Work has been overwhelming, and life outside of work hasn’t been much better. Relaxing at home isn’t quite doing the job for you, but you don’t have the time, money, or luxury to take a week off for a vacation.
That’s where we come in with the best weekend getaways from Ottawa you don’t want to miss! From skiing in Calabogie at the well-known Calabogie Peaks Resort to strolling through one of Montreal’s jewels and National Historic Sites, the Montreal Botanical Garden, plenty is waiting for you outside of Ottawa.
Read more about Ontario and Quebec
- Waterfalls To Visit Close To Toronto – Day Trip Ideas
- Insane Adventure in the Ottawa Valley
- One Day In Toronto Itinerary – Exploring the neighbourhoods
- Yurts in Ontario – From Basic to Glamping
Where to stay on your weekend getaway?
Here's what we're covering:
- Top 5 Weekend Getaways From Ottawa
- Fort-Coulonge, Quebec
- Merrickville, Ontario
- Calabogie, Ontario
- Montreal, Quebec
- Kingston, Ontario
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently asked questions
Top 5 Weekend Getaways From Ottawa
Whether it be romantic getaways near Ottawa or day trips from Ottawa, the list includes the best locations and attractions for a fulfilling getaway from your life in Ottawa!
One of our recommended weekend getaways from Ottawa, Fort-Coulonge is a small and charming village in western Quebec settled at the mouth of the Coulonge River. It is widely known for homing the Félix-Gabriel-Marchand Bridge, its impressive logging history, and outdoor recreational opportunities waiting to be explored!
Chutes Coulonge Park
An outdoor adventure park and a historic logging interpretation site, Chutes Coulonge Park features a range of activities suitable for all ages to enjoy. The historical park presents lookouts, trails, and footbridges that offer spectacular scenery of the canyon and 160-foot waterfalls. Atop the treetop courses is the thrilling chance to zipline over the river!
It’s important to note that Chutes Coulonge Park is closed during the winter season. However, they host a popular event called the Festival of Lights for the holiday season, where guests can visit Santa, warm up near the bonfire, savor toasty hot chocolate, and walk the trail illuminated by Christmas lights.
Suppose you like to be active and take on new adventures for worthwhile weekend trips from Ottawa. In that case, Esprit’s whitewater adventures on the Ottawa River are the perfect plans in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec, one of the top day trips from Ottawa.
Ottawa River is Canada’s most famous whitewater river, and at Esprit, you can take on the river’s thrilling high-volume rapids and unbridled wilderness coached by experienced guides. Esprit offers opportunities for family rafting so that you can bring the kids along for a safe yet fun trip down the rapids to save the bigger rapids for ages 12 and up.
A historical landmark, Pont Felix-Gabriel-Marchand, was built in 1898 and is the longest-covered bridge in Quebec.
Crossing the Coulonge River, the bridge is considered unique due to its use of Queenpost and Town trusses uncommonly encountered in architecture. As a result, many locals and tourists come to walk Pont Felix-Gabriel-Marchand and take pictures of the intriguing structure.
Where to Stay in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec
A historic hotel decorated with family heirlooms and antiques, the Spruceholme Inn is surrounded by charming and natural beauty. There are more than six buildings to choose from, each presenting a welcoming atmosphere, intriguing décor, and plenty of indoor and outdoor space to settle down in.
The hotel’s restaurant, Bryson’s Bistro du Lumberjack, features artisanal and local cuisine for dine-in or take-out so that guests can enjoy dinner surrounded by a great companionable atmosphere or simmer down outside surrounded by Canada’s vibrant outdoors.
A quaint village in Ontario, Canada, Merrickville has made its way onto our list of the top weekend getaways from Ottawa. Merrickville has officially snagged the title of “Canada’s Most Beautiful Village,” thanks to its many designated heritage buildings, a vibrant Victorian village settled on the Rideau Canal, and its peaceful and charming atmosphere.
Merrickville Blockhouse – National Historic Site of Canada
A National Historic Site, the Merrickville Blockhouse is a masonry and timber defensive structure established in 1832-1833 to defend the Rideau Canal. It is the largest blockhouse on the Rideau Canal and Canada’s second-largest surviving blockhouse and boosts up Merrickville as one of the most rewarding weekend trips from Ottawa.
Troops briefly occupied the Merrickville Blockhouse in the Rebellion of 1837-1838, where the local militia was drilled by Sergeant John Johnson, who served as lock keeper from 1836-1869. The historical site now works to represent functional 19th-century military defense design and show how architecture and military defense has changed in the present day.
Chaiya Home & Garden Decor
Chaiya Home and Garden Decor is founded in downtown Merrickville and offers a unique home goods store experience.
The store is in a heritage stone building, selling uniquely designed creations for gardens and homes. The owners import goods from India and Indonesia, functioning as a leeway for works of art established by fair-trade organizations and individual artists that live in rural villages, who are personally visited and met by the owners of Chaiya Home and Garden Decor during their travels.
Shopping at Chaiya Home and Garden Decor grants access to a one-of-a-kind experience and hosts plenty of opportunities to buy souvenirs and gifts for yourself, friends, and family!
Rideau Woodland Ramble
Selected as the #1 favorite gardening establishment in eastern Ontario, Rideau Woodland Ramble has been featured by the Eastern Ontario Gardeners Tour Guide, Gardening Life, Garden Making, and on Regional Contact on CTV.
The garden center is anchored by one of Canada’s largest glass-enclosed gazebos, Ramble House, which houses a seating area and information to learn more about the gardens.
As you stroll through the seven acres of scenic woodland, you’ll be able to explore the six separate areas, each defined by its planting styles and species, combined with intriguing sculptures and art pieces.
Due to seasonal weather changes, Rideau Woodland Ramble is open from mid-April to mid-October.
Where to Stay in Merrickville
Merrickville Guest Suites
Settled in the historic village of Merrickville, Merrickville Guest Suites is only a block from Rideau Canal and has a variety of tasty restaurant options and optimal shopping for retail therapy and souvenir shopping.
Merrickville Guest Suites has two spacious private suites situated on the main street of Merrickville and a studio suite two blocks away in a cozy log cabin. The studio suite is perfect for romantic getaways near Ottawa, offering peace, quiet, and solitude from the hustle and bustle of life.
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Popularly known for its array of outdoor recreational opportunities, there’s no way we’d keep Calabogie off our list of top weekend getaways from Ottawa. Whether it be skiing, snowboarding, hiking, swimming, or guided ATV tours, Calabogie is the perfect place to get outside and run with nature.
Calabogie Brewing Co.
An award-winning craft brewery, Calabogie Brewing Co. sourced its name from the town where its first brewery location opened. From the town’s foundation as a lumber town to the present day as a notorious town of adventure and outdoor recreational opportunities, the brewery has dedicated its founding to living up to the town’s enigmatic reputation.
Calabogie Brewing Co.’s brewery and taproom on the river serve high-quality craft beers. The first beer served there was the Front Porch Kolsch, which visitors can still order today!
Calabogie Peaks Resort
A mountainside ski resort, Calabogie Peaks Resort is a popular destination, especially come the winter months for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding, for those looking to take on the snow-covered mountainside.
As the tallest public ski resort in Ontario, this Calabogie ski resort features all-season accommodations and attractions year-round. There are plenty of hiking trails that wind through the pine forest to traverse, a nine-hole golf course, and a private beach to swim in the lake or tan in the sun. However, some of these options are accommodations for resort stayers only or available with a fee.
If you want to explore the winter wilderness even more, you can find a small-group snowmobile tour just down the road. This excursion provides all the gear you will need to explore over frozen lakes and the gorgeous snow covered forest that surround the area!
Make sure to read how we combined time in Calabogie with the Ottawa Valley in this adventure itinerary in Ontario’s Highlands.
Blueberry Mountain Trail
A moderate-level hiking trail, the Blueberry Mountain Trail offers spectacular scenery and panoramic views on the summit of Blueberry Mountain.
The trailhead to start this rewarding hike can be found in Barry’s Bay, about an hour from Calabogie. Stretching six miles, during this worthwhile hike, expect to pick out wildlife, like deer and moose, while surrounded by vibrant and refreshing nature.
Proceed with caution with wildlife before heading into Blueberry Mountain Trail. Invest in bear spray or other safety hiking tools to remain safe while enjoying the great outdoors of Ontario, Canada.
Where to Stay in Calabogie
Somewhere Inn Calabogie
A redesigned motel secluded in the peaceful serenity of Ottawa Valley, Somewhere Inn Calabogie offers a charming beauty surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests.
Somewhere Inn Calabogie offers a variety of rooms, including Dreamy Rooms and Natural Spaces. The Dreamy Rooms are oversized rooms with beds, fireplaces, soaker tubs, and no TVs to encourage guests to enjoy the outdoors. The Natural Spaces are placed on two private acres near Calabogie Lake. These spaces come with communal fire pits, hammocks, lounge areas, and the perfect placement to lay under the stars.
Of course, if you’re going skiing at Calabogie Peaks, the Calabogie Peaks Resort is a great property that’s part of the Choice Hotels family and has direct access to the mountain and is central to everything you’ll find in town.
Montreal, Quebec, is fondly known as “Quebec’s Metropolis,” thanks to its continuously bustling scenes of art, culture, history, and technology. It is home to many festivals, some of which are the largest of their kind, and other outstanding attractions. It’s no wonder we’ve added it to our list as one of the best weekend getaways from Ottawa you don’t want to miss!
Montreal Botanical Garden
One of Montreal’s jewels, the Montreal Botanical Garden, is home to more than twenty outdoor gardens and ten exhibition greenhouses. The thematic greenhouses feature more than 3,000 specimens, including orchids and cacti.
Also a National Historic Site, the botanical garden is honorably preserved and cared for thanks to its extensive collections and facilities that are renowned for being one of the best in the world. The Montreal Botanical Garden’s location is across from the Olympic Stadium, another great stop to make while in Montreal.
The third largest park in Montreal, Parc Jean-Drapeau, consists of two islands, the artificial island, Notre Dame Island, and Saint Helen’s Island.
This renowned Montreal attraction is famous for its spectacular cultural and sports programming. A favorite getaway for families, friends, and couples, Parc Jean-Drapeau, offers plenty of activities and attractions to explore, including cycling paths, walking trails, public art, vibrant gardens, museums, and more.
For another unique attraction, we highly recommend considering this private guided day trip to tour an authentic Quebecer sugar shack farm. On tour, you’ll be able to witness first-hand how maple syrup is made, from extraction to bottling, for a unique inside look paired with a lunch buffet at the farm!
Montreal Underground City
Commonly called the Underground City or RESO in Montreal, Montreal Underground City is a famed pedestrian network found underneath the heart of Montreal’s downtown.
The structure of the Montreal Underground City was designed as an escape from the freezing winters and blazing summers. With over 20 miles of stores and entertainment options, visiting the Montreal Underground City is a must!
Other great activities include guided walking tours of East and West Old Montreal. Informative guides will take you to iconic sites like the Notre Dame Basilica and the Place Royale while learning the area’s rich history and uncommonly known facts.
Where to Stay in Montreal, Quebec
Hôtel Château de l’Argoat
Located in Montreal’s most diverse neighborhood, Hôtel Château de l’Argoat offers a sublime location only two blocks from the bus station and near the famous Saint-Denis Street, featuring favored restaurants and boutiques to shop and dine at.
Designed to replicate the area, the hotel welcomes guests with unrivaled customer service and a friendly atmosphere. A home away from home!
In Kingston, you will find loads of intriguing history surrounded by glorious nature that refreshes the soul. Making our list as one of the best weekend getaways from Ottawa you don’t want to miss, Kingston, Ontario, home to four of 11 surviving Martello towers, four Rembrandt paintings, two film festivals, and was the former capital of the Province of Canada until 1841. And you can explore this enigmatic town’s impact on Canada’s history!
Fort Henry National Historic Site
The Fort Henry National Historic Site functions as a historic site and museum, welcoming visitors to learn about this impactful establishment.
Constructed in 1832-1837, Fort Henry replaced an existing fort from the War of 1812. It was situated to protect the naval dockyard and entrance of the Rideau Canal. During World War I, the fort was used as an internment camp for political prisoners, and then, during World War II, Fort Henry was used as a Prisoner of War camp. After the wars, Fort Henry was reopened as a museum and historical site, welcoming visitors from all over the world desiring to observe history or watch the internationally acclaimed Fort Henry Guard perform.
Lake Ontario Park
A historic park dating back to 1894, Lake Ontario Park offers serene views of Lake Ontario.
Many come to enjoy Lake Ontario Park’s refreshing space, and as the largest urban waterfront park in Kingston, the park is full of active outdoor opportunities and amenities. From the beach volleyball courts and splash pads for the kids to the boat launch and waterfront sand play areas, Lake Ontario Park is the perfect place to spend the day relaxing outdoors with the kids, with family, with friends, or on your own.
For a day of adventure in Kingston, consider this helicopter tour to discover the wonders of the Thousand Islands. The stunning aerial views of the region’s newest cider mill are paired with tastings and lunch for an unforgettable experience in Kingston, Ontario.
Bellevue House National Historic Site
The home to Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, from the years 1848-1849, the Bellevue House National Historic Site is a great spot to consider for worthwhile day trips from Ottawa.
The house was constructed in the early 1840s paired with its Italianate architecture and history, resulting in the home being designated as a National Historic Site. The grounds encompass heritage gardens and an orchard to stroll around while settling in Lake Ontario’s soothing breeze. Tours are offered to explore the Bellevue House National Historic Site grounds and interior to absorb the period-style furnishings and artifacts from the 1800s.
Where to Stay in Kingston
The Rosemount Inn
The Rosemount Inn is a boutique hotel that combines elegance and history for an unforgettable stay in the Old Stones district. The inn has remained in the area since 1850 and has welcomed travelers worldwide since its establishment.
This authentic stay explores personal touch and simple harmony for a unique visit filled with discovery and adventure during your stay in Kingston.
When it comes to the best weekend getaways from Ottawa you don’t want to miss, our top-notch list pinpoints the top destinations to visit and the favored attractions to explore when you get there. So pack your bags and prepare your camera roll. It’s time for the ultimate weekend getaway from Ottawa!
Frequently asked questions
Montreal has some great family attractions like Montreal Biodome and La Ronde Amusement Park. If you are looking for a less urban destination, Fort-Coulonge is a great spot for families with tween to teen children. Chutes Coulonge’s adventure course and Espirit rafting adventures both have height requirements but are sure to thrill the most adventurous kid. For families with littles, we recommend Kingston with attractions like Playtrium, Fruition Berry Farm, and Military Communications and Electronics Museum.
-Le Bateau-Mouche offers exceptional dinner cruises as you experience views of the Saint Lawrence River, Jacques-Cartier Bridge, and the Clock tower you can’t get in a typical restaurant.
-Oasis Surf allows you to grab a drink and catch a wave. Try one of their tropical themed drinks and learn to surf in this unique experience!
-Experience food and drink in complete darkness at Onoir. That’s right. This restaurant is North America’s first ever experience where you heighten your other senses while eating in pitch black.
-Morrow Lake Waterfall hike is a approximately 2 km round trail that offers a close up view to the Morrow Lake Falls and can be completed in 30-40 minutes.
-Kingston and Pembroke trail is about a 100 km in total length but offers many places to loop back around. It that takes you along the old K&P railroad line through beautiful fields and forest along wetlands. Offers free parking.
-Madawaska Nordic Ski Trail is seen as an easy to moderate hike coming in just under 6 km. Runs along old logging roads and makes for a great kid-friendly option.
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.