Le Saint-Laurent, and Table et Terroir.
The Mont-Tremblant casino is the latest to open its doors in Quebec. Located in the town of Mont-Tremblant, some 150 kilometres from Montreal, it was inaugurated in June 2009, and has the particularity of being located at the foot of a ski resort. It has 650 gaming spaces, including 500 slot machines and 19 gaming tables, as well as two private rooms for high stakes. And, of course, there is a restaurant for the hungry, offering seafood and grilled meats. If you’re a casino fan, sign up for the casino’s loyalty club, the Loto Quebec Casino Privileges Club, which will allow you to enjoy exclusive discounts and invitations to prestigious evenings.
Located in Coquitlam, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver is open 24 hours a day. Owned by Great Canadian Gaming, it is the largest casino in British Columbia. The 7,400 square metre casino features 1,000 slot machines, 70 table games, a 12-table poker room, and a private high-stakes baccarat room. Also on the menu: seven restaurants and many promotions.
Staying in British Columbia, another unusual casino is the River Rock Casino Resort, which includes a 396-room hotel, and is located in Richmond on the Fraser River. The casino, which opened in 2004, hosted the 2005, 2006, and 2007 British Columbia Poker Championships. It is open 24 hours a day on weekends. The casino has all the classics: Texas Holdem and Omaha poker tables, 1,100 slot machines, must-have table games like craps, baccarat, and blackjack, high-limit tables, and sports betting. As for promotions, the casino is going strong, with happy hours, contests, free games, and reduced rates for American players residing in the states of Oregon and Washington.
With its abundance of natural beauty, vibrant cities, and cultural attractions, Canada offers boundless options for unforgettable day trips. Whether you want to see stunning waterfalls, come face-to-face with exotic wildlife, experience the energy of Canadian urban hotspots, or try your luck at glitzy casinos, this vast country rewards travellers with exciting destinations worth exploring on well-planned single-day getaways.