With its easy access to outdoor spaces within the city and in the nearby countryside, the Ottawa area is the perfect place for exciting land, air and water experiences. Whether you want to feel the wind in your hair, your heart in your throat or water down your back, consider these seasonal adventurous activities in and around Canada’s capital that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping!
A new and exciting activity that opened in summer 2021 sends you ziplining between Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec! Interzip Rogers, the world’s first interprovincial zipline, travels 1,400 feet (425 metres) across and 120 feet (37 metres) high above the Ottawa River. Along the way, you get stunning views of both cities, including Parliament Hill. Some evenings, you can even zipline after dark! Relive the experience by purchasing a multi-angle video of your journey.
Did you know that the Ottawa region has some of the best whitewater adventures in the entire world from May to September? West of Ottawa’s downtown core in the Beachburg, Ontario area, you’ll find several rafting companies that offer a variety of full-day and multi-day experiences ranging from mild to high adrenaline, expert level adventure (including level V rapids). Some of the outfitters also offer sunset boat cruises, hot tubs, beach volleyball and even bungee jumping. Destination Canada has designated rafting as a Canadian Signature Experience, meaning that it responds to a traveller’s desire to venture beyond the beaten tourist path.
The Ottawa region’s turbulent rivers are also perfect for whitewater kayaking. Wilderness Tours in Beachburg, Ontario runs the Ottawa Kayak School – one of the largest of its kind in the world – where everyone from beginners to experts can take one-day clinics or even week-long programs. If you prefer an urban experience, join the Downtown Ottawa Instruction program run by OWL Rafting’s Madawaska Kanu Centre. Lessons take place at a location known as The Pumphouse on the Ottawa River near the Canadian War Museum – just a five minutes’ drive from Parliament Hill!
Go vertical at Camp Fortune
Just a 15-minute drive north of Ottawa’s downtown core is a wilderness playground: Camp Fortune. The nearly three-hour Explorer Park activity features ziplines, ladders, zigzag bridges and crawling challenges through the treetops of Gatineau Park. There are also new Peak to Peak Ziplines, a 15 free fall jump, and a mountain pipe coaster that speeds down the hill. With its network of cross-country and downhill trails, Camp Fortune is one of the region’s great places to go mountain biking, hiking and running. After an exhilarating experience, reminisce about your exploits on the licensed patio.
Great Canadian Bungee
Located just 20 minutes north of downtown Ottawa, Great Canadian Bungee is home to a 61-metre or 200-foot jump site known as The Rock. The 160-foot rebound itself is higher than the entire bungee height of any other site in Canada! Strap in and enjoy this scenic freefall down into an amphitheatre of solid limestone filled with a spring-fed lagoon.
Parachute GO Skydive
Located just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, GO Skydive offers “First Jump” tandem and experienced jumper programs. If you’ve never jumped before, follow a 15-minute training session and then experience a 200-kilometre per hour (124-mile per hour) freefall! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced jumper, once the parachute opens, you can take in beautiful, scenic views of the Ottawa-Gatineau region and the Ottawa River as you float down.
Ottawa Aviation Adventures (formerly Ottawa Biplane Adventures)
If you’re not into freefalling, why not fly instead? Operating out of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa Aviation Adventures (formerly Ottawa Biplane Adventures) offers exciting flights in an authentic WWII-era WACO UPF-7 biplane circa 1939. Put on some vintage goggles – a perfect selfie opportunity – step into the open-cockpit aircraft, and get ready for a blast from the past. As the pilot flies the plane and the wind blows through your hair, you can enjoy beautiful views of the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa as well as the iconic Parliament Hill. The biplane can take two passengers per flight.
Jetski on the Ottawa River
With whitewater action, flatwater paddling and even sandy beaches, the Ottawa River is a recreational paradise in the warmer months. If you have a need for speed, consider renting from Jetski Ottawa. Their location in the east-end suburb of Orleans is directly on the river, and staff provide safety training, equipment and tips for a great ride.