EN - Travel

Spontaneous Fall Road Trips Less Than 1 Hour Away From Ottawa

Killer road trips idea your friends will all agree on.

I've always been a fan of road trips, especially during summertime and fall time. There's just something about escaping for the weekend, blasting music from your car stereo and driving down a scenic road. It's a temporary escape from the real world and sometimes that's all someone asks for.

Whether you're drowning in textbooks, dreading your firm's fiscal year or becoming anxious about harsh Canadian weather hitting-- you are probably lusting after a good vacation. Luckily, time off doesn't always mean using up your vacation days to hop on a plane, attached with steep costs.

READ MORE: These Are The Best Restaurants In Ottawa That Are Surprisingly All In The Suburbs

These road trip destinations are less than 1 hour from Ottawa and will show you that it isn't always about the destination, but it's also about the journey! That's why road trips are so great-- you get to experience the actual voyage. Time to pack the duffle bag! 

If you haven't gotten your road trip fix in yet, you should consider taking a trip to one of these destinations which are less than 1 hour away from Ottawa: 


@bookofcabinsembedded via

Distance: 1 hour

Gananoque is an adorable town that everyone seems to overlook. This loveable town is absolutely perfect during a colourful fall setting, as you can tour the town, go on a brisk boat cruise, go shopping at boutiques, go fishing, go on a scenic hiking trail, picnic in one of their many wonderful parks or attend a farmer's market. For more activity info, click here!


@aliceaucanadaembedded via

@travellingcubeembedded via

Jabulani Vineyard & Winery 

@samanthajeanxembedded via

Distance: 50 minutes

Jabulani Vineyard & Winery is a prime spot to travel because it's not too far, but it is a completely contrasting experience! Vineyards and wineries are one of the best outdoor activities to partake during the autumn months-- think: you + BFFs, leather boots, cashmere sweaters, and a great selection of wine. You can even pack your own picnic if you're on a budget. The Jabulani Vineyard & Winery is only 50 minutes from Ottawa which makes it not only a convenient spot to chill, but also a festive spot to celebrate friendship, love or anything else! Do you really need an excuse to drink wine?


@lazmelescembedded via

@nicola_barbeauembedded via

Sharbot Lake 

@robyoung.gdembedded via

Distance: 50 minutes

If you're getting tired of Gatineau Park, Sharbot Lake might be your next best bet. This park is a great spot for hiking, biking, camping, sightseeing and all the traditional outdoorsy stuff you want to do during the fall months with your friends, family or SO.

Sharbot Lake is located on two beautiful, clear lakes that offer canoeing, boating, kayaking, fishing and swimming. After the cute drive up, you can park your car and enjoy the park's amenities and clean facilities or you could whip up BBQ if you're hungry from the ride (make sure you pack your tools!), go for a nature walk, go boating or get a bonfire started.


@michellevalbergphotographyembedded via

@jm_sound_musicembedded via

Perth and Smiths Falls

@pixfolderembedded via

Distance: 1 hour

These town of Perth is the perfect stop after a day of boating or kayaking, as it's situated right on the Rideau Canal. Perth has its own town hall, several parks, a vintage market and lots of small town charm! At Smith Falls, there are museums to peruse such as the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, flea markets for shopping, Cataraqui Trail for those outdoorsy folk and nature lovers and boat tours.


@timothy.brynembedded via

@v_piersonembedded via

Montebello Fairmont Resort 

@friendlyfeetfundraiserembedded via

Distance: 1 hour

The stunning and rustic Fairmont Montebello Resort is the place to go if you want to indulge and relax. While you're not lounging around in their massive foyer, be sure to explore Omega Park if you love animals, because there are lots of wildlife that live there! You can also check out more local and interesting artisan shops like a Fromagerie (seriously, who can say no to bringing back some delicious fresh cheeses), golf, play indoor tennis or take a horse ride. For more activity info, click here.

If you want to really relax, you can head over to the resort's beautiful spa which overlooks the marina, river and surrounding forest, which will be beautiful when the colours change. If you and your group decide to stay here, definitely take advantage of their seasonal discounts and signature spa treatments. Click here for more info.


@nicholasplacephotoembedded via

@lmathotembedded via

Nordik Spa-Nature

@nutpettenembedded via

Distance: 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa

This gem of a place is only 15 minutes north on Highway 5 from downtown Ottawa! It's pretty much an oasis in the hub of the Gatineau Hills. This zen Scandinavian retreat is the quintessential place to unwind after a long work week, as it includes seven outdoor baths and a sweeping infinity pool, eight sauna rooms and a handful of outdoor and indoor relaxing areas for you to get that perfect Insta pic. There are elegant and tasteful restaurants and lounges with full terraces for you and your pals to enjoy the view. For only $63 a person, sign me up!


@madsedwardsembedded via

@vickidignard5embedded via

Camp Fortune’s Zip Line

@gonyoucembedded via

Distance: 30 minutes

There's hardly anything more adventurous and exhilarating than ziplining through beautiful Gatineau trees this season. The sheer fun and excitement of this outdoor activity will take over your senses and you'll forget how high up you are if you're afraid of heights. Imagine travelling to this camp during optimal fall season time, when the leaves are at its brightest, brushing against one another and gracefully spiralling downwards. The view is just killer.

Camp Fortune also includes some more challenging aerial courses and zip lines, designed to test your strength and endurance. Don't worry, if you're a moderately active individual, you should be able to complete these outdoor courses easily. Throughout the course of many zip lines, you'll be rewarded with the largest and LONGEST zip line of the entire camp. Another highlight-- it's only $35 for a day pass!


@kristinalexsembedded via

@ab_bradleyembedded via

Parc Omega 

@beckckyembedded via

Distance: 50 minutes

For all the animal lovers out there, you can engage, play and feed wildlife while they freely roam around this special Ottawa park. You can either drive around in the comfort of your car while eating snacks or listening to music or snapping pics, or you can actually step out and hang out with them! It's totally up to you. At Parc Omega, you get to interact with deer, coyotes, moose, bears, goats and even grey wolves! You won't want to miss the opportunity to feed and pet all the animals.


@fersightsembedded via

@chloel2bembedded via

Eagles Nest Lookout

@jralli23embedded via

Distance: 1 hour

If you haven't hiked up this trail yet, then you need to do your research and get up there! Located in Calabogie, there is a gorgeous lookout point at Eagles Nest which you'll be rewarded with after a 4 mile hike. The trail is a gradual uphill hike and stops at 120 metres on a cliff (so be cautious and wear proper shoes).

The trail weaves around Manitou Mountain and it's about a moderate level of difficulty for hikers. The trail loops through striking pine forests and spectacular wilderness countrysides. You'll come across a total of three mountaintop vistas: Red Arrow Rock and Manitou Mountain and lastly, Eagle's Nest Lookout. This trail is so diverse that it also links to the enchanting Lost Valley Trail and the Juniper Ridge Lookout, as well as the Skywalk Trail on top of Dickson Mountain.


@aerinn888embedded via

@chelseahoaglandembedded via

Abraska Lafléche

@jaedenjonesembedded via

Distance: 35 minutes

There is another cute ziplining spot near Ottawa to choose from! At Abraska Lafléche, you can drive 35 minutes to get out of the city and engage in something you can't do at many other places. You're bound to have so much fun zip lining through nature, you'll never want to leave. You can zip line over the majestic landscape, snowshoe in the forest in the winter-time and explore the biggest cave of the Canadian Shield.


@ceeandbeembedded via

@alicegalvaobembedded via

Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush

@ottawatourismembedded via

Distance: 1 hour

Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush will for sure give you a sugar high. If you're feeling kind of blue these days, this cute little day trip will be sure to knock you right out of it, with sugar and simplistic nostalgia. You get to see where their maple syrup comes from, as well as taste it at their delicious pancake-making restaurant.


@elocinbonneembedded via

@ypdineembedded via

A lot of these road trips are pretty all-embracing, so you're sure to find something that suits you and your group's tastes. These spots make pretty great date ideas too, which just means you now have the advantageous opportunity to show your SO how interesting and thoughtful you can be. Dates don't always have to be the traditional dinner and movie (although you should do that too).

The process of finding someplace to go or what to do on a weekend with your squad can be equally as exhausting. It usually starts off with a simple question on your group chat iMessage and then it circles back and forth with no one willing to do the planning, or not coming to an agreement. With these destinations less than an hour from Ottawa, your friends really can't bail this time!