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10 Best Things to Do at the Toronto Islands

10 Best Things to Do at the Toronto Islands

Looking for the best things to do on the Toronto Islands this summer?

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 from the city when you do visit.

It’s also one of the cutest neighbourhoods in Toronto, and people actually live here!

View of the skyline from the Toronto Islands

Fun fact: the Toronto Islands is the largest car-free neighbourhood in all of North America, so you can feel safe wandering around whether you’re exploring with friends or kiddos!

You can totally make a day trip out of your visit, but I usually just visit the Toronto Islands for a half day.

There are plenty of activities and things to do on the Toronto Islands during the summer months, and I’ll be sharing some of my favourites.

Here are the best and most fun activities and things to do on the Toronto Islands!

Be sure to also follow me on Instagram and TikTok – I share a lot more content on those platforms that don’t make it to the blog!

Hotels in Toronto

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while you’re in Toronto, these are some great options:

You can also check out my post on the best boutique hotels in Toronto if you’re looking for a more unique stay!

More things to do in Toronto

If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in Toronto, you might enjoy these posts:

Local tours

Or, check out some local tours if you’re looking to do even more fun and unique activities, like these ones:

  • Downtown Toronto bike tour: explore the best of downtown Toronto via bike on a guided 3.5 hour tour, which takes you through Chinatown, City Hall, and the Entertainment District.
  • Distillery District segway tour: zip through the Distillery District on a guided 1-hour segway tour and learn about the history behind this super cute historical neighbourhood.
  • Kensington Market food tour: taste your way through one of Toronto’s most diverse neighbourhoods on this 2.5 hour tour.

How to get to the Toronto Islands

Toronto Islands ferry

So, how do you get to the Toronto Islands?

You can either take a water taxi or ferry to get to the Toronto Islands.

Most people take the ferry to the Toronto Islands as it’s significantly cheaper, but it’s up to you however you want to get to or leave the island!

Water taxis

If you’d prefer to travel to the Toronto Islands without the crowds, water taxis might be a better option for you.

All of the water taxis leave from the Harbourfront area, and they’re $12 per person one-way.

So if you’re doing a roundtrip, it costs $24 each for both adults and children.

Here are a few different water taxi services you can take to the Toronto Islands:

The sunset view of the Toronto skyline from the Toronto Islands ferry
The view of the Toronto skyline from the water.

Toronto Islands ferry

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).

Hanlan's Point ferry waiting area at the Toronto Islands
The waiting area for the ferry at Hanlan’s Point.

The ferries leave to 3 different destinations: Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island, and Ward’s Island.

Ferry tickets must be booked online, and it includes a return trip back to the city.

Below are the roundtrip ferry prices, and you can take the ferry to and from any of the 3 destinations with your tickets.

Toronto Islands ferry prices (roundtrip)

  • $8.70 for adults
  • $5.60 for youth (under 19) and seniors
  • $4.10 for kids under 14
  • Free for kids under 2

I’ve listed the hours of operation for the schedules below, which change depending on the seasons.

You can see actual departure times on the official website.

Hanlan’s Point

Departures to Hanlan’s Point:

  • Weekday & weekend departures: 8 AM-4 PM

Departures from Hanlan’s Point to the city:

  • Weekday & weekend departures: 8:15 AM-4:15 PM
Centre Island

Departures to Centre Island:

  • Weekday departures: 11 AM-6:30 PM
  • Weekend departures: 9:30 AM-6:30 PM

Departures from Centre Island to the city:

  • Weekday departures: 11:20 AM-6:50 PM
  • Weekend departures: 9:45 AM-6:50 PM
Ward’s Island

Departures to Ward’s Island:

  • Weekday & weekend departures: 6:30 AM-11:30 PM

Departures from Ward’s Island to the city:

  • Weekday & weekend departures: 6:45 AM-11:45 PM

Best things to do on the Toronto Islands

Quadricycle rental on the Toronto Islands

Rent a bike

Rent some wheels and ride 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 $9.50 to $36 per hour, depending on which bikes you rent.

Of course, you can bring your own bike, skateboard, or longboard onto the ferry if you’d prefer!

Quadricycle bike at the Toronto Islands

If you’d rather do a guided tour, you can also do a fun 3.5 hour bike tour of the Toronto Islands, where you get to ride all around the islands and learn about the island’s 200 year history.

The tour actually includes your roundtrip ferry ticket, a bicycle and helmet, as well as snacks and water, which makes life a little easier!

And if you’re looking for even more places to ride a bike in Toronto, I’ve got a post all about the best bike trails in Toronto.

Skyline view from the Toronto Islands

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.

Centre Island, Toronto Islands

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 (especially if you’re looking for Instagram-worthy spots in Toronto).

Centre Island, Toronto Islands
Toronto Islands

It’s a lot of walking, so be prepared with a good pair of sneakers that you can walk all day in.

My all-time favourite sneakers for walking in are the Adidas Ultraboost 1.0 sneakers – they truly feel like walking on a cloud!

Beach at the Toronto Islands

Relax on the beaches

Pack your cutest 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.

Picnic at the Toronto Islands

Have a picnic on the Toronto Islands

Pack a picnic blanket, some sandwiches and drinks, and have a nice lil’ picnic on the Toronto Islands.

Egg salad sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches are both great and easy picnic lunch ideas you can pack!

Japanese egg sandos for a picnic at the Toronto Islands
We made egg sandos for our Toronto Islands picnic.

If you’re not keen on packing something from home, you can stop by Farm Boy, Loblaws, or Longo’s by the waterfront for packaged meals before heading to the ferry or water taxi.

There are plenty of picnic benches and barbecue stations as well – all ya gotta do is bring your own charcoal.

Far Enough Farm on the Toronto Islands

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!

You can say hi to the chickens.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse at the Toronto Islands

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 definitely a cool spot to stop by during your visit to the Toronto Islands!

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse at 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 *gasp* haunted by a ghost who was murdered in the 19th century, so maybe don’t visit after dark.

Unless you want to film your own Paranormal Activity movie or something.

St. Andrew's by the Lake Church on the Toronto Islands

Visit St. Andrew’s by the Lake Church

Another cool 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!

The church is still in operation, though right now they’re closed due to restrictions.

Fall views at the Toronto Islands

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.

Stand-up paddle boarding at the Toronto Islands

Try some water activities

If you’re looking to do some fun water activities in Toronto, the Toronto Islands is the perfect spot to do them.

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!

Stand up paddle boarding at the Toronto Islands
Stand-up paddle boarding at the Toronto Islands

You can rent kayaks or canoes on the Toronto Islands or rent them at the Harbourfront and kayak or canoe your way to the Toronto Islands.

It’s honestly so much fun, and you get some of the best views of the Toronto skyline!

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 when things open up again:

Best things to do on the Toronto Islands:

  1. Rent a bike
  2. Walk from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island
  3. Relax on the beaches
  4. Have a picnic
  5. Check out the Centreville Amusement Park
  6. Stop by Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
  7. Visit St. Andrew’s by the Lake Church
  8. Hike at Snake Island
  9. Try some water activities
  10. 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!

What are your favourite activities and things to do while visiting the Toronto Islands? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

More things to do in Toronto

If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in Toronto, you might enjoy these posts:

More Toronto neighbourhoods

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:

Be sure to keep up with me on Instagram, TikTokTwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

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The Toronto Islands is a fun mini getaway you can do right in the heart of downtown Toronto. Just take the short 15 minute ferry over to the islands and enjoy a day trip full of activities! Here's how to spend the perfect day exploring the Toronto Islands.

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