5 International Escapes from Metro Detroit
Where to go on a long weekend getaway from Metro Detroit? Perhaps you’ve seen my first post, with 5 attainable road trips close to home. In that list, all the suggestions were out of Michigan but still stateside. Here we’re taking it up a notch – we’re dusting off that passport (or enhanced license) and hopping the border.
I’ve once been of the thought that “Canada doesn’t count” as a new country to visit, since it’s a ridiculously fast drive to foreign land. But our neighbor to the north deserves more attention when it comes to new destinations to visit for a long weekend road trip.
The rules for this small list were simple: The location must be (1.) in Canada, (2.) less than 300 miles away (3.) a fun place to visit. Note: distances were calculated from Campus Martius in Detroit.
They are realistic, achievable, affordable and not too far away from home. Here it is: 5 attainable INTERNATIONAL long weekend getaways from Metro Detroit.
ESSEX COUNTY, ONTARIO
~32 miles – ~51 minutes (depending on which winery you visit)
Winos, unite! While Michigan has some amazing vineyards (e.g. Leelanau Peninsula), there’s another wine trail even closer to home. Canada has three major wine regions and Essex County, Ontario is home to one of them. With nearly 20 wineries in this region, you can easily spend a day or two sipping that sauvignon and expanding that wine palette. There are various tasting rooms nestled along a scenic route and this website is excellent at helping you plan out your road trip. If you’ve yet to try ice wine, here’s the place to do it. Planning your next girls weekend or romantic runaway just got easier.
Timing is everything: It’s always wine o’clock. Are you kidding me?
GLEN ROCK CONSERVATION AREA
99 miles – 1 hour 36 minutes
This road trip is quick enough where you could simply go for a day. Pack a picnic, don your hiking shoes, bring your bathing suit, and plan for a relaxing visit surrounded by nature. There are covered picnic areas, barbecues, a small museum, walking trails, and my favorite – a beautiful waterfall that cascades into a pool and down a creek. Glen Rock is known for it’s fossil deposits and it’s likely you’ll find 350 million year old crinoid, brachiopods, and trilobites while you’re there. As a kid I used to think of it as a ‘dinosaur’ park and felt like an archaeologist hunting for dino bones.
Timing is everything: While winter is beautiful, you can’t beat summer for picnicking, hiking, and fossil hunting.
150 miles – 2 hours 31 minutes
All the world’s a stage and Stratford has a famous one. The Globe theatre in Stratford, England is where Shakespeare’s original works were once performed but the Stratford in Canada has the Avon Theatre where Shakespeare, one of the most influential and iconic literary figures, is celebrated today. But Stratford is more than just theatre and Shakespeare. If you check out the Stratford Tourism website you just may fall in love – Bacon & ale trails? Maple syrup trails? Chocolate trails? Festivals? Antiques? Culinary adventures? There’s a reason why this town is known as Canada’s Premier Arts Town. Wherefore art thou, Michiganders?
Timing is everything: Visit during the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
232 miles – 3 hours 35 minutes
Among the top 5 most populous cities in North America, Toronto is a metropolis that will keep you busy all weekend. There’s so much to see and do in Toronto, nearly every type of traveler or activity can be accommodated. Rent a bike and ride around this bike-friendly city, snack on some poutine, stroll around the dalley-in-the-alley-esque Kensington Market, visit the historical Distillery District, taste free samples at the St. Lawrence Market, face your fear of heights atop the CN Tower, sunbathe in the buff on Toronto Island, culture yourself at any of the world-class museums or performing arts centers or art galleries, explore the neighborhoods like Little Italy or Chinatown… is your itinerary planned yet?
Timing is everything: visit the city for the Christmas markets or celebrity spot during the Toronto Film Festival.
237 miles – 3 hours 40 minutes
North America’s boast to waterfall fame is only a weekend road trip away. With the highest flow rate in the world, Niagara Falls is a spectacle of nature’s power. Though it stradles the U.S./Canadian border, everyone knows the Canadian side is better. Yes, the town is slightly obnoxious and kitschy (I’m looking at you, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not…), but activities like the Maid of the Mist boat tour, Journey Behind the Falls, wine tasting and visiting the botanical gardens and old Fort Niagara make for a slightly more ‘authentic’ Niagara experience. Groupon always has deals on hotels.
What do you think of these international escapes? Are there any you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.
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