Affordable Ottawa Road Trips: 'Close To Home' and 'Further Afield' this long weekend

If you feel the price of gas, and well, the price of everything has put the brakes on your long weekend fun, author Laura Byrne Paquet will accelerate your planning.

The author of “Ottawa Road Trips: Your Weekend Getaway Guide” has suggestions for great adventures in the capital and those to experience on a “cruise-controlled” road trip close to the capital.

Byrne Paquet has done the road-trip homework for you.

Byrne Paquet’s blog is seeing as much traffic as the 417 by those in eastern Ontario, western Quebec and Upstate New York looking to put limited budgets to maximum experience. 

“I think people are really hungry for short road trips that are easy on the gas tank. I did a quick post this week on places within a half-hour drive of Ottawa, and it went a bit nuts,” says Laura Byrne Paquet author of “Ottawa Road Trips: Your Weekend Getaway Guide”.

"Viral would be overstating it, but I think it was my best-performing post since my 'open public restrooms' post at the beginning of the pandemic," muses Byrne Paquet,

“I think gas prices are making people rethink their road trips, but I don’t get the sense they’re willing to give up the idea completely—especially after the last two years!”

Byrne Paquet shared her blog favourites and long weekend ideas on CTV Ottawa’s News at Noon.

Here are Laura Byrne Paquet’s suggestions for Road Trips "Closer to Home" & "Further Afield":

CLOSE TO HOME

Ottawa’s Britannia neighbourhood: "There’s a beach, there’s a great ice cream shop (BeachConers), there’s a pretty pond to hike around (Mud Lake), and you can get there by bike or bus if you don’t want to drive."

Kemptville: "They’re having their first-ever Busker Fest this weekend!"

Barrhaven: "Main reason for mentioning this is that they’re having their first-ever Ribfest this weekend."

Byrne Paquet says, "Another vibe I’m getting is that many people are cheered by the return of popular festivals."

Downtown Gatineau: "You can walk the free Cultural Trail, have a beer at Les Brasseurs du Temps, go to the Canadian Museum of History (current big show is about the War Measures Act), go for a zip on the Interzip Rogers zipline."

Canadian Museum of Nature: "I just checked out their new Ice Age show, opening (Saturday). It’s really good! Plus, there’s the permanent Bugs Alive exhibit, which gave me the willies but kids will probably love. Could maybe fold this into a whole Centretown day trip—bike the canal, drop into a restaurant."

Cumberland: "Go to the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, have a snack at the Black Walnut Bakery, go to the Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpture Park ("spiritual" sculptures dotted through the woods—it’s a cool, one-of-a-kind place)."

Manotick: "Really close if you live in the south end; cute shops, Watson’s Mill etc."

Old Ottawa South: "Go to a movie at the Mayfair, enjoy pierogi and pinball at House of Targ, get books and coffee at Black Squirrel, meander along the Rideau River at Brewer Park or Windsor Park, have oatmeal for lunch at Oat Couture, see live music at the brand-new Redbird Live."

FURTHER AFIELD

Chutes Coulonge: "Zip line over a waterfall, try the via ferrata (rock climbing along a cliff on cables), stay in a yurt."

Montebello: "Go posh at the Fairmont Hotel, go to a chocolate economuseum, do a scavenger hunt-style adventure on e-scooters, go to Parc Omega."

Prescott: "I just did an interview with the artistic director of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. It’s not happening until July - August, but people might want to think about buying tickets now because the amphitheatre (right on the river) doesn’t have a huge capacity."

Brockville: "Lots to do here! People love the restored railway tunnel (there’s a sound and light show) and it’s free. The Aquatarium (looking at the history/ecology of the St. Lawrence River) is also great, especially for kids. The local museum is nice. There’s an arts centre that’s starting to program some live events. Some nice restaurants, too, including a super-cute tea room."

Cornwall: "Big on biking (75 kilometres of paved paths and bike lanes). The visitor centre at the Saunders Dam is due to reopen after being closed throughout the pandemic. You can kayak in a transparent kayak nearby. Also nearby, the Long Sault Parkway is stunning and takes you to the Lost Villages Museum, which tells the story of the villages that were flooded in 1958 during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway."

Barry’s Bay/Killaloe: "Gateway to Algonquin Park or you can camp or stay in a cabin at Bonnechere Provincial Park. Cute craft/gift store in Barry’s Bay (Grumblin’ Grannies). You can visit the original BeaverTails shop in Killaloe."

New York State

The Finger Lakes area: "The many waterfalls and a renowned bird research centre (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) in Ithaca. New York Kitchen, a culinary centre where you can take cooking classes in Canandaigua. Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum in Seneca Falls."

The Adirondacks: “Olympic sites in Lake Placid; the treetops boardwalk at the Wild Centre in Tupper Lake; hiking trails.”

Eastern Townships: "Visit a secluded monastery, go to a Nordic-style spa, hike, eat cheese, go to a winery."