Leave behind the dynamic streets of Canada’s capital of Ottawa to travel through the “Belle Provence” of Quebec and the province of Ontario to behold some truly beautiful Canadian locations. Enjoy driving along the scenic Trans-Canada Highway to stand in awe of the powerful Niagara Falls en route to Niagara’s cottage country, filled with lakes, beaches, and vineyards. Escape for the weekend to Mont Tremblant to experience the charming mountain village and scenic beauty of the Laurentian Mountains. Please check out the following list of the best weekend trips from Ottawa, Canada, to experience the best of eastern Canada’s thriving metropolises and great outdoor retreats.
Leave behind Canada’s capital for the bustling business metropolis of Toronto by travelling 279 miles (449.7 kilometres) along the ON-401 W for a little over 4 hours.
Enjoy spending some lazy summer days soaking up the sun on the golden sand beaches lining the shores of pristine Lake Ontario. Spend your evenings out on the town taking in stunning theatre performances, classical ballet, and hard-hitting hockey competitions. Zoom up the CN Tower to experience panoramic views of cosmopolitan Toronto, before strolling over to Eaton Centre to shop under the expansive glass skylight.
2. Golden Lake
Escape the dynamic atmosphere of Ottawa to retreat to Golden Lake by driving 90.9 miles (146.3 kilometres) via the Trans-Canada Highway for about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Enjoy rowing across the pristine lake to experience stunning sunsets set against the backdrop of evergreen forests. Drive a short distance from Golden Lake to Foy Provincial Park to set up your beach chair and enjoy some sunbathing on the golden sand beach.
Retreat to nearby Algonquin Provincial Park to hike along the rugged nature trails, while beholding the deciduous trees changing from lush green to vibrant crimson, gold, and tangerine.
3. Niagara Falls, ON
Leave behind Ottawa’s copper-topped Parliament buildings in favour of a trip to Niagara Falls by voyaging 358 miles (576.4 kilometres) on the ON-401 W for a little over 5 hours. Upon arriving in Niagara Falls, board the Maid of the Mist to get soaked in the mist while encountering the majestic falls in an up-close and personal boat ride.
Dine at the beer garden to listen to the thunderous sound of the cascading waterfalls before watching the spectacular evening illumination display. Stroll past the shops lining the waterfront before wandering over to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, for an out of the world trivia experience.
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4. Fort-Coulogne, QC
Travel from bustling Ottawa, Ontario, to a charming nature retreat, Fort-Cologne, Quebec, by driving 73 miles (117.5 kilometres) via the QC-148 Ouest for about 1hour and 30 minutes.
Upon arriving in Fort-Cologne, stretch your legs by wandering over to admire the cascading waterfalls of Rideau Falls. Enjoy hiking through the dense evergreen forest of Chutes Coulonge Park in search of native wildlife and majestic waterfalls. Take time out of exploring the great outdoors with a visit to nearby Gatineau Park to picnic under the warm summer sun.
Retreat to Calabogie to experience the mountainous region’s stunning natural beauty by travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway from Ottawa for 63 miles (101.7 kilometres). After the just over an hour journey, head over to Calabogie Brewing Co. to enjoy a refreshing glass of locally produced beer.
Spend a relaxing afternoon out on the links at Calabogie Highlands Golf Club, before indulging in a delicious dinner at the resort’s restaurant. Escape to the Eagles Nest Lookout to camp out overnight, while experiencing the breath-taking beauty of the star-filled onyx sky.
6. Montreal, QC
Leave Ottawa’s famed Rideau Canal for Montreal’s mighty St. Lawrence River by journeying 123.5 miles (198.8 kilometres) on the Trans-Canada Highway/ON-417 for about 2 hours.
Wander through Old Montreal’s historic cobblestone streets, admiring the ancient architecture and watching the seafaring vessels cruise along the St. Lawrence River. Climb Mont-Royal to take in the breath-taking beauty of the fall foliage as it blankets the city in velvety reds, pumpkins, and rich chocolates. Stop by the historic cathedral of Notre Dame to admire its awe-inspiring gothic architecture and vibrant stained glass masterpieces.
7. Barry's Bay
Journey 116.7 miles (187.8 kilometres) along the Trans-Canada/ON-417 from Ottawa to Barry’s Bay to experience the beauty of the Madawaska Valley. After driving for just over 2 hours, venture over to Zurakowski Park to relax under the inflight aeroplane landmark. Join a tour to participate in whitewater rafting through the fierce rapids found in Carson Lake Provincial Park. Enjoy sunbathing on the pristine shores of Carson Lake after a morning kayaking adventure across its peaceful waters.
Drive along Autoroute 50E from Ottawa for 95 miles (153 kilometres) for about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Those visiting in the winter can enjoy racing down the powdery slopes of the Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort or sitting comfortably in the chalet, sipping on a warm drink. Enjoy sailing across the pristine water basking in the sunshine while taking in stunning, panoramic views of the Laurentian Mountains. Spend some time shopping in the quaint boutiques in the charming village, before spending the rest of the day traversing the green fairways by golf cart.
Hit the road travelling west from Ottawa along the Trans-Canada Highway/ON-417 W for 58 miles (93.7 kilometres) to charming Renfrew. After travelling for about an hour, stroll over to be mesmerized by the majestic Bonnechere Falls, located near the Bonnechere Caves.
Spend some time at the McDougall Mill Museum, scouring through the historical local artefacts, including vintage appliances, antique furniture, and retired currency. Enjoy a morning paddling down the Bonnechere River, before returning to town for a round of 18 holes at the Dragonfly Links Golf Course.
Travel into the Ottawa Valley city of Pembroke from Ottawa by travelling 91.5 miles (147.2 kilometres) via the Trans-Canada Highway/ON-417 W. Upon arriving at the end of your hour and a half journey, head over for a picnic amongst the songbirds and rushing waters of Pansy Patch Park’s garden setting. Step back in time to learn about Canadian history through the exhibits chronicling the impressive pioneering efforts and voyages of the French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, at the Champlain Trail Museum and Pioneer Village. Enjoy the magnificent river valley scenery while visiting Pembroke, which is located where the Muskrat River and Ottawa River meet.
Escape Ottawa for one of these enticing weekend getaways
With Ottawa’s central location, it provides an ideal jumping-off point to nearby bustling Toronto, Montreal, and numerous other exciting destinations. Escape to Calaboogie to stargaze, while camping overnight at Eagles Nest Lookout at Calabogie Peaks Resort. After experiencing the astounding beauty of Prince Edward County’s Sandbanks Beach and majestic Niagara Falls, return refreshed and enthusiastic to book another invigorating weekend getaway.
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