From firing a cannon in Prescott or sipping a cold beer in Vankleek Hill to bungee jumping in Wakefield, cooking in Picton or hiking through the treetops in the Adirondacks, there are countless things you can see and do within a four-hour drive of Ottawa. Here are 50 road trips ideas to inspire you.
Escape to the Outaouais
Île du Grand Calumet
Go whitewater rafting by day or by moonlight with HorizonX.
Explore other spots in Quebec
Where do I start? Check out festivals featuring everything from comedy to electronic music, explore Old Montreal, shop and eat in le Plateau, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, surf in the St. Lawrence (really!)…the list goes on and on.
Cycle all or part of Le P’tit Train du Nord, a 232-kilometre rail-to-trail linear park through the Laurentians.
There’s much more to Mont Tremblant than skiing. In the summer, you can hike, swim, ride a gondola, go mountain biking, kayak, eat, shop, kick back in a spa or rock out at a festival.
Go west, young (and older) road tripper
Explore the Bonnechere Caves and hunt for fossils.
Enjoy the Old Time Fiddle and Step Dancing Championships each Labour Day weekend.
Try “glamping” (glamorous camping) at Elements Luxury Tented Camp and Nature Spa.
Do you have a railroad fan in the family? Kids and adults alike get a kick out of seeing vintage trains at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario.
Visit the Wilno Heritage Park to learn about the Kashubians, settlers from what is now Poland.
Point your car eastward
Catch a concert, dance performance or literary reading at Le Chenail Cultural Centre.
Bring your binoculars to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
Shop for curds and much more at the St-Albert Cheese Co-op.
Visit the atmospheric ruins of St. Raphael’s, one of the first Catholic churches in Ontario and a National Historic Site.
Get some southern exposure
Camp, fish, swim and hike at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.
Bring the kids to Upper Canada Village, which brings 1860s Ontario to life. As well as checking out special events all summer, don’t miss the Pumpkinferno jack-o-lantern festival in October or the Alight at Night event in December.
Check out Kingston and Prince Edward County
Shop cute boutiques and stop for fabulous ice cream at Slickers.
Visit Fort Henry, shop pedestrian-friendly Princess Street, have a great dinner at Chez Piggy, Tango Nuevo or Olivea, or sign up for the wildly popular Kingston Pen tour (that’s just the tip of the iceberg).
Sandbanks Provincial Park
Rent a cottage from Ontario Parks and walk eco-friendly trails along the world’s biggest baymouth barrier dunes.
Visit wineries galore and stay at the hipster Drake Devonshire Inn.
Head south of the border
Bring your passport on a 1000 Islands cruise to visit Boldt Castle, half-built and then abandoned by a New York City millionaire.
Learn about the Adirondacks’ ecology and walk an elevated path through the treetop canopy at the Wild Center.
I created this road trips list as part of my participation in this past weekend’s excellent Glowfair festival on Bank Street in Centretown, by the way. Don’t miss the festival when it returns next June!
Disclosure: I have visited the following locations as a guest of one or more of the properties mentioned and/or the local tourist board: Chelsea, Montebello, Bromont, Laval, Montreal, Almonte, L’Orignal, St-Albert, Vankleek Hill, Brockville, Upper Canada Village, Prescott, Picton, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Syracuse and Tupper Lake.
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