8 Magical Summer Road Trips From Ontario That Lead To Tiny Towns, Sandy Shores & More
Start your cars!
Ontario is full of beautiful summer destinations to enjoy, but if you're looking for some new experiences it may be worth taking a quick road trip across the border.
The U.S. promises endless dreamy places to spend a sunny day and many are just a road trip away from Ontario.
From quaint villages to sandy beaches and natural wonders, these destinations are worth digging out your passport for.
Here are eight places to explore across the border for an incredible summer road trip.
Ausable Chasm, NY
Price: $49.95 USD for Classic Tour
When: Tours run until October 9, 2023
Address: 2144 Route 9, Ausable Chasm, NY
Why You Need To Go: Situated in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Ausable Chasm is about a two hour drive from the border of Ontario.
It's known as the "Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks" because of its towering sandstone cliffs and it's one of the oldest attractions in the United States.
The stunning gorge boasts a bunch of activities to enjoy, from breathtaking hikes to lanterns tours and rock climbing.
One of the highlights of Ausable Chasm is the float and raft tours which take you through rapids and past unique rock formations.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes, MI
Price: $11 USD per day or $36 USD per year for State Park admission
When: April 1 to October 31
Address: 1765 N Lakeview Dr., Mears, MI
Why You Need To Go: You can take a mini trip to the Sahara Desert without getting on a plane by visiting this surreal destination in Michigan.
Located about three and a half hours from Windsor, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes features almost 2,000 acres of dunes that are 1.5 miles wide and 3 miles long.
You can wander along the dunes on foot or explore them by vehicle or fat bike. At certain times of the year, you can even ride through the dunes on horseback.
Another unique way to experience this natural wonder is "sandboarding," which is like surfing but on sand.
Bolt Castle, NY
Price: $12.50 USD per adult
When: Until October 9, 2023
Address: 1 Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY
Why You Need To Go: Located on Heart Island, this fairytale castle is only accessible by water. You can imagine you're in a storybook as you explore this whimsical attraction.
The European-inspired castle dates back to 1900 and overlooks the St. Lawrence river. You can tour the many rooms inside the castle as well as the grounds.
In order to get there, you can take a boat cruise from Canada. Don't forget your passport!
Village of Skaneateles, NY
Address: Skaneateles, NY
Why You Need To Go: New York State's Finger Lakes is a stunning spot to spend a summer day. You can take a three hour road trip to this charming small town known as the "Jewel of the Finger Lakes region."
Skaneateles features a clear blue lake and vibrant downtown filled with summer vibes. One of the main attractions is Skaneateles Lake, where you'll find sparkling blue-green waters which are ideal for boating or lakeside strolls.
The village itself is "widely regarded as being among the finest villages in all of the Finger Lakes" and has a beautiful town centre with historic buildings, charming shops and more.
If you're in need of some rest and relaxation, the Mirbeau Inn & Spa offers dining, guest rooms and treatments for a peaceful getaway.
Address: Holland, MI
Why You Need To Go: Fancy a trip to the Netherlands? This charming city in Michigan lets you escape to Holland without getting on a plane.
The city is located about a three hour drive from Ontario and is a beautiful spot for a summer escape. The downtown area features cobblestone streets and over 100 specialty shops, breweries, and restaurants for you to enjoy.
You'll want to head to Holland State Park which is known for its "sugar sand beaches, beautiful sunsets and views of the iconic 'Big Red' lighthouse."
You can also check out the Nelis' Dutch Village for some major European vibes. The theme park features rides, shops, animals and more, and is straight out of a storybook.
Watkins Glen State Park, NY
Price: $10 per vehicle
When: Until late fall
Address: 1009 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, NY
Why You Need To Go: You'll find this majestic park in New York State, about three hours from Ontario.
Watkins Glen State Park will have you feeling like you stepped into a scene from The Lord of the Rings as you wander through an enchanting gorge filled with dreamy cascades.
There are 19 waterfalls to explore in total as well as 200-foot cliffs, magical stone steps and whimsical bridges.
You can even wander behind two of the waterfalls and discover "sculptured pools" along the way.
St. Joseph, MI
Address: St. Joseph, MI
Why You Need To Go: Perched on the shores of southwest Michigan, St. Joseph is a quaint summer escape just three hours from Windsor.
The town is a beach lover's dream and is home to seven exquisite sandy beaches. One of the most popular beaches is Silver Beach, which stretches 2,450 feet along the shore and boasts soft, clean shores and sparkling waters.
You can also head to Grand Mere State Park for more swimming opportunities. The area has magnificent sand dunes and is a beautiful spot for a hike.
The historic downtown features boutiques, galleries, shops and more to explore. Whether you're shopping for unique jewelry or craving a dinner with sunset views, the downtown has you covered.
Address: Wellsboro, PA
Why You Need To Go: Wellsboro is just a three hour drive from Niagara Falls and is a magical place to visit if you love the outdoors.
Most notably, the town is home to the Pine Creek Gorge which has been dubbed "the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania." The natural wonder is 50 miles long and 1,000 feet deep and offers tons of scenic landscapes to explore.
The old-time, gas-lit streets of Wellsboro will whisk you away to another era. You can shop from local boutiques and cafes for a relaxing summer day.
You can also hike through Hills Creek State Park for more outdoor adventures.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.