Come Wander
Picnic Spot near Ottawa

Each year I look forward to picnics by the water. Memories flood back of red and white tablecloths, the smell of the water, the feel of sand slipping under my feet, woven baskets full of wonderful picnic foods and goodies, large brimmed hats and leisure days. Unforgettable. Why not make some memories of your own? Plan a day away or jump in the car and visit one of the picnic areas close to our Nation’s Capital for a fabulous day by the water.

Robert Simpson Park, Arnprior

This spot on the mighty Ottawa River is an eclectic mix: one end of the park is busy with children in the splash pad and playground; another corner of the park is a little oasis where a water fountain quietly flows and stone benches encircle it. A large pavilion sits on the hill overlooking the river, and picnic tables are plentiful, along with many benches to sit and take in the view. For the sand and swim lovers, the main beach is just down the hill, and a short hiking trail leads through the forest to the river and a hidden little beach.

Perfect Picnic Foods:

  • Stop by Valley Roots and take along a packed lunch. Only minutes away from the Park, they have a great selection of boxed lunches, sandwiches, wraps, salads and all things “to go”
  • Wes’ Chips is also close by and has been a delicious Arnprior tradition for close to 50 years

Five Span Bridge Park, Pakenham

The quaint town of Pakenham on the Mississippi River has a lovely park, perfect for a picnic, and named for the stone bridge built in 1903 (one of the seven wonders of Lanark County).

There are a few picnic tables close to water’s edge and lots of rocks to sit on and enjoy the rapids.
Dip your toes in the water and feel the cooling effect it has on your mind and soul, walk along the shallow shoreline, or head down river to do some fishing or kayaking. This is a great photo op location and is also pet friendly. Many memories have been made here from wedding pictures, picnics with my parents and kids to just sitting in solitude, taking time to think about this crazy thing we call life.

Perfect Picnic Foods:

Riverside Park, Carleton Place

Looking for a little more action? Riverside Park on the Mississippi River in Carleton Place was a go-to place when my children were younger and they always loved it. It is a large park with personality: kids love the Splash pad; the playground is right on the sandy beach; there is ample space for swimming; and The Canoe Club resides here, so you will likely see canoes, kayaks and if you are lucky, dragon boats. The other end of the park is quieter where you can walk the boardwalk, launch your boat or take a hike. Just a pebble skip away on the other side of the river is the smaller Centennial Park, offering a more intimate setting with beach access, an open area for a picnic and a hiking trail.

Perfect Picnic Foods:

  • A little ice cream trailer, the ChillZone, is onsite at Riverside Park for a cool down snack
  • The Old Towne Bakery is just a few minutes’ walk from the beach – I can almost smell the aroma of freshly made bread just thinking about it
  • About a 5 minute drive from the park is The Beckwith Kitchen, specializing in home cooked meals to go, where you can choose from salads and yummy sandwiches, all made fresh

Stewart Park, Perth

This large park in the middle of Perth with a babbling brook running through it has lovely little foot bridges everywhere you look. It’s like a storybook where you would expect to see fairies and gnomes.  Dipping my feet in the water and sitting under a weeping willow was the highlight of my last visit, allowing me to day dream and just enjoy the moment.

Perfect Picnic Foods:

  • Take the stress out of making a picnic lunch and have The Perth Cheese Shop help you out, with Charcuterie Cones and boards packed with amazing cheeses are at your fingertips
  • Fieldhouse is just a hop skip and a jump away from the park with handmade goodies, delectable sandwiches, and fresh salads
  • A little further, but worth the walk, The Twisted Fork Café and Bistro serves up a selection of homemade food – I’d recommend trying their ginger cookies!

Blakeney Rapids (just outside of Almonte)

Between Almonte and Pakenham is a hidden gem picnic area, where I go to get rejuvenated and slow things down. It never disappoints! You can sit by the rapids, walk through the winding trails that lead down to the river or to other secret picnic spots, take a small bridge to a small island, picnic near the cliffs or high on the rocks.

Perfect Picnic Foods:

  • On the way through Almonte, The Daily Scoop Café is calling your name, offering great to go items like sandwiches, wraps
  • Equator Café has great gluten free and vegan options available to go, not to mention, the best coffee anywhere!
  • Baker Bob’s, an Almonte landmark, has all things tasty – It’s like going back in time when I enter the store, with creaking old wood floors and that lovely smell

Wherever you decide to go, it’s only a short wander to delicious food and marvelous scenery. Don’t forget your sunscreen, chair, and umbrella, just in case. Happy Picnicking!


Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Discover Historic Accommodations in Ontario

Spend the night in historic accommodations to take yourself to way-back-when, and get into the spirit of the community you’re visiting. These inns have stories to tell of the people who lived and breathed inside their walls.

Expert Tips to Catching Fish

As an angler who is passionate about exploring new waters, I’m grateful to live in a region that has endless options! Whether you’re shore fishing, venturing out by boat, kayak, or canoe, there are bass fishing opportunities for everyone here in the Ontario’s Highlands region. I’ve put together a list of my five favourite bass […]

An Ode to Poutine

Discover these chip trucks and their classic dishes, located throughout Ontario’s Highlands.

The Great Pizza-Off

Chow down on artisan wood-fired pizza at any of these gems across Ontario’s Highlands.

Perfect Picnic Spots Near Ottawa

Discover these perfect picnic spots throughout the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County on your next road trip just outside of Ottawa.

The Perfect Scoop

Discover these top ice cream stops across Ontario’s Highlands to keep cool this summer on your road trip.

Buffalo Thrills

Discover good food and great memories at the Ontario Water Buffalo Company.

Summer Music Festivals

From rock to folk, these Ontario’s Highlands summer music festivals will keep you coming back year after year.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

Unique Festivals & Events

Embrace the incredible spirit and wonderfully ‘different’ themes at events across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

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

An Escape into Nature

Find your connection with nature and each other during a cabin getaway at Deacon Escarpment in Renfrew County.

Pause for Pi Day

Celebrate PI Day with the best pie at these bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands.

A Winter’s Break

Sometimes what we need is a little technology detox to spend a little less time with the screens in our lives and a little more time with the people who matter most.

Valentine’s Day Treats

Treat that special someone this Valentine’s Day to a gift of sweets at one of these top places.

New Year, New You

Winter events across Ontario’s Highlands that will help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions.

Hit the Slopes This Winter

Discover the ski and snowboard hills in Ontario’s Highlands that both beginners and pros will appreciate.

Winter? Bring it!

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

The Best Baked Goods

Discover some of the best bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands and their tasty treats.

Where Am I?

Visit Winterdance in Ontario’s Highlands and discover a love of winter from some of its biggest fans.

Where Am I?

Discover Calabogie Peaks Resort, a well-known gem, through new eyes.

Concerts with a Community

In September each year, the spirit of community comes alive all across Ontario’s Highlands when the Festival of Small Halls rolls in.

Where Am I?

Stand tall and marvel at the views from the top of historical attraction, the Dorset Lookout Tower.

Where Am I?

Step back into nature at the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve to celebrate sustainability in this unique place.

The Memory Maker

I’m a Memory Maker. I wander to celebrate traditions with loved ones and create lasting memories. I enjoy visiting the same place, annual festival, or seasonal tradition year after year.

Where Am I

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

Where Am I?

Mazinaw Rock, a hidden gem in Ontario that’s ironically, hard to miss.

Parks Worth the Admission

Visit these 8 Ontario Parks’ campgrounds in Ontario’s Highlands and discover why they are worth the admission.

Where Am I?

Make memories as you discover one of the Province’s most intimate hidden gems, The Haliburton Forest Festival.

Finding Imperfect Moments

Sometimes it is the imperfect moments that matter the most. Become inspired to roam without the burden of worrying about everything going according to plan.

A Different Kind of Detour

Take the road less traveled through Ontario’s Highlands to these unique festivals that are sure to leave a lasting impression.