The summertime is all about exploring and if you feel the need to get out of Toronto, why not plan for a fun road-trip to our neighbours down south? Whether you’d prefer to spend a weekend hiking the great outdoors or checking out local museums, there’s a U.S. city nearby that’ll ticks all your boxes. Grab some snacks and blast your favourite driving playlist, because this weekend is the perfect time to check out one of the below U.S. cities that are all within driving distance of Toronto.
Feeling like a summer road trip? Head to any of these 15 U.S. cities within driving distance of Toronto!
In just under 5 hours you can get yourself to Cleveland, Ohio where there are endless things to do. Head to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame if you’re a music buff, or enjoy the botanical gardens if pretty flowers and plants are more your thing. In addition to attractions, Cleveland is also home to many world class restaurants like Lola which is owned by Iron Chef Michael Symon.
Another 5 hour drive from Toronto will get you to Pittsburgh and it’s there that all the fun awaits. Check out the Andy Warhol museum, experience the Carnegie Museum of Art, and most importantly, don’t miss out on the food because restaurants like täkō and Altius will have you eating like a king.
Rochester, New York
Located a bit closer to TO is Rochester, New York and even though it’s not a road trip to Manhattan, we think it’s a pretty fun place to be. The car ride is just over 3 hours so it’s long enough to feel like you’re really getting time outside the GTA. Rochester has a lot to offer including The George Eastman Museum, Susan B. Anthony House, and The Strong Museum.
Just on the other side of Windsor is Detroit and while you may just be thinking of Eminem and 8 Mile, Motor City is known for much more than that. The food scene is under-the-radar, but impeccable and we hear that the shopping is pretty great too. Make sure you pop into City Bird for fun Detroit themed gifts made by local artisans.
Even though it’s a long drive, a long-weekend trip to Burlington Vermont will be well worth it. After 7 hours in the car, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to explore all of what Burlington has to offer. Check out Church Street which plays host to festivals and events throughout the year but also make sure you don’t miss out on the Waterfront Park and Burlington Bike Path for stellar views.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
If you’re interested in all things arts and culture, Ann Arbor, Michigan is the perfect place to visit. About 4 and a half hours away from Toronto, the city is home to the University of Michigan’s award-winning museums, including the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Clocking in at just 6 hours from Toronto, Grand Rapids, Michigan is the second-largest city in Michigan. The city features one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Located near downtown Grand Rapids, the park spans 158 acres and integrates horticulture and sculptural art throughout the grounds. If beer is more your thing, take a “beercation” as Grand Rapids is known as Beer City, USA. Beer lovers certainly have their options here, as the city’s beer trail features over 80 local breweries.
The Adirondacks, New York
About 6 and a half hours from Toronto sit The Adirondack Mountains. Those that love the great outdoors will appreciate the rugged beauty of the region. Canoe the 17.5-mile Saranac Lake Chain and camp out under the stars at one of the 79 campsites offered by this lake, which are only accessible by water. In the morning, consider a hike up to Mount Marcy’s summit, the highest point in the state of New York. Adirondack Park also features several accessible trails so the beautiful setting can be enjoyed by all.
Buffalo, New York
Shopping addicts know Buffalo is a great place to visit all the stores we don’t have here in Toronto, especially since it’s only a two hour drive. Did you know, however, that the city’s older buildings are built in neoclassical, beaux arts, and art deco architectural styles, including Darwin D. Martin House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Also consider a visit to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a Greek Revival museum that features modern and contemporary works.
Ithaca, New York
For a drive that takes under 5 hours, Ithaca, New York is home to Cornell University and its Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. If gorgeous waterfalls are more your speed, check out Cascadilla Falls, located within the Cornell Botanic Gardens, which also features an arboretum. Other waterfalls in the region include Ithaca Falls, located near downtown, Buttermilk Falls, and Robert H. Treman State Park.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York is located just four hours from Toronto and boasts an enviable summer festival series. There’s something for everyone with options ranging from blues music, arts and crafts, wine, and numerous cultural festivals celebrating the food, music and people of various ethnicities.
Sightseeing is easy in Erie, Pennsylvania which is just over three hours from Toronto. Located on Lake Erie, the city’s Presque Isle State Park features beaches, lagoons, trails, and even a lighthouse. If adventure is on your summer to-do list, check out Waldameer Park & Water World for roller coasters and waterslides. For some history, the Erie Maritime Museum teaches visitors about the history of Lake Erie. At the museum, be sure to check out the US Brig Niagara, a full-size 19th century ship.
Just over 6 hours from Toronto is Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania. In Harrisburg, check out the National Civil War Museum, which informs visitors on the conflict and also features interactive exhibits and reenactments. For more lighthearted fun, visit Hersheypark, a family theme park with rides, games, and of course, chocolatey treats.
If camping is more your speed, the Allegheny National Forest located near Warren, Pennsylvania is just over three hours away from Toronto. Pennsylvania’s only national forest, Allegheny is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The National Forest is a peaceful setting to hike, camp, and take part in water sports, like swimming, boating, scuba diving, tubing, water skiing, and windsurfing. For some sightseeing, check out Kinzua Dam, located within the forest, one of the largest dams in the United States east of the Mississippi River.
It takes just under five hours to drive to Toledo, Ohio from Toronto and once you get there, check out the Toledo Museum of Art, which features a large collection of modern and Renaissance art. Toledo’s legacy of glass production is celebrated at the museum’s Glass Pavilion, which displays thousands of glass works. During the summer, the city’s cultural events include the ProMedica Summer Concert Series at Promenade Park. The lineup this year includes renowned artists Diana Ross, Martina McBride, Frankie Ballard, and Chaka Khan.
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