8 Great Summer Family Outings

Posted by Dani on August 2, 2012

Years ago when the kids were young we somehow started a tradition of going on family outings to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and my birthday, which all fall during the prime sunny weather months of May – July. It has given us an excuse to plan a fun day each month where we can all get out together and do something fun. This tradition was one of those things I call accidental great parenting ideas. It wasn’t thought out, just something we fell into, but it has led to many great family days over the years.

For these outings, we often try to do something new. And we always make sure to include some great food, either a stop in a new café or restaurant or a picnic with our favourite eats. Our last outing was the canoe trip down the Rouge River and beach picnic that we did for my birthday, since we wanted to stay local and get to know the Rouge, site of our very own future national park. We’ve taken the bikes down to Kensington Market, gone kite flying on the bluffs, hiked the Elora Gorge, and gone roller blading and biking on Center Island among other things. Lots of good times.

I’ve put together a list of some great ideas for fun family outings to get you started this summer. Some of these we’ve done already, and some are on our to-do list. Have a look, and see if anything inspires you.

1. Toronto Islands
Hop a ferry at Queens Quay and head over to the Islands. Rent some bikes or bring your own, hit the beach, walk through the charming homes on Wards Island, take the little ones to Franklin Children’s Garden or for a ride in Centreville. Lots to do!

Toronto Islands

2. Take a day trip to Elora.
Hike along the Elora Gorge or take a tube ride down the Grand River. Swim in the “old swimming hole” in the picturesque Elora Quarry and watch the cliff jumpers. Or for the more adventurous, zipline off an 80 foot cliff and rappel down the side of the gorge. And don’t forget to stop into the cute town of Elora for a bite to eat and a look at the charming shops.

Elora Quarry

3. Drive-in movie at The Docks
How about seeing a summer blockbuster at North America’s only downtown drive-in movie theatre? Invite a pile of friends for carload Sundays, when it’s only $25 for the entire car, no matter how many you fit in. Have a game of miniputt or hit the driving range while you’re there.

4. Hit the bike paths
Explore the city in a different way by trying out some of the many great bike paths. Try to get to a fun destination like St. Lawrence Market or the Brickworks where you can refuel.

Beaches boardwalk and bike path

5. Explore a new neighbourhood.
Spend an afternoon getting to know a new Toronto neighbourhood. Hunt for vintage clothing in Kensington Market, try some Greek food on the Danforth, or take a long walk along Bloor West, Queen East in the Beach, or Queen West. Skip lunch and stop in at every bakery or deli you pass for something fun to much on. See if you can find a cool bookstore. Grab an ice cream cone and stop in a local park.

6. Go fly a kite
Not something I normally think of doing, but we had a great time one year heading down to the bluffs with a kite and a picnic. There are a lot of great parks to explore in the city. How about trying High Park, and then finding a nice café on Bloor West for a snack. Bring a Frisbee, football or volleyball for some added fun. And don’t forget some great food.

7. St. Jacobs for the day
Check out some of the galleries and shops in town, or take a ride on an antique steam train. Grab some food at the farmers market, Canada’s largest year round market or hit the trails along the Grand River for hiking, biking or birdwatching.

St. Jacobs

8. Try A New Family Activity
How about go carting, rock climbing or circus school? Golf lessons and a game? Wind surfing at Ashbridge’s Bay? These days there are tons of things to try. Its great for family bonding when the kids excel at picking up these new skills and get to laugh as their mom and dad look silly trying to figure it all out –it’s all good times.


Photo credits: Toronto islands courtesy of vlitvinov on flickr, St Jacobs courtesy of us06154 on flickr, Elora Quarry courtesy of Grand River Conservation Authority on flickr











2 Responses to “8 Great Summer Family Outings”

  1. how2home says:

    Love your suggestions for places to visit! Have you been here before Badlands before? It is in Caledon, just right outside of brampton. It’s really awesome for photo shoots and to walk around (www.ontariotrails.on.ca/trails-a-z/cheltenham-hills/)

    • Dani says:

      Wow, I just checked out your link to the Caledon Badlands – looks amazing! We will definitely add it to our list of places to check out. Thanks so much for sharing.

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