6 Easy Road Trips From Ontario That Will Make You Feel Like You're On Vacation

No need to get on a plane. ✈️

Associate Editor
Windmill Island Gardens. Right: Torch Lake.

Windmill Island Gardens. Right: Torch Lake.

If you're craving a vacation but don't want to blow your budget on a plane ticket, you may want to consider a trip to some of these stunning destinations located just outside of Ontario.

These spots are an easy road trip away from the province and you don't have to go far to feel like you're on holiday.

From vibrant blue lakes to charming small towns and European gardens, you'll discover a range of experiences and activities that will transport you to another world.

If you're in the mood for something new, pack up the car and take a quick road trip to these six destinations just across the U.S. border. Don't forget your passport!

Holland, Michigan

Address: Holland, MI

Why You Need To Go: This charming getaway spot in Michigan will whisk you away across the ocean. This city is just under 3 hours from Windsor and comes with all the Dutch vibes.

While there, you'll want to check out Holland State Park. It's one of Michigan's "most visited state parks" and features beautiful sandy beaches, vibrant sunsets and a historic lighthouse called "Big Red."

If you're travelling during the spring, be sure to visit the annual Tulip Time Festival. It typically takes place in May and boasts over 5 million tulips. You can take part in events, activities and more in celebration of this colourful flower.

You can get a taste of Europe by heading to Windmill Island Gardens. The seasonal attraction is open from mid-April to early October each year. You'll see the "only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States" as well as Friesian horses, Dutch horticulture and over 100,000 tulips.

Holland website

Chimney Bluffs State Park

Price: US$5 admission

Address: 7700 Garner Rd., Wolcott, NY

Why You Need To Go: Located under three hours from Niagara Falls, this surreal state park will make you feel like you're in another world.

Chimney Bluffs State Park features "the most dramatic landscape on the Lake Ontario shore." You'll see giant spires that tower 150 feet above the water, formed by glaciers from the last ice age.

There is lots to do in the park, including hiking, fishing, picnicking, cross-country skiing and more.

Chimney Bluffs State Park website

Torch Lake

Address: Torch Lake, MI

Why You Need To Go: If you've been craving a taste of the Caribbean, look no further than this stunning turquoise lake in Michigan.

Torch Lake is about a four-hour drive from the Ontario border and is renowned for its "multiple shades of blue." The vibrant lake features a white sandbar that will transport you to the tropics.

At over 18,000 acres, this body of water is the second-largest inland lake in Michigan and the longest lake in the state at 19 miles long.

You'll need to use a watercraft like a boat, kayak or paddle board if you want to reach the silky sandbar. The most popular time to visit this spot is in July and August when the weather is at its warmest.

Pure Michigan website

Green Lakes State Park

Price: US$10 entrance fee for cars

Address: 7900 Green Lakes Rd., Fayetteville, NY

Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for more gorgeous turquoise water, a trip to New York State's Green Lakes State Park might be in order.

Located 2 hours from the Ontario border, Green Lakes State Park is a landmark with "two peculiar lakes and old-growth forest," according to Go Finger Lakes.

The 1,955-acre park is full of scenic trails that lead through lush, old-growth forests. It's most famous for its two meromictic lakes — rare bodies of water with vibrant hues due to the fact that the water layers do not intermix.

If you're visiting between late May and early June, you may witness the surreal “whiting” event where "calcium carbonate precipitates out of the water and settles to form reef-like structures."

The most incredible "reef" is located at Deadman’s Point, so you'll want to hit up that spot.

Aside from the lakes, you can visit the gorge, which towers over 150 feet high.

Summer is the most popular time of the year to visit this park, but you can visit during any season and still find stunning views. The fall is particularly scenic when the vibrant orange of the trees contrasts with the bright turquoise lakes.

Green Lakes State Park website

Sackets Harbor

Address: Sackets Harbor, NY

Why You Need To Go: If you're dreaming of a cute little road trip with European vibes, then you can plan an adventure to Sackets Harbour. The small town is situated in New York State and is about an hour's drive from the Ontario border.

The charming village features several local boutiques as well as markets and cafes.

If you're craving pizza, you'll want to visit Good Fellos Restaurant, which serves up wood-fired pies and more. Afterwards, you can head to Strader’s Saturdays, Sundaes, and More to get your ice cream fill.

The area is steeped in historical attractions, including The Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, where you can learn about the War of 1812 and the impact it had on the village. You can also check out some of the festivals, such as the concerts on the waterfront.

Sackets Harbor website

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Price: US$10 to $20 entrance fee

Address: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

Why You Need To Go: If exploring natural wonders sounds like your idea of a good road trip, you'll want to plan a trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan.

The park is about an hour from Sault Ste. Marie and features some pretty impressive scenery. You'll find "sandstone cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, sand dunes, inland lakes, deep forest, and wild shoreline" at this spot.

One of the main attractions is the pictured rock cliffs. These massive walls tower up to 200 feet above Lake Superior and run for 15 miles along the water.

They are named "Pictured Rocks" due to the colourful mineral stains that stretch across their surface. You can see shades of red, orange, blue, green, white and more.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore website

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.

Madeline Forsyth
Associate Editor
Madeline Forsyth is an Associate Travel Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian and global travel and is based in Toronto, Ontario.