Whether you’re looking for an afternoon away or a weekend out of the country, Detroit is perfectly positioned to accommodate, without ever having to board a plane. (Just don’t forget your passport.)
Here, we’re detailing a few of our favorite Canadian road trip destinations:
ONE HOUR AWAY
Point Pelee National Park, Ontario
Time from Detroit: 1 hour, 10 minutes // Distance: 42 miles
Only two hours from Detroit, Point Pelee is one of Canada’s national parks, a long, thin landmass stretching out into Lake Erie and beckoning migrating birds of all sorts. With beaches on either side of the small peninsula, you’re nearly always bound to find a sunny spot, and if lounging isn’t your thing, you can rent a canoe and paddle the marshes or trek some of the wilderness trails.
Best tip: Stop into Birdie’s Perch, a street-side bus-turned-restaurant, for fresh fish tacos on your way to and home from the park; it’s only a 15-minute drive from the park’s main entrance.
TWO HOURS AWAY
Grand Bend Beach & Lambton Shores
Time from Detroit: 1 hour, 50 minutes // Distance: 109 miles
Trevor’s family has a cottage a block from Lake Huron, so we’ve been frequenting the small surf-style town since we met. In the summer months, Main Street fills with a diverse and bustling college crowd milling about local bars, restaurants and beach shops, but the real draw is the deep, sandy beach and crystal blue waters. If Grand Bend is too buzzy a spot for you, head 20 minutes north to Bayfield, a sleepier lakeside community with quaint hotel options.
Best tip: Call a day ahead to book a parasailing tour; it’s the best perspective for admiring the beaches and gaining new appreciation for the gorgeous Great Lakes.
THREE HOURS AWAY
Langdon Hall Country House & Spa, Ontario
Time from Detroit: 2 hours, 48 minutes // Distance: 185 miles
If you’re looking for a luxe weekend retreat that’s off the beaten path, check out this Relais & Chateaux property that was originally built as a summer house in 1902 (I’ve stayed there three times now, if you need proof that I truly adore it). Most of Langdon Hall‘s rooms – all classically decorated – feature a wood-burning fireplace. Book an overnight package that includes a three-course dinner at their impressive on-site restaurant as well as breakfast, then walk the grounds, indulge at the spa or check out the nearby town of Cambridge and its boutique shops and coffee stops.
Best tip: Plan a pit stop in London, Ontario and head to the Covent Garden Market, an indoor bazaar of fresh and local offerings that’s been around since the mid 1800s.
FOUR HOURS AWAY
Time from Detroit: 3 hours, 41 minutes // Distance: 233 miles
A bit closer than Chicago, with significantly more international flair, Toronto doesn’t always get a fair shake. We love spending at least one weekend a year downtown, checking out new restaurants and watering holes. Hotels and AirBnBs are aplenty, shopping is great and in the summer, you can walk the lakeside path nearly as far as you want. I especially like the Distillery District, full of good dining options and little shops, and not far from the sweet, riverside Sugar Beach.
Best tip: Check out Toronto’s tourism site when planning your trip to see what’s happening in the city during your stay. You can find a slew of good theater options, sporting events and cultural happenings, especially in the warmer months.
Time from Detroit: 3 hours, 48 minutes // Distance: 237 miles
It’d never occurred to me to head toward Niagara-on-the-Lake when Toronto isn’t much farther, but what an oversight. Our friends planned a wine tasting weekend in this charming, historical town a couple years back and it’s been on my recommendation list ever since. With nearly 30 wineries and a walkable downtown, it’s perfect for a girls’ weekend or a romantic-ish night away. Plus, it’s not too far from the famous falls if you’ve never seen them in person.
Best tip: If you’re going for the grapes, consider booking a wine tour so that you don’t need to worry about driving yourselves; several options exist.