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21 Ottawa bucket list activities to do before summer ends

Each year it feels as though the days have just started to get longer and before we know it, it’s halfway through summer. Don’t fret, there is still time to check activities off of your Ottawa summer bucket list.  

If you’re still looking for things to do in Ottawa this summer, you can explore waterways by boat, soar over rivers, take a bike tour, sip wine in a vineyard, navigate obstacle courses and much more.  

Rent a bike or a SUP board

Make the most of the warm weather and explore Ottawa by land and water with Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals. You can join a guided bike tour downtown or paddle on the Ottawa River in Gatineau.   

CAA Members save 10% on kayak, SUP and canoe tours and rentals and save 10% on bike tours and rentals. Reserve online using promo codes. 

Cruise down a mountain coaster

Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Quebec, offers thrilling adventures including a mountain pipe coaster. You’ll fly down a monorail track at 40 km/h with views of forests and hills.   

The park also has a new zipline course that features three different ziplines, and you can end the experience with a free fall jump. They are dual ziplines, so bring an adventure buddy.

Explore historic caves

Bonnechere Caves Walkway

Head to the Ottawa Valley and venture underground while exploring the Bonnechere Caves. Take a guided tour of these ancient caves, full of fossils up to 500 million years old.   

After navigating tunnels and admiring stalactites, you can relax in the aboveground picnic area, where you’ll catch a stunning view of Fourth Chute Falls. 

Take a city tour on an amphibus

Can’t decide between a boat or bus tour of Ottawa? You don’t have to because Lady Dive Tours has the province’s only amphibus that takes you from land to the river. In addition, there is a bilingual guide so you can learn more about the region and history.

Compete in paintball and an obstacle course

Battle your family at the ultimate activity park, Marked Adventure Park. You can take a swing at axe throwing, amp up your hide-and-seek skills with Laser Combat, get in on the action of paintball, test your endurance on the obstacle course and cool off with a water gun fight. Finally, end the day by relaxing around the campfire.   

CAA Members save 15% on all adventures by booking with the promo code CAADISCOUNT.   

Take a wine tour of hidden gems

Discover another side of the capital region with a curated drink tour in Outaouais. Aventure Outaouais has a variety of tours that provide an authentic experience of the area, including two different wine and cider tours. On weekends until mid-October, you can join the Pontiac or Petite Nation wine and cider tour and discover hidden gems. Transportation, tastings and treats are included, and they pick you up from Ottawa!

Zipline between provinces

You can soar across the Ottawa River between Ontario and Quebec with Interzip Rogers. This interprovincial zipline is 1200 feet long, 120 feet high and will have you flying up to 50 km/h. You’ll be able to see river rapids, Parliament Hill, and other monumental buildings from the sky.

Cruise along the Rideau Canal

Float down the historic Rideau Canal on an electric boat, learning local history as you admire the view. The 1.5-hour ride highlights Fairmont Château Laurier, the Canadian Museum of Nature and Dow’s Lake, among other sights. Ottawa Boat Cruise offers canal tours multiple times daily and boat cruises of the Ottawa River — book them together as a combo.

Navigate a water maze

Éco-Odyssée is a nature park near Ottawa with a water labyrinth you can paddle through on a canoe, kayak, SUP board or pedal boat. Choose your adventure, by day or night, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as beavers. The park also features walking trails, a volleyball court and a campfire area

Go whitewater rafting

The Ottawa River features some world-class rapids for adventurers, and you can go whitewater rafting in the valley with OWL Rafting. The river offers different routes, so you can choose a tour with a level of intensity that’s right for you. Head out for a day trip or stay a few nights at their waterfront resort.  

You can save 10% on whitewater packages and trips with CAA Membership. 

Ride around on a party bike

Grab up to 13 of your favourite people for a day of celebrating and exploring the city on Ottawa’s party bike, Thursty Pedaler. On it, you’ll visit some hot spots around town and enjoy patio drinks as you cycle a pub crawl through Hintonburg or the Glebe. The two-hour tour includes a party pilot leading the way to three stops. There is also a Glebe coffee crawl if you prefer a caffeine boost

Paddle around an island beach

Ottawa beach

You can spend a day soaking up the sun on a sandy shore and rent watercraft from Petrie Island Marina. You’ll pass the marina as you drive onto the island, and you can rent boats like kayaks and paddle boards. It’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until September 1.   

The island has numerous beaches to relax on, some walking trails and a canteen selling snacks.  

Browse fresh market produce

Ottawa Farmers’ Market hosts markets in four different neighbourhoods: Lansdowne, Barrhaven, Westboro and Orléans. So fill your cupboards with fresh produce, baked goods, reserves, hot meals, crafts and more. The markets occur on different days of the week until October and sometimes have special events like live music.   

Hike through lush forest

Gatineau Park is the region’s largest green space, covering over 361 square kilometres and offering 183 kilometres of summer trails. The NCC’s free shuttle service will take you from Ottawa to the park on weekends until August 27, 2023. Epic lookouts, forest pathways and lush hillsides are waiting to be explored

Dine on an outdoor patio

There is no shortage of incredible Ottawa restaurants with patios to soak up the sun as you enjoy your meal. So take advantage of the beautiful summer weather while you can.   

Walk down Sparks Street and stop for a bite on the Bier Markt patio, where you can save 10% with a CAA Membership.  

Taste wine on a vineyard patio

Take a day trip to Carp and sip a wine flight surrounded by 47 acres of grape vines at KIN Vineyards. You’ll think you’ve travelled to Sicily as you enjoy a variety of wines by bottle or glass paired with some authentic Italian eats by Joe’s Italian Kitchen. You can also book a private tour.

Float on a tropical party boat

Hop aboard a floating Hawaiian-style hut and cruise along the Ottawa River. Pretend you’re on an island vacation with Palapa Tours and enjoy the 1.5-hour boat ride. There are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on board, and you’re welcome to bring your own snacks.   

Play through farm attractions

Bring the family to Saunders Farm for their Summer Maze Days activities. There are many things for the kids to play on, like hedge mazes, playgrounds, jumbo jumpers, splash pads and zip lines. In addition, you can browse a farm shop and enjoy lunch, plus adults can sip Saunders Cider at the CiderHouse.

Climb inside a gorge

If you’re seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush, you can adventure through a river canyon in a number of exciting ways. Chutes Coulonge Park is a historical and adventure park where you can enjoy a simple nature walk, climb a tree obstacle course or navigate the Via Ferrata; a mix of ziplines, a suspension bridge and climbing a rock face.

Cool off at a giant waterpark

The biggest themed waterpark in Canada, Calypso Waterpark is located just half an hour from downtown Ottawa. It’s the perfect day trip for the whole family, with something for everyone including a wave pool, two themed rivers and over 35 waterslides, one of which is the tallest waterslide tower in the country.  

Pick berries

There are several berry farms around Ottawa where you can pick fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries throughout the summer. July and August are typically blueberry seasons; you can pick your own at Proulx Farm and many other local farms. 

Before your adventure, have your CAA Membership handy

CAA Members can save wherever they go with memberships starting at just $30 a year. You can save when dining out, fueling up or trying a new attraction. View the list of 126,000 partner locations worldwide online. 

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