Come Wander

Hanging around the city when the scents of spring are tantalizingly tickling your nose is tough. This is when you yearn to get away from the slush, pack the car and head out for an almost-spring getaway to the countryside, where baby animals, maple syrup, G-rated fun, and fresh air are calling.

Get out of Ottawa with a road trip to Ontario’s Highlands where the snow is pristine and sparkling, and memories with family and friends are waiting to be made. Whether you have a day to get away, a weekend, or a full week, here are five ideas for family-oriented fun that will lift your spirits and keep your pant legs slush-free.

Glide Over Ice

Strap on your skates and glide beneath the sun or stars at an outdoor rink or trail. The Laurentian Valley Skating Trail  near Pembroke is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is the perfect place to stretch your skating legs. Wander along a more than two-kilometre skating trail beneath towering trees. Check ahead to make sure ice conditions are optimal.

Play Longer:  Skate the day away then stay the night and wander the city of Pembroke. The Best Western Pembroke Inn & Conference Centre is a great place to stay with the kids, who will love the indoor heated pool, saunas and hot tub. Parents will love the complimentary breakfast the next morning.

Pet Baby Animals

What says spring more than baby – or any – animals? Grab the kids for a sun-filled day in Lanark County and a visit to Serendipity Farm Alpacas & Llamas and feel furry llama or alpaca fleece, a fibre that’s as fine as cashmere but warmer than sheep’s wool. You can even take a llama for a walk, how fun is that? The farm and store are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on most weekend and holidays, all year long.

Play Longer: After filling up on baby animal love you can extend your visit with a stay at the beautiful Clyde Hall Bed and Breakfast, just a hop, skip, and a snowball throw away. Waken to a delicious maple breakfast made using maple syrup produced from the property’s maple trees.

Go Downhill

It may feel like spring but that doesn’t mean winter’s fun is over. Spring skiing or snowboarding is the best experience – not too cold and not too warm (Goldilocks would approve). Only an hour from Ottawa, Calabogie Peaks is fun for both adults and adults-in-training. The kids will love stretching their snow wings on the terrain parks, or they can zip downhill on a snowtube. Your mountainside adventure doesn’t need to end with the setting sun, you can also visit Mount Pakenham  and hurtle downhill at night for a magical starlight experience for the whole family.

Play Longer: Stay right at Calabogie Peaks resort for a spring outing where you won’t need to drive home at the end of a long day of fun in the sun. Soak the sore spots in an outdoor hot tub and you’ll be ready to hit the trails the next day. Fuel up after a day on the slope at Canthooks  restaurant, right at the resort.

Sweet Maple

Nothing says spring may finally be here more than the sweet flavour of maple on your tongue. Savour maple syrup in all its glory at Fulton’s Pancake House and Maple Shoppe  from mid-February to mid-April for a pancake breakfast, maple taffy, and a wander on their maple scavenger trail. In Lanark Highlands, the pancake house, trails, and museum at Wheelers Maple  is open every day except Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The best part about both these locations is once you’ve worked up an appetite outdoors you can dig into a delicious pancake breakfast, anytime of the day.

Play Longer: Extend your maple adventure into a weekend or week-long getaway in the 1880s original farmhouse log cabin that’s located on the Wheelers property. The kids will love sleeping back in time in the rustic, cute-as-a-button cabin. The cabin can sleep 13 guests, so you can bring the whole family for this fun maple getaway.

Spas Are for Kids

Who says spa days are just for adults? Indulge in a day of pampering at Perth Parkside Inn & Spa. Sit side by side giggling and whispering the day away while tiny fingers and toes are treated to a manicure or pedicure. When you book a spa experience you can also access the spa’s steam room, hot tub and heated indoor pool. Afterwards, fill little bellies at The Locks, or head to Crossroads Tea Room  for a high tea experience that will complete your pampering adventure.

Play Longer: After a day of relaxation you won’t want to make the drive back home, and you don’t need to. Book a room at the Perth Best Western and once you’re all deliciously cozy you can wander upstairs to sleep off your #spahangover.


Bowling for Fun

When was the last time you spent a few hours at a bowling alley, knocking down pins and having some good, old-fashioned G-rated fun? Brush up on your bowling skills at Chasin’ Turkeys in Carleton Place, or Gratton Bowling Lanes in Smiths Falls. In Renfrew County you can choose between the Arnprior Bowling Centre or the Opeongo Bowldrome  to get a strike.

Looking for more spring activities close to home? Find  fun family-friendly getaways in the Toronto area here.


Beer, Butter Tarts & Burritos (By Bike)

Could this be Ontario’s tastiest bike route? A natural backdrop of Canadian Shield, shimmering lakes and lush Crown land forests surround you as you pedal down a 50/50 mix of quiet paved roads and gravel rail trails that traverse a series of communities. These small towns and rural hamlets are now known for art and […]

Cycle Through Fall

In my humble opinion, there is no better time than fall to hop on my bike and hit the roads, gravel, and trails of Ontario’s Highlands. I don’t have to worry about overheating, nor will I find myself pushed to my limit while trying to outrun a swarm of deer flies for 20 kilometres (true […]

Cozy Up to Fall Camping

So you’re not ready for camping season to end? Here’s a tip: It doesn’t! Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean we need to head indoors, when it comes to camping experiences, fall is where it’s at. Fall camping is an entirely different (and some would say better) experience from summer camping –no bugs, […]

The Best Fall Canoeing

Discover these top lakes and rivers in Ontario’s Highlands to discover the beauty of fall colours from a canoe.

Best Highway 60 Hikes

So, you’re ready to hit the road. The King’s Highway 60 is calling your name – and who could blame you? The vistas on this route are stunning, from the Ottawa Valley to the Madawaska Valley. Every kilometre is a captivating experience. It may seem like you could cruise forever on this roadway, but everyone […]

With Love, to Frontenac County

Now more than ever we are drawn to our community, and the places that help us to unwind and get outdoors. To get away from the crowds and reconnect with our roots. Frontenac County tempts us to sit back, unwind and check into vacation mode, to rediscover a world of countless lakes and a region […]

With Love, to Haliburton Highlands

We are so lucky to come from a place that has it all: phenomenal views, rugged landscapes, abundance of trails, and infinite opportunities for recreation, all enticing you to leave your comfort zone and step into the wild. Here, endless forests meet cool, clear lakes and rivers to create incredible vistas that reach out to […]

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

With Love, to Hastings County

The deep lakes and meandering rivers here are ripe with life, both on land and in the water. This land is known as a region rich with minerals, and we haven’t forgotten how our communities were settled by the gold rush, where miners flocked, eager to delve into the earth to unearth its riches. Thick […]

Feel Like a Kid Again

Remember when your whole summer was devoted to swimming, playing, catching frogs, and finding adventures? At one time, this was an entire season fueled by ice cream, Freezies, and hot dogs. August always felt so short, and by the time it rolled around you’d scramble to finish your summer bucket list, savouring each shortened day […]

Cycle Haliburton

What’s your favourite flavour of cycling? Do you prefer digging in off-road, pedaling hard for speed and distance, or just a light taste with a short meander? A bike ride can be what you want to make of it, which is part of the fun, isn’t it? Haliburton Highlands’ varied terrain calls cyclists to explore […]

Bikepacking in North Frontenac

Imagine a weekend of backcountry camping in a quiet forest just a few hours from Ottawa or Toronto. As you settle down at camp, you think back to the fresh moose tracks you saw earlier that day and the amazing swim you had when you stopped for lunch. The scenery feels familiar but something’s different. […]

Hello Summer! Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

We are happy to see that summer is in full swing here in Ontario’s Highlands, and even happier now that we have seen the lifting of many restrictions here in Ontario. After months of staying home we are eager to get out and stretch out legs and imaginations in a region made for discovery. This […]

Secret Swimming Holes

Shhh…we’re not supposed to tell you about these swimming holes…some of them don’t even have names and you may never find them without a map, but we understand that when it’s 40 degrees out with the humidity and the public beach is packed the hunt is on for the perfect swim spot. Those in the […]

Go Backcountry

You waken slowly in the early morning, the high-pitched warble of birdsong drifting lightly through the trees overhead. The sky is faintly brightening with the coming of dawn, and the natural world is gradually blossoming to life. Around you there is no trace of human activity, no murmurs of voices, clanging of dishes, or whir […]

An Ode to Summer

A throwback to summers gone past, with inspiration for this year’s adventure.

Just Show Up

Hit the water and take advantage of these easy kayaking and canoeing opportunities in Ontario’s Highlands.

Highway 7 Hikes

Stretch your legs by exploring these nature hiking trails along Highway 7.

Coming Home

Discover the story of Sarain Fox and her journey home to the Ontario’s Highlands, relieving memories of ice fishing and snowmobiling along the way.

Spring is Calling

Hanging around the city when the scents of spring are tantalizingly tickling your nose is tough. This is when you yearn to get away from the slush, pack the car and head out for an almost-spring getaway to the countryside, where baby animals, maple syrup, G-rated fun, and fresh air are calling. Get out of […]

Spring Break

The sun is warm, the air smells like spring, and the birds are singing their special warm weather songs. It’s official; spring has sprung. After a long Canadian winter, spring getaways are a time-honoured tradition for families here in the great white north, and haven’t we earned a little fun in the sun? This is […]

Winter Just Got Awesome

Learn to climb or brush up on your skills with an epic ice climbing adventure at SOIceFest 2020 in Maynooth, ON.

Ultimate Après-Ski Experiences

Meet up with friends after a day well spent on the slopes or on the trails. Discover these top places in Ontario’s Highlands to celebrate the Apres Ski!

Fall in Love With Winter

Unique winter experiences in Ontario’s Highlands that will give you something to brag about.

Climb a Wall of Ice

Challenge yourself to reach new heights with an ice climbing adventure at these places across Ontario’s Highlands.

Embrace the Dog Days of Winter

If you can’t beat winter, join it with an epic dog sledding excursion through some of the most beautiful forests in Ontario.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Where Am I?

Climb to new heights at the Medeba Ice Wall and enjoy the unique view from the top.

Where Am I?

Make fresh tracks along premium snowmobile trail, the RAP Tour Loop.

Winter? Bring it!

Discover your love for the season with a classic Ottawa Valley winter.

One Last Ride

Watch JR Alli’s video and see what he discovers when he allows himself to just wander.

An Action-Packed Weekend

Read how Will Tang from Going Awesome Places raced muscle cars and experienced thrills on the rapids with whitewater raftering in the Ottawa Valley.

Whitewater Rafting as a Family

Read about how one family took on whitewater rafting on the Madawaska River and why they can’t wait to do it again.

The Freedom Finder

I’m a Freedom Finder. I wander with speed! I seek out opportunities to make fresh tracks, blaze new trails, and get my adrenaline pumping.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Recharge in the Snow

Disconnect from the everyday with a snowmobile trip through Ontario’s Highlands.

All Terrain, All the Time

Pack your saddle bags and press the throttle for an ATV adventure like no other in Ontario’s Highlands.

Raging the Rapids

SUP Instructor Courtney Sinclair takes her passion for paddle boarding to the whitewater.

Hair-Raising Drives

Explore roads of Ontario with these drives that make you reach for your hairbrush.

Roads Worth Riding

Plan your next motorcycle ride along the hand-crafted roads of Ontario’s Highlands. Wind around vast lakes, to fill up on culinary delights, and converse with friendly locals.