The heart of Lanark County is just an hour's driver from downtown Ottawa. While, for nature lovers, it may be more popular to head to the lakes and hills in Gatineau, Lanark offers some of the most beautiful scenery just right here in Ontario.
From skiing in the winter to some of the absolutely most beautiful towns in the whole province of Ontario, Lanark seems to have it all. Year-round there is something for every adventure seeker, food enthusiast and anyone just looking for a little escape to the country from the city.
Here's 10 things you must cross off your bucket list when taking a trip to Lanark:
1. Grab an ice cream at Balderson's.
The famous cheese might be bringing you to the town of Balderson, but Balderson Village Cheese also offers the best ice cream in Lanark County for those summer road trips. But, they also serve 32 different flavours year-round, and there's never really a bad time for ice cream, right?
2. Eat some pancakes at Wheeler's Pancake House.
It would be rude not to eat pancakes and authentic maple syrup in the "Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario." Wheeler's is the best in the region, and it's a sugar bush, too. Who doesn't crave maple taffy on a popsicle stick in the snow?
3. Take some pictures around the old Mill of Kintail.
Wander around the trails in this massive 154 acre conservation area. This area is especially beautiful in the fall and the small chapel on the grounds is a personal favourite place to visit.
4. Ski the slopes of Calabogie Peaks.
With 24 trails at all difficulties, Calabogie doesn't disappoint the longtime ski enthusiast or any new beginners. The summit elevation at over 1, 200 feet offers some of the best views of the valley.
5. Visit the five-span stone bridge in Pakenham.
A unique and picturesque bridge that's over 100 years-old and that offers some of the best photo ops in the county. The town of Pakenham itself, and the nearby beautiful St. Peter Celestine Church, make this one of the prettiest places in Lanark in all seasons.
6. Take a walk through beautiful Almonte.
Wander through the winding streets, exploring the 19th-century architecture that still very much remains there today. Fun fact: James Naismith, the man who invented basketball, was born and raised here.
7. Go paddle boarding on the Mississippi.
No, not the American one. This 200km river crosses through some of Lanark County's major towns, including Almonte and Pakenham, so there's plenty of places to take a canoe, paddle board or even a fishing rod if you'd like.
8. Spend a day at the beach at Silver Lake.
You can do practically anything at Silver Lake. You could swim, canoe, kayak and even camp from May to September. It's one of the most picturesque lakes near Ottawa and it's just right off Highway 7 and 30km from Perth.
9. Go hiking at Murphy's Point.
Explore the old mica mine or one of the many other trails around the provincial park. Might I add, Murphy's Point is one of the best spots to camp in and around Ottawa. The lake has a cute little island that's always terrific for photos.
10. Visit Perth: "The prettiest town in Ontario."
It would be difficult to find a more romantic park in Ontario than Stewart Park. The charming, old flare of downtown Perth makes this gem (just an hour away from Ottawa) a perfect spot to visit for a lunch on a road trip to Lanark County.