• By: Allen Brown

4 Best road trips from Ottawa

By Martha Fischer

From canals to historic buildings, Ottawa is jam packed full of attractions. Nevertheless, it is always nice to leave the city behind for a day or two. Luckily, Canada’s capital is in a close proximity to some of the country’s most epic destinations. Whether you are interested in a day trip or a weekend getaway, there are plenty of options within a few hours of the city. From exploring the area’s heritage buildings to hiking and dog sledding, here are a few great road trip ideas to add to your itinerary.

Kingston and the Thousand Islands (Two-Hour Drive)

Despite its name, the Thousand Islands are in fact a group of 1,864 islands on the St. Lawerence River, says travel expert from TheGoodEstate.com. “The islands straddle the US-Canada border, stretching for around 50 miles from the town of Kingston,” he continues.

One of the best ways to explore the area is on a boat cruise. Opt for an hour cruise of the islands or take a longer tour to visit the Boldt Castle on Heart Island (don’t forget to bring your passport, as Heart Island is on American waters). While in the area, don’t miss Kingston, which is home to the Kingston Penitentiary and Fort Henry, a replica of a War of 1812 fort.

Wakefield (40-Minute Drive)

Popular with outdoor adventure enthusiasts, Wakefield is a great destination for all seasons. Set on the Gatineau River, the location offers a plethora of water sports from paddleboarding to kayaking. In winter, head to Gatineau Park, which features over 50 trails, just perfect for cross-country skiing and other winter sports.

A short drive from Wakefield, Lafleche Cave is definitely worth the drive. The area also offers hiking, zip-lining, and tree-top rope courses. Don’t miss Wakefield’s covered bridge, which was built in 1915 and later rebuilt after a fire in the 80s.

Montebello (One-Hour Drive)

Set on a river, the charming town of Montebello is an ideal spot to disconnect from city life. The first stop on the itinerary of many visitors to the area is Omega Park. Get close and personal with Canada’s wildlife by driving through the park, which is home to bisons, wolves, bears, coyotes, and caribou.

Montebello is also famous for its winter activities, including curling, tubing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. For a truly unforgettable experience, try dog sledding through the area’s picturesque landscapes.

Merrickville (One-Hour Drive)

Ideal for a relaxing day trip, Merrickville is a charming town of around 3,000 set along the Rideau River. The town is famous for its small river island, which is home to the Merrickville Ruins. Once a woolen mill, the structure now houses a fascinating museum.

History buffs will be happy to know that Merrickville has over 100 historic and heritage properties. Shopaholics should head to St Lawrence Street, which is full of independent shops that stock anything and everything from clothes to garden decorations. Since Merrickville is famous for local artists and craftspeople, you are bound to find that one-off gem here to take back home.