As the weather slowly starts to warm up in Ontario, you may be looking for some fun activities to enjoy with your families. Due to the unpredictable weather this time of year, taking a scenic drive is a fantastic way to safely get out of the house and spend some time with nature. With that in mind, here are some scenic drives in Eastern Ontario for you and your family to enjoy.
1. Ferguson Forest Centre: Kemptville, ON
Just south of Ottawa, right by the Rideau Canal, is a beautiful collection of public trails perfect for walking or hiking. The Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville includes many trails and paths, as well as a 300-acre forest tree nursery. All gravel paths and roads are open to walking, hiking, cycling or skiing, if the weather permits. There is also an off-leash dog park on the property. However, dogs must remain on a leash outside the dog park. This is a fantastic spot to drive to or explore on foot. Learn more here.
2. Foley Mountain Conservation Area: Westport, ON
Overlooking the village of Westport, Ontario, and the Upper Rideau waterway is Foley Mountain. The conservation area around Foley Mountain is a great location to drive to and explore in Eastern Ontario. Featuring the beautiful Spy Rock scenic lookout plus a variety of trails, there is plenty to do and explore. At only $8 for a day pass (or $55 annually), you can explore this area year-round. The various trails are perfect for hiking or snowshoeing; however, the trails are not maintained in the winter, so be aware and cautious while visiting. At this time, the restrooms and indoor facilities are closed in the conservation area, but there is still plenty of beautiful scenery to explore.
3. The City of Almonte: Almonte, ON
Originally a tiny mill village along the Mississippi River, Almonte has developed into a quaint town with many shops and restaurants. Named after the Mississippi Mills, a collection of small townships in the area, Almonte offers trails along the river on the Riverwalk trail and in the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area. Visit Almonte’s official website for more information.
4. Carleton Place, ON
Carleton Place is another small township along the Mississippi River. This quaint town has a variety of local businesses, along with a beautiful labyrinth behind the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. Be sure to stop in at local restaurants, such as The Good Food Company and the Smith & Barrel Pub at the Grand Hotel. Visit the town’s official website for additional information.
5. Brockville, ON
Brockville, Ontario, is a beautiful and quaint town by the St. Lawrence River. If you and your family are fans of cycling (and the weather permits), consider bringing your bikes on this scenic drive. Brockville is one of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail stops, which spans 3,000 kilometres of Southern Ontario. Explore the eastern end of King Street by car, which includes a wide array of Victorian mansions to admire. The downtown core also includes a variety of local businesses and restaurants that you and the kiddos will enjoy. Visit the town’s official website for additional information.
6. Waterfront Trail: Kingston, ON
Although not an official trail, following along the St. Lawrence River (starting in Kingston) will bring you and your family to several beautiful scenic outlooks and plaques describing historical events. Start driving east from Kingston, and you can catch glimpses of the Royal Military College, Fort Henry and the CFB (Canadian Forces Base). As you continue driving east alongside the St. Lawrence River, you will find many different historical sights and scenic views. This includes Fort William, Johnsville, home to the first courthouse in upper Canada and the Battle of the Windmill Historical Site. Visit the official website for more information.
Whenever getting ready to go on a long drive, remember to make sure your vehicle is loaded up with gas and to be sure to drive safely. We hope this list of scenic drives in Eastern Ontario helps to inspire your next family road trip!