From the Capital to The County in Canada: Culture, history and wine
Combine the perfect mix of city and country on the ultimate, week-long road trip for two to Ottawa, Canada’s capital and beyond.
Experience heritage, culture, natural beauty, as well as great food, wine and local craft brews.
Cross the St. Lawrence River and travel from the 1000 Islands to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. Follow the Rideau Heritage Route to the city of Kingston and then chill out in Prince Edward County.
And the best part? Your dollar goes a lot further in Ontario, Canada!
Border crossing information
Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to know to cross the border into Canada.
Before travelling, check border wait times.
Border crossing location from New York State to 1000 Islands in Canada:
- Thousand Island Bridge from Alexandria Bay, New York to Lansdowne, Ontario
Day 1- 3: Ottawa
- Approximate distance and time: 95 miles (150 kilometres), 1.5 hours
From the stately government buildings on Parliament Hill and national museums and galleries to the historic Rideau Canal and bustling ByWard Market, experience all that Canada’s capital has to offer.
Where to stay in Ottawa
Sleek and stylish, ARC The Hotel features local art and is within walking distance of most attractions.
Location: 140 Slater Street, Ottawa
Fairmont Château Laurier is a five-star historic hotel perched on the Rideau Canal with the finest touches and comforts.
Location: 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa
Located in the ByWard Market district, the sweeping cityscape from the rooftop Copper Spirits and Sights cocktail bar at the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market is one of the best views of the city.
Location: 325 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa
Things to do in Ottawa
Take a free, guided tour of Parliament Hill, the seat of Canada’s federal government which is housed in striking Gothic revival-style historic buildings. Watch the morning Changing of the Guard and, after sundown, catch the Northern Lights, a free, multimedia sound and light show against the backdrop of Parliament building five nights a week between July 7 and September 4.
Location: Wellington Street, Ottawa
Visit the famous Tent Room and magnificent gardens at Rideau Hall, the residence of Canada’s Governor General.
Location: 1 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
Ottawa serves up Canadian culture in a big way, with seven of Canada’s top national museums including:
The National Gallery of Canada at 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
Canadian Museum of History at 100 Laurier Street, Gatineau (technically on the Quebec side, but worth a visit)
Canada Science and Technology Museum at 1867 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa
Canada Aviation and Space Museum at 11 Aviation Parkway, Ottawa
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum at 901 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa
Canadian Museum of Nature at 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa
Canadian War Museum at 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa
Shopping and touring
Use the Ottawa Shopping Guide to hunt down the best bargains and treasures in Canada’s capital, from the Rideau Shopping Centre to trendy retail neighbourhoods like Hintonburg and Wellington West.
Explore Ottawa’s culinary landscape with a local. C’est Bon Cooking and Ottawa Tasting Tours offer a variety of guided sweet and savoury gourmet food and drink tours, while Brew Donkey Tours leads curated "adult field trips" to some of Ottawa’s best craft breweries.
Travel along Ottawa’s famous waterways, the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal and then explore the city by bike with Ottawa Board Cruise and Escape Bicycle Tours.
Ottawa Boat Cruise: 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa
Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals: 65 Sparks Street, Ottawa
Experience epic outdoor adventure in the heart of the city with Ottawa City Rafting.
Location: 102 Greenview Avenue, Ottawa
Events and celebrations
Canadian Tulip Festival: See the world’s largest tulip festival with over a million in bloom tulips (May 12-22).
Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival: Honour Indigenous culture and heritage in Canada, aligning with National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 (June 21-25).
Escapade Music Festival: Welcome some of the biggest names in electronic dance (June 23-25).
Canada Day: Ottawa is the epicentre of Canada’s largest party (July 1).
Ottawa International Buskerfest: Ooh and aah at some of the most talented street entertainers including acrobats, dancers, daredevils and comedians (August 4-7).
Capital Pride: Celebrate Ottawa’s 2SLGBTQ+ community (August 19-27).
Where to eat and drink in Ottawa
From early morning coffee to late night cocktails, the ByWard Market is always bustling with activity. Spanning several city blocks, it’s home to cafés, bakeries, boutiques, restaurants, lively pubs and cocktail bars as well as unique shopping opportunities. Don’t miss the Maple Bacon Beaver Bites and BeaverTails, or pause for a refined tea break at Joy on Sussex, and if you’re looking for an upscale lounge, check out The Albion Rooms.
Location: spans George Street, York Street, ByWard Street and William Street, Ottawa
Book a table at Wilfrid’s Restaurant for a relaxed weekend brunch overlooking the Rideau Locks and Parliament buildings. Located in the historical Chateau Laurier, its regional menu changes weekly.
Location: 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa
Dining at Atelier is a bucket list experience for foodies. The unique 44-course tasting menu and wine pairing lasts approximately four hours and is a wild ride for your taste buds.
Location: 540 Rochester Street, Ottawa
Another contemporary Canadian dining experience that’s garnered a lot of buzz is Riviera. Located in a former bank, the ambience is on point and their everchanging menu is consistently delicious.
Location: 62 Sparks Street, Ottawa
Try Finnish-style doughnuts made from scratch at Suzy Q Doughnuts.
Location: 1015 Wellington Street West, Ottawa
Day 4 - 5: Kingston
- Approximate distance and time: 125 miles (200 kilometres), 2 hours
The Rideau Heritage Route connects Ottawa to Kingston and the St. Lawrence River alongside the Rideau Canal, through some of Eastern Ontario’s prettiest small towns and communities. Home to Ontario’s oldest public market and Canada’s hippest live music scene, Kingston is a walkable city, with historic sites, amazing craft beer and antique markets tucked away in hidden alleyways.
Where to stay in Kingston
Formerly a bank, the Frontenac Club is now a luxury hotel that has retained its historic charm.
Location: 225 King Street East, Kingston
There’s a timeless elegance to the Rosemount Inn, an intimate, boutique hotel in a beautifully restored Victorian building.
Location: 46 Sydenham Street, Kingston
With views of Lake Ontario, Residence Inn By Marriott on the waterfront is conveniently situated in the heart of Kingston.
Location: 7 Earl Street, Kingston
Located close to downtown, Hochelaga Inn is a quaint bed-and-breakfast-style property full of character.
Location: 24 Sydenham Street, Kingston
Things to do in Kingston
Touring and sightseeing
Fort Henry National Historic Site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just outside of Kingston by the mouth of the Cataraqui River. Witness 19th-century military life with guided tours, musical performances and military demonstrations offered by the Fort Henry Guard.
Location: 1 Fort Henry Drive, Kingston
Kingston Penitentiary Tours provides visitors the opportunity to tour one of Canada’s oldest and most notorious jails, which stopped operating in 2013.
Location: 560 King Street West, Kingston
Explore the city with a hop-on-hop-off Kingston Trolley Tour, the most flexible and fun way to tour historic sights and unique attractions.
Location: 248 Ontario Street, Kingston
Enjoy the views and a meal on a lunch, brunch or sunset dinner cruise along the St. Lawrence River with 1000 Island Cruises. Famous for 1000 Island salad dressing, 1000 Islands actually consists of 1864 islands of various sizes.
Location: 248 Ontario Street, Kingston
Kingston Public Market is Kingston’s oldest market in the historic downtown. It sells fresh products from local producers and unique finds from artisans.
Location: 216 Ontario Street, Kingston
Visit Wellington Street and shop at Antique Alley for antiques, vintage finds and a wide assortment of collectibles or original and printed artwork at Martello Alley.
Locations: 207-B and 203-B Wellington Street, Kingston
Where to eat and drink Kingston
Freshly brewed coffee and homemade baked goods await you at SENS Café Canada.
Location: 136 Ontario Street, Kingston
Whether you’re looking for an early breakfast or lazy brunch, the patio at Pan Chancho is the place to be.
Location: 44 Princess Street, Kingston
Delicious options available at Atomica Kitchen include plant-based and gluten-free soups, salads and pasta.
Location: 71 Brock Street, Kingston
Located in Delta Hotels Kingston Waterfront, AquaTerra provides waterfront dining with sensational views indoors or on the patio.
Location: 1 Johnson Street, Kingston
Olivea is a family-run business specializing in traditional and contemporary Italian food. Ingredients come from local producers.
Location: 39 Brock Street, Kingston
Kingston is home to eight top-notch craft breweries and one cidery.
Day 6-7: Prince Edward County
- Approximate distance and time: 60 miles (95 kilometres), 1 hour
Located in the northeast end of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County or “The County” as it’s known by locals, has a long and rich farming tradition. With the introduction of grape growing in the region, the last few decades have seen The County grow into one of Ontario’s most popular destinations for wine, food, the arts and lakefront views.
Where to stay in Prince Edward County
Merrill House is a Victorian heritage boutique hotel with fine dining French cuisine restaurant, extensive wine cellar, cocktail parlour, onsite sauna and a Natural History Exhibit.
Location: 343 Main Street East, Picton
Another beautiful property in a restored historic building, The Royal Hotel was included in Condé Nast's best new hotels of 2023 list.
Location: 247 Picton Main Street, Picton
Located on the water in Wellington, The Lakeside is a stylish hotel with an onsite restaurant, bar, patio and pool.
Location: 349 Main Street, Wellington
A hip, boutique hotel with restaurant and event spaces, the Drake Devonshire is an all-season retreat steps from the shore of Lake Ontario.
Location: 24 Wharf Street, Wellington
Things to do in Prince Edward County
Winery tours and tastings
Prince Edward County is home to over 35 wineries that offer everything from wine tasting and tours to fine dining, culinary classes and more. Find a complete list of wineries and experiences, or use the free PEC Wine Explorer app to find a wine that fits your unique preferences.
Don’t miss the sparkling wines at Hinterland Wine Company, Chardonnay at Closson Chase, Reisling at Sugarbush Vineyards and Baco Noir at Waupoos Estates, Prince Edward County’s original winery.
Explore Prince Edward County’s backcountry roads to wineries and more by bike. County Bike Rentals provide bicycle rentals, helmets, locks and route suggestions, as well as free delivery and pick-up.
Nature and outdoors
From beaches and sand dunes to forest and trails, summer is a great season to explore the parks and outdoor spaces in The County. Sandbanks Provincial Park is a popular spot so plan a weekday visit.
Location: 3004 County Road, Picton
As its name suggests, Lake on the Mountain is an elevated body of fresh water with a mysterious water source. The park offers great views of the Bay of Quinte, where you can watch the Glenora Ferry cruising back and forth across the bay to Adolphustown.
Location: 296 County Road 7, Picton
Art and culture
Artist, artisans and creators have gravitated towards Prince Edward County for decades resulting in a flourishing arts community with amazing galleries and studios. Notable favourites include the Oeno Gallery at Huff Estates Winery, Mad Dog Gallery and Armstrong Glassworks.
Oeno Gallery, 2274 Prince Edward County Road 1, Bloomfield
Mad Dog Gallery, 525 County Road 11, Picton
Armstrong Glassworks, 326 2 Avenue, Wellington
Architecture buffs will appreciate The Regent Theatre, a restored Edwardian-style opera house built in 1918 that continues to host live performances and film events.
Location: 224 Main Street, Picton
Where to eat and drink in Prince Edward County
Enjoy craft beers and freshly made pub food, including wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads at Midtown Brewing.
Location: 266 Wellington Main Street, Wellington
For great vegan and gluten-free meal options, as well as a large selection of teas and organic beverages, stop in at Good Place.
Location: 153 Main Street, Wellington
Bermuda is a great place for a snack of finger foods like nachos and chilli cheese fries, and mains like burgers and chicken sandwiches.
Location: 275 Main Street, Lower Level, Bloomfield
La Condesa serves up authentic Mexican cuisine.
Location: 298 Wellington Main Street, Wellington
Flame + Smith offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere. With a sustainably sourced surf and turf menu, meals are cooked over open flame for a unique culinary experience. Make sure to book a reservation in advance.
Location: 106 Bloomfield Main Street, Bloomfield
Stella’s Eatery serves comfort food made with fresh, foraged and seasonal ingredients.
Location: 2470 County Road 8, Waupoos
The County Cider Company boasts some of the tastiest craft cider flavours along with some of the best lake views in The County.
Location: 657 Bongards Crossroads, Waupoos
Stop by Slake Brewing for stunning panoramic views from atop a limestone hill and the latest selections of craft beer on tap.
Location: 181 Mowbray Road, Prince Edward County
Slickers County Ice Cream is the place to go for creamy homemade ice cream and milkshakes in delicious flavors.
Location: 271 Main Street, Bloomfield, Ontario
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Last updated: May 4, 2023