Guelph is in a perfect spot geographically for many excellent family day trips. Of course, there are many fantastic things to do in Guelph, but if you want to take your family on a short road trip below are some of my family’s personal favourite day trip destinations.
The village of Rockwood is a short fifteen minute drive from the east end of Guelph. While visiting Rockwood I recommend going to the Rockwood conservation area to go hiking (for more local hiking trails read our hiking blog), canoeing, kayaking, swimming or cave exploring. Rockwood Conservation Area is beautiful and it feels wonderful to reconnect with the great outdoors. Close to the Conservation Area is the famous Saunders Bakery – home of delicious jelly-filled doughnuts.
Elora is another village located a short drive north of Guelph. While in Elora my family and I like to visit the quaint shops downtown. Older children, teens and adults will enjoy tubing down the river; it’s exciting, just watch out for the occasional big rock. The Elora Conservation Area is another great spot for a hike; I personally don’t bring my toddler there for hikes because the cliffs along the path are high up. Elora Quarry is a refreshing spot for a summer swim. Elora also has caves, ziplining and a splash pad.
St. Jacobs is a wonderful day trip location from Guelph. When my family and I go there we like to shop for fresh, local produce at the farmer’s market and at Toy Soup (toy store located in the village). St. Jacob’s is also a train lovers paradise because it has two model train museums and the Waterloo Central Railway (for more train info read out trains blog). The village of St. Jacobs also has a Mennonites Museum and plenty of unique shops and restaurants. The bakery there bakes the best banana bread.
Stratford is a beautiful place to visit and is about an hour from Guelph. The toy store Family & Company at the end of their main street is one the best. Usually when we go we like to eat at Bentley’s. Statford Festival puts on top notch plays. Going for walks, playing in the playgrounds or swam spotting along the Avon River is also enjoyable.
Ontario’s capital Toronto is about an hour drive from Guelph. For Guelph Kids Guide’s Toronto recommendations please go to our Top Kids Activities in Toronto blog.
Spending the day at the beach is a fun family activity. Most of these beaches are about a two hours drive from Guelph. Bayfield, Goderich, Grand Bend, Sauble Beach, Port Elgin and Southampton are all recommended beach towns located on Lake Huron. Port Stanley and Port Dover are two of Lake Erie’s recommended beach destinations.
African Lion Safari is less than a half hour away from the south end of Guelph. Your family can go on safari and spend the day at their splash pad. If you plan on going 3 or more times a season’s pass is worth the cost.
Emerald Lake is just outside of Guelph in Puslinch. You can spend the day swimming in the quarry or in their water park.
London is just over an hour west of Guelph. London’s top children’s spots are their Children’s Museum, Springbank Park and the fairytales world Storybook Gardens. For delicious and filling panzerotti and pizza you should eat at Tony’s Pizzeria.
Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls are less than two hours drive from Guelph. I enjoy visiting both when I go to the area. The quaint, “posh” village feel of the shops, theatre and restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a neat contrast to the tacky, loud, fun of Niagara Fall’s Clifton Hill. Obviously no trip to there is complete without walking to look at the gorgeous falls.
As you can see there are many incredible day trip options from Guelph. The only big decision is where you and your family are going to visit next?