Ottawa, with its scenic beauty and highly ranked quality of life, is renowned as one of the most family-friendly cities in the country. Ottawa’s vast outdoor life and variety of activities are just some of the factors behind the city’s great reputation.
Whether discovering the thrills of white water rafting, biking along our famous Rideau Canal or enjoying a leisure walk through the city’s green spaces, your family will find many outdoor adventures to enjoy in Ottawa this summer.
Cycling in the Ottawa area
Cycling is one of the most popular summer activities, perfect for family time. Explore the city and surrounding region by bike. Cycle along the Rideau Canal, or the Ottawa River, or do a little mountain biking in Gatineau Park.
Arboretum (Experimental Farm)
If your family loves trees, you have to visit the Arboretum, located adjacent to the Experimental Farm.
There are five public areas to visit at the Central Experimental Farm, including the Arboretum, which is a magnificent collection of trees and shrubs that covers about 35 hectares (86 acres) of rolling land. More than 2,000 varieties have been adapted to the region, some dating back to the first plantings in 1889.
The northeast corner of the Arboretum has its own microclimate. Here, you will see magnolias, rhododendrons, a wisteria and others. The lookout on the southeast side offers a panoramic view of the Rideau Canal and Carleton University campus, while the northeast overlooks Dow’s Lake and the surrounding city.
It’s not all about Halloween at this famous farm — summertime at the legendary Saunders Farm has never been so fun!
The working farm, located in Munster, near Stittsville, recently added a brand new Farmers Table Walk-up Restaurant to its list of family features, which also includes a splash pad waterpark, jumping pillows, 10 hedge mazes to get lost in, as well as pedal carts, puppet shows, hayrides, picnic areas, picnic games and many hectares of gardens and playhouses.
Local conservation areas
Looking for new interesting outdoor recreation for the family? Explore the great outdoors at one of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s nine developed conservation areas:
•Baxter• Chapman Mills
•Foley Mountain• Meisel Woods
•Mill Pond• Rideau Ferry
•Perth Wildlife Reserve• Portland Bay
This fun and affordable summer activity boasts beaches, trails, picnic areas, boat launches and loads of outdoor fun!
The Mer Bleue Bog
The lovely Mer Bleue Bog is a 3,500-hectare (8,650 acres) conservation area with an intriguing northern ecosystem more typical of the Arctic than the Ottawa Valley.
You’ll find interpretive boardwalks, sand ridges, cross-country ski trails and forests at Mer Bleue, which is the largest bog and natural area in the capital region, and the second largest bog in southern Ontario.
With over 20 kilometres of trails, Mer Bleue offers plenty of opportunities for hiking. Take the family on a self-guided tour along the Mer Bleue Bog Trail, a 1.2-kilometre interpretive boardwalk, snap some gorgeous photos, or indulge in some bird watching, both of which are popular activities.