Ottawa Valley – 12 Fun Things to do in Ontario
There are lots of fun things to do in Ontario with a family. The Ottawa Valley is an underrated tourism region begging you to come and discover nature and fun without the crowds!
Regardless of if you live in the Valley, you’re planning a road trip through or you’re wondering what people do in the Ottawa Valley for fun this comprehensive guide will help you get out and adventure with your family!
The Ottawa Valley is a geographical region spanning throughout Renfrew County. It encompasses the Ottawa river, skirts along the Outaouais through the Pontiac Region in Western Quebec and holds vast landscapes, rolling hills and even a large portion of Algonquin Park!
This region of Ontario is truly an adventure lover’s paradise.
Ottawa Valley – 12 Fun Things to do in Ontario
1. Spend a day in Eganville, Ontario
The town of Eganville is a charming small town nestled into the valley where Highway 41 and Highway 60 intersect.
Founded in 1825 with the construction of a Lumber Shanty on the Bonnechere River.
Eganville is a perfect representation of the Ottawa Valley with plenty of family friendly attractions while serving as an important piece of Lumber and Tourism history in the Ottawa Valley.
Start your day with coffee and a treat from Fifth Chute Coffee – located at 291 Bridge Street
Fifth Chute Coffee contains a small art gallery where they feature local artists work with rotating displays throughout the year. You can also browse a selection of made in the valley goods from local vendors, I recommend picking up a bottle of White-Water Washing soap and a loaf of fresh baked-daily sourdough.
Now that you’re fuelled up its time for a walking tour!
Walk the downtown streets before making it to the Bonnechere Museum – this museum focus is on the history of Eganville as well as highlighting the unique geography of the land Eganville sits on.
Eganville is the Ordovician Fossil Capital of Canada with fossils in the area dating back to 500 million years ago - before dinosaurs!
Museum admission is: $5/ adult
$2.50/child aged 4-11
Children 3 and under are free
From the museum you can take a self guided or guided tour on the GeoHeritage Trail – guided tours are offered every Saturday during the summer at 1:30 or you can take a self guided tour anytime.
After exploring the museum you’re probably hungry…
Eganville has many incredible restaurants, you really can’t go wrong with any of them however our family favourite is The Granary – a local schnitzel house dishing out major flavour at affordable pricing, be sure to save room for an Apple Strudel for dessert, yum!
Let your kids burn off energy at Eganville’s Centennial Park.
Located in the heart of downtown directly across from The Granary, cross the foot bridge over the Bonnechere River to the playground and walking trails. Relax and have fun before hitting the road to your next destination.
You may still have time to catch a tour at Bonnechere Caves: you can take a guided tour through a natural cave system, see fossils and learn the interesting story on how the Bonnechere Caves were discovered.
Admission is: $19/adult
$14/youth aged 13-17
$13/children aged 4-12
Children under 4 are free.
Where to stay in Eganville, Ontario? I recommend Deacon Escarpment for a private, nature-based glamping experience.
2. Get an adrenaline rush at Chutes Coulonge
Family friendly adventure and adrenaline awaits you at Chutes Coulonge Adventure Park in Fort Coulonge, Quebec. This impressive waterfall stands 42 metres high and is worth the drive to by itself but if you have the courage, I highly recommend purchasing one of the Adventure Packages!
Adventure packages start at $44.95 and range to include activities such as: zip lining, suspension bridge crosses over white-water, tree top obstacle courses, canyon scrambling using ropes, cables and anchor points.
Is Chutes Coulonge Family friendly? Yes, there are lots of activities for young children and adults alike. There is an on-site splash pad, historic walk, viewing platform for the waterfall, a low ropes obstacle course and small rock wall for kids.
If you don’t wish to explore any of the obstacles at Chutes Coulonge you can purchase Historic Passes giving you access to hiking trails, the splash pad, historic walk, the viewing platform of the waterfall and more.
Admission is: $8.70/adult
$5.20 kids and teens aged 6-17
Children 5 and under are free.
Things to do near Fort Coulonge? When you are done at Chutes Coulonge:
· Head to Mansfield, Quebec to view the longest covered bridge in Quebec the Felix-Gabriel-Marchand bridge spanning 153 metres long across the Coulonge river. The bridge was built in 1898 to connect the lumber camp on one side of the river to Fort Coulonge on the other. Built entirely out of pin with 6 wooden support pillars this bridge is a marvel to explore that the kids will absolutely love!
· Visit the George Bryson House to explore what upper class living looked like in the Ottawa Valley during the 1800’s. George Bryson is the builder of Pont Marchand, he was the mayor of the municipality and found the bank of Ottawa, today known as Scotia Bank. You can take a guided tour of the building and estate, have tea in the tea room and learn about logging history within the Pontiac region.
· Where to stay in Fort Coulonge? There are two beautiful yurts to choose from located at Chutes Coulonge. Hidden in the woods you will experience peace and silence while immersing yourself in nature.
Included in the yurts at Chutes Coulonge:
· Wood stove
· Sky light
· Mini fridge
· 4 Chairs
· 2 Beds
· Wood for stove
Yurts are $150/night, you can book and find out more here: Yurts – Chutes Coulonge
3. Travel back in time to the Logging Days
Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre located near Pembroke, Ontario is the ideal place to hike, explore and learn about Logging through the Ottawa Valley. With over 200 hectares of old growth forest and 14 kilometres of interpretive hiking trails there is something for each member of your family and every skill level.
Where is Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre?
2065 Bulger Rd, Eganville, ON K0J 1T0
Located just off of Highway 41 between Eganville and Pembroke, Ontario.
21 minutes via Highway 41 from Pembroke
11 minutes via Letts cemetery Road and Highway 41 from Eganville
Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre provides plenty of educational resources at Shaw Wood’s on both the West and East Sides of the park.
Located on the East side of Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre is a historic Logging Alligator, named The Alice May. The Alice May is one of three Alligator’s in all of Ontario, the other two lie in Algonquin Park and Simcoe County.
Logging Alligator’s were steam powered amphibious warping tugs that were used to move log booms across lakes. A Logging Alligator was used at Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre right up until the beginning of the 20th century.
Forestry shaped and developed the Ottawa Valley so having such a historical landmark at a local forest park is truly a special honour and worth visiting!
How many hikes are at Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre? There are 6 trails between the West and East sides of Shaw Wood’s. Trails range from 0.9-1.9 kilometres in length all within easy-moderate difficulty levels.
You can find trail maps below, our family favourite is the Old Growth trail and Johnny’s Lookout.
Parking at Shaw Wood’s Outdoor Education Centre is free to use, spaces can be limited at times however parking is permitted on the road unless otherwise stated.
Donations are greatly appreciated to help maintain and develop the Education Centre; to donate follow this link: Support - Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre
What is there to do near Shaw Wood’s? Visit the nearby town of Eganville or explore the scenic murals Downtown Pembroke.
4. Splash and Play at Logos Land
As the only waterpark in the Ottawa Valley Logos Land is the perfect spot to be on a warm summer day. Located directly off Highway 17 outside of Cobden, Ontario.
What lake is Logos Land on? Astrolabe lake, is the perfect setting for family fun.
Logos Land is the perfect family-friendly vacation spot regardless of if you are looking for a day trip or to spend a few days at the resort. You can easily spend a few days having fun at the different stations.
Logos land has lots of attractions like: What are some of the property amenities at Logos Land resort?
· 3 Ziplines
· Par 71 Golf Course
· Multiple Hiking trails
· A waterpark
· Beach and water trampolines
· Paddle boats
· An on site restaurant and more…
Frequently Asked Questions Logos land Resort:
Can I stay overnight at Logos Land Resort? Yes, campsites range from non-hydro tent sites at $61 a night to house rentals with bedrooms and running water at $261 a night.
Are dogs allowed at Logos Land Resort? Yes, dogs are welcome in campground, cabins and house rentals but must be kept on leash and cleaned up after. Dogs are not permitted at the waterpark, on the waterslides or splashpad.
How many waterslides are at Logos Land Resort? There are 5 giant waterslides as well as many other on site amenities!
Which popular attractions are close to Logos Land? Nearby town of Cobden, Bonnechere Caves, Bonnechere Provincial Park, Muskrat Lake, Renfrew County Swinging Bridge, White-water rafting, Ottawa valley coffee and Shaw Wood’s nature trails.
How much does it cost to go to Logos land? Admission costs are $20.50 one day splash pad or $9 general admission.
5. Chase waterfalls throughout the valley
Does the Ottawa Valley have any waterfalls? Yes! Contrary to popular belief there are quite a few waterfalls in the Ottawa Valley.
Although the region is famous for white-water rapids and forestry scattered throughout the valley are some of Ontario’s prettiest waterfalls. The waterfalls in the Ottawa Valley almost all are Ontario Hiking trails with waterfalls, few are truly accessible however if you are up for a bit of a challenge you will be rewarded with beautiful waterfall hiking trails.
Here is a list of our family favourite waterfall trails in the Ottawa valley:
· Gariepy Falls - 2.2 kilometre out and back trail near Petawawa
· High Falls on Little Bonnechere - 4.3 kilometre out and back trail near Round Lake
· Fourth Chute – located directly across from the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville
· Fitzroy Falls – 2 kilometre loop trail in Fitzroy Provincial Park
· High Falls Natural waterslide, Algonquin park – 4 kilometre linear trail
· Eau Clair Gorge – loop options ranging from 1.3 kilometre to 3.6 kilometre
· Chutes Coulonge – available via .8 kilometre interpretive trail with viewing platform
· Bissett Creek Falls - .5 kilometre out and back trail
Find more waterfalls in the Ottawa Valley with directions here.
6. Hike to one of the Ottawa Valley’s best lookout points
You’ve heard of Eagles Nest in Calabogie but there is a lookout point in the Western Region of Quebec that trumps the hike at Eagles Nest any day!
Oiseau Rock trail is a 10 kilometre out and back trail of moderate difficulty located near Sheenboro, Quebec in the Pontiac Region. Sitting 450 feet above the Ottawa River Oiseau rock is a sheer granite cliff of stunning beauty.
From the bottom of Oiseau rock you can spot Pictographs along the cliff face – access is granted via canoe by launching at Deep River and voyaging across. Oiseau rock is a sacred site for the Algonquin, Migizi Kiishkaabikaan nations.
Getting to the hiking trail head at Oiseau rock is the hardest part:
· first register and obtain your permit at the bilingual ZEC St-Patrice office.
· admission is $6/adult – cash is required.
· After the park office the road will transform to a dirt road before transforming again to a one-lane rough and tumble off roading logging route prior to accessing the trail head. If your vehicle doesn’t have 4x4 you can park at the end of the road and add 4 kilometres to your journey.
Are dogs allowed at Oiseau rock? Yes – dogs are welcome on the hiking trail on leash.
Is Oiseau rock suitable for young children? Yes! Contrary to popular belief Oiseau rock is a great hike for children. Elevation gain is gradual, our 4 year old loved this trail and all the lookout points! Keep in mind this trail visits a cliff, always keep children and dogs under control.
7. Visit a Swinging Bridge
There are only 3 swinging bridges in Canada, one in BC – Capilano bridge, one in Manitoba – Souris bridge and one in Ontario – Renfrew Swinging bridge.
Where is the Renfrew Swinging Bridge? 65 Arthur Street Renfrew, Ontario
The Renfrew swinging bridge is an extremely fun attraction for kids in the Ottawa Valley. Bounce and sway while watching the Bonnechere River race beneath you.
The Renfrew Swinging bridge was built in 1885 by the W.H. Kearney family as a means for pedestrians to cross the river into town.
This 100 feet long suspension bridge is free to visit, open daily and walking across gives the sensation of being on a bouncy castle floor!
Things to do in Renfrew?
· Grab a coffee and a famous “valley ball” from Ottawa Valley Coffee
· Tour the McDougall Mill Museum on site of the Renfrew Swinging bridge
· Shop from local business, delicious bakeries and quaint small shops Downtown Renfrew
· The National Hockey League/Association of Canada was born in Renfrew – tour the museum
· Pick apples at McGregors Orchard
8. Brave the white-water on a family raft tour
If adrenaline is what you’re after you have come to the right region of Ontario! Known as the white-water capital of the world the Ottawa valley boats some VERY impressive rapids!
Both extremists and the cautious alike can find fun on the Ottawa River. Tours run for guests aged 5 and up, from family rafting to high adventure filled rapids there is something for everyone’s bucket list at Wilderness Adventure Tours.
If you book a family rafting tour your day will look like:
· Arrival and check in 45 minutes prior to your booking time
· Gear up
· Pre trip briefing
· Shuttle to launch point
· Safety info briefing
· Paddle Training
· First chute
· Snack break
· More rafting
· Lazy River Swim
· Arrival back at Park Village
After your rafting trip you may be wondering…
What is there to do at Wilderness Tours besides rafting? Catch a live show at the on-site Park Village, go for a swim, go for a hike, mountain bike at on-site trails, relax in the sauna, rent a canoe or laze through the lazy river on a tube. There is no shortage of things to do at Wilderness Tours.
Costs: Family rafting tours start at: $129/adults
You can camp overnight at Wilderness Tours Resort – discover more about is here: 10 Best Campgrounds Near Ottawa (withloveduquettes.com)
9. Explore Barry’s Bay
The allure of the Ottawa Valley isn’t in the hustle and bustle, its in the small towns with deep history, the winding roads, the cavernous hills, the hidden gems, the stories, the nature, the connection to the earth.
There is no better place to truly feel one with the Valley than in Barry’s Bay.
Start your day with a Hike to the lookout on Gun Mountain – this 3.2-kilometre trail takes approximately an hour to complete. Elevation gain is hefty, climbing 320m to the lookout point but you will be rewarded greatly with panoramic views of the Valley, red chairs await you at the top to lounge in.
Location: 374 long lake road - Google Maps Parking: park alongside the road at the Thomas P. Murray Recreational Trails Sign
After your hike, you’ve likely worked up an appetite from all that climbing! Grab lunch at the Ash Grove Inn Restaurant.
Now that you’re filled up from lunch, head to Downtown Barry’s Bay for shopping, unique shops, art galleries, view the Zurakowski Park and monument to learn about the famous test pilot of the Avro Aero.
Grab a coffee from Madawaska Valley Coffee and walk up the street to the Balmoral Hotel. This iconic hotel has served as a railway station, post office, lumber depot and hotel for over 100 years and still operates today!
Across the road from the Balmoral hotel you can view the Barry’s Bay Tourist Information Centre and museum to learn more on Barry’s Bay’s history.
There is only one wooden water tower remaining in Ontario and its home is in Barry’s Bay. Built in 1894 and restored in 2000 water towers like these were used to service the hundreds of steam trains that would come through the Ottawa Valley. Today you can view the tower up close as well as admire other artifacts in the park.
Where to stay in Barry’s Bay? After a day of exploring, you have many overnight accommodation options in Barry’s Bay.
· Balmoral Hotel
· Spectacle Lake Lodge
· The Couples Resort
· Ash Grove inn
· Barry’s Bay Cottage Resort
· Lake St Peter Provincial Park
10. Spend a day at the Beach in Petawawa
The Ottawa Valley is known for its forests, dramatic landscapes and white-water but did you know the Ottawa Valley also has some phenomenal beaches? The Petawawa Point Beach is one of the best in the region. With warm shallow water, 2.5 kilometres of clean, sandy shoreline and on-site amenities to have a full day of family fun!
Frequently Asked Questions – visiting Petawawa:
Do you have to pay for Parking at the Petawawa Point Beach? No, parking at Petawawa Point is free.
Is there food available at Petawawa Point? Yes, there is a small kiosk stand serving cold drinks, light snacks and hot dogs during the weekend.
Is the Petawawa Point Beach wheelchair accessible? Yes, washrooms are accessible and there is a mobi-mat for wheelchair access to the beach.
What is there to do in Petawawa? Rent a watercraft from the Petawawa Point during the summer season. Visit the Military Museum at Garrison Petawawa. Enjoy a world class poutine from The Shed located beside Scotia Bank in town. Jump into the past with a tour at the Petawawa Heritage Museum. Go for a Hike at Petawawa Terrace Provincial Park.
Many festivals and events happen in Petawawa. You can keep up to date and discover more here: Things To Do - The Town of Petawawa
11. Embrace your inner Lion King at Eagle’s Nest in Calabogie
The most iconic hike in the Ottawa valley is Eagle’s nest in Calabogie.
With Instagram-worthy views and a rock point sticking out above a panoramic view of the Madawaska wilderness, Eagle’s Nest Hike in Calabogie is a true gem!
Where do you park for Eagle’s Nest lookout? In 2022 Renfrew County constructed a large parking lot located at
Does it cost anything to visit Eagle’s Nest? Parking costs $5 per vehicle, parking fills up fast during peak times, I recommend carpooling.
How long is Eagle’s Nest lookout hike? 1.2km
Is Eagle’s Nest worth visiting? Answer: Yes. I recommend visiting Eagle’s Nest early in the morning prior to 8 am to assure you beat the crowds. During peak fall leaf season its best to avoid Eagle’s Nest entirely and opt for Blueberry Mountain, Tramore Cliff’s, Egg Rock or Oiseau Rock instead!
12. Swim at the base of a Historic Logging Chute
If you’re searching for a unique experience in the Ottawa Valley, you can’t get much better than this one! Located between Barry’s Bay and Combermere is a historic Log Chute called, Crooked Slide Park.
Crooked Slide Park is a logging chute constructed in the 1900’s like thousands of log chutes found throughout the Ottawa Valley during the Lumber Boom years.
Log chutes were built to help guide large timber over rough water and obstacles. Crooked Chute Falls Log Chute guided large timber over 4 bends in Byer’s Creek. Logs would float 220 feet in the chute then fall 10 feet into the river.
Today Crooked Slide Park is an adventure lover’s dream. Sit by the river and enjoy the view, play and swim at the base of the log chute waterfall or practice your photography, go on a nearby hike or explore the town of Barry’s Bay.
How to get to Crooked Slide Park?
From Barry's Bay the drive will take you 14 minutes, head south down Highway 62 towards Bancroft, turn left onto Old Barry's Bay Rd. Proceed 2 kilometres down the road to the parking lot on the left hand side of the road.
Address: 343 Old Barrys Bay Rd, Barry's Bay, ON K0J 1B0
Does it cost anything to visit Crooked Slide Park? No, admission is free. There is a large parking lot on site as well as picnic area open 24/7.
A few more fun things to do in Ontario – Ottawa Valley:
· Tour the Bonnechere Caves
· Visit the Clock museum in Deep River
· Go fishing on the Ottawa River
· Travel back in time at Petawawa’s Heritage Museum
· Visit R.J’s indoor bouncy castle centre
· Pick Blueberries at Hugli’s Blueberry Farm
· Grab a Beaver Tail at the birthplace of Beaver Tail’s
· Visit a 5 Arch Stone Bridge in Pakenham
Frequently Asked Questions: Ottawa Valley – 12 Fun Things to do in Ontario
When is the best time to visit the Ottawa Valley? The Ottawa Valley is a four-season playground, summer is a great season to visit for water sport and camping!
Where to stay in the Ottawa Valley? View our 10 favourite campgrounds in the Ottawa Valley here:
Where to eat in the Ottawa Valley? In Petawawa grab a poutine and East Coast style Donair! Wilno Tavern has phenomenal polish food. The Granary in Eganville serves us local schnitzel at great prices. The Nook Creperie in Pembroke is sure to make your mouth water!
Getting Around: The Ottawa Valley is very rural; you can drive for an hour without running into another town at times. It is important to have a full tank of gas, keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, drive slowly as it is super common to see Moose and Deer in the Valley.
Have a fully charged phone and share your route with someone staying back home. If you were to get into an accident it is likely you won't have great cell phone reception, stay with your vehicle and wait for another car to come along if you can.
I hope you found some excitement to visit the Ottawa Valley in this post. There are lots of fun things to do in Ontario, the Ottawa Valley is a great region to explore! Let me know if you have any questions!