Day Trips in ottawa

Top Day Trips in Ottawa: Discover Scenic Spots & Hidden Gems Nearby

Craving a quick getaway? Explore the best day trips in Ottawa for a refreshing break from city life. Whether it’s hiking the trails of Gatineau Park, wandering through historic towns, or paddling along the Ottawa River, there’s plenty to discover just outside the capital. This guide helps you find those perfect day-long escapes that promise variety and excitement, without wandering far from home.

Discover Ottawa’s Natural Beauty

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is known for its stunning architecture, including the iconic Parliament Hill, and vibrant culture. But step outside the city limits, and you’ll discover a different side of Ottawa – one that’s brimming with natural beauty. Are you an outdoor enthusiast, or just someone who loves to appreciate nature’s artwork? Whatever your preference, the Gatineau Park, Pink Lake Lookout, and Ottawa River are sure to inspire you.

Don’t delay – pull on your hiking boots, pick up your camera, and join us on an expedition to unearth the natural treasures that lie a stone’s throw from Ottawa.

Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park Ottawa

Nestled in the heart of Chelsea, Gatineau Park is a year-round destination that is sure to captivate your senses. With over 183 kilometers of hiking trails, such as the popular Pink Lake Trail, the picturesque Wilson Carbide Ruins near Meech Lake, and the Eagles Nest Lookout, the park is a haven for hiking enthusiasts. As you traverse the trails, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the park’s diverse landscapes, from dense forests and calm lakes to panoramic vistas atop high cliffs. For those seeking a different adventure, consider exploring the nearby Algonquin Park.

But Gatineau Park isn’t just about hiking. Cyclists can enjoy a scenic ride through the park on the Gatineau Park Pathway, a part of Ottawa’s Capital Pathway network. And if you’re a water enthusiast, the tranquil waters of Meech Lake offer ideal conditions for kayaking, and provide a beach for those looking to relax in the sun. Whether you’re in search of thrills or tranquility, Gatineau Park promises to satisfy every visitor.

Pink Lake Lookout

Ever heard of a green lake named Pink? Welcome to Pink Lake Lookout in Gatineau Park, a one-of-a-kind natural wonder that’s as intriguing as it sounds. Despite its name, Pink Lake is actually green, thanks to the growth of microscopic algae. The lake is named after the Pink family who settled the land in 1826.

A 2.3-km loop trail takes you around the lake, offering you stunning views and insights into the lake’s unique ecosystem through various interpretation panels along the way. Nature admirers, photography buffs, or simply curious explorers alike will find Pink Lake Lookout an essential stop on their day trip from Ottawa.

Ottawa River

Scenic view of Ottawa River

Historically a major transportation route during the fur trade era, the Ottawa River is now a recreational hub adorned with parks and green spaces for the public to enjoy. For water sports enthusiasts, the river offers various activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. If you prefer to stay on land, the riverside trails provide excellent opportunities for walking and cycling, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

Two notable recreational spots along the Ottawa River are Mooney’s Bay and Petrie Island. Known for its summer festivals and picnics, Mooney’s Bay is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike. On the other hand, Petrie Island offers beach activities and showcases the region’s natural allure in the fall. Be it a water enthusiast, an avid trail blazer, or a nature admirer, the Ottawa River has delights for all.

Historic Towns & Villages

If you’re a history buff or just someone who appreciates charming old towns, you’re in for a treat. Just a short drive from Ottawa are the historic towns of Merrickville, Perth, and Almonte, each with its unique history and attractions. As you stroll down their streets, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The well-preserved historic buildings, the small museums, and the friendly locals all add to the charm of these towns.

Eager for a trip down memory lane? Begin the exploration now!


Situated along the Rideau Canal, Merrickville is a scenic town that’s known for its charming historic shops and the captivating ruins of an old woolen mill. The town’s main street is lined with quaint shops where you can find everything from antiques to local crafts. And when you’re done shopping, you can enjoy a meal at one of the town’s historic eateries, like the Goose & Gridon pub or the Stella Luna gelato cafe on Main St West.

The best time to visit Merrickville is during the summer. Here’s why:

  • The town comes alive with a vibrant atmosphere

  • You can see boats navigating the Rideau Canal

  • It’s just a 53-minute drive from Ottawa

  • Merrickville is a perfect day trip destination that offers a blend of history, shopping, and dining.


Perth, Ontario is a town that wears its history on its sleeve. Celebrated for its exquisite heritage buildings distinguished by Scottish architectural influence and craftsmanship, the town is a testament to the skills of its early masons. As you walk through the town, you’ll come across numerous historical buildings, each with its unique story. Some notable buildings include:

  • Kininvie: an Edwardian residence with underground heat tunnels

  • Old Armory: an early 19th-century building

  • Perth Town Hall: a stunning example of Victorian architecture

  • Matheson House: a Georgian-style home that now serves as a museum

The historic town, adorned with christmas lights, is a living museum of architectural styles.

But Perth isn’t just about history. The town offers a variety of waterfront dining experiences, allowing you to enjoy meals and refreshments on scenic patios overlooking the Tay River. And if you’re up for some outdoor recreation, you can go:

  • kayaking on the Tay River

  • hiking in the nearby parks

  • biking along the scenic trails

  • fishing in the river

  • golfing at one of the local courses

Soak in the town’s natural beauty while enjoying day trips, including an afternoon exploring outdoor activities and a boat tour.


Almonte, or ‘The Manchester of North America,’ as it was once known, is another charming town that’s worth a visit. The town owes its prosperity to its textile industry in the late 19th century, a legacy that’s symbolized today by the Rosamond Mill No. 1. As you explore the town, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the local waterfall and the town’s main street’s cafes and shops.

Beyond its picturesque scenery and charming shops, Almonte also honors its sports history with a statue of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, who hailed from the area. History enthusiasts, basketball fans, or simply admirers of quaint old towns, Almonte promises to enthrall you.

Outdoor Adventures & Activities

For those of you who crave adrenaline rushes and outdoor adventures, Ottawa and its surrounding regions have plenty in store for you. Whether you’re into:

  • hiking

  • skiing

  • cycling

  • exploring underground caves

There’s an adventure waiting for you just a short drive away, minutes from Ottawa, in eastern Ontario, perfect for day trips from Ottawa.

Eager to get your heart racing? Plunge into exhilarating outdoor adventures at Calabogie Peaks, Mont Tremblant, Bonnechere Caves, and Bon Echo Provincial Park!

Calabogie Peaks

Hiking at Calabogie Peaks

Calabogie Peaks is an outdoor lover’s paradise. With a 9 km hiking trail that winds through pine forests and leads to three mountain top vistas, the park offers a variety of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. As you make your way through the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the park’s diverse landscapes. And if you’re into mountain biking, the park offers a thrilling ride along the river’s edge.

Beyond hiking and biking, Calabogie Peaks also caters to kayaking enthusiasts and beach lovers, making it an ideal day trip destination from Ottawa. Whether you crave thrills or simply relish nature, Calabogie Peaks promises to leave a lasting impression.

Mont Tremblant

If you’re a fan of winter sports, Mont Tremblant is a destination that should be on your bucket list. With a vast network of 11 trails for all levels, the park offers a variety of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. Some activities you can enjoy at Mont Tremblant include:

  • Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

  • Hiking

  • Cycling

Mont Tremblant has something for everyone.

But Mont Tremblant isn’t just about outdoor activities. The park also offers:

  • stunning panoramic views of the Laurentians, which you can enjoy from the free 360° Observation Tower at the summit of Tremblant

  • a variety of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants

  • a range of accommodation options, including hotels, condos, and chalets

  • shopping opportunities, with a selection of boutiques and stores

  • a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars and clubs for those looking to dance the night away

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply someone who appreciates stunning natural beauty, Mont Tremblant is a destination that’s sure to leave you in awe.

Bonnechere Caves

For those of you who enjoy exploring the great unknown, the Bonnechere Caves offer an exciting adventure that’s sure to thrill you. As you make your way through the underground passageways on a guided tour, you’ll marvel at the stunning cave formations and learn about the caves’ geological history. And with a cool temperature range of 10-12 degrees Celsius in the caves, it’s a perfect escape from the summer heat.

But the Bonnechere Caves aren’t just about underground exploration. The caves also offer opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning images of the white waters, waterfall, and fossils embedded within the cave walls. So whether you’re a budding geologist, a photography enthusiast, or just someone who enjoys unique experiences, the Bonnechere Caves are a must-visit destination on your day trip from Ottawa.

Food, Wine & Breweries

After a day of exploring and adventuring, what better way to unwind than with some local food and drink? Ottawa and its surrounding regions are home to a variety of culinary experiences that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From historical dining experiences to local wineries and breweries, there’s a gastronomical adventure waiting for you just a short drive away from Ottawa.

Eager to set off on a gastronomic adventure? Delve into the culinary delights at Upper Canada Village, Jabulani Vineyard & Winery, and White Water Brewing!

Upper Canada Village

Step back in time with a visit to Upper Canada Village, where you can enjoy period-style meals and traditional afternoon teas served by costumed staff at Willard’s Hotel. As you enjoy your meal, you’ll be transported back to the 19th century, surrounded by meticulously reconstructed historical buildings and the soothing sounds of the past.

Beyond historical dining experiences, Upper Canada Village also hosts seasonal events like Pumpkin Inferno and Alight at Night, further enhancing its charm for visitors. Whether a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply a connoisseur of unique experiences, Upper Canada Village promises to enchant you.

Jabulani Vineyard & Winery

If you love wine, you must visit Jabulani Vineyard & Winery. It is a must-see for wine enthusiasts. Located in the heart of Ottawa’s wine country, Jabulani offers an assortment of local wines, including the refreshing Neighbourhood Vidal, the semi-sweet Autumn wine, and robust barrel-selected wines like the Marquette Shiraz Barrel Select. As you sample the wines, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the vineyard and the surrounding landscapes.

But Jabulani isn’t just about wine tasting. The vineyard also offers opportunities to explore the orchard, adding an educational and natural aspect to the wine tasting experience. And after your wine tasting, you can relax on the winery patio, making it a perfect scenic spot to unwind and reminisce about the day’s adventures.

White Water Brewing

If you’re a beer aficionado, you won’t want to miss a visit to White Water Brewing. Known for its wide spectrum of craft beers including:

  • IPAs

  • Stouts

  • Lagers

  • Wheat beers

  • Sours

  • Porters

  • Pale ales

The brewery is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. As you sample the beers, you can enjoy local food pairings, making it an ideal stop for beer and food lovers.

But White Water Brewing isn’t just about beer tasting. The brewery also actively engages with the community and promotes a local outdoor lifestyle through its website features. So whether you’re a beer lover, a foodie, or just someone who appreciates a good community vibe, White Water Brewing is a must-visit destination on your day trip from Ottawa.

Family-Friendly Attractions

If you’re planning a day trip with your family, Ottawa and its surrounding regions have plenty of family-friendly attractions that are sure to keep everyone entertained. From animal encounters at Omega Park to a corn maze adventure at Ouimet Farms and horseback riding experiences at Captiva Farms, there’s an adventure waiting for your family just a short drive away from Ottawa. Eager to make lasting family memories? Venture into these family-friendly attractions!

Omega Park

For a wild family adventure, head over to Omega Park, where you can:

  • Discover Canadian wildlife on a 12 km safari route

  • Have unique interactions with animals like elk, bison, wolves, and bears

  • Feed a deer that approaches your car for a carrot

But Omega Park isn’t just about animal encounters. The park also offers opportunities for nature walks and picnics, making it a perfect destination for a family day out. Whether your children are fond of animals, aspiring naturalists, or simply enjoy the outdoors, Omega Park promises to captivate them.

Ouimet Farms

For a family-friendly adventure that’s a little different, head over to Ouimet Farms. Known for its corn maze, the farm offers a fun and educational experience that’s sure to keep everyone entertained. As you navigate your way through the maze, you’ll work together as a family, solving puzzles and finding your way to the finish line.

But Ouimet Farms isn’t just about the corn maze. The farm also offers a variety of other activities that are suitable for all ages, making it a perfect destination for a family day out. Be it puzzle solvers, nature enthusiasts, or outdoor lovers, Ouimet Farms promises to enthrall every child.

Captiva Farms

For families who love animals and the great outdoors, Captiva Farms is a must-visit destination. Offering a day of horseback riding and exploration in a beautiful countryside environment, the farm is a hit with kids and adults alike. Young children can engage with horses through the Pony Walk, while older kids can learn basic riding skills through lessons tailored for their age group.

However, Captiva Farms offers more than just horseback riding. It has a variety of other activities to enjoy as well, including wagon ride experiences. The farm also hosts birthday events and offers a Summer Day Camp that provides an immersive experience for kids, where they learn about horse care, stable management, and enjoy riding instruction and trail rides.

Whether your children are fond of animals, aspiring equestrians, or simply outdoor enthusiasts, Captiva Farms promises to create lasting family memories.


Ottawa and its surrounding regions are a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the stunning natural beauty of Gatineau Park and Pink Lake Lookout to the charming historical towns of Merrickville, Perth, and Almonte, from the adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures at Calabogie Peaks, Mont Tremblant, and Bonnechere Caves to the tantalizing food and drink experiences at Upper Canada Village, Jabulani Vineyard & Winery, and White Water Brewing, there’s something for everyone. And the best part? All these experiences are just a short day trip away, making them perfect for young people and students looking to explore the area.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, grab your friends, and hit the road. Adventure is waiting for you just a short drive away from Ottawa!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days in Ottawa is enough?

I would suggest spending 4 nights in Ottawa. This would give you enough time to explore the city’s attractions and enjoy the local dining scene without feeling rushed.

Can you do a day trip to Ottawa from Montreal?

Yes, you can do a day trip to Ottawa from Montreal, as it’s just a 2-hour drive with scenic views of the Canadian countryside along the way. Enjoy exploring Canada’s capital city and its iconic sites, such as Parliament Hill.

What city is one hour close to Ottawa?

Smiths Falls is the city you’re looking for, just an hour south of Ottawa. It’s a great place to explore historic locks and enjoy good food.

What are some must-visit natural attractions near Ottawa?

You should check out Gatineau Park, Pink Lake Lookout, and the Ottawa River for some amazing natural attractions near Ottawa. Enjoy exploring!

What are some historical towns near Ottawa that are worth visiting?

You should visit Merrickville, Perth, and Almonte if you’re looking for historical towns near Ottawa to explore. They offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history.


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