Who doesn’t love a good weekend getaway? If you are like most Ottawa residents, you will want to find something exciting to do outdoors, so you can melt away stress and take advantage of the weather this summer and fall. Here are some of the best activities in the Ottawa Valley.
Camping – If you are looking for a beautiful place to spend a night or two in the wilderness, you can take advantage of Algonquin Park in Ontario. The park’s rivers, lakes and forests provide plenty of sights to see, and there are eight campgrounds where you can set up tents and ark trailers, or you can rent a “yurt,” which is a tent-like structure that includes electric heat and insulated floors, as well as bunk beds. If traditional camping doesn’t interest you, there are three lodges available for room rental as well. They offer trail access and you can be near the picnic grounds and beaches, and even museums. Check out the website at www.algonquinpark.on.ca.
Hiking and biking – There are plenty of trails to enjoy throughout the three regions of the Ottawa Valley. You can choose a region based on what type of sights you want to see. While The Bonnechere River and Valley trails wind through country roads and area small towns, The Ottawa River and Algonquin Park trails take hikers by the bays and beaches, past marinas and into the forests at Algonquin Park. Madawska and Highland trails are known for their beauty during the fall, especially. You can access all of these trails for free. Visit the website at www.valleyexplore.com/walk.htm or www.valleyexplore.com/bike.htm to find out more.
ATV – When you feel like hopping on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), you can rent one from Top of the Mountain Tours in Killaloe, Ontario. You do not have to be an experienced rider for rental, and you will be provided with safety equipment and a snack. Access the rates and other information at www.topofthemountaintours.com.
Driving – For an adventure in which you don’t even have to get out of your car, you can pick a route in the Upper Ottawa Valley, and explore for as long as you like. Some of the highlights along the way may include the Westmeath Lookout and Shrine Hill. Get online and go to www.valleyexplore.com/drive.htm to find some options.
Golfing – When you want to enjoy the game of golf in a natural setting, you need to visit Calabogie Highlands Golf Resort. You can play on a nine-hole course or an 18-hole Championship course, both of which have been built using the area’s native landscape. To learn more, visit the website at www.calabogiehighlandsgolf.com.
Rafting – If you like to spend time on the water, OWL Rafting, 90 miles west of Ottawa in Forester Falls, has different levels of rafting to select, from beginner to white-water. After completing your chosen adventure, you can join other rafters on a pontoon boat back to the OWL Centre, and partake in a big meal as you make your way back. Find out more about the rafting and see what else the beachfront has to offer, like kayaking and canoeing, online at www.owl-mkc.ca/owl/.
Skydiving – For the more adventurous among us, there is always skydiving at Mile High Parachuting. You can count on licensed, certified instructors and skilled pilots to take you out and let you fly, whether you are a rookie or an experienced skydiver. For those who have done this before, there are many options. Go to www.milehighparachuting.com to find out what levels and combinations are available.
Hot air ballooning – Windborne Ballooning offers riders the ultimate way to enjoy an aerial view of the Ottawa Valley. Ride for about an hour, whether you want to go alone or a significant other or a group. Kids are welcome to ride as well, aboard a Champagne hot air balloon. You can get more information online at www.magmacom.com/windborneballooning/.
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