Safe & Fun Summer Bucket List

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Safe & Fun Summer Bucket List

We are in the heart of the summer here in Ottawa now! Our city has pretty much gone back to normal (other than the mandatory masks inside) and we can start to relax and enjoy ourselves. Since our summer in Ontario always seems to go so fast, we wanted to give you some great ideas for getting out and enjoying the sun while you can. Here is your safe & fun summer bucket list! Check out these 21 awesome things to do in and around our city.

We hope you have a great summer and get to enjoy some of these interesting things to do!

1. Bike one of our great bike paths

Biking at Majors Hill Park
Biking at Majors Hill Park - Photo by: Visit Rideau Canal

We have so many great biking paths in and around the Ottawa area. Whether you enjoy cycling through the city, along the water, through the forest or throughout one one of the peaceful Gatineau Park trails, Ottawa has you covered. Don’t have a bike? You can rent one with Ottawa RentABike

2. Go for a hike and enjoy the views!

Mer Bleue Bog Trail
Mer Bleue Bog Trail - Photo by: National Capital Commission

We also have lots of beautiful hiking / walking trails! There are lots of great places to explore by foot in Ottawa and Gatineau. If you are looking for some of Ottawa’s best walking trails, check out our blog post Best Trails in Ottawa

3. Rent a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard

Stand Up Paddling
Stand Up Paddling - Photo by: Paddlefit Canada

Another fun thing Ottawa has to offer is plenty of places to rent kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards! If you want to try a great workout for your core, try out a paddleboard, it is challenging and lots of fun! You can rent stand up paddleboards and kayaks for just $30 a day at this link

4. Go for a swim

Jump into the Lake
Jump into the Lake - Photo by: Hostelling International

There are lots of great places to swim in the Ottawa River, or if you are willing to take a little drive outside the city, Gatineau Park has tons of beautiful lakes to swim in! If you want to stay on the Ontario side, Mississippi Lake in Carleton Place is also a great spot for taking a dip!

5. Watch a movie at a drive-in

Drive-in Movie
Drive-in Movie - Photo By: Drive-In Cinema Club

Drive-ins are back! What a great way to social distance and be able to enjoy a night out at the movies! The drive-in at Port Elmsley is only a 45 minute drive from Ottawa, or you can catch a flick at The Drive-In Experience at Wesley Clover Parks. 

6. Have a patio drink

Copper Spirits & Sights
Copper Spirits & Sights - Photo by: The Rooftop Guide

Ottawa has some really amazing patios to have a drink and a bite to eat at. Some of these patios offer fantastic views of the city and the water. For a great list of Ottawa’s best patio’s, check out our blog post! Ottawa’s restaurants have COVID-19 safety measures in place to keep you safe so you don’t have to worry!

7. Camp under the stars

Caping Under the Stars
Caping Under the Stars - Photo by: Family Vacation Critic

What better way to appreciate nature than to spend the night in it! We have lots of great campsites here in the Ottawa area, so if spending a night under the stars sounds like fun to you, you will have to check out these 10 awesome campsites near Ottawa!

8. Go on a road trip

Brockville - Day Trips from Ottawa
Brockville - Photo by: Lana Cole

With restrictions easing, you can now visit other areas of Canada, and there are so many places you can drive to! If you are still a little uncertain about travelling too far away from the Ottawa area, we’ve got you covered with 10 great day trips from Ottawa! You are going to love exploring all that Eastern Ontario has to offer!

9. Dine al fresco

Picnic - Photo by: Jimmy's Popup

Dining outdoors can mean a picnic in the park, having a BBQ at home, or simply bringing your food outside to eat dinner on your back deck. There is something magical about having your meal while surrounded by nature. It might even make it taste better! Check out some of these delicious BBQ inspired recipes! Yum! 

10. Have a bonfire

Bonfire - Photo by: AMA Insider

Of course, with fire restrictions in place, there are many areas of the city where you cannot have a bonfire. If you do have the chance to get out of the city this summer though, sitting by the fire and roasting some marshmallows can be a great escape from daily life. Watching the flames flicker and pop can be therapeutic and put your mind at ease. If you do live in the city where restrictions apply, there are lots of great fire feature tables and small tabletop devices you can purchase to still get that nice fiery glow! 

11. Spend the day at a beach

Westboro Beach
Westboro Beach - Photo by: Yelp

Ah, a day at the beach! There is no better place to enjoy the sun. Ottawa has some great beaches! Westboro, Petrie Island, Mooney’s Bay and Britannia are all great choices. If you are okay with driving a little farther outside of the city, you can also check out the beaches in Gatineau Park such as Breton Beach, La Pêche Lake Beach and Parent Beach!  

12. Rent a cottage

Cedar Cove Cottages
Cedar Cove Cottages - Photo by: Cedar Cove Cottages Website

Renting a cottage is a great idea to get out of the city and enjoy your summer! You can try out many of the other items on this list while staying at a cottage! Bonfires, kayaking, swimming, fishing, BBQing, you name it! If you are looking for some great places to stay, check out these 10 awesome places to stay along the Rideau system!

13. Build something

DIY Woodworking
DIY Woodworking - DIY Network

2020 seems to be the year of DIY’s! What a great time to try and refinish your coffee table or build a new one altogether! The great thing about taking on a job like this outside is that you can get all the sawdust you want all over and you don’t have to clean it up like you would indoors! Looking for a fun and easy DIY project? Check out this list of 15 easy projects to do at home!

14. Watch the sunset... or sunrise!

Sunset at Andrew Haydon Park
Sunset at Andrew Haydon Park - Photo by: The Weather Network

The peaceful serenity of watching the sun go down or come up is truly breathtaking. The amazing phenomena of the colours and the planet rotating really puts things into perspective when you slow down and watch. The world is such a big place and personal problems seem so small when watching something like the sun rising or going down. Some of the best spots in Ottawa to watch the sunset can be found here

15. Do yoga outside

Outdoor Yoga
Outdoor Yoga - Photo by: Sweet Sunshine Yoga

Parliament Hill Yoga may be a no-go for this summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to write off outdoor yoga altogether! Backyard or park yoga can be the new thing! Load up a yoga video on YouTube on your phone and set it up. Or just freestyle it! Yoga in the outdoors is refreshing and enjoyable! 

16. Take a boat cruise

Ottawa Boat Cruise
Ottawa Boat Cruise - Photo by: Andrei Filippov Photos

A few boat cruises have been able to safely reopen during the pandemic and Ottawa Boat Cruises is one of them! The maximum capacity is only 10 passengers so you can safely social distance while on your tour. With the maximum only being 10, you might as well grab your social circle and bring everyone along! Choose between the Ottawa River or the Rideau Canal boat cruises! If you want to tour a different body of water, why not check out the 1000 Island Cruises which have also safely opened up! 

17. Go fishing

Fishing - Photo by: Midlands Park Hotel

You might be surprised at the river monsters that live in the Ottawa River! There are some prize-worthy fish that come out of it! The Rideau Lakes system also offers some great fishing. The Ottawa River boasts 85 different fish species such as bass, sunfish, pike, muskies, catfish, carp, perch and so many more! Don’t have fishing equipment? No problem! You can rent some from Ruckify

18. Have a water fight

Water Gun Fight
Water Gun Fight - Photo by: Toys 4 Toddler

Water guns and water balloons make for a great way to cool off on a hot summer day! Your kids would love to spray each other with water, and you might even want to get in on the fun as well! 

19. Paint a rock for your garden

Rock Garden
Rock Garden - Photo by: The Whoot

Rock painting seems to be another great trend of 2020! From positive quotes to unique designs, to vegetable markers for your garden, painting rocks can be fun for the whole family! They can also make a great conversation piece for your yard, porch or garden! Want some great tips on how to successfully paint rocks? Check out this post

20. Go golfing

Ottawa Golf Courses
Ottawa Golf Courses - Photo by: Golf Advisor

Ottawa has all kinds of great golf courses! From easy 9 holes to challenging 18’s, there is something for everybody’s comfort zone. Some of Ottawa’s best include The Marshes, Loch March, eQuinelle Golf Club and Greensmere Golf and Country Club. These are sure to be a fan favourite for anyone who loves golf!

21. Check out a farmer's market

Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market - Photo by: Anne Preble

Many of Ottawa’s local farmer’s markets have been able to safely open. It is always a nice thing to do when you shop local and support your neighbours. Not to mention just how delicious the fruits and vegetables are when they are so fresh! Some of Ottawa’s farmer’s markets that you can visit now are: Lansdowne – open Sundays 9-3, Westboro – open Saturdays 9:30-3, Orleans – open Thursdays 11-4 and the Parkdale Market – open 7 days a week 9-5! 

We hope you have enjoyed our safe and fun summer bucket list! The items on this list are lots of fun and great bucket list items. We hope everyone has a safe and happy summer! Now get outside and enjoy the warm weather!