Day tripper. One-way ticket, yeah.
With apologies to The Beatles, of course, we’ve gathered four interesting and fun day-trip destinations close to Ottawa. All can easily be expanded into a weekend, too, if that’s what your family wishes.
Wherever you may go, be prepared, be spontaneous, and above all, have fun.
Lake Placid, N.Y.
Located a three-hour drive from Ottawa, the Lake Placid area offers much for families. There is hiking and boating plus a myriad of trails. Some lead to lakes for swimming, others to a high peak with breathtaking panoramic mountain views. A must-visit is the Olympic Centre (1980s rink, Olympic museum, ski jumps, Whiteface Mountain). You can drive to summit, or, better yet, take the gondola. The sports complex is where you will see biathlon and bobsled tracks.
On the way down from Ottawa, in Tupper Lake, there’s an indoor and outdoor natural history museum in the Adirondacks called The Wild Center. It’s best known for Wild Walk – an elevated path through the trees to a scenic vista, a life-sized eagle’s nest, and an oversized spider web kids can play on. Check it out at https://www.wildcenter.org/.
The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington, New York is a non-profit rehab facility that is open to the public. Get close to black bears, wolves, coyotes, bald eagles, and much more. Learn more at http://adirondackwildlife.org/.
Merrickville – the “Jewel of the Rideau” and officially dubbed Canada’s Most Beautiful Village by Communities in Bloom – is located on the Rideau Canal about an hour southwest of Ottawa.
Take a walk near the locks, just off Main St. It’s loaded with historic views. The mill was built in 1790. The boathouse doubles as a museum.
There are lots of charming places have lunch, perhaps none better than the Yellow Canoe Cafe on St. Lawrence St.
After lunch, see some live glassblowing at the Gray Art Glass (https://grayartglass.com/), and check out the art inside the gallery. You can even buy a beautiful, unique “friendship ball” to take home.
As an added bonus, there’s ample free on-street parking available throughout the village.
Fort Coulonge, QC
Just an hour away from Ottawa, there is something for everyone in Fort Coulonge. For the adults (and any budding photographers in the family), the fall colours are really something to behold and can serve as a stunning backdrop if you’re looking to get some family portraits. For the kids – and the young-at-heart – the area is famous for its zip lines, obstacle courses and hiking trails. Look no further for great outdoor fun! Want to learn about log driving? This is also the place for it. Find out more at https://chutescoulonge.qc.ca/
Perth is located about an hour’s drive west of Ottawa on Hwy. 7. It’s a quaint little town with lots to offer. Gore St. is always a hub of local and tourist activity. Code’s Mill on nearby Wilson St. houses The BlackFly GrubHub. This is an obvious destination for you and your kids, especially after an active day of mini-golf and SUP paddling at Perth Outfitters.
About half way to Perth is Carleton Place, and it just happens that they are celebrating their 200th anniversary in 2019.