Discover beautiful natural landscapes and vibrant cities on a 13-day road trip covering Ontario and Québec highlights. Beginning and ending in multicultural Toronto, you'll ride a glass elevator up the iconic CN Tower, practically touch thundering Niagara Falls, cruise amid 1,800 islands in the Thousand Islands archipelago, down poutine and amble historic French streets in Montréal and Québec City, and check out landmarks like Parliament Hill in Canada's capital, Ottawa.


  • Discover art, history, and yummy eats in Toronto's Distillery District 
  • Soar above the famous Niagara Falls, its river, and swirling whirlpool in a helicopter
  • Join a walking tour of Old Montréal to see the Old Port and Place d'Armes
  • Seek whales outside of Québec City and elk, deer, and wolves in Parc Oméga

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Toronto (Ontario), Explore Canada's Largest City & Dinner at CN Tower Toronto
Day 2 Visit Ripley's Aquarium & the Distillery District, Dinner Cruise Toronto
Day 3 Drive to Niagara Falls via NOTL, Guided Tour & Scenic Helicopter Flight Niagara Falls
Day 4 Full-Day Wine Tour in Niagara Niagara Falls
Day 5 Drive to Gananoque, Thousand Islands Scenic Cruise Gananoque
Day 6 Drive to Montréal (Québec), Old Montréal Walking Tour, Evening River Cruise Montréal
Day 7 Visit Atwater Market & Mount Royal, Ride La Grande Roue de Montréal Montréal
Day 8 Drive to Québec City, Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls  Québec City
Day 9 Full-Day Whale-Watching Excursion  Québec City
Day 10 Explore Île d'Orléans at Leisure, Drive to Ottawa (Ontario) Ottawa
Day 11 Amphibious Bus Tour, Discover Parc Oméga Ottawa
Day 12 Visit the Canadian Museum of History, Drive to Toronto Toronto
Day 13 Depart Toronto  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Toronto, Explore Canada's Largest City & Dinner at CN Tower

Explore Toronto's landmarks at your own pace, then enjoy dinner at the top of the CN Tower

Welcome to the largest city in Canada, Toronto! When you arrive, pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel to check in. After freshening up, venture out to explore the city on your own. An excellent place to start is Kensington Market, an eclectic neighborhood of narrow streets and quirky stores offering everything from vintage clothing and handmade crafts to global cuisine. Pop in and out of the colorful shops or grab a bite from one of the many restaurants and cafés. Continue exploring (and shopping) in Chinatown, then sit down for some dim sum if there's room.

Those who want to immerse themselves in Canada's history and culture can visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for First Nations artifacts or check out works by famed Canadian artists, like the Group of Seven, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). End the night at the iconic CN Tower, taking the glass elevator to the 360-degree revolving restaurant for dinner with a view. Watch the transition from day to night as you enjoy a three-course dinner with wine from the world's highest cellar. After dining, head up to the observation level for another look at the illuminated Ontarian capital. 

Day 2: Visit Ripley's Aquarium & the Distillery District, Dinner Cruise

Wander down the Distillery District's cobblestone streets to admire the Victorian-era architecture

Start the day with a self-guided visit to Ripley's Aquarium for a look at the array of marine life, exploring their habitats, from the vibrant coral reefs of the tropics to the mysterious depths of the open ocean. Don't miss the moving walkway that takes you through a massive glass tank full of sharks, rays, and sea turtles. With the interactive touch tanks and shows, you could easily spend a whole day here, but if you're ready to move on, continue to the Distillery District, a pedestrian-only neighborhood with cobblestone streets and Victorian-era architecture.

Discover the art galleries, boutiques, and cafés housed within the carefully restored redbrick buildings and stop for a beer or saké at one of the distilleries. In the evening, make your way to Queens Quay Terminal at the harborfront for a dinner cruise on Lake Ontario, "Lake of Shining Waters" in the Huron language. Find your reserved seat, then stroll the outer decks to admire the iconic skyline until it's time to grab a plate and browse the buffet. If you're visiting on a Friday or Saturday, end the night with a live DJ onboard. After three hours on the water, you'll return to shore and spend the evening as you like.

Day 3: Drive to Niagara Falls via NOTL, Guided Tour & Scenic Helicopter Flight

Discover Niagara Falls from a 20-minute boat cruise that takes you face-to-face to the Horseshoe Falls to a helicopter ride

Trade the bustling city streets for the thundering water of Niagara Falls as you set off on a 1.5-hour drive to the natural wonder. On the way, stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a picturesque Victorian-era town at the mouth of the Niagara River, to discover the boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Continue along the scenic Niagara River Parkway to Niagara Falls for a guided tour of the area, starting at the Floral Clock, a working clock featuring 16,000 bedding plants. Your next stop is the Niagara Glen Nature Centre, where you can admire the rushing river in the gorge below and one or two subsequent platforms to check out the Niagara Whirlpool.

Upon reaching the falls, admire them from the scenic overlook, then ascend Skylon Tower for aerial views of the three cascades. Next, go on the Journey Behind the Falls experience that leads you into the tunnels behind Horseshoe Falls. Feel (and hear) the sheer power of the falls as millions of gallons of water surround you, then cap off your adventure with a boat cruise that takes you as close to the AmericanBridal Veil, and Horseshoe Falls as possible. Feel the cool mist on your face and listen to the thundering water on the 20-minute cruise.

If you visit during the offseason between December and April, you can discover the Butterfly Conservatory instead, where thousands of butterflies flutter among lush gardens. Stand still to have a selfie with a landed butterfly if you're not squeamish. You'll also learn about the area's history at Niagara's Fury, a 4D motion theater that transports you to 10,000 years ago. End your day with a 15-minute helicopter ride above the falls. Step inside the spacious cabin lined with large windows for uninterrupted panoramic views and learn about the area's rich history with the onboard commentary as you fly above the falls, rapids, and landmarks you visited earlier.

Day 4: Full-Day Wine Tour in Niagara

Enjoy a full-day wine tour to some of the Niagara region's best wineries

Since the Niagara region is nestled between the Great Lakes and the Niagara Escarpment, it has the perfect microclimate for grape cultivation. Today, you'll learn more about the area's temperate climate and thriving wine industry on a full-day tour of Niagara's wine country. Your guide will tailor the experience to you and your group so you can visit wineries that align with your tastes and interests. Traverse the idyllic countryside lined with picturesque vineyards to get to the first winery, where you can tour the property and learn about their grape varieties and the viticulture process.

Discover how the region's terroir influences the flavor of each varietal as you sample the vineyard's signature wines led by an experienced sommelier, from robust reds and crisp whites to the renowned Niagara ice wine. Pair the rich wine with local cheeses and chocolates to enhance the flavors before making your way to a boutique winery, where you can chat with the winemakers, learn more about their craft, and sample (more) wine. Don't miss a visit to each vineyard's gift shop so you can bring home a tasty souvenir. 

Day 5: Drive to Gananoque, Thousand Islands Scenic Cruise

Aerial panoramic view of Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario
Sail among some of the 1,800 islands of the St. Lawrence at the beautiful Thousand Islands National Park

Say goodbye to Niagara Falls this morning as you set off on a four-hour drive northeast to Gananoque, known as the "Gateway to the Thousand Islands." If you want to break up the drive, you can stop in Burlington to grab a bite to eat and enjoy scenic views of Lake Ontario. When you arrive, check in at your hotel, then head to the port to board a boat cruise around the St. Lawrence River to see waterfront estates, charming cottages, and historic landmarks like Boldt Castle and the Thousand Islands Bridge.

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As you sail, learn about the area's rich heritage, including its connection to the First Nations people, and grab a drink or snack from the full-service bar. After three hours on the water, return to the shore to wander through Gananoque's charming downtown area filled with quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants serving delicious local fare. Savor a Canadian favorite, poutine, made with crispy fries, cheese curds, and gravy, then delve into the area's past with a visit to the 1000 Islands History Museum.

Day 6: Drive to Montréal, Old Montréal Walking Tour, Evening River Cruise

Cruise under the illuminated Jacques Cartier Bridge on a 3.5-hour boat cruise

Take the Thousands Islands Parkway this morning for one last look at the idyllic setting as you set off on a 2.5-3-hour drive to Montréal. Break up the trip in Brockville, one of Ontario's oldest communities. Stroll through the picturesque downtown area or tour Fort Henry, a 19th-century fortress overlooking the water. Back in the car, make another detour to pick up the scenic Long Sault Parkway that winds amid sandy beaches and campgrounds along a series of islands in the St. Lawrence River. Crossing the border from Ontario to Québec brings a noticeable change, most evident in the signage as you're now in French-speaking Canada. 

Once in the buzz of Québec's largest city, meet your guide to wander down the cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings and learn about the city's evolution, from its early days as a fur trading post to today's metropolis. Stop in Place d'Armes to see the imposing Notre-Dame Basilica. Admire the basilica's twin towers, elaborate carvings, and stained-glass windows before exploring the tranquil interior. Then, walk along the Old Port to admire the picturesque waterfront and board a boat as darkness falls.

Glide past landmarks like the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Notre-Dame Basilica, and the 1976 Olympic Stadium, all illuminated in a soft glow. Learn about the significance of each landmark with the informative commentary. After 3.5 hours on the water, return to the port and stroll down the waterfront to find somewhere for dinner. Some restaurants within walking distance are Garde Manger, which focuses on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, or Olive et Gourmando for classic Québécois fare.

Day 7: Visit Atwater Market & Mount Royal, Ride La Grande Roue de Montréal

End the night with a ride on the impressively giant observation wheel, La Grande Roue de Montréal

Enjoy a free day to explore Montréal at your own pace. A good place to start is Atwater Market to grab breakfast. Wander through the bustling aisles of fresh produce, local cheeses, baked goods, and Québec specialties like maple syrup and smoked meats. Indulge in a Montreal-style bagel, which is typically chewier and sweeter than its New York counterpart, then continue to Mount Royal Park to hike or cycle along the network of trails winding through a lush forest. The park's hilltop location also offers panoramic views of the city skyline and the tranquil St. Lawrence River.

Don't miss Saint Joseph's Oratory, one of the world's largest shrines dedicated to the patron saint of Canada. Step inside to see the stained glass windows, intricate mosaics, and sacred artwork. End the night back at the Old Port with a ride on La Grande Roue de Montréal, the largest observation wheel in Canada. On the 20-minute ride, enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape below from your climate-controlled gondola, taking in views of the historic buildings, Mount Royal, and the tranquil St. Lawrence River.

Day 8: Drive to Québec City, Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls 

Admire the 272-foot-tall Montmorency Falls from different vantage points

Bid farewell to Montréal this morning as you set off on a three-hour drive to Québec City, Québec's bustling capital. On the way, stop in Trois-Rivières to admire centuries-old buildings in the old quarter and wander along the shores of the Saint-Maurice River. Back in the car, complete the drive to your hotel to check in, then join a guided tour to Montmorency Falls, just 15 minutes north of the city. Admire the 272-foot (83 m) cascade, making it 98 feet (30 m) taller than Niagara Falls, from the different observation decks, then cross the suspension bridge for a bird's-eye view.

Continue to the Sanctuaire Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, one of eight national shrines in the country. Admire the basilica's grand exterior, renowned as a pilgrimage site dedicated to Saint Anne, before stepping inside to see the ornate altars, sacred artworks, and artful stained glass windows. On the way back to the city, stop at Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orléans to indulge in Belgian chocolates or ice cream. Then, end the tour at the Cuivres d'Art Albert Gilles Boutique et Musée to learn about the artistry and craftsmanship behind Albert Gilles' renowned copper artwork.

Day 9: Full-Day Whale-Watching Excursion 

If you're lucky, you may spot a humpback whale breaching on your boat tour

Today's adventure will surely be memorable as you trade your rental car for a private 2.5-hour transfer to Baie-Sainte-Catherine for a whale watching tour. When you arrive, board a boat and cruise to Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park. The park is often referred to as one of the best places in the world to see whales, as 13 species frequent these waters. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may spot species like beluga, minke, fin, humpback, or blue whales.

As you glide across the water, your guide will share insights into these incredible creatures and their behaviors. When you finally spot them, get your cameras ready in the hopes that they breach. The cruise will also take you past landmarks like Phare du Haut-Fond-Prince, an iconic red-and-white lighthouse, and the Saguenay Fjord, so there's plenty to see. After a few hours on the water, return to the shore for your transfer back to Québec City.

Day 10: Explore Île d'Orléans at Leisure, Drive to Ottawa (Ontario)

Wander down the picturesque Rideau Canal to see landmarks like the Fairmont Château Laurier

As your time in Québec City draws to a close, spend your last few hours exploring Île d'Orléans at your own pace. Just a 15-minute drive from the downtown core, this idyllic island is full of picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and bountiful orchards. Cross the scenic Pont de l'Île d'Orléans and start your self-guided tour in Sainte-Pétronille, one of the island's six villages, for a stroll along the waterfront and a visit to artisanal shops and cafés.

Sample colorful produce, local cheeses, and freshly baked pastries before visiting some of the island's historical sites, such as the Maison de nos Aïeux, a 17th-century farmhouse turned museum. In the afternoon, start the 4.5-5-hour drive back into Ontario and to Ottawa, Canada's capital. After checking in and refreshing at your hotel, wander down the scenic Rideau Canal for a glimpse of landmarks like Parliament Hill and Fairmont Château Laurier before grabbing dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the water.

Day 11: Amphibious Bus Tour, Discover Parc Oméga

Cruise down the Ottawa River on an amphibious bus

Explore the city in style today on an amphibious bus that can take you down bustling streets and along the Ottawa River. Start your journey in the downtown core, driving past landmarks like Lake Dow, Landsdowne Park, and ByWard Market. After 40 minutes on land, drive into the water and watch the bus transform into a boat as you glide past Parliament Hill on one side and the Québec city of Gatineau on the other. Along the way, your guide will share fascinating stories and historical anecdotes about the city and its sites.

Following the one-hour tour, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you like. If you want to immerse yourself in nature, leave the city and province behind as you drive one hour to Parc Oméga in Montebello. Explore the 2,200-acre (890 ha) nature park, home to an array of Canadian wildlife roaming freely in their natural habitats. From majestic elk and curious deer to elusive black bears and playful wolves, the park offers ample opportunities to observe these magnificent creatures up close. When darkness falls, end your visit with a walk down the 0.93-mile (1.5 km) illuminated trail.

Day 12: Visit the Canadian Museum of History, Drive to Toronto

See if you can catch a Bluejays baseball game at the Rogers Centre

Before you drive back to Toronto today, stop in at the Canadian Museum of History in the neighboring Québec city of Gatineau. It's one of the most-visited museums in the country because of the diverse collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that chronicle the nation's history from ancient times to the present day. Step inside and learn about Canada's First Nations communities, ancient civilizations, and innovations before jumping in the car for the 4-5-hour drive back to Toronto. On the way, stop in Prince Edward County, renowned for its wineries, pristine beaches, and quaint villages. 

After stretching your legs and grabbing a bite to eat, complete the drive to your hotel in the city, then spend the rest of the evening exploring at your own pace. If it's warm enough, enjoy a picnic in High Park or check the Scotiabank Arena or Rogers Centre for last-minute tickets to any baseball or hockey games that are on. End the night along the trendy Queen Street West to visit one of the upscale restaurants, cozy cafés, or vibrant bars. If you're up for it, there are also a few clubs in this lively neighborhood.

Day 13: Depart Toronto

Savor a peameal bacon sandwich before your flight home

You may have some time before your departing flight to explore more of Toronto. Make your way to the St. Lawrence Market to browse the stalls full of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and souvenirs. Pick up a CN Tower keychain and sample local delicacies, such as a peameal bacon sandwich or sweet butter tart. When it's time, drive to the airport, drop off your rental car, and head inside to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Road Trip Across Ontario & Québec: Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montréal, Québec City & Ottawa - 13 Days
Map of Road Trip Across Ontario & Québec: Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montréal, Québec City & Ottawa - 13 Days