Explore the Saint Lawrence: a 3-day adventure departing from Ottawa
Note: Only Parks Canada-administered sites will be offering free admission in 2017. Visitors must pay entrance fees in sites managed by third parties.
Departure from Ottawa to Ingleside, 85 km from Ottawa (1 hour)
Who knew that sandy beaches perfect for picnics and camping trips were just an hour away from the nation’s Capital? Take a break from the city and pitch your tent near the beaches on the St. Lawrence River near Ingleside, Ontario, sleep to the sound of surf breaking on the shores.
Fort Wellington National Historic Site, 58 km from Ingleside (40 minutes)
Ever noticed how great food tastes outdoors? Have a slap-up breakfast at the water’s edge before heading to Fort Wellington, which played a pivotal role in both the War of 1812 and the raids that followed the 1837 Rebellion in Upper Canada. Upgrade your experience and make a booking to enlist as cannon crew in the Royal Artillery; dress up in military regalia and learn how to fire a 19th century muzzle-loading cannon!
After this adrenaline rush, take a stroll along the water to Prescott where you can grab a bite by the harbour or have a picnic in the park and plan your next stop: Thousand Islands National Park.
Thousand Islands National Park, 73 km from Prescott (53 minutes)
Travel along the St Lawrence river, which neatly divides the USA from Canada to Gananoque, your launch point into the Thousand Islands National Park. Join a kayak expedition with a friendly guide along with one of Parks Canada’s travel adventure partners or go solo. Paddle through turquoise waters past a wonderland of carefully preserved treasures: shipwrecks, historic castles and wind-carved natural features.
If you prefer a more leisurely pace step on board a cruise from Gananoque and let the area’s bucolic natural beauty and fascinating history unfold over an afternoon.
When it comes to bedtime, where will you sleep? Snug as a bug in your tent or maybe upgrade to a cosy Parks Canada oTENTik on an island or the banks? Make sure you book now so you don’t miss out. A shuttle will carry your belongings to the island.
Kingston, 29 km from Gananoque (27 minutes)
Nothing tastes better than breakfast cooked over a campfire! Get some inspiration with our special camping recipes.
Afterwards, pack up and make tracks for Kingston, home of Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fort Henry National Historic Site. Visit the fort and step back in time to the year of Confederation in 1867; take part in a class at a Victorian-era school, watch the daily Garrison parade, or sign up to learn to fire a musket. Back in town, explore Kingston’s charming streets and visit the excellent public market and browse local growers and artisan’s produce and crafts. Have a picnic on the waterfront or lunch at a local restaurant, or maybe stop by Bellevue House National Historic Site for a summer whisky tasting or guided tour.
Return to Ottawa, 178 km via Smith Falls (2.25 hours) or 200 km via Prescott (2.17 hours)
Not ready to head home? Camp overnight in a fully equipped oTENTik in Smith Falls on the Rideau Canal (1 hour from Ottawa) or book a stay in the historic town of Perth, just 10 minutes away by car.
Looking for a romantic getaway?
Take a stroll or sail the scenic Rideau Canal all the way to Parliament Hill.
Is this your cup of tea?
Book afternoon tea on the veranda at historic Laurier House just ten minutes’ drive from Parliament, the former home of two Canadian prime ministers: Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King.
Want to play spy?
The Diefenbunker is a huge underground atomic fallout shelter where you can relive the tension of the Cold War, play in the world’s largest escape room, and even celebrate your birthday in the bunker with secret missions, code cracking and adventure deep underground.