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19 Best Day Trips from Ottawa Within 2 Hours

19 Best Day Trips from Ottawa Within 2 Hours

Ottawa is a wonderful city but for those who call this capital home, it’s nice to get out once in a while! And even though there are plenty of things to do in Ottawa, the city’s prime location makes it a great spot for day trips around Ottawa to other awesome places to visit in Ontario. With an abundance of small towns in Ontario, beautiful Ontario parks, and other major cities, you really have so many choices!

Ottawa Day Trips

Read through them all and create your summer (or winter) bucket list of destinations to visit around Ottawa.


Distance from Ottawa: 40 minutes

Almonte is a charming, historic town that has a bit of something for everyone. From delicious food trucks (don’t miss Cheeky Chippy for drool-worthy seafood) to pretty patios, charming shops, and access to the Mississippi River and trails, this picturesque town is truly a treat to visit. It is quite the foodie destination with a number of restaurants, ice cream shops, and bakeries along the main street. But in between trying new sweets you can dip in and out of the local shops where you can find hand-crafted items and antiques. In town and along the River Walk, you’ll also see a waterfall but just outside of town you can find Mill of Kintail, with more trails to explore.


Distance from Ottawa: 40 minutes

Carp is technically a part of Ottawa, but since it’s on the outskirts, it is often overlooked. But there is plenty to do in Carp that will fill a day so it’s worth making the trek out, even if you’re from the east side of the city. Carp is most famously known for the Diefenbunker, an underground bunker that was built during the Cold War era as a place to house the Prime Minister and other important Canadian officials in case of a nuclear war. Today it’s a museum that you’re welcome to explore. Besides the history of Carp, you can also find the farmer’s market, a charming town centre to explore, and my personal favourite, the Instagram-worthy Kin Vineyards.


Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour

Whether you’re after a day of enjoying sweets, getting outdoors, or shopping, Perth has something for you. With over 1oo designated heritage buildings, this town is entertaining just by strolling through. But inside those buildings, you’ll find an abundance of local shops and sweet treats or restaurants, including some lining the water’s edge. You can even rent a kayak and paddle down the Tay River, which runs right through the centre of town for the views that are quite picturesque. Plus the Rideau Trail goes through Perth for those into hiking, and there’s Stewart Park which is an ideal spot for a picnic.


Distance from Ottawa: 2 hours

If you don’t think that small towns are your thing, then try heading to the historic city of Kingston. Once the capital of Canada, Kingston holds a ton of history and is home to a number of museums and tourist attractions such as the Kingston Penitentiary, which is where Canada’s most notorious criminals were once held. Aside from museums, Kingston also has a great food scene and is along the water, which is perfect for an afternoon stroll.


Distance from Ottawa: 30 minutes – 45 minutes

Not a specific town, but instead an entire county, the Prescott-Russell area is not one to be overlooked. Aside from spending a day at Calypso Waterpark, this area is famous for its cheese. St Albert’s is most known for its cheese curds that offer the perfect amount of squeak as you chew them and are (in my opinion and many others) best served as a part of poutine. The area also has Vankleek Hill Vineyard and Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, plus a beach along the Ottawa River (L’Original), and hiking trails in Voyage to Voyageur. But if you really want a day focused on food, try the self-guided Brew & Chew tour.

Carleton Place

Distance from Ottawa: 40 minutes

Yet another charming town less than an hour from Ottawa, Carleton Place is a great day trip from Ottawa for foodies and shopping. Hit up the main street, Bridge Street, to find stores filled with artisan goods, or enjoy some relaxing time on one of the patios. Carleton Place has spots for beers (Braumeister Brewing Co. & Stalwart Brewing Co.), cafes, and even a spot to make your own wine. The top spot for dining is awarded to Black Tartan which features dishes that change with the season and are made with ingredients from the Ottawa Valley.


Distance from Ottawa: 50 minutes

Yet another picturesque small town (are we seeing a theme here?) is Merrickville. Just under an hour from Ottawa, it’s in this town that you can find a number of heritage buildings, plenty of shops full of local goodies from soaps to clothes, and hiking trails. When here don’t miss the Stella Luna location (delicious gelato), Goose & Gridon for a meal, and spending some time along the Rideau River.


Distance from Ottawa: 1.5 hours

I grew up visiting Calabogie most weekends and I can confidently say that this cottage country area is worth the trip. While Calabogie is a popular winter destination because of the ski hill, Calabogie Peaks, you can still visit in the summer for hiking (try the hike to Eagle’s Nest for a scenic lookout), mountain biking, and chilling out on the beach where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards. There’s even a golf course on the opposite side of the lake, and between you can find Calabogie Brewing which has a pretty patio out back, and Redneck Bistro for a hearty meal. Lastly, but certainly not least, Calabogie is also home to a motorsport racetrack!


Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Nestled along the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall has all of your typical activities and sites for a small town: the main street with cute stores to shop in, good food, and a river for scenic views. But for something different try exploring St. Raphael’s Ruins, the SDG Jail, the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, or the Gray’s Creek Conservation Area for some time in nature.


Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour

Morrisburg is famous because of Upper Canada Village, where you can see what it was like to live in Canada in the 1860s. The village was created to showcase an accurate representation of Canadian life, from the buildings to the stories and actors in each. Morrisburg is also worth visiting in the fall for the Pumpkin Inferno when over 7,000 pumpkins are carved for a truly epic experience.

1000 Islands National Park & Gananoque

Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour and 20 minutes

There is plenty to do in this national park, which just so happens to be one of the best national parks in Ontario and the town of Gananoque. The highlight is typically a cruise through the islands or kayaking, but you have more options too. From relaxing on patios to exploring some of the hiking trails (on the mainland and some islands) to seeing the lookout from the 1000 Islands Tower, and checking out Boldt Castle, this easy day trip from Ottawa is a treat for all.

Gatineau Park

Distance from Ottawa: 20 – 50 minutes

Gatineau Park is so close to Ottawa that it could even be a morning or afternoon trip, but with so much to explore in the park, it can easily be made into a day trip too. There is far more to do than just hiking in Gatineau Park. Head to Meech Lake, Philippe Lake, or La Pêche Lake to rent things such as canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and rowboats. Cycling is very popular in this park too and there are even caves to explore (Lusk Cave), and Mackenzie King Estate is a lovely spot for a picnic or to enjoy the cafe.


Distance from Ottawa: 25 minutes

Chelsea is where you’ll often drive through to get to trails in Gatineau Park and this charming town is worth a stop or could easily be combined with a hike or bike in Gatineau Park. On the main street, you’ll find cafes and shops, ice cream, and more. For hikes in this area, you can go to the top of Camp Fortune in the summer. My personal favourite thing to do in Chelsea is to visit Le Nordik, a nordic spa that is great during any season. Lastly, you can also find a sugarbush here at Le Vignoble.


Distance from Ottawa: 30 minutes

Located in the Gatineau Hills, Wakefield is a prime spot in Quebec and just a short drive from Ottawa for art and music. There are a number of art galleries here, live music is easy to come by and boutique shopping or relaxing pubs are here too. Not to mention to can get into the water to enjoy the Gatineau River for a paddle.


Distance from Ottawa: 2 hours

Montreal is a wonderful city, packed with plenty to do for all types of travellers. And while Montreal is often visited as a weekend-long destination, you can still see a lot in a day! For adventure, head to La Ronde for a day of rides, or for culture and history spend a day roaming around Old Montreal, visiting Notre Dame Basilica. Other options include hiking to Mount Royal, finding street art, wandering museums, or tasting your way through Montreal’s food scene.

Bonnechere Caves & Eganville

Distance from Ottawa: 1.5 hours

I only recently discovered Eganville when I started travelling to Barry’s Bay and it’s always a place I want to stop because it’s so cute. But little did I know that Bonnechere Caves is so close by. Together, these two stops would make a great day trip, in the caves you can go underground to explore and even see some fossils, but then stop in Eganville for a wander around the town park, along the river, and grab some ice cream or lunch with views over the Bonnechere River.


Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Yet another pretty Canadian town along the water, Brockville is where you can come to see Canada’s first railway tunnel which has now become an attraction with lights. There’s a farmers market, arts centre, bakeries, and ice cream shops, all you could want from a small town to get out of Ottawa for a day.

Mont Tremblant

Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour and 45 minutes

A perfect Ottawa day trip destination year-round, Mont Tremblant has views, outdoor activities, and shopping for all. In the summer hike the hills, hop on the luge and go cycling. There are plenty of scenic spots, lakes, and dining options in the pedestrian-only village. In the winter you have the hills at your fingertips for when you want to hit the slopes on your skis or snowboards.

Algonquin Park

Distance from Ottawa: 3 hours

I know, Algonquin Park is not within 2-hours of Ottawa as this article suggests, but I did want to include it for those who want some great hiking and views! And because it’s one of the best provincial parks in Ontario. With it being 3-hours each way, you could leave early in the day in the summer, get in a hike of your choice and make it back to Ottawa in time for bed. There are a few hikes in Alongquin that are short (1-2km) such as Beaver Pond or the Lookout, with options for longer hikes such as Centennial Ridges. All have great lookouts!

Enjoy your time and around Ottawa!

Continue planning your trip to Ontario!

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