Paris isn't in everybody's budget. Definitely not mine, at least. I'm saying this while I'm eating packaged ramen noodles that I just pulled out of the microwave.
A low bank account can hinder a trip across the ocean, but an adventurous attitude can never prevent you from taking a vacation. Thinking creatively, there's plenty of places to explore in the small towns that surround Ottawa. The highest bungee cord in the country is just a half hour drive from downtown and some of the best sandy beaches in Ontario are just a couple hours away.
Here's 9 small towns and some activities to do around them for a mini staycation:
Distance: 30 minutes.
Spend a day relaxing in the clear blue waters at Morrison's Quarry, or brave the nearby bungee cord that's also infamously the highest in Canada. There's also the picturesque red covered bridge crossing the rapids of the Gatineau River and Vorlage ski resort in the winter.
Distance: 40 minutes.
Hike the slopes of the Gatineau Hills after taking a scenic drive on Highway 148 along the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Follow along the streams of the scenic Luskville Falls and bask in the views of the Ottawa Valley from the very top of the hills.
Distance: 15 minutes.
Sip a coffee at the adorable Biscotti & Cie, visit the famous Cat Cafe, ski at Camp Fortune or grab a drink at the old Chelsea Pub. The options are almost endless at this town nestled in the Gatineau Hills.
Distance: 1 hour.
One of the prettiest towns in Ontario, with a downtown filled with streets of old heritage buildings and the gorgeous Stewart Park.
Sharbot Lake, Ontario
Distance: 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Nestled on a stretch of land between the lake of the same name, Sharbot Lake is home to two sandy public beaches at the Sharbot Lake Provincial Park. There's also over 175 campsites in the area if you want to make an overnight camping trip.
Distance: 3 hours.
Famously in Prince Edward County and about 20 minutes from Sandbanks Beach. Arguably one of the nicest beaches in Ontario, Sandbanks is as close to the ocean Ottawans can get to without actually going to the ocean.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Distance: 2 hours.
Just two hours from Ottawa and home to one of the country's most renowned and stunning ski resorts. Whether you're going for a weekend ski trip, or just visiting the charming village in the fall, Mont Tremblant is the perfect nearby escape.
Distance: 40 minutes.
A charming town in Lanark County with a winding main street which was actually used quite recently to film a small American town for a movie. The 19th century buildings add a unique touch to Almonte, which still have their old vintage, painted ads on the side, like the wide iconic Black Watch chewing tobacco advertisement.
Distance: 2 hours
You don't need to visit Europe to see a castle. Take a boat to the Boldt Castle in the 1000 Islands and grab a drink afterwards at the Gananoque Brewing Company.
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