50 road trips and weekend getaways from Ottawa you MUST try this summer!

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

Aylmer

Interior of Café British in Aylmer. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Interior of Café British in Aylmer. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Have lunch or stay in The British, a restored 19th-century hotel, or take the kids swimming in the Ottawa River at Parc des Cèdres.

Chelsea

Relax in the hot and cold pools of Le Nordik Spa-Nature, or see local artworks at La Fab Arts Centre.

Fort Coulonge

Chutes Coulonge, waterfall, Quebec.

The waterfall and canyon at Chutes Coulonge are a great spectacle. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

See the mighty Chutes Coulonge, bike the 92-kilometre Cycloparc PPJ or stay at the Spruceholme Inn.

Gatineau Park

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of ruins at Mackenzie King Estate by Mac Armstrong.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of ruins at Mackenzie King Estate by Mac Armstrong.

Explore Mackenzie King’s collection of ruins or hike the steep but scenic Luskville Falls Trail.

Île du Grand Calumet


Go whitewater rafting by day or by moonlight with HorizonX.

Montebello

The West Entrance of Fairmont Le Château Montebello. Photo courtesy of Fairmont Le Château Montebello.

Try an electric ATV scooter scavenger hunt with Géo Explora, drive among roaming animals at Parc Oméga, or splurge on a night at Fairmont Le Château Montebello.

Wakefield

Wakefield's covered bridge is the village's landmark. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Wakefield’s covered bridge is the village’s landmark. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Try Canada’s highest bungee jump at Great Canadian Bungee, catch live music at the Black Sheep Inn, explore a marsh by pedal-boat at Éco-Odyssée or enjoy a romantic getaway at the Wakefield Mill.

Explore other spots in Quebec

Bromont

Atlanta video blogger Dayvee Sutton learns the fine points of molding chocolate from museum president Michel Bilodeau.

Make and eat chocolate treats at a chocolate museum or visit one of Quebec’s largest spas (Balnea).

Laval

Photo courtesy of SkyVenture Montreal.

Skydive without a plane! Photo courtesy of SkyVenture Montreal.

Test your skills in a flight simulator at AéroSim Éxperience or thrill to a skydiving-style free fall in a wind tunnel at SkyVenture Montreal.

Montreal

Café Venosa is one of two "cat cafés" in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood. Photo copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

Café Venosa is one of two “cat cafés” in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood. Photo copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

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.

St-Jérôme


Cycle all or part of Le P’tit Train du Nord, a 232-kilometre rail-to-trail linear park through the Laurentians.

Mont Tremblant

Mont Tremblant village

Photo of Mont Tremblant village copyright David Finn.

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

Almonte

A pulled-pork crepe with local maple syrup at the Mill Street Crepe Company in Almonte.

A pulled-pork crepe with local maple syrup at the Mill Street Crepe Company on the Good Food Tour in Almonte.

Take the Good Food Tour of local restaurants and shops, or check out the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.

Barry’s Bay

The South of 60 Arts Centre in Barry's Bay.

The South of 60 Arts Centre in Barry’s Bay.

See what’s going on at the South of 60 Arts Centre and pick up some outdoor gear at MAD Outdoors before heading to Algonquin Park.

Beachburg


Between Beachburg and Foresters Falls, you can go whitewater rafting with OWL Rafting, RiverRun Rafting or Wilderness Tours.

Carleton Place

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of Carleton Place by Doug Kerr.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of Carleton Place by Doug Kerr.

Check out the shops and historic buildings downtown, then meditate as you make your way around the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth.

Eganville


Explore the Bonnechere Caves and hunt for fossils.

Pakenham

The Pakenham General Store

The Pakenham General Store is a great place to browse.

See the famous five-arch bridge, shop at the friendly Pakenham General Store and hike through the High Lonesome Nature Reserve.

Pembroke


Enjoy the Old Time Fiddle and Step Dancing Championships each Labour Day weekend.

Perth


Take part in the Perth World Record Kilt Run or catch a few concerts at the free Stewart Park Festival.

Renfrew


Try “glamping” (glamorous camping) at Elements Luxury Tented Camp and Nature Spa.

Smiths Falls

Steam locomotive #1112 at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario. Flickr//Creative Commons photo by Shankar S.

Steam locomotive #1112 at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario. Flickr//Creative Commons photo by Shankar S.

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.

Wilno

Markers on the grounds of the Wilno Heritage Park celebrate the history of the region’s founding families. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Visit the Wilno Heritage Park to learn about the Kashubians, settlers from what is now Poland.

Point your car eastward

Alexandria


Shop for fine papers and calligraphy tools at Left & Write, or take a cooking class at the Quirky Carrot.

Cornwall

Photo courtesy of the Cornwall Summer Beer Fest.

See a show at the Aultsville Theatre or raise a glass at the Cornwall Summer Beer Fest.

Hawkesbury


Catch a concert, dance performance or literary reading at Le Chenail Cultural Centre.

Ingleside


Bring your binoculars to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

L’Orignal

l'Orignal jail

Historic buildings in l’Orignal.

Take a self-guided walking tour featuring 17 historic buildings and visit the 1826 l’Orignal Jail.

St-Albert

St-Albert Cheese

Photo © Laura Byrne Paquet.

Shop for curds and much more at the St-Albert Cheese Co-op.

Vankleek Hill

Beau's Brewery Vankleek Hill

Beau’s Brewery in Vankleek Hill.

Take a break from cycling the 72-kilometre Prescott and Russell Recreational Trail with a cold beer at Beau’s Brewery.

Williamstown

The ruins of St. Raphael's Church are a National Historic Site.

The ruins of St. Raphael’s Church.

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

Brockville

Skywood Eco Adventure Park zipline Brockville

Ron Zajac sets off from a zip line platform at Skywood Eco Adventure Park. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Zipline through the trees at Skywood Eco Adventure Park or learn about the ecology of the St. Lawrence River at the Aquatarium.

Delta

National Historic Site, Delta, Old Stone Mill, Maple Syrup Festival

The Old Stone Mill in Delta.

Visit the Old Stone Mill National Historic Site, one of Ontario’s oldest surviving gristmills, and spend the night at Denaut Mansion Country Inn.

Gananoque

The Gananoque Boat Line cruises the 1000 Islands (Thousand Islands).

The Gananoque Boat Line cruises the 1000 Islands.

See vintage watercraft at the Thousand Islands Boat Museum, enjoy theatre at the Thousand Islands Playhouse, go kayaking or take a cruise of the 1000 Islands.

Kemptville

photo of Kemptville by Xiquinho Silva.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of Kemptville by Xiquinho Silva.

Nosh on locally sourced food at the South Branch Bistro or come for the four-day Kemptville Live Music Festival in July.

Lansdowne

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Ryan McGilchrist.

Camp, fish, swim and hike at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.

Merrickville

Mmmm….Mrs. McGarrigle’s Merrickville mustards. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Shop for mustards and more at Mrs. McGarrigle’s Fine Food Shop, or watch glassblowers at work at Gray Art Glass.

Morrisburg

Upper Canada Village

Photo of Upper Canada Village copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

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.

Prescott

Shooting a cannon at Fort Wellngton. Right after this photo was taken, I jumped about 10 feet high. The report is REALLY loud. Photo by Parks Canada.

Learn to fire a 19th-century cannon at Fort Wellington or check out the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival.

Westport

Rosie Yumski's Fine Foods is a popular shopping stop in Westport.

Rosie Yumski’s Fine Foods is a popular shopping stop in Westport.

Catch live music at the Cove Country Inn, indulge in some retail therapy or hike trails overlooking Upper Rideau Lake at Foley Mountain Conservation Area.

Check out Kingston and Prince Edward County

Bloomfield

Bloomfield Ontario

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of Bloomfield by Doug Kerr.

Shop cute boutiques and stop for fabulous ice cream at Slickers.

Kingston

Kingston City Hall

Kingston City Hall.

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).

Picton

Putting the finishing touches on lamb meatballs during a cooking class at the Waring House Inn.

Putting the finishing touches on lamb meatballs during a cooking class at the Waring House Inn.

Take a cooking class at the Waring House Inn, or enjoy one of the many food and wine festivals.

Sandbanks Provincial Park

Jacques Cottage is one of the roofed accommodations available to rent at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Jacques Cottage is one of the roofed accommodations available to rent at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Rent a cottage from Ontario Parks and walk eco-friendly trails along the world’s biggest baymouth barrier dunes.

Wellington

Norman Hardie is among the many wineries in Wellington.

Norman Hardie is among the many wineries in Wellington.

Visit wineries galore and stay at the hipster Drake Devonshire Inn.

Wolfe Island

Wolfe Island road mailbox

Quiet roads on Wolfe Island are great for cycling.

Hop a ferry in Kingston and spend the day cycling Wolfe Island. If you’re really keen, you can board another ferry to Cape Vincent, New York.

Head south of the border

Alexandria Bay

Photo courtesy of Boldt Castle.

Bring your passport on a 1000 Islands cruise to visit Boldt Castle, half-built and then abandoned by a New York City millionaire.

Lake Placid

A slightly worn out Olympic mascot is among the mementos at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.

A slightly worn out Olympic mascot is among the mementos at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.

Test your nerves on the Olympic bobsled run or splurge at the Mirror Lake Inn.

Saranac Lake

The patio at Nonna Fina in Saranac Lake is a relaxing place for an Italian meal.

The patio at Nonna Fina in Saranac Lake is a relaxing place for an Italian meal.

Nosh on great Italian food overlooking Lake Flower at Nonna Fina and stay at Harbor Hill Cottages.

Syracuse

Photo of the New York State Fair copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

Shop till you drop at the giant Destiny USA mall or eat deep-fried Oreos at the New York State Fair.

Tupper Lake

Paddling at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

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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