The Best Day Trips From Ottawa, Canada

Gatineau Park is an adventure wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts
Gatineau Park is an adventure wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts | © Péter Mocsonoky / Alamy Stock Photo
Emma Gibbins

If you fancy escaping the city for a day, Ottawa’s proximity to other amazing places makes it easier than ever to pack up the car and head off for a spontaneous adventure. From charming villages and nature parks to some of Ontario’s most culturally diverse cities, each of our recommendations can be reached in less than three hours.

1. Bonnechere Caves

Natural Feature

From deep within Bonnechere Caves in Eganville, Ontario. A geological experience. Image shot 2016. Exact date unknown.
© Darlene Munro / Alamy Stock Photo

Tours of the Bonnechere Caves have been running for almost 60 years and are a favourite with locals and visitors. Experienced guides take you on a journey through these otherworldly structures, past waterfalls and fascinating fossils. Enjoy a picnic lunch, or stop in at the town of Renfrew on your way back. The caves are about 90 minutes’ drive from Ottawa and are open all summer. Tours last for around one hour and run every 20-30 minutes. Wear comfortable shoes with grip and bring warm clothing as it can get quite cool when you’re inside.

2. Gatineau Park


© Julien Hautcoeur / Shutterstock
Just across the river from Ottawa, Gatineau Park stretches 220 square miles (361sq km) from within the city of Gatineau through wooded parkland, past lakes and beautiful waterfalls into the heart of Québec’s wilderness. This huge nature park has tons of hiking and cycle trails for all levels, as well as a popular sandy beach at Meech Lake, perfect for swimming, kayaking, and other fun water activities. Don’t leave without visiting the Champlain Lookout, for panoramic views of the rolling Gatineau Hills and Ottawa Valley.

3. Wakefield

Architectural Landmark

If you have the time and you’re passing through Gatineau Park, carry on to the village of Wakefield. Around 30 minutes from Ottawa, this popular spot also has hiking and biking trails, but is perhaps best-loved for its quaint boutiques, antique shops and eateries, including MJMD Pizza de Luigi, Pipolinka Bakery and Cafe Le Hibou. Those who fancy staying the night can treat themselves to luxury spa treatments before relaxing in a bubbling hot tub with panoramic landscape views at Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa.

5. Kingston

Architectural Landmark

Also around two hours from Ottawa is the city of Kingston, which was originally Canada’s capital. With a thriving cultural scene, incredible waterfront views and an abundance of cafes, restaurants, shops and festivals, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Fort Henry will transport you back to 19th-century military life in Canada, with tours, performances and demonstrations. The city’s food and beer walking tours also come highly recommended, showcasing foodie favourites such as Italian restaurant Olivea, and the subtle French-influenced dishes at Chez Piggy.

6. Prince Edward County

Natural Feature

Canada, Province of Ontario, Prince Edward County, Waupoos Estates Winery & Restaurant, wine tasting
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

The perfect destination for wine lovers, Prince Edward County is among Ontario’s fastest-growing wine regions, home to over 40 wineries. Not to be confused with Prince Edward Island — Canada’s smallest province — the county also plays host to food festivals, art studio tours, and jazz and classical music events. Spend time exploring galleries, boutiques and gourmet restaurants, or hire a bike and discover the area’s uncrowded roads and gently rolling hills. In winter there’s also cross-country skiing, ice fishing and skating.

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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

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