Rideau Canal Cruises

The best ways to experience Ottawa’s waterways in the summer

The Ottawa region has an abundance of waterways running through and around the city. With the Ottawa River, Rideau River, Dow’s Lake and Rideau Canal, there’s a water-based adventure for everyone! From laid back lakeside patios to wild whitewater rafting, enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Ottawa. Choose your adventure between levels one to four!

Level 1: Summertime chill - Stay dry at these must-try waterside patios

Ottawa’s picturesque waterways offer a stunning backdrop while you enjoy a meal or some drinks!

Have you ever dined next to a stunning waterfall? Tavern on the Falls, close to downtown Ottawa, offers an experience like none other! Located next to the majestic Rideau Falls, you can sip on a cocktail while taking in the sounds of the rushing water.

If you’re looking for gourmet comfort food and an ambience reminiscent of a Southern climate, head over to Umbrella Bar in the Dow’s Lake pavilion. Situated right on the water, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation here.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has partnered with local restaurant entrepreneurs to create pop up bistros around the city. There are four patios to choose from, with two of them located alongside the water. The Patterson Creek Park Bistro is tucked away, surrounded by weeping willow trees along the canal. While the Remic Rapids Park Bistro is the perfect spot to refuel mid-Capital Pathway bike ride or run adventure.

For an elevated dining experience near the water, check out La Terrasse. Part of the remarkable Fairmont Chateau Laurier, you’ll have a front row view of the Rideau Canal and Parliament Hill buildings.

Another Rideau Canal staple: The Canal Ritz. As one of the only restaurants located along the canal, you can savour your meal while taking in a gorgeous summer day in Ottawa!

Level 2: Fun in the sun - Dip your toes in the water at some of the capital’s best beaches

Get ready to splash your way through the summer at Ottawa’s best beaches.

Located 15 minutes from downtown, you’ll find Mooney’s Bay and Park, the largest beach in the city! This gorgeous stretch of sandy beach and grassy park area boasts plenty of barbeques, two tennis courts, a children’s park, volleyball nets for rent, a burger shack and an ice cream hut.

Take a dip at Westboro Beach, conveniently nestled in the vibrant Westboro neighbourhood. This cozy beach has been under construction for a few years but is partially open for the 2023 summer. Don’t forget to grab a drink and a bite to eat on the patio!

In Ottawa’s east end is Petrie Island Beach. Known as one of the best spots for fishing in the Ottawa area, bring your fishing rod along and catch your dinner! But make sure you fish along the Basswood and Sunrise Trails only! Or grab some friends and play a game of beach volleyball. Wrap up the day by taking advantage of one of 40 picnic tables.  

The Ottawa area also boasts Britannia Beach, located in the city’s west end, and Meech Lake, found in Gatineau Park, just across the Ontario/Quebec border. No matter which beach you choose, they’re all perfect for a fun family outing, day with friends or some solo time.

Level 3: Active adventurer - Get on the water with paddle and boat adventures

Get your heart rate up with various paddling adventures offered around the city! Test your balance and rent a stand up paddle board (SUP). Or take a more leisurely pace and rent a canoe or pedal boat, perfect for a date. Rentals can be found at Urban Ocean SUP near the Westboro Village and Ottawa SUP at various locations along the Rideau River and Ottawa River. Check online or call ahead for hours of operation and available rentals.

Rent a boat and cruise along the water with your friends or family for an unforgettable experience! You can explore the entire Rideau Canal from the comfort of a self-drive luxury boat with a Le Boat rental. Or take a tour along the Rideau Canal while learning about the waterway’s unique history and heritage with Ottawa Boat Cruise.

Level 4: Thrill seeker - Experience Ottawa’s adrenaline-inducing rapids

Take things up a notch and paddle Ottawa’s superior rapids — perfect for whitewater rafting! Your heart will race as you and the others work hard to maneuver the rushing water. With multiple styles of adventures to choose from, including meal options and single day to multiple day tours, you’ll find the perfect paddling adventure for what you’re looking for. Whitewater rafting in Canada’s capital city is an experience you’ll never forget!

Book your tour with Ottawa City Rafting to catch views of Parliament Hill. Go with Rafting Momentum for a full 24-hour adventure, complete with two meals and optional camping. Choose Wilderness Tours or Owl Rafting for low, medium or high intensity tours, there’s something for the entire family with these great options.

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