I always forget how fun it is to spend a day at the Toronto Islands.
It’s one of those spots you overlook as a local, and it’s kind of like a mini getaway when you do visit.
You can totally make a day trip out of your visit, but I usually just visit for a half day!
There are plenty of activities to do during the summer months, and I’ll be sharing some of my favourite things to do.
Here’s how to spend a day exploring the Toronto Islands, including all the best activities to do!
How to get to the Toronto Islands
The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is located right by the water, just south of the Bay St. and Queens Quay intersection.
There’s a Bike Share rack right in front, so you can rent a bike and take the Waterfront bike trail to get here if you want!
If you have your own bike, you can bring it onto the Islands as well – it’s pretty safe as it’s completely car-free (minus service vehicles).
The ferries leave to 3 different destinations: Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island, and Ward’s Island.
Take note you’ll also need to wear a mask while riding the ferry.
Tickets must be booked online, and there’s a limit of 5,000 tickets being sold daily.
Below are the roundtrip ferry prices, and you can take the ferry to and from any of the 3 destinations with your tickets.
Ferry prices (roundtrip)
- $8.19 for adults
- $5.37 for students and seniors
- $3.95 for kids under 14
- Free for kids under 2
I’ve also listed the general schedules below, but you can see actual departure times on the official website.
- Weekdays: Departs the city 6:30 AM-4 PM and heads back to city 6:45 AM-4:15 PM
- Weekends & holidays: Departs the city 8 AM-5:30 PM and heads back to city 8:15 AM-5:45 PM
- Weekdays: Departs the city hourly 10 AM-7 PM and heads back to city 10:30 AM-7:30 PM
- Weekends & holidays: Departs the city 10 AM-10 PM and heads back to city 10:30 AM-9:30 PM and 10:15 PM
- Daily: Departs the city hourly 6:30 AM-11:30 PM and heads back to city 7 AM-11 PM and 11:45 PM
Things to do on the Toronto Islands
1. Walk from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island
Get yo’ walking shoes on and walk from one end of the Toronto Islands to the other.
Take a ferry to Hanlan’s Point, take the leisurely hour stroll to Ward’s Island, then take the ferry back to the city from Ward’s.
With stops along the way, it’ll likely be more like a two hour walk from one end to the other.
The Islands are actually made up of 15 small islands, so there’s a lot to see along the way!
You can also get all kinds of pretty views of the Toronto skyline from various points on the island.
2. Rent a bike
Roll around the Toronto Islands in a bike, tandem bike, or even a quadricycle.
The only bike rental spot is on Centre Island, and fees range from $9 to $32, depending on which bikes you rent.
Of course, you can bring your own bike, skateboard, or longboard onto the ferry if you’d prefer!
3. Relax on the beaches
Pack a swimsuit and get to sunbathin’.
You can find plenty of sandy beach spots to relax at on the Toronto Islands, whether you’re looking for something more secluded or somewhere with lots of families.
There are three main beaches on the Toronto Islands: Hanlan’s Point Beach, Centre Island Beach, and Ward’s Island Beach.
Hanlan’s Point is clothing-optional, so don’t freak out if you see unclothed people chillin’ in the sand.
4. Have a picnic on the Toronto Islands
Pack a picnic blanket, some sandwiches and drinks, and have a nice lil’ picnic on the islands.
Egg salad sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches are both great picnic lunch ideas!
There are plenty of picnic benches and barbecue stations as well – all ya gotta do is bring your own charcoal.
5. Check out the Centreville Amusement Park
The Centreville Amusement Park is a great family-friendly spot for the kiddos, with plenty of rides and even a small farm.
My parents took me here as a kid, but tbh I don’t remember any of it.
It’s closed at the moment due to restrictions, but definitely pay a visit when things open up again!
6. Stop by Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes, as well as one of Toronto’s oldest buildings.
It was built in 1808, and it’s a cool spot to stop by during your visit to the Toronto Islands!
It’s not in use anymore, but there’s still a keeper that looks after the lighthouse.
Rumour has it that it’s haunted by a ghost who was murdered in the 19th century, so maybe don’t visit after dark.
7. Visit St. Andrew’s by the Lake Church
Another historical spot on the Toronto Islands is the St. Andrew’s by the Lake Church, which was built back in 1884.
It’s a beautiful church that also makes for great photos!
8. Hike at Snake Island
While it’s more of a forested walk, hiking through Snake Island truly feels like a little escape from the city.
You’re unlikely to encounter any snakes while on the island, but there are definitely a lot of bugs.
As we’re not fans of snakes or bugs, we opted to take a quick peek before running off into the safety of paved roads.
Snake Island is the only place that allows camping on the Toronto Islands, but it’s only for Girl and Boy Scout groups.
9. Try some water activities
Looking to do some fun water activities to do while in the city?
You can do stand up paddle boarding (also known as SUP), kayaking, and canoeing on the Toronto Islands!
I’d recommend doing SUP for at least 2 hours on the water – time goes by really quickly!
10. Grab patio drinks at one of the Toronto Island cafés
There aren’t too many options for cafés or restaurants on the Toronto Islands, but it’s still fun to chill at a patio with a beer or an iced coffee.
Here’s a list of some great cafés and restaurants you can check out:
- The Upper Deck (Centre Island)
- The Riviera (Ward’s Island)
- Island Café (Ward’s Island) – temporarily closed
Things to do on the Toronto Islands:
- Walk from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island
- Rent a bike
- Relax on the beaches
- Have a picnic
- Check out the Centreville Amusement Park
- Stop by Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
- Visit St. Andrew’s by the Lake Church
- Hike at Snake Island
- Try some water activities
- Grab patio drinks at one of the cafés
There are plenty of fun things to do on the Toronto Islands, whether you’re interested in adventurous water activities or just chillin’ on a clothing optional beach.
You can totally check all these activities off your list in just a day, or just pick and choose things you’d like to do.
We personally love heading out in the early morning and coming back in the afternoon, but watching the sunset from the Toronto Islands is certainly worth staying late!
If you’re looking for more Toronto neighbourhoods to explore, check out some of my other posts on the best things to do in various neighbourhoods:
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