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  • Krista the Explorer

5 Fun Day Trips From Stratford, Ontario

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Stratford is a great day trip option from places like Toronto or London. If you happen to live in or around Perth County though, you may be wondering what options you have for day trips from Stratford itself. Since Stratford is located in the heart of Southwestern Ontario, there are plenty of unique places to visit that vary from small towns in Ontario to larger cities to beach getaways. And if you don’t mind starting off very early in the morning and driving for a few hours, you’ll definitely be spoiled for choice.


The location of Stratford makes it an ideal place to base yourself from if you’re planning a small town Ontario road trip. If you happen to visit the area in the summer months, you’ll be able to take full advantage of all of the local produce coming out of the farms, and of course you can enjoy the gorgeous sunshine as you drive along country roads. For first time visitors to Perth County who may not know what’s nearby, here’s a small list of some of the best day trips from Stratford, Ontario that are unlike any other parts of the province.


Elora

A wooden shop painted dark blue in Elora.
Mermaid in Elora

One of my favourite small towns in Ontario is Elora. Located just north of Guelph, and only an hour away from Stratford, you’ll want to add one of Ontario's prettiest towns to your itinerary. Despite it being small in size, there are enough things to do in Elora to keep you entertained for a full day. The shops in Elora really can’t be beat, and there are some fantastic restaurants in Elora to choose from as well. One that I would highly recommend is The Evelyn which offers a French-inspired menu that’s made up of all fresh and local ingredients. There are plenty of outdoor activities in and around Elora too, so there’s something for everyone.


Bayfield

A historic building turned into an archives centre in Bayfield.
Archives & Heritage Centre

If quaint small towns are your thing, then a day trip to Bayfield is a must. It’s located along Lake Huron, and is just north of Grand Bend. The town itself dates back to 1832, and the shops and restaurants that line its main street are beautiful to look at from the outside with their colonial-style facades that are very similar to those found in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s old town. I would highly recommend visiting Bayfield in the summer months so you can enjoy strolling between the shops in the warmer weather, but it’s still a great option for a day trip from Stratford at any time of the year.


Goderich

View of the main street in Goderich with colourful wall art.
Goderich

Just over an hour from Stratford is the small town of Goderich. Nestled along the shores of Lake Huron, this is another example of one of Canada’s prettiest small towns that has visitors flocking to it at all seasons. Apart from its unique downtown area that’s shaped like a hexagon, Goderich is very popular in the summertime with people wanting to head to the beach that don’t want to deal with the madness that comes with visiting places like Grand Bend.


Niagara-on-the-Lake

A winery in Niagara with a glass of wine outside.
Marynissen Estates

When I was younger, we used to go on day trips to Niagara Falls all the time. But if you’d rather not get stuck among the crowds of tourists there, a great alternative is to take a 2 hour drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake instead. This part of the Niagara region is known for its vast amount of wineries, great food, and historic attractions. The old town in NOTL is absolutely stunning, with many locally run shops and eateries lining its main street, and the odd historic site to visit as well. It’s also one of the most popular places in Ontario for hiking and cycling, and is a beautiful area to drive around. Whatever you decide to do here, it’s one of the best day trips from Stratford, Ontario to go on.


Toronto

Skyline of Toronto with the CN Tower viewed from Toronto Island.
Toronto skyline

This one may be a bit obvious, but Toronto always makes for a great day trip from Stratford. By car it should take no more than 2 hours, but with the traffic you never know. Instead, I would suggest hopping on the train from Stratford to Toronto, which takes a little longer but will give you at least half a day to explore the city. Unfortunately there’s only one GO Train a day that passes through Stratford, connecting London to Toronto, so if you want to spend more time in Toronto you’d have to stay overnight. That being said, there are a lot of things you can pack into a day trip to Toronto.


If you’re spending more than a day in Stratford, Ontario then hopefully some of these day trip ideas will appeal to you. There are a lot of things to do in Stratford to keep you busy for at least a couple of days, but it’s always great to explore the surrounding area as well. Stratford is the perfect place to base yourself from, so you’ll have a lot of day trips from Stratford to choose from when you sit down to plan your schedule. There are many more unique places in Ontario to visit than what I’ve mentioned in my short list, but this should get you started.


Have you been to any nice areas around Stratford that I should mention in my next blog post? I’d love to hear any recommendations or new ideas, so please drop me a message in the comment section below or get in touch via Instagram!


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