Small Towns Around Ottawa Perfect for Holiday Day Trips

Ottawa Winter Day Trips

With the twinkling lights, fresh wreaths, and festively-decorated storefronts, there are towns in the Ottawa area (or within a short drive) that are picturesque at this time of year. Many of them look like they are scenes right out of a Hallmark holiday movie. In fact, one of the locations on our list actually have been used in Hallmark movies before!

What we love is that each of these towns is that they all have activities to enjoy, delicious food to eat and memories to be made together when you visit them.


Hop into the car and head about an hour or more south of downtown Ottawa to the small town of historic Merrickville. Located on the Rideau Canal system, some have called it the ‘Jewel of the Rideau’ and while it’s a popular day-tripping destination for Ottawa residents year round, there is a special feel to it at Christmas time. Stroll down the streets and step into shops where you can find gifts for your home or to give others (there’s even a Christmas shop to browse) or grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants or a cup of coffee at The Village Bean cafe. You’ll be able to see the locks on the Rideau Canal and learn more about the history behind the area.


Drive 45 minutes west of Ottawa and step into a literal scene from a Hallmark movie in Almonte. Yes, it has been used as a movie location for holiday movies because of the quaint streetscapes and storefront settings. Now that the town is lit up for the season, it’s only created more of a festive atmosphere. Shop at Mill Street Books or Cheerfully Made (and find many locally made items) and enjoy a delicious restaurant meal or grab a coffee and hot chocolate at Equator Roasters. Before you go, check out Bob’s Bakery and order a treat (or many) to bring home.


Head north into Quebec from downtown Ottawa and you’ll find yourself in the town of Wakefield. This town on the water is home to great food (cafés or sit-down restaurants, depending on what your family prefers), yummy bakeries to stock up for your holiday party or New Year’s Eve gathering, and shops to browse. If your family is feeling adventurous, you can find a cross-country ski trail, or arrange to go snowshoeing together by renting them at Expeditions Wakefield.

Mont Tremblant

The pedestrian village in Mont Tremblant is transformed this time of year with lights and the spirit of Christmas throughout. The village of Mont Tremblant has special events and activities during the winter break for your family to enjoy. There will be fire pits, buskers and the mascot wishing you a wonderful holiday season. We find it hard to believe that you won’t feel the magic of Christmas in Mont Tremblant right now! It’s the furthest drive on our list, clocking in at just under two hours, but if you can arrange for a mini road trip over the break, this village is ready to delight your Christmas senses.


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