6 Beautiful Spots in Ottawa for a Fall Picnic
Where to Picnic in Ottawa This Fall
Autumn for many begins to mean less time outdoors. Beach days and ice cream outings are no longer a viable option. Sure, we can still go for walks and enjoy all the nearby trails Ottawa offers, but sometimes you need to relax. Sometimes you need something a little different. And food! We’ve been eating and drinking all summer. Discovering new patios to drink on, having backyard BBQ’s and going on family getaways where we’ve dined out every day. Now what can you do as a fun meal option that is outside and also healthier?! Umm... Picnics!
Ottawa is covered in natural green spaces, water front views and conservation areas. We have views you need more than a moment to soak in. This city truly will surprise you with all the hidden beauty. These parks and this weather are the perfect combination for grabbing a blanket and packing a basket of goodies with friends.
Hogs Back Falls / Mooney’s Bay Park
Waterfalls in the city?! Yes, you read that correctly. The landscape began taking form millions of years ago, and was artificially altered by the construction of the Rideau Canal in the 1800’s. Wander down to the falls and find a flat space on the rocks to spread out and have a snack. If you prefer a picnic table it’s also a great option to visit the falls and head back to the park area.
Mooney’s Bay park and beach is just across the road, safely accessible with a pedestrian and bike path forming a tunnel under the road. Mooney’s bay has such a spectacular looking play structure. If you have kids, there are endless options and equipment for them to use their imagination. Watch your kids play and picnic in the grass, on the beach or grab a picnic table and enjoy the waterfront.
Britannia Village used to be cottage country, still feeling that way. One of the nicest beaches within the city, this area also boasts a large green space with plenty of pavilions and picnic tables. Especially in the warmer months, you will find families and friends gathered for anything from a simple BBQ to a full birthday celebration. With a beautiful view over the Ottawa River, you cannot tire of relaxing here. There are trees for shade and play structures for the kids. In addition to the spacious park, this location has washrooms and free parking for your convenience. Forgot the picnic treats at home?! No worries, Baja Burger Shack & Britannia coffeehouse are close by and still open into the fall.
It’s amazing to have this little oasis in the city of Ottawa, not far from downtown. You can easily walk or bike from the Westboro neighbourhood, which in itself is a fun trendy area to be in. If possible for you, it’s a great place to bike as it is situated along the Capital pathway, which follows the Sir John A Macdonald parkway. This beach also looks over the Ottawa River, complete with shaded areas and some picnic tables on the grass. A couple information booths showcase an interesting history of the Ottawa River. During this nicer weather, the Westboro beach Bistro is still open and full of yummy options.
This Island feels like a private hidden park right between Ottawa and Gatineau. It is also accessible from the Sir John A Macdonald parkway and therefore the Capital pathway for bikers. This little island is quiet and beautiful, with views of the Ottawa River all around it. There are BBQs and picnic benches available for use, as well as little beach sections to enjoy. Get lost in the sound of the rapids as the birds fly overhead.
Major Hill Park
Have a long work day lunch? Visiting the city and spending time downtown? Major Hill Park is one of the more well-known green spaces in Ottawa. With a gorgeous view of both Parliament and the Château Laurier, it is an area that is calm and spacious when it does not have hosted events. Within walking distance of the Byward Market, there are many restaurants nearby to try. You could spend hours wandering along the water and discovering new places downtown.
The main location for Ottawa’s annual tulip festival come springtime, this park is located to the west of the Glebe, hugging Dow’s lake. The gardens are maintained throughout the year. Wander the winding pathways and enjoy your picnic under the shade while watching kayakers on the lake. You’ll notice a lot of activity as bikers and runners pass by. Dominion Arboretum park is on the other side of Dow’s lake and is actually Canada’s oldest arboretum! It is a vast, protected area and part of the Central Experimental Farm. The sprawling lawn has plenty of room to relax, and it is a convenient walk to Carleton University!