If you are a skier, planning a weekend getaway or day trip where you can pull out your ski gear and hit the hills may be the reason winter is your favourite season. Ottawa has no shortage of easy family minibreaks, but even if you are less inclined to enjoy a fresh snowfall or cold Ottawa temperatures, a local-ish family winter getaway may still be what you need.
There are many great options for quick day trips and family winter getaways from Ottawa.
Day Trips & Family Winter Getaways from Ottawa
View this post on Instagram
Head over the bridge to Quebec and visit Chelsea! This quaint village is well known for its ski hills, cross country ski trails, hiking trails, excellent coffee shops, and yummy food. It’s a no brainer on our list of family winter getaways from Ottawa.
Our ideal Saturday itinerary? Head to Les Saisons for a morning coffee and hot chocolate for the kids then visit Camp Fortune for a day of skiing (book some private lessons for the kids!) and fun on the hills. Feeling hungry? You won’t want to miss out on Paco Croissanterie fresh baked goods….they are legendary! Back to the village for dinner gives you the options of Le Bronx Pizza (New York style), Chelsea Shawarma & Pizza (so many great and quick options!) or head to Maman Theresa or Manchester Bistro for a sit down experience.
Why not bring your skates with you as well and enjoy some public skating at the Centre Meredith.
Parc Omega is a fun way to spend some time outdoors and get up close and personal with some of Canada’s favourite animals in a natural environment. Parc Omega offers a drive through experience where you can feed many of the animals (make sure you follow the signs and rules!) as they come right up to your vehicle. Park your car and head for a special walk to see the wolves and then head up to the farm where you can grab a hot chocolate and enjoy some time in the snow as you feed the deer right out of your hand.
If you are looking for an overnight option you can stay in one of the special private lodging options that Parc Omega offers including sleeping with the wolves! Looking for a different kind of stay? Fairmont Chateau Montebello is a special gem of a resort that is extremely welcoming to families and will invite you to experience the outdoors, great food, special attractions and outings, an amazing pool experience (the indoor pool is gorgeous!) and historic rooms.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
In less than about three hours from Ottawa, your family can be in Mont Tremblant ready to hit the slopes or browse the pedestrian village. Mont Tremblant offers spectacular hillside views where skiers of all skill levels can enjoy fresh powder, or where families can dine and explore. Take the panoramic gondola ride up the mountain for breathtaking scenery, go tubing for some adventure, or shop the village. Accommodations around Mont Tremblant include ski-up condo rentals, and plenty of local hotels to visit like Le Westin Resort and Spa Tremblant. We love that the Westin has family suites with kitchenettes available.
Often overlooked Kingston is a great family friendly city that is a quick escape for a day trip or weekend. If hockey season is here then check out a Kingston Frontenacs game, enjoy outdoor ice skating at Market Square and check out Woodenheads for a delicious pizza experience. Want to stay overnight?
The Delta Kingston is right on the water with spacious bright rooms and many places walkable right from the front door.
View this post on Instagram
Brockville can be a day trip on it’s own or a stop in on your way to Kingston. Head to the Aquatarium for a fun indoor experience with the kids that includes exploring fish and aquatic life from the St. Lawrence River and other eco-systems. You won’t want to miss the 2 river otters as they swim, play and move in their large enclosed river habitat. If reptiles and amphibians are on your “must see” list then you can check that off your list here as well. Turtles, frogs, and snakes….oh my! You will find lots of hand on stations throughout that are great for the younger crowd and will allow their creativity to soar and also have lots of teachable moments.
Yes, it is possible to do a day trip to Montreal, my family has done it many times! Head out early in the day, arrive at your attraction destination for opening, spend the day exploring and then head back home. However, Montreal is such a wonderful adventurous city that you could easily spend a weekend here! Some of our favourite places to visit are:
- Montreal Science Centre (+ you can use the reciprocal agreement if you have a membership from the Ottawa Science Centre!)
- Biodome – this place is absolutely amazing and will be enjoyed by your whole family! Explore various eco systems including the St. Lawrence River, Tropical Rainforest, Labrador Coast & Sub-Antartic Islands and the Laurentian Maple Forest. You will see penguins, capybara, puffins, flamingos, lynx, otters and over 800 plant species.
- Insectarium– across the street from the Biodome visit the Insectarium and discover over 3000 plants and more insects than you ever thought possible in one space!
- Old Port Ice Skating Rink– enjoy some family time skating in one of the most magical places in Canada. Enjoy a hot chocolate after at one if the many great cafes.
Just before you get to Montreal is Vaudreuil-Dorion where you’ll find Chateau Vaudrauil, conveniently located off of the highway, and set on a lake with beautiful views. Your family can get cozy for a weekend here (the hotel offers suites) and explore the area (or drive into Montreal, it’s only about 20 minutes away), visit the Zoo Ecomuseum dedicated to the wellbeing of endangered animals and check out the local shopping.
However, don’t feel you have to be on the go all the time. Chateau Vaudrauil offers a scenic and relaxing opportunity to get away from it all. Dine in their amazing restaurant, swim in the indoor pool, and walk the snowy grounds with views of the frozen lake.
View this post on Instagram
If you are ready for a quick weekend getaway and want to stay in Canada than head to Toronto. This city is vibrant and always has fun and new things to experience with kids of all ages! Destination Toronto will keep you in the know of all the fun and happening events throughout the 416. Take a drive to Toronto or kickback and enjoy the trip with Via Rail. The train station will take you right downtown and with Toronto’s underground system you can easily get around to everywhere you need to go. But don’t be intimidated by driving in this big city! There are tons of parking options throughout the downtown core and as long as you miss rush hour you can zip right through to where you want to go.
Book a stay at the Chelsea Hotel where you will find a kids activity room, family friendly rooms and a great pool with an indoor corkscrew waterslide with restaurants and shopping all within a block or two! We also love the ease of walking out of Union Station to the Fairmont Royal York or head down closer to the water and enjoy the Delta where you will be right next door to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Scotiabank Arena, and the Rogers Centre.
- Book a time at Ripley’s Aquarium (best time to go is right for when doors open!) and enjoy exploring the underwater world!
- Head up to the top of the CN Tower and experience the glass floor while getting some of the best views of the City!
- The Ontario Science Centre is a day of fun for kids of all ages as they explore and get hands on with science! PLUS if you hold an Ingenium museum pass from the Ottawa Science Centre then you can access this museum for free! The KidSpark areas is always one of my family faves.
- Legoland in Vaughan will keep your little ones busy if they love to be hands on, building and creating. Legoland is within the Vaughan Mills Mall so you can also tack on some shopping or hit up one of the local restaurants.
- Need a yummy and quick bite to eat that everybody will love? Pizza Libretto is always a family hit. Looking for vegetarian options? Fresh has the best nachos around!
- City Sightseeing Toronto is a great way to get to know the city and gives you the ability to hop on and off as you would like.
- Dinosaur, Birds, Mammals and Art….Oh My! The Royal Ontario Museum is another must experience museum while you are in the city with your family, especially if your kids are a bit older.
Have a passport and ready to cross the border? Syracuse is another quick getaway options (only 3 hours from Ottawa!) and is a fun weekend getaway that may not be in your usual repertoire! Stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton at Destiny USA and you can walk right into the Destiny Mall where you will find hours and hours of fun for the full family. From glow in the dark mini putt, bowling, go-karting, Canyon Climb adventure ropes course, laser tag, Dave & Busters and so much more! Don’t miss out on a dinner at Dinosaur BBQ, Funk n Waffles has great evening entertainment but with the family you will want to check out their breakfast options! Don’t forget to stop in at Glazed & Confused for some delicious donuts!
While there are a lot of great things to explore and experience in Ottawa it’s always fun to head out for a day or quick weekend getaway and explore a different area with your family. Have fun exploring and trying out some new fun places!
Tagged under: winter getaways,ottawa getaways,ottawa travel,winter getaways near ottawa