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One of the things I love most about Ottawa is just how beautiful our city is, and how every day there is something new to discover in all of its corners. Whether you are an avid hiker, enjoy time on the water, or enjoy low-key activities with your inner circle, the hidden gems offer breathtaking views and unique experiences that you won’t soon forget. While many of us have been eagerly waiting to get outdoors now that the weather has warmed up, changing up our summer scenery could be a great way to stay active, boost our mental health, discover sights unseen, and enjoy our time outdoors safely with our family or friends, discovering our wonderful city and its neighbouring communities. Here is a list of 6 great places for you to visit in west Ottawa this summer:

Day Trip To Almonte

Almonte is the perfect location for a day trip out of the city. This town is one of Ottawa’s secret hidden gems with tons to do, great food, beautiful scenery, historical architecture and excellent trails to discover. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes to explore down the main street. If you are looking to keep active for the day, enjoy a scenic walk along the Mississippi River in downtown Almonte, or take on hiking for the day along the trails at the Mill of Kintail. Almonte is a town that never disappoints, and people of all ages are sure to enjoy their day along the river to the fullest. 

Barron Canyon – Algonquin Park

Algonquin Park is filled with trails, lookouts, and beautiful views at all of its corners. This summer, be sure to check out and take on the 1.5km loop trail to admire the impeccable views atop of the lookout at Barron Canyon. If you have the equipment, the canyon is also accessible by kayak or canoe, giving you a completely different and breathtaking vantage point. This is an experience you won’t soon forget. 

Pinhey Forest Trail

Located in Ottawa’s Greenbelt, Pinhey Forest Trails 30 and 31 consist of 3.5km of universally accessible trails through the beautiful coniferous forests. On trail 32 however, just past the pine trees, you can uncover views you never thought you would see in Ottawa as you walk barefoot along the sand dunes that Pinhey Forest was built upon. 

Movie Night in Port Elmsley

The drive-in located in Port Elmsley can provide a night out under the stars with full service entertainment. This theatre has been host to movie nights since 1953, and provides an excellent backdrop to enjoy the sunset and relax with your family on a night out at the show. 

Swimming at Constance Bay

This beautiful beach is the perfect spot to spend a day on the water. As a dog friendly park, Constance Bar is a great place for your family and four legged friends to enjoy the sun and stay cool on hot summer days. The town itself has an excellent assortment of restaurants and shops to make your day unforgettable.

Exploring Manotick

Manotick is another hidden gem located just south of Barrhaven in Ottawa. If you haven’t yet been, now is the time to go. Explore the town and enjoy the unique shops that line the main street. There are plenty of restaurants to enjoy, but if you pack a family picnic you can enjoy it at A.Y. Jackson Park and after discovering Watson’s Mill Museum.

Camping at Rideau River Provincial Park

If you haven’t tried camping at one of the Ontario Provincial Parks just yet, start with a few nights at Rideau River Provincial Park. Located just 30 minutes from Ottawa near Kemptville, this park is a great place for beginners to camp. There is a kid-friendly beach to enjoy, volleyball nets for play, trails to hike, and canoeing available to keep you busy on your camping trip. Just remember to plan, prepare, and clean up after yourself for safe camping and to help preserve the beauty of our parks and greenspace.

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